• 07/01/2023

The Average Cost of Wedding Favors and 12 Gifts Guests Actually Want

A pink bag tied with a bow.

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Wedding favors are a sweet gesture of appreciation to all your guests. These small tokens show thanks for their presence at the celebration and in your lives. However, they don’t need to break your budget to be meaningful — you can come in under the average cost of wedding favors without looking stingy.

Many couples struggle with how much to spend on each guest’s present, but this guide will get you on track. Plus, we’ve gathered ideas for gifts your guests will actually take home so your money doesn’t go to waste at the bottom of a hotel trashcan.  

What is the Average Cost of Wedding Favors?

The average cost of wedding favors is $440, or $1 to $5 per guest. Wedding planners recommend spending 1-2% of your budget on wedding favors. The total cost will depend on the guest list size and the cost of each favor. 

How to Pick Favors Your Guests Will Love to Take Home

Wherever you land compared to the average cost of wedding favors, you don’t want your money floundering in the garbage. Unfortunately, many well-intentioned couples pick items their guests won’t use or are too highly personalized. A mug is a nice gesture, but one with your name and wedding date in large lettering will look tacky over time. 

If you want your information printed on the wedding favors, your best bet is to gift food. Then your guests can enjoy the present, remember your celebration, and then throw out any excess packaging once they finish the product. 

Long-term gifts should be free of specific-to-you messaging unless on a removable tag. You can even forego physical items in favor of experiences or charitable donations. 

Perfect Wedding Favor Ideas

This list of practical items will ensure your gifts are treasured, not trashed, making the most of your wedding favor budget. 

1. Homemade Treats 

Cake pops covered in brown icing and sprinkles.

If you have a talent for baking, share it with your guests. Make an assortment of your favorites and leave them at a table for your loved ones to pick and bag for themselves. You can also pre-package goodies and leave them at everyone’s seats. 

2. Assortment of Candies

A jar of assorted candies.

Who doesn’t love candy? Set a table or cart with a selection of your favorites or options that symbolize something important to you or your wedding theme. Your guests will love creating their own mix of treats. 

3. Local Goodies

Jars of honey.

Wedding favors are a unique opportunity to support local businesses. Talk with your favorite shop owners to see how you could feature their products at your celebration. Fresh honey or syrup served in miniature glass jars is a cute gift. Local produce in small baskets is another thoughtful idea. 

If you can get a bulk deal from your favorite neighborhood shop, you could also afford to pick a non-edible option. Small business owners may jump at the chance for so much free publicity. 

4. Seeds or Plantable Place Cards

Seed packets in jars.

Make the world a better place by sending your guests home with seeds. Fill small recyclable or compostable envelopes with seeds for your favorite wildflowers, herbs or produce. Another option is to purchase plantable place cards. On the surface, they look like regular place cards but have much more potential. 

5. Potted Plants

Three succulent plants in pots.

Skip the seed step by gifting your guests a starter plant. Succulents in clay pots are a popular option. Pretty blooms that double as table decor are a great money-saving choice. You can also go a less traditional route by giving your loved ones a starter produce plant or baby tree. 

6. Hand Sanitizer

A bottle of hand sanitizer.

Practical hygiene items guests can put in their pockets or purse are typically a much-appreciated gift, especially for guests who traveled to get to your wedding. Hand sanitizer will keep germs at bay and keep your loved ones healthy enough to party all night with you. You can buy cute, colorful hand sanitizer holders to make them look more festive.

7. Mini Sunscreen

A person squeezes a bottle of sunscreen into their hand.

Outdoor summer ceremonies can be brutal, leaving your guests sweaty and burnt. Hand out mini sunscreens as an early wedding favor. Everyone will thank you when they don’t spend the next week itching and shedding their skin. 

8. Tea or Coffee

Tea bags on a table.

Hotel drink offerings are typically lackluster. Give your guests a more pleasurable experience by gifting them tea bags or coffee grounds. Small sachets are enough to hold a serving or two per person. Wrap up your favorite blends and leave them on the table or let guests pick their favorite from a table of options, with a mix of decaf and fully caffeinated. 

9. Lip Balm

A container of lip balm.

Aside from the left sock, lip balm is the most frequently lost item. How many do you have floating around in the nether sphere of your home? A lovely scented lip balm with your wedding details printed on the label is a practical gift your guests will appreciate, just don’t be surprised if they start to disappear.  

10. Scratch-Off Tickets

A lottery ticket.

Winner winner chicken dinner. Serve your guests the chicken breast and let them scratch their way to easy money. Scratch-off lottery tickets are a fun activity for table-bound loved ones or a fun pastime for those who need to rest their feet from dancing. Who knows, someone may win big. 

11. An Experience

A person orders food at a fish and chips food truck.

More couples are choosing to forego traditional wedding favors. Instead, they’re spending the same money on making the festivities even more festive. 

Your options are endless, and you can customize your choice to your preferences or wedding theme. A late-night food truck will give everyone the energy to keep dancing, and a photo booth combines a fun activity with a personal souvenir. 

12. Charitable Donations

A piece of paper reads "donations."

Another out-of-the-box option to replace wedding favors is making a charitable donation in honor of your guests. Select a cause dear to your heart and arrange the gift in advance. Alternatively, you can give your loved ones a few charities to choose from. Print the choices on their place card and have them mark their selection. You can complete the donation process when you get back from the honeymoon. 

The Average Cost of Wedding Favors Is a Loose Guide

The nice thing about averages is they represent a larger picture. If you have the budget and want to spend more on your guests, go for it! If you have a minimal amount to spend and want to scale back, that’s okay too. Some couples forego the tradition altogether, instead focusing on throwing a great party with fun experiences for their guests. This day is all about you and celebrating your love and commitment to each other. Your choice of wedding favors is a small matter in the grand scheme.

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