Perfect Party Favors

This gift guru recommends a personal—and natural—touch

Photograph by Chris Leaman

The Expert: Susan Turnock
 Owner of Gifts For the Good Life

Are usable wedding gifts and favors better than personal ones?
This may sound like a cop-out, but if you can do both, you should. If you pick something like, say, a hangover relief kit, that will be a good, practical gift, but it's also a small thing that will make your guests laugh and remember the event.

Is there a move toward giving eco-friendly favors to guests?
In this era of being "green," couples really want to give things that people can actually use, not just Jordan almonds. We're doing a lot of garden-in-a-bag kind of favors, like a flower-seed ball kit that you can plant in fettle soil. We put them in muslin bags that are printed with planting directions. Couples also want to give personal things. I had one bride who loved graham crackers with a printed monogram. We try to tie the gift back to the bride and groom.

What's a reasonable price to pay for favors?
Five dollars can get you a really nice little treat. Also consider having a favor "double up," meaning let it perform more than one task. So, make a favor the escort or place card, for example. You're killing two birds with one stone, and you're getting more for your money that way. 

Can you recommend any unexpected gifts for wedding guests?
I'm seeing couples give their guests a gift at an unexpected time, like when the guests get their car back from the valet, or when they return to their hotel room after the reception. Or, if your guests are taking a bus or trolley to and from the ceremony or reception site, leave something for each guest on their seats. You can also provide a location-themed gift, like a "city walker's kit," which will have sun block and foot lotion. It's great for visitors who are walking around Washington all day.

What did you give as favors at your wedding?
We did bud vases with a beautiful flower, but now I wish I could do the seed ball in the muslin bag. I like the sentiment of growing and starting new life.

Subscribe to Washingtonian
Follow Washingtonian on Twitter

More>> Bridal Party Blog | Wedding Guide | Wedding Vendor Search