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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

#33: (World's most unscientific) study on wedding favors

A recent poll was conducted ( my bridal shower) asking women ages 27 through 60+ about their likes and dislikes in terms of wedding favors. They answered the following questions:

(1) If you are (or ever have been) married, what did you give away as a wedding favor?
(2) What is the best wedding favor you have ever received?

Below are the results. Note that some items have a number in front indicating the amount of people who shared that particular answer.

Favor given at own wedding:
(3) Don't remember
(2) "No such thing" as wedding favors at the time I was married
"We didn't give favors"
Hershey Kisses in champagne glass
a poem wrapped in a wedding band
small photo album
brandy glasses
heart dish

Best wedding favor ever received:
(5) no answer/ I don't know
(3) mix CD
(2) small bottle of champagne
(2) chocolate
"I love the tea for [this] shower!"
champagne flutes with chocolate
letter opener
photo frame

Conclusions about first set of data:
Nearly half of the women either did not remember what favors they had given at their wedding, or had married at a time when wedding favors were simply not in vogue. (And one of these women was married in the early 80's - not too long ago!) This tells me that the favor you choose to give away is (often) an insignificant detail in the overall memory of your wedding day. And in some points in history (and in some places around the world), wedding favors simply don't exist. Gee, lucky for the wedding industry American couples nowadays devote lots of time and money on this part of their big day.

Conclusions about second set of data:
A relatively large group of women had no answer about their favorite wedding favor ever received. This can be explained in 2 possible ways:
  • The favor was one of the least memorable parts of the wedding day experience
  • These individuals have a bad memory
I don't know about you but I am going to bank on the first explanation.

The data also suggests that people love music, chocolate, and alcohol. Perhaps one of these options is the safest bet when choosing a wedding favor. But while we can predict which favors will be enjoyed by a large percentage of guests, we cannot make everyone happy. (Because you know, you might have one oddball aunt who likes "bells"). And quite frankly, many people won't even remember what you had given them anyway.

I conducted my "research" (if you can call it that) to ease brides' anxiety about choosing the perfect favor. But this doesn't mean that people cannot have fun or be creative when the time comes to make that decision! Choosing a favor can be a great place to show your personalities as a couple. But I've said it before and I'll say it again:

Approach favors as you would any birthday gift you give to a friend; put some thought into it, be sincere in your intentions, hope they like it, and carry on. Because it's not actually about the giveaway itself-- it's about your intentions and show of gratitude and love. Just because the favor happens to be tied to a once-in-a-lifetime event, doesn't mean that it has to be a once-in-a-lifetime/ super creative/ super expensive/ super unique object. 


  1. I am completely with you on this and your previous favor post.

    I fretted briefly about favors - chopsticks? Sweets? tea? - until I realized, dude, I don't need to spend $100-$300 to give my guests some extra thing after I bought them dinner, drinks and dessert. We'll have truffles with dessert (tiramisu, not wedding cake) and a very modest tea bar (six kinds of our favorite tea on offer, hardly a big production)...if people really want a "favor" they can swipe a truffle for later or even snag a teabag.

    We also did decide to put out three bowls of small candies we like - Kopiko coffee, matcha tea and Ting Ting Jahe soft ginger, but more of an after-dinner refreshment than as "favors"...people are welcome to take a few home if they like.

  2. Right on, Jenna. I like the idea of having an assortment of little treats throughout the reception.

    Wondering...have you ever been a guest at a wedding where there were no favors? If yes, were you surprised? Disappointed? Could you care less? Or did you not even notice?

    The best party favor I've ever received was actually a chocolate bar at my friend's surprise 30th birthday party. Why? Because I wasn't expecting to go home with a treat from a 30-year-old man's party! Nowadays when I go home with a wedding favor (now this is strange, and possibly rude), my mind goes straight to wondering how much agony and money went into the favors, as opposed to appreciating it as a thank you from the hosts.

  3. Yes - actually I have quite a few memories to share about getting or not getting favors.

    About 3 years ago I went to a wedding with no favors at all, and honestly I didn't even notice until 2 years later, starting to plan our own wedding, and thinking "favors?...Beth didn't have favors. Oh my - I hadn't even noticed!" Seriously, I didn't notice.

    Before that, I attended one where the favor was a choice of 2 mix CDs - modern classical (for older folks) and contemporary hippie traveler music (for us young'uns). There were leftovers so I got one of each. They were great. I love them and still have the music on my hard drive. (The groom is now a grad student of music. Good taste.)

    Before that, I attended one where we got these little blue flowerpots and seed packets of forget-me-nots (to plant and remember, see). Very cute, but I lived in a city (not the same one I'm in now) and couldn't even get dirt for the pot. The seeds got scattered in a park, and the pot was my catch-all on an end table until I moved and I donated it to Goodwill. Nice idea, not really useful for every guest.

    I missed a friend's wedding but she gave me a favor anyway: one of those hang-up mail catchers you can keep incoming mail in, with an Indian look. I love all things of Indian aesthetic so I do use it (but it hangs in my closet for hair clips and other items).

    When I was a kid I loved those bubble tubes, but I can say that the adults generally thought they were silly - I got to keep something like half of them. I never bought bubbles at a dime store - I always had enough wedding bubbles left! As an adult, though, I would probably just give mine to a kid (or use it to entertain our cat).

  4. Those are some cool ideas. LOVE the choice between 2 CD's.

    But yeah, who remembers no favors? Not many. And even if they did, it's not like it's offensive or anything.

    And as for the rest of your favor memories...well, just goes to show that you never know who will like or use what you give away. Or who will use your mail catcher as a hair accessory organizer. ;)

  5. I will tell you that I spent many an hour looking at websites and annoying Gabe, my mom and my bridesmaids about favors. I found adorable photo albums online. They were $2.50 each which is more than we wanted to spend but since they were a million times nicer than anything else we saw we bought them. If we have leftovers we'll just give them out to friends or family that couldn't make. I've been to weddings where the favor wasn't great and I didn't take it home. I think people will like mine.

  6. Poet, that kind of unnecessary stress is what this post speaks to. I mean, some indecisiveness and frustration is to be expected. But at some point stress over a giveaway is just plain a waste of time, and it's evidence that the big bad wedding industry has brainwashed us into thinking that every little detail of a wedding must be "perfect" - that it must fit into the world's expectations of what is "proper".

    Boo. Yuck. Barf.


Babbling about weddings is so much more fun when people babble back. :)

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