Favor Saver

This small but meaningful gift to your wedding guests is an old tradition to thank your guests for coming to celebrate your wedding. Though it’s normal to become slightly jaded in your wedding-planning process and think thoughts like “I’m throwing them a big party, and now I have to give them a parting gift, too?” Well, yes, and remember you’re throwing yourself a big party, and they’re showing up for you. So with that in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the traditional and not-so-typical favors:

Favors and Gifts Seashell Bag
Courtesy of Olde Naples Chocolate
Seashell chocolate favors from Olde Naples Chocolate

For a beach or outdoor wedding, put out buckets of different sizes of flip-flops so guests can kick off their heels. Or do what our Real Weddings couple John and Jerry did, and give your guests beach towels.

An indoor wedding reception after a beach wedding is a perfect time to break out the chocolate (it might melt outdoors). Have your catering staff set Olde Naples Chocolate seashells on your guests’ plates before the reception.

Are your guests lighting sparklers for your grand getaway? Set out bowls of personalized matches to show what a perfect match you are.

Candy stations are a big trend right now. Buy small plastic bags with flat bottoms at a craft store, and let your guests fill them up with sweet treats. Go the extra mile by having stickers made with your monogram or image from your invitations to personalize the experience even more. Also, unless you’ve got the budget for a candy-station attendant, you’ll need to alert your guests to the fact that this is for them to take home. Frame a sign that reads something like, “We’re sweet on you. Please scoop up your favorite sweets to enjoy later.”

Favors and Gifts Fortune Cookies
Courtesy of EdibleGiftsPlus.com
Fortune cookies from EdibleGiftsPlus.com

We also love wedding-themed candy. Personalize yours from super gay-friendly online stores like EdibleGiftsPlus, where you can have your photo painted onto cookies, or, if order tux and wedding gown fortune cookies with a personalized message inside. (You can request to only have gowns or tuxes, too.)

Fresh flowers. Ask your florist to put out galvanized tins of freshly cut gerber daisies or carnations.

A personalized CD of a selection of your wedding playlist so your guests can think of you when they dance at home.

A donation to your favorite charity in their name.

Nature lovers? Give your guests one to grow on with a personalized package of wildflower seeds, like these from Miss Charlotte’s Etsy shop.

So Gifted

Your wedding attendants and your family members who contributed to your wedding with their time or money get extra special gifts, which can be presented ahead of time, at the rehearsal dinner or after the fact.

Favors and Gifts Branch Necklace
Courtesy of Prismera Design
Prismera Design, Filigree collection, branch necklace

Popular gifts for bridesmaids include jewelry that they wear on the day of your wedding, such as timeless pearl necklaces. We like the selection at One Pearl, because the founding designer donates 100 percent of her profits to benefit children’s health and education. Looking for something more modern? Try Filgree, Prismera Design’s spring collection. All pieces are made from eco-friendly stainless steel, a sustainable medium made from recycled components and available in the steel finish or can be plated in 14k gold.

For groomsmen, monogrammed flasks are always a welcome gift, as are ties for their wedding-day attire that they can wear again and again. We heart the varied selection at the Tie Bar. If you’re having a wine-country theme or just have a lot of vino-loving pals, try Little Barrel, a very gay-friendly but straight-owned niche company selling wine-themed products, including high-quality ties featuring prints of tiny wine bottles. Got a bigger budget? Go with Stanley Lewis, whose luxury ties, socks and cufflinks will cost you a pretty penny, but they’re worth every cent.

If you’re having a bridal, groom or couples shower, it’s customary to thank your host or hostess with a small gift and a handwritten thank-you note. Standard gifts include personalized stationery or note cards, a potted plant or flower, a photo frame or album, or send them a bouquet of flowers afterward.

Favors and Gifts Stanley Lewis
Courtesy of Stanley Lewis
Luxe tie and sock sets from Stanley Lewis

If you’re one of the lucky gay or lesbian couples who are blessed with supportive parents or grandparents, then you’ll want to plan to give them a gift as well. This is customary whether or not they have made a financial contribution toward your wedding. The thought here is that they’ve helped shape you into the person that you are today, which led you to meeting your soul mate. Ideas for parent and grandparent gifts run the gamut from engraved photo albums to fill later with photos from your big day to buying them a vacation to their favorite resort. Your budget dictates your level of gifting, so go with what you’re comfortable with. They obviously already appreciate you, so just let them know you appreciate them, too.