I think the strangest thing about being in your early twenties, beyond the Sunday Scaries and unexplainable joint pain, is the number of weddings you get invited to. I’m not sure why I’m surprised—I’m a woman in my early twenties that went to a private college in the South—but I am absolutely perplexed by the fact that people my age are partaking in a very permanent and, depending on how you look at it, divine, institution. Maybe it’s because the internet algorithms know this about me and have a sick sense of humor, but I’ve somehow wound up deep in the trenches of WeddingTok. Although unexpected, I’m absolutely fascinated by the delicate minutiae of toxic mother-in-law management, appetizer tastings, bridal party elections, and reckoning with the aggressively patriarchal origins of some of the most beloved wedding traditions.
After making myself at home on WeddingTok, I’ve found that a bride will forget very little, but one thing that seems to get hardly any attention is the importance of the wedding favor. It’s the final bow, the last thing your guests will remember—yet the trendiest favors are the ones that nobody, and I mean nobody, actually wants. The older I get, the less patience and bandwidth I have for junk, and I think I speak for everyone when I say yes, a koozie with you and your spouse’s face on it is indeed junk.
Don’t get me wrong, your wedding is all about you, a celebration of the magnificent feat you’ve pulled off in finding someone that doesn’t absolutely repulse you. Which is why I’ll push through the small talk at cocktail hour, the cheesy bridesmaid speeches, even the inevitable runthrough of the Cupid Shuffle that gives me flashbacks to field day in middle school P.E. But the party favor is the one thing that is about me, the guest, what I will like, what will remind me of your joyful wedded bliss—but more importantly, that I can also enjoy objectively long after the night is over.
As a child of divorce who’s never been in a serious relationship and corrects men’s grammar on dating apps for sport, it’s fairly obvious I am the last person that should be sharing my opinion on anything wedding or marriage related, which is why I asked wedding planner extraordinaire-turned-dating-TikToker Chelsey Lance about the worst of the worst she’s seen when it comes to wedding favors, and what is proven to be a hit among your guests.
Before she made a name for herself on TikTok sharing hilariously candid dating stories from the dispatches of being a single twentysomething in Charlotte, North Carolina, Chelsey ran an award winning wedding and design firm that she launched at the age of 25. From a 60s retro fête to a tarot themed wedding where the bride wore all black, Chelsey’s seen it all, and she’s sharing some of her expertise so that you don’t have to see any abandoned favors on venue tabletops.
“You would think this functional favor would be a hit, but I think they are usually a miss,” Lance says. Because a bottle opener is really only something each couple or family needs one of, lots of them end up left behind on the tables. However, they still have potential when executed properly. “This could be a cool thing to add into a welcome package, alongside a bottled, refreshing drink that needs an opener,” she offers.
You probably saw this idea and immediately thought about all the pun potential, like how you two are the perfect match or that you found the light of your life. However, it may not be as big of a hit as you think. “Most of the custom matchbook options are made out of flimsy cardboard, and couples almost always over-order. I will never have to buy matches again due to the hundreds of leftover matchbooks that I’ve been gifted from clients!”
“Ok, so this is the pumpkin spice latte of favors,” Lance says. She admits that when people first started giving these out in 2012, “they were amazing,” adding, “I filled up an entire drawer in my kitchen with them!”
If you’ve already ordered your custom koozies, don’t freak. “I think having a small amount of koozies at the bar, for those that want them, is a great touch,” Lance says, adding, “But having it serve as the overall favor isn’t personally not my favorite—it just isn’t very exciting.” I think I speak for the masses on this one—even though I love a good White Claw as much as the next girl, I don’t think I’ll ever have enough cold drinks in my days on this Earth to justify the amount of koozies I’ve been sent home with after a wedding—or any party, for that matter. If you really want them to be enjoyed in earnest, sprinkle them around and let the select few who want them take them home.
When it comes to the favors your guests will never forget, Lance says opting for anything edible and individually wrapped is best. “Most of my clients chose stunning custom cookies with royal icing. We would take design elements from their invitation suite or table linens and get that drawn onto cookies. By incorporating other visual elements from the wedding, it shows a very high level of detail, and it’s always highly regarded by the guests who notice.”
Although I can in no way empathize with the bridal experience, let me serve as a sort of focus group. Your wedding is all about you and your spouse, sure. But, there’s at least just a little bit of ego involved—I know every bride wants to throw a party that their guests will never forget. So let the last moment your guests are left with be a good one and opt for something edible, cute, and easily stuffed in a purse or clutch for later. And I beg you, if you’re going to choose something your guests take home, don’t put your initials or, even worse, your faces on it… unless you want to see it on the shelf at your local Goodwill six months later.
Image: Vladimir Tsarkov /Stocksy.com