You Can Take it With You: Favors

Some hosts offer their guests a small gift – a reminder of the occasion and an expression of thanks for their presence.*

Bentschers as Favors
At many Jewish weddings and some bar and bat mitzvah celebrations, guests are given printed bentschers/prayer and song booklets as a party favor.

See Paper and Printing for more on environmentally responsible paper and printing.

Considering how wired your fabulous guests may be, you might also consider creating an online bentscher and song booklet that may even be customized with photos of you and your beloved. If you have a wedding website, this could be a nice addition to it. Be sure to let your guests know how to access the “favor.” If you’re using placecards or tablecards, you could include the web address right there.

as Favors
An excellent way to honor your guests and to incorporate tzedakah into your simchah is to make a donation on their behalf. Use table tents to inform your guests that a gift was made in their name and relay some information about the organization’s mission. Consider donations to causes your guests support and stand behind so it’s most meaningful to them.

Be really creative! One eco-savvy Bay Area couple estimated the carbon dioxide that would be created by guests traveling to their wedding and then planted 10 trees in Israel that, over their lifetime, would offset that amount of CO2.
Fair Trade Certified™ Chocolate as Favors
If you’d like to give sweets as a party favor, consider Fair Trade Certified™ chocolate. Purchasing fairly-traded chocolate supports cocoa farmers’ cooperatives and takes a stand against the poverty wages and forced child labor that have been documented on some West African cocoa farms.
Two companies offering 100% Fair Trade chocolate:
Favors That Bloom
Packets of California native plant seeds make wonderful favors that guests can sow on their own for environment-loving plants that often will return year after year. Seeds purchased from the LA-based Theodore Payne Foundation,, help support their efforts to promote and restore California landscapes and habitats. It just doesn’t get any greener than that!

Centerpieces as Favors
By simply using the favors as the decorative centerpiece, you don’t have to use more flowers or purchase other decorative items. And hopefully the favors will be useful and re-useable. If the centerpiece is elaborate and there is only one per table, think of a creative way to randomly “award” it to one guest at each table.

For Teens: Sustainable T-Shirts as Favors
Some bar and bat mitzvah celebrations, in particular, end with each guest being given a personalized T-shirt or sweatshirt. The growing of conventional cotton is particularly chemically intensive, and sweatshop conditions are a serious concern in the apparel industry. If you do decide to print clothing as favors, consider organically-grown cotton shirts produced under fair labor conditions. Look for green & just vendors:

Thank You Gifts for Your Wedding Party

Your wedding party has been there for you to ensure you both look and feel your absolute best on your special day. Create gift baskets of eco-friendly beauty and grooming products.  Who says one can’t be beautiful and green? Check out and for various gift ideas.

* But then again ...
“We chose not to give out favors or anything else. We felt that people would treasure our wedding as much without a knickknack to take home with them, and that it would reduce our consumption to skip that step. No one has ever mentioned it to us. We don’t think anyone was thinking, ‘That was a great wedding, but you know what it was missing? A party favor!’”
—Jacob & Suzanne Feinspan, Silver Spring

"When we got married we decided that, instead of spending $3 a person on a party favor that would likely get thrown away, we would make a $3 donation in honor of each of our guests. As center pieces on each table were descriptions of three organizations that we already support - two local, one international. Each guest was invited, at the end of the meal, to bring their place card and place it in a basket to let us know which organization they would like their donation to go to. In this way, we were able to continue supporting organizations we were already engaged in but also to engage our guests in learning about these organizations and also honoring the intersection between our passions and theirs. We continue to give to these organizations and each year when we write our planned giving checks, it always reminds us of our wedding and the friends and family who were there with us." - Jenni Mangel and Robert Ratner, El Cerrito
“In lieu of favors, we made a donation to Equality California, in the hopes that all people (in California and the country) can soon be married, regardless of sexual identity.” – Karen Lichtenberg Scher, San Francisco

Have suggestions? Real-life stories using these or other ideas? Please share them with us for future versions of the Guide!