Over the past several years, destination weddings have become increasingly popular for various reasons. Not only can you celebrate your wedding with family and close friends, but you can party for a few days with them, and spend your honeymoon in the same romantic place. Destination weddings also cut down on the traditional wedding costs in some instances, because you will still be able to invite those 250+ guests, but only a small percentage of those invited will actually be able to attend. Destination weddings also allow the bride and groom to choose the perfect setting for their event, whether it be a romantic seaside getaway, a cruise destination, or a fun filled Las Vegas trip, destination weddings are exciting for all who attend!
I have some personal experience in planning a destination wedding, as my wedding day was celebrated on a cruise ship headed for Mexico in 2003. We invited quite a large number of guests, more than we would have been able to if we had a traditional wedding, but only 40 guests were able to attend – which allowed us for a more intimate gathering. Having a destination wedding also allowed us to spend more time with each guest – something we could not have done if we had a wedding close to home. Everyone left with a long lasting memory of our event, and to this day our guests still talk about our wedding cruise!
When I was planning our wedding cruise in 2003, the wedding favor market had much to be desired. There was nothing that fit our day! Although this made it a bit difficult to plan, with a little imagination, I put together a wedding favor bag of goodies for our guests to take home. Thankfully, because of such an increase in destination weddings, wedding favor specialists have increased their lines of wedding favors, and there is now a large selection of destination themed favors available to suit every bride’s taste and theme.
When planning a destination wedding, here are some”don’ts” when selecting your destination wedding favors:
- Candles, chocolates, and candy can melt. It does not matter if you are not traveling to a warm climate, if you plan on taking your favors on a plane, the cargo holding areas can be quite hot. You should eliminate these favor ideas from your list.
- Glass can break and anything you feel has the potential to be break – cross that off your list as well.
- Item weight. Let’s face it – you will be traveling not only with all your normal vacation items, but also with all your bridal items as well. Carrying another 30 plus pounds is not something you, your groom, or your attendants want to do.
- Don’t plan on having your favors shipped internationally. Not only is international shipping expensive, your favors could potentially get lost in customs, broken during handling, or heavily taxed by the government.
Here are some “do’s” to think about when planning your destination wedding favors:
- Think lightweight. If you plan on traveling with your favors, try to select something lightweight and small. Remember your guests have to pack these to take home too!
- If you can’t think of anything that will go with your destination theme, select something useful or practical – which has a special meaning to both of you.
- If you rather not take favors with you, you can send your favors direct to your guests homes with their thank you notes. A bit more expensive, but your guests will be quite surprised when they find a little thank you token with your note.
Now for some wonderful destination wedding favor ideas!
- Luggage tags: They’re perfect for destination weddings, as most destination weddings require the guests to travel to a certain location. They more than likely will be used again – as many people simply use disposable tags or the tags that come pre-attached to luggage. With heart shape designs, to planes and cruise ships, luggage tags are perfect!
- Bookmarks: one of the most popular pastimes for vacationers is reading a good book. Give them something they can use both home and away – a bookmark! With numerous shapes on the market you’re sure to find a bookmark that will match your event. Bookmarks are also lightweight, and travel well.
- For a more formal destination reception, place card holders also make a good choice. Usually lightweight and small, place card holders can double to hold seating assignments and then later on to hold photos, notes and recipe cards. Stay away from place card frames though, unless the front is made of pvc plastic. You do not want glass frames to break in transit.
- Wine charms or bottle stoppers. With an average weight of 1/4 pound or less and available in many styles – these make a lightweight, good choice if your having a small affair.
- Cocktail Mix Favors: when you think of laying on a warm sandy beach, many people also think of a nice tropical drink in hand. Give your guests a taste of the tropics with a cocktail mix favor in which they can relax and enjoy at home. Totally customizable these are lightweight, unbreakable and inexpensive!
- Travel related items: such as mini alarm clocks, manicure kits, mini travel soaps, or sewing kits.
- Think outside the box: shop party stores as well, for unique party favor items. For a beach theme wedding you can give a tropical luau bag filled with leis, sunglasses,beach hats, inflatable beach balls, etc… Think back to when you were a child and received goodie bags at birthday parties. Perhaps a bit silly, but I guarantee everyone will be sporting those beach hats and carrying those bags around your destination resort.
- Wedding Tees: A screen-printing shop can create a custom tee shirt design just for you! Reasonably priced when you are having a smaller affair, everyone will use your tee shirts, time and time again, even if it is “just around the house”. People love shirts!
- Gift bags / Gift Baskets: when your guests arrive to their destination, a lovely (but sometimes expensive) option is having a small gift basket in their hotel room. Soaps, sewing kit, manicure kit, mini clock, bookmarks, a small bottle of champagne or wine, non-perishable food items (cookies, crackers, snacks, mints), etc…will be a generous gesture.
For our own wedding, we used a combination of the ideas above. I purchased from a discount party company tropical beach theme bags and stuffed them with a personalized tee shirt, cocktail mixes, wine stoppers, candy, a personalized cd I made with all the wedding songs we had at our reception, and some fun goodies such as leis, glow sticks, Hawaiian shirt key chains. Everyone carried around the tote bags with them during our cruise when they walked to the beach or pool, and everyone loved their little goodie bags! With so many options out there, there is something to please everyone and fit every budget. Keep our handy tips in mind when you are browsing for your destination wedding favors.