8 ways to save money on wedding favors

September 15 | Guest post by Ange Marsden
Rustic favor boxes, available here.

Bridal magazines feature a heap of mass produced "personalized" wedding favors that cost a fortune once you multiply your gifts by fifty… or heck, even 300!

Now of course, the cheapest way to do wedding favors is not to do them at all, which is cool by us. No one here is saying you have to do favors if you're not into the idea.

That said, for those who have chosen to do favors for their guests, here are some cunning ways I've found to source cheap gifts for your loved ones without resorting to taffeta bags of almonds…

  • Look into stores that are going out of business and ask for a discount price on the last of all of one stock. I recently found ninety mini plaques with inspiring quotes on them for $1.50 each — down from $10 a piece!
  • Buy in bulk from a wholesaler. Look for retail wholesale suppliers for bulk candy or chocolate and hotel suppliers for mini-soaps etc. You may be able to place a one-off order or find a friend who owns a cafe, restaurant or motel who can arrange the order for you.
  • Look on eBay/TradeMe or Etsy for bulk deals and end-of-lines from wholesalers and retailers. Be wary of trying to match colours you see on a computer screen to your fabric samples though — it seldom works! (spray paint does though…)
  • Head out after Christmas and look for sales. Look for discounted "gourmet" cookies. You can either use the cookies as-is on your table or pull them apart and repackage the presents. Last year I got twelve packs of Christmas crackers worth $35 for under $5 — that's less than fifty cents per favor. Or look for cheap chocolates (check they don't expire before the wedding date), candy and fudges.
  • The super cunning can also buy cheap marked down christmas cake to have handy if you don't quite have enough slices of wedding cake to go around. A 1kg iced Christmas cake bought in Januray sets me back about $5, lasts for another six to eight months and can save paying an extra $100 for another tier on the wedding cake. I'm keeping an iced fruit cake handy for fussy purists who wont like my awesome chocolate cake.

  • Gift baskets are often on sale after January too. Look at the contents and see if you can pull the basket apart and repackage the gifts — mismatched favors wrapped in complementary wrapping paper (or wallpaper) make for a unique centrepiece too.
  • Cheap jewelry stores often have bargain bins full of out-of-season jewelry. Take to them with a set of pliers and you have some fabulous embellishments for centrepieces or favors.
  • Consider buying a whole roll of cellophane from a florist to wrap up your favors. It's far cheaper than buying single sheets and you can use the cellophane for future Christmas and birthday presents too.
  • Instead of fancy handmade boxes, pick up some white paper sweet bags from your local dairy or sweet shop and decorate them with stamps or preprinted stickers. You can seal them with a sticker, sealing wax or ribbon and they can double as name place tags too.

Want even more budget favor ideas? We've got a massive archive of affordable wedding favor ideas to steal.

  1. Ah, cellophane! And in BULK?! Wonderful idea! I love anything colorful, or shiny, or in bulk, so to be all three is just a bonus! Now, to turn cellophane into my wedding theme… hmmm…

    10 agree
    • I'm a florist and I'd just say be careful what you ask for. Those rolls can be huge. If we take months to get thought our roll, I think I would take over a life time for me to get though one at home. Also it's pretty expensive stuff. I would suggest estimating the number of yards you need, add a few and ask your loal florist how much that amount would cost. Also you can suggest a price you would be willing to pay before. We get those requests very rarely, so it is harder to come up with how much a yard actually costs us. If your price is reasonable, you might just get it.

      4 agree
  2. I bought heart-chaped cookie cutters that came 3 to a pack. I dismantled the packs, one for each favor, added a cookie recipe and some ribbon: $0.23 per favor, not counting the ribbon.

    29 agree
  3. Our favors were 24-count Crayola boxes, but the trick was, I bought them at Target during the back-to-school sales. $0.22 per box! I printed up labels I already had and pasted them on.

    12 agree
    • That's a cool favor…did you give everyone a box of crayons? Very cool idea….would like to hear more about what you did

      2 agree
  4. I have no idea what I am going to use for favours, but thanks for the ideas!

    2 agree
    • We also skipped the favours and instead gave a donation to the Canadian Cancer Society in our guests' name. It was a cause very close to our families and friends (especially that week as someone close had just died) and felt alot better than making stuff people don't necessarily want or need.

      10 agree
      • Love this! My sister skipped favors and had cards made that said a donation was made to the Juvenile Diabetes Society in honor of our Dad who has been a Type 1 Diabetic for 30 years

        0 agree
  5. We saved money on favours by not having any! All our decorations and flowers etc were a free-for-all though. If you saw it and wanted it and it wasn't nailed down – take it! This also made our wedding relatively free on waste as most stuff got a home afterwards :)

    18 agree
  6. I searched prom decoration websites! I got a great deal on close out hand painted mugs: 75 for $40. They served a dual purpose. We filled them with a little aquarium/craft pebbles and put a tealight in them for centerpieces, but they also had a "Thank You" charm on the handle for use as a favor.

    7 agree
  7. I'm using decks of cards and personalizing them myself with labels printed at home. They cost less than $1 each, and who doesn't love playing card games?!

    4 agree
  8. My wedding photographer (who also happens to be my aunt) suggested to forgo the favors since people get too drunk and just leave them and the waitstaff winds up taking some home (which I've also noticed at weddings I've attended). Don't have to tell me twice to not spend more money than we already have to! Although I like these: http://www.etsy.com/listing/56115121/150-heart-bird-seed-favors-w-tag-design?ref=v1_other_1
    (I think I still like money in my pocket better though)

    3 agree
  9. Completely unrelated but – Nelson! Such a beautiful place (plus I got engaged at the airport there :) )

    3 agree
  10. we made pretty cards with pockets to hold seed packets for our favors. they were all made out of scrap book paper. suuuper cheap and we still have plenty left over. so if anyone needs some please let me know! ill send them to you! lol

    1 agrees
  11. I'm all about the Candy Buffet!! Fun, colorful bags and candy to match your wedding colors :D

    8 agree
  12. I like practical favors. I looked and looked and looked and someone on the tribe had the greatest idea and I decided to do it too. Customized sharpie pens! Who doesn't love a sharpie pen?

    3 agree
  13. we got some molds from a cake decorating shop, and we're gonna make use them to make chocolates for the favors.
    the great thing about edible favor is if no one takes it, more for me :-)

    6 agree
  14. I'm thinking of little bags of homemade herbed/seasoned salt. Kinda goes with our beach party theme too.

    3 agree
  15. Since we consider ourselves lucky to be getting married we decided to give each of our guests a new SHINY lucky penny and a scratcher ($1.01 per favor) Out of our 100 guest some one is bound to win at least $5 (maybe more!)
    I'm pretty crafty and my friends and I managed to collect over 300 bottle caps and I'm making magnets out of them to give away as well :)

    7 agree
  16. FH and I are making CDs, which I am now wishing we gave ourselves more than 3 days to do … but has otherwise been an inexpensive and fun way to personalize the favors. :)

    3 agree
    • oooh,
      I had a coworker who made a cd with the best songs played at her wedding and used a picture of the wedding as jacket. She obviously gave them after the wedding, but it makes a good way to remember the event and when the music is good, that's the best. It would also be possible to give it with out jacket and send it afterwards

      0 agree
  17. We are collecting cool beer tankards and steins from charity shops and giving these as our favours, practical too as they'll be your drinking glass for the day :) we're just gonna put little thank-you tags on them.

    1 agrees
  18. Favor-wise for my wedding I hit up a soap maker at my farmers market — and we didn't buy a favor for every single person — just had a basket at the reception table where people could take a bar if they wanted it. The upside? we ended up with LOTS of soap in the end ;)

    2 agree
  19. I bought a few boxes of old Trivial Pursuit cards at Salvation Army ($1 apiece!) and tied up little stacks of cards with ribbon and put one at each place setting. It cost less than $10 total for 120 guests and people got really into it!

    11 agree
  20. We were stuck on favors for a long while. Finally decided we're going to pick up some mason jars for preservatives and make up hot chocolate mix. One jar per family or couple. Pretty much everyone that's going loves hot chocolate, and it's a November wedding, so a nice hot beverage will be on most peoples mind in no time.

    4 agree
  21. we bought bees and trees from heifer international in honor of our guests as favors, but then we also used my husband's button maker to make a bunch of buttons with bees and our wedding date and things on them, so people still got to take something home. it was super inexpensive- just paid for a couple copies with the bee template. if you can get your hands on a buttonmaker, it worked well for us!

    4 agree
    • Woot for the Heifer Project!

      Our Iowa chapter sells buttons at the Iowa state Fair every year. Every year I look forward to buying my buttons, and supporting the project.
      I love your idea of having a physical representation of the donation for your guests.

      1 agrees
  22. I made bookmarks with extra cardstock and photopaper from the invites. Some were nice serious engagement photos and some were us laughin with "Hun, I farted" in a word bubble over his head (which is actually what happened). People who wanted a serious one could take it, people who wanted a funny one could take it. I only made 60 for our 200 guests (I figured 1 per couple and some people just wouldn't want one) and we had one (muddy one) left. Total cost $2 for the ribbon and $10 worth of colour printer ink (if you count the leftovers from invites, maybe $30 total)

    2 agree
  23. My friend had a LOT of success shopping in Valentine's clearance stuff (lots of heart themed things) for his wedding.

    Also, if you want to embrace an extra nerdy side, strike up a good conversation with your local comic book store. No one likes hearing, "You've never met me before, but gimme stuff." But, if you talk to them right, they might have comics, figurines and promo pieces to give away or part with for a good price. Talk to them about ordering in bulk if you want to give everyone a certain comic.

    1 agrees
  24. My BF drinks coffee and I drink tea – so we incorporated that in our favours: we cut cloth into squares, on which we put one tea bag and one Nespresso capsule and then scrunched up the cloth and tied it up with a ribbon, so that we had little 'pouches'. We also added a business card-format card with: Thank you so much for your contribution […] You're always welcome at our home for a cup of coffee/tea/something stronger" :)

    2 agree
  25. Another place I often see bargains is from actual bridal forums. People who have bought too many and desperately want to get rid of the rest of them for a cheap price.

    1 agrees
  26. weddingchannel.com sells matchbooks for about 20 cents per guest (excluding shipping). They come in a lot of colors and designs, are pretty handy to have around the house, and easy to slip into a pocket or purse. Not such a good idea if you'll have a lot of kids at the wedding though. A word of caution: we ordered these and the box they came in was jacked up when it got to our house. The matches inside were completely fine, but just a word of warning.

    2 agree
  27. My fiance and I went back and forth about what to give as wedding favors (or even if we wanted to give one at all). After deciding that we wanted to give something that was "New Englandly" and that we couldn't afford any prepaid favors (like those maple syrup glass leaves) we spent a weekend day canning a couple batches of pumpkin butter for our fall wedding. I got the jars on sale and just dressed them up with some fun tags made from scrapbooking paper in fun patterns of fall colors. The whole thing cost around 45 bucks for 60 wedding favors and they are pretty tasty too :)

    4 agree
  28. We got married on June 19, 2010 – it was cherry season so we used mini-Chinese take out boxes (from Toronto's Chinatown) and filled them with cherries. Our venue had an orchard so we bought 10kgs of cherries for $40 – so the cherries were $40 and the boxes were $50 ($.25 each) – and our guests loved the fresh picked fruit!

    2 agree
  29. My fiancé and I are hand-making origami accordion-style photo albums for everyone. They are black and white with a red rubber stamp print on each outside end one is 2 hearts and the other says "All You Need is Love". Of course it has a red ribbon around it to tie it shut.

    0 agree
  30. My fiance and I are having homemade blackberry jam. Blackberries grow wild all over our city, so we spent a few hours each weekend picking them and then cooking up the jam. In the end, the only cost was for sugar, pectin, and the jars. Came to a total of about $0.75/favor and since we're inviting couples mostly, we're looking at about $0.38 per person and they get a cup of amazing blackberry jam. Also, because it keeps for about a year, we were able to do it WAY before the wedding which saved time/stress closer to the date. 100% recommend it. A friend of mine made little blackberry pies in tart shells. Those, obviously, had to be made a couple days before the wedding, but again, it was super cheap because the fruit is free.

    4 agree
  31. My fiance and I found a great deal on a photo booth rental for a couple of hours. We don't have a HUGE wedding, so people should be able to get in and print a souvenir photo. It can go on the fridge, be used as a bookmark, go in a scrapbook, be framed, etc. – that and a candy buffet will be our favors. :) Since the photobooth allows for unlimited photos, and it gives US a whole other repository of pics of our guests, I think it was a sound investment. And a candy table doesn't involve huge bank either. :)

    1 agrees
  32. We made our wedding favors by melting broken crayons in heart-shaped silicone molds. We then handed them out along with coloring pages we had made from favorite photos of us together.
    The crayons were donated from a pre-school and we used my university copy-quota to print the coloring pages. The only thing we had to buy were the molds, which were $3.oo with a coupon.
    The favors were a big hit and a great group activity as well!

    1 agrees
  33. I make hard lotions and lip balms and other "beauty" any way so it's only a few cents for me to make lip balm for my female guest and just make labels to match our wedding since I made all the other paper supplies. For the guys I'm making aftershave which again is only a few cents because I have bottles that it turns out I can't use for my business. Or Since we both have Burnable Cd's that we will never use we will make Cd's with our fav music and give one to each household which is essentially free because we already have cd's we aren't using.

    0 agree
  34. I am using an idea my photographer gave me. She took our engagement photos for us, and she has always referred to us as M & M (Matt & Michele). One of my photos was us holding red, pink, and white M & M's with my engagement ring stuck down in them (super cute!!). So for the wedding favors I am doing the small white boxes/bags (dollar tree 12 /$1) and putting tissue paper in my wedding colors (Dollar Tree $1/pack) and putting M & M's in them. (Sam's Club 5lbs $6). I will print my tags with "Thank you for celebrating with us. Love, M & M"). I think it works since everyone loves chocolate and there will be kids at my wedding. Costs about 50 cents per guest!!!

    1 agrees
    • This is awesome! I wish my fiance and I were M&M…instead We're J&J. ;)

      0 agree
      • I would do that too, it's an amazingly cute idea. :) But, seeing as my fiance's initials with mine = S & M…we might have to make those party favors for "adult's only." Hehe

        0 agree
  35. We make homemade cream bars, it is useful, gives such a soft skin, easy to do, and costs us under a buck to do, much less if we make them smaller that the ones we make for us at home.
    I agree that favors are not at all mandatory, pretty much nothing is, besides the presence of those guetting married. But, it makes someting special for those who attend.

    0 agree
  36. I went to a local promotional printing company (logos on hold balls etc.). They have an "open to the public day" where they sell misprinted or overstocked items. I got seed packets that had a poem printed about sowing the seeds of love for 10¢ a piece for favors!! I also got mugs that said bridesmaid, usher etc for our entire wedding party and parents for $1 a piece as well as other decorations. Because I bought so much they threw in a cake knife set for free that would have retailed anywhere else for $75 easily!

    0 agree
  37. We're buying beautiful hardcover books (sans dust jackets) at our library's used book sale for $1/piece. There will be both the main bulk of our centerpieces and the favors – we'll leave a note on each table inviting the guests to take a book home and share in the joy of stories. BAM, favors and half of the centerpieces for $115.

    0 agree
  38. We are buying bulk spices from the local farmer's market and spice jars online and putting them together for our guests. I'm making the labels to match our style.

    0 agree
  39. Since I am getting married 8th nov we have chosen toffee apples for favours bought from wholesalers , its work out less than 50p a favour it also helps that we ate having a snow white wedding theme so will add a poison apple tag x

    0 agree
  40. That cake idea is genius! It's nearly Christmas with my wedding in August next year…it's just in time!

    0 agree

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