Monday, July 19, 2010

Favors

From a conversation with my Mother, Summer 2009:
"Favors? You get party favors at weddings now? Why? Isn't that for birthday parties? Aren't you giving them food and drink already? I don't understand. We never had party favors for weddings. Why do I want a glass figurine of two owls? Or a picture frame with their wedding date on it? This is just silly."

From a conversation with my Mother, Summer 2010:
"Ooh Becca! I have a great idea for your favors! See, it's a template that says Love. You print it out and wrap it around a chocolate bar! It's simple and inexpensive and cute!"

Sigh. Weddings officially addle the brain of anyone within a two generation radius. But I'm still not doing favors. I have enough to deal with, DIY, and pay for without usually-thrown-away knicknacks or superfluous food. I sometimes feel like favors are the sneaky last-ditch effort of the wedding industry to finally break us of our will to resist. Soul finally broken, I will sit down like a good weddingbot and develop a DIY timeline to make my pocketfold invitation suites, coordinated drink flags for signature drinks, charming bunting, hanging mason jar candle holders, a birdcage veil, escort cards, out of town bags, an ipod playlist, and a floral scheme that matches our wedding palette. At some point, overwhelmed because my DIY projects look like DIY kindergarten crafts, I will break down in tears and become a good little wedding consumer who just hires someone to take care of the mess because I can't handle it anymore and I just need some d*mn sleep already.

And it all started with the "easy" chocolate bar favors that "only" cost $150 ($.50 per chocolate bar, $.50 for bar for paper, color printing and glue sticks, 150 guests) and the complete loss of sanity during the 1am assembly session during which you realize that you're already having enough sugar at the dessert buffet to destroy a diabetic ten times over so why the hell are you bothering with candy bar favors too?

Miss Manners agrees. "Etiquette has never thought of weddings as comparable to children's birthday parties, where guests might need consolation for not being the center of attention... You owe them only the hospitality of the occasion."  Indeed. We're not doing favors. We're focusing on a heartfelt receiving line (or receiving area, more likely), great food, free-flowing wine and beer, a great party, transportation, and genuine thank you card sentiments.  That $150 and 1am freakout is best saved for wedding stuff that matters*. Like our attempt to grow and design succulent centerpieces, obviously.


* If favors are something that matters to you and they are truly reflective of your relationship, then I am fully supportive of your project efforts. Different wedding stuff matters to different people. I just despise the notion that favors are expected.

26 comments:

  1. mmm, never heard the miss manners quote! she rocks.

    i (sort of) caved. because people (who don't matter in my life) accused me of having a self-centered wedding (no steak dinner!), i tried to do every little guest-centered detail that i could. cest la vie.

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  2. We did favors, but only because we started dating because of a maple cookie. Yes...really. SO...I wanted to give our guests the same simple maple cookies. It was cheap (maybe $30 dollars total?) but very few people took them. I guess we did not have them in a good location, so we were left with a mountain of maple cookies left over. If I were to do it again, I guess I might still do it, but buy a LOT less. And put them closer to the door. However, had we not met because of the maple cookie, I would have had absolutely no problem whatsoever abandoning the favors completely!

    Good for you for guarding your sleep and sanity! :) Nobody will miss them! :)

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  3. And yes to the evolution of how the wedding stuff sinks into your brain over time and becomes what you think is "normal."

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  4. I'm right there with ya. We're already DIYing plenty. Who needs another project?

    That said, we did donate to This American Life. There's a tiny notation on the table number signs about it being in lieu of favors, though I'm guessing no one will even notice. Doesn't really matter. It was a meaningful thing for us as a couple.

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  5. Gotta love Miss Manners!

    My thoughts on favors go something like this:

    What can we give people that they won't throw away? Food? Yeah- we're already doing that. Stuff? I hate random shit and I especially hate it if it has someone else's name/date etc. on it. I guess people don't need favors. END thoughts.

    We did include a little piece of art with our invitations and if I have leftovers I might throw them in envelopes and put them in a basket that says "free art," but I'm not going out of my way (or spending money) for favors people probably won't take/want/like anyway.

    Succulents on the other hand are divine. :)

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  6. Oh man, for the first two months of wedding planning (when I was still reading the magazines and drinking the kool-ade and all that) my mom and I would argue constantly about the favors. I had all these ideas and she would always respond with "I just don't get this. What is the point of this?" I would groan and think that I was like, SO misunderstood by the world. Eventually I caught on.

    Out of town bags won out over favors in our case. And many would argue that out of town bags are a waste and I get where they are coming from - but I always like being on the receiving end of one, so bags we shall have!

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  7. I completely agree about favors! If a couple thinks of something cool they'd really like their guests to have, I'm on board, but I despise the line couples are fed about how favors are "needed" in order to "thank your guests for coming." Really? You think that I, the guest, will never know that my friends were happy I came unless they give me a plastic swan?

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  8. No favors!

    No apologies!

    No regrets!

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  9. I blogged about our favors today :) But I also mentioned that you don't need to offer favors at all. I only did it because all of my favors were things that *I* already wanted for *me*...not them :) Like I wanted flip flops to change into for dancing, so I offered them to all the guests in a basket. I wanted a photobooth to place pictures of our guests from our wedding day in our guest book...it just so happened the company offered a second print out that the guests could take home themselves. And the other two things were little ideas I just loved so I wanted to incorporate them. But they were by no means a necessity.

    And who knows...maybe your mom will surprise you and offer to pay for *and* assemble those little chocolate bars herself? As my Mr Fix It says...you can't really ever argue with something that's free and is of no inconvenience to you :)

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  10. I almost--almost--succumbed to the favor-pressure at the last minute. Am SO glad I resisted, though. I don't think the lack of favors even entered our guests' minds and I've heard countless stories about people "forgetting" to take home or eat the favors the bride sweated over.

    @Jenna, right there with ya.

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  11. We have sorta favors. We bought a lot of chopsticks, teacup and teapot sets to serve dinner with. Since we're inviting several families, I was planning to let people take home a set if they want it because we won't ever have a use for all those teapots/cups/chopsticks again. But I don't know if that really counts since they're, you know, utensils we'll be using.

    We're getting goody bags for the kids because kids love goody bags, and their only frame of reference for parties is birthday parties.

    Oh, and I got little Chinese take-out boxes so that people can take home extra desserts or candy if they want.

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  12. You know what I wish was expected? A punch in the face for anyone who insists that things that exist for the sole benefit of the wedding industry are "expected." I'll bet if face-punching were a standardized response for those who cross the line in wedding demands, people would very quickly learn to hold their tongues. Side benefit: shorter guest lists.

    Oh. Oh, what? I'm exaggerating? True. But I just can't help it. My hands still get curled up in little fists of rage when I think of all those times people told me AH MAH GAH, I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU'RE NOT DOING _________. You know what? The only reason I'll ever do ________ is if it's *important* to me, and not because of your GABBA GABBA ONE OF US fearmongering. Mmkay?

    The moral of the story is that both doing ___________ and NOT doing ___________ is fine. It's a personal decision -- one made by you, not your friends or your great aunt or the wedding industry -- that needs to be respected.

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  13. @Adventures along the way - see, that's the sort of favor I can get behind because it has real meaning and was simple/cheap. However, the placement of said favors is a good point.

    @Kerry - I'm debating the out of town bag too, for the same reason. But I'm willing to cut it down to a welcome envelope if time/money gets away from me.

    @Born to Be Mrs Beever - My Mom would love to help and is so excited about wedding projects (she's awesome like that). However, she's already planning/hosting the welcome barbecue, so I'm not sure I want to bother her with candy bars :)

    @Sarah - that's not favors, that's being sensible and generous. We'll probably give away some of our live succulent centerpieces too, because what will I do with 15 live centerpieces at home?

    @lyn - This is the paragraph I forgot to include in the post. And many others in which face punching is *almost* an acceptable response to wedding expectations.

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  14. I am completely with you on this one. Totally not necessary. We aren't doing them either. We'll have a photo booth, but it's not really a favor, as much as it is just entertainment and a touch of nostalgia for guests.

    I think you are completely in the right on this one.

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  15. i think it's a nice gesture, but it's unnecessary. i caved and had mini wine bottles. (they screwed up my husband's name, which was both infuriating and hilarious at the same time.) but i've been to weddings with favors and without and i don't think guests care either way. i definitely would go with an edible favor if you end up doing it.

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  16. I really, really loathe favors. Not doing them. Plus almost everyone will be traveling, do they really need a sack of donuts or a CD they'll never listen to?

    In Vermont, favors look like they're ordered from a prom catalog -- maple syrup bottles with the couples names and dates, champagne glasses with the couples names and dates, etc etc. Grosssssssss.

    (But giving away leftover dishes/centerpieces/etc - useful and recycle-y, not gross.)

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  17. Instead of favors, my wife and I donated to a local organization in support of marriage equality. We printed a little blurb in our program about the importance of marriage equality to us as a same-sex couple. Now a bunch of my straight friends have done the same at their weddings. It's awesome.

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  18. @Natalie - We're donating to an organization in support of marriage equality too, but I guess I don't think of that as a for-the-guests favor (though I do think of it as a better use of money and voice). I just think it's the right thing for us to do. And we're possibly going to include it (and/or another medical organization that means a lot to us) on a donation registry. To be determined!

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  19. Hey!! that gives me an idea!

    You know how sometimes in shops you spend $XXX and they give you tokens to drop in boxes to give to the charity of your choice? That could be cute on a favor table. Or confusing. Or whatever. Just a thought.

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  20. @Verhext - I've actually seen that in a wedding recap! Each guest gets a token/button/thing and you set out three jars at your wedding that represent your favorite charities. Then the guests get a real say in where the donation goes/you divide it proportionally based on token distribution. If you had escort cards, you could attache a token and printout directions so guests are more likely to know what's going on.

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  21. Sigh....... favors. We stumbled upon these by accident. I was all "EF FAVORS!!!!!" I was pret-ty hard core about it.

    But we always wanted little flare button-y things. The kind you get from punk rock shows when you're in high school and put all over your backpack because you want everyone to know you were kickass. Yea, those. I was never a punk rock kid, but Josh did have surface piercings at one time. Ahhh... those days.

    Anyways, after we sent the templates to Brainscan for the buttons to be printed we were like- "shit. We just ordered favors." Haha!

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  22. We are having three kinds of our favorite candy set out after dinner - Kopiko coffee, soft matcha tea and soft Ting Ting Jahe ginger candy.

    People can take a few candies home as favors if they wish, but we view them more as an alternative to the after dinner mint.

    WV: daurnsth - "No, I am not passing out g*d daurnsth favors!!"

    Yes? Yes? No? OK. I tried.

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  23. I understand what you're saying and that it's not necessarily the "favors" per se, but whatever thing that we feel like we have to have or our weddings will suck. All you have to have is your groom, yourself, and an officiant...the rest are wants.

    As cool and hip as we think we are, we're still spending way too much money on one day because we believe that it's worth it. And I can tell you from the other side that it is. :)

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  24. I was about to post that no one cares about the favors, but, uh, it looks like a lot of people care about the favors.
    So, I will simply say that the favors, if you are choosing to NOT have them, will not be missed. Trust me on this one.

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  25. Our wedding is outdoors and I want to provide sunscreen for our guests. I haven't decided if we should have individual packets (which could pass for "favors") or larger containers with a pump (which is more "eco-friendly" but seems less "upper middle class" to quote you)

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  26. Thank God I'm not the only one! I don't get how favors can be expected, and I don't get why so many bloggers seem to love them so much. I'm with you, unnecessary expense........though little bags of See's candy would just be so adorable! Yes, I'm a hypocrite.

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