To Have And To Hold

By Sharon Naylor

February 1, 2016 5 min read

After a few years of skipping wedding favors as a budget-saving decision -- with the marrying couple donating to their favorite charity in lieu of giving guests favors in many cases -- fabulous favors have now made their way back onto must-have lists. With guests traveling, sometimes great distances, to attend the wedding, couples want to thank them for their time and efforts on their big day. And with the growth of creative and edible favors, so admired on wedding blogs and on Pinterest and Instagram, wedding couples enjoy having the chance to select or make favors that impress.

According to Shane McMurray, publisher of the wedding survey magazine The Wedding Report, the average amount spent on wedding favors is $173-$289, with high-end favors reaching an average of $347-$462. Here are the most popular wedding favor items from The Wedding Report:

--Mini-pots of honey. "Honey wedding favors are popular now because they have multiple levels of appeal," says Mary Kosenski, owner of E+M Wedding Favors and E+M Gold Beekeepers, makers of raw honey products. "The first is that honey is used and enjoyed in so many different ways, such as added to tea, spread on toast or scones, drizzled on appetizers, and eaten as-is. Many wedding couples are also very interested in what beekeepers are doing to protect the world's honeybee populations that are so essential to our environment. And there's a 'support your local farmers' element that adds a 'doing good in your community' benefit to choosing wedding favors. Couples know how blessed they are, and they want to give back by choosing local small businesses' products." Mary also points out that honey fits many themes associated with love and marriage, such as the honeymoon or pet names.

--Jams and jellies. Whether purchased or homemade, jars of jams or jellies are a welcome treat. Allow guests to pick their own favorite flavors from a displayed collection of three or four varieties, or choose a jam or jelly that matches the wedding color scheme, such as a raspberry jam to coordinate with pink wedding colors.

--Barbecue sauce. Especially if the wedding has a country feel to it, or features ribs or barbecued chicken wings in local flavors, the gift of barbecue sauce shares a memory of the day and allows guests to indulge later. Salsa or hot sauces share a similar vibe.

--Lemon curd. This surprising 4th-place finisher on The Wedding Report's survey results list brings thought of an afternoon tea. It also color coordinates with a sunny, yellow wedding, perhaps inspired by the Pantone color Buttercup, one of 2016's top colors.

--Baked goods, such as chocolates, iced cookies or homemade breads or muffins.

--Candy buffet take-home sweets, with guests given containers and scoops to help themselves to colorful candies displayed on a dessert station.

--Seasonally inspired wedding favors. Perhaps salt-water taffy and gourmet fudge for a summertime, beach-inspired wedding theme, s'mores kits for a winter wedding or maple syrup for fall wedding flavor.

--Spices. A packet of spices allows the couple to share their favorite flavors of home with their guests. For instance, a New England wedding might include packets of seafood flavoring spices, or a winter wedding might inspire packets of mulled cider spices.

While edible wedding favors rule popularity lists, nonedible favors are also common, with functionality a driving force behind selections. Coasters and wine bottle stoppers will surely be used after the wedding, reminding guests of the special day.

Ornate Victorian-style keys are also rising in popularity. Often attached to guest place cards, keys can become decor items or paperweights back home. Metallic elements are trending, and there is a symbolism to keys. They unlock potential, happiness and opportunity, and many couples are adding notes with such cute sayings as, "The key to your happiness" or "Lock in the great memories of today."

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