Saving Money

How To Save on Wedding Favors By Making Your Own

Weddings can get expensive, so every dime saved counts

By MELANIE EVANS | Updated October 8, 2023

Weddings are often very expensive affairs. Therefore, many couples look for ways to cut costs without ruining their big day. It is customary to give small wedding favors to all your guests, as a memento of the special day. However, store bought favors can be extremely expensive, especially if you have a large guest list.

One way to ease the financial burden is to make your own wedding favors instead, a way to score cheap wedding favors that will still be attractive and impressive enough that your guests will want to take them home.

You do not even need to be able to channel Martha Stewart, or have any great crafting skills to create gorgeous and original cheap wedding favors. All you actually need is to make a trip to your local craft store (or better still, the local dollar store or pound shop) , be willing to spend a few patient hours putting your DIY wedding favors together and a little imagination. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

Shot Glass Wedding Favors

Plain shot glasses are inexpensive to buy, and can be found in most home goods

stores. In addition, larger craft stores often offer them for sale in bulk for very reasonable prices, and usually have a wider variety of colors. You will also need

some kind of tulle, thin ribbon, scissors and something to fill the shot glasses with

(small candies and mints work very well.)

To begin, cut an 8-inch tulle circle, one for each shot glass favor. You can buy precut tulle circles, but they are far more expensive than a simple yard or two to cut yourself.

Make a cardboard template that can be used over and over again, and make sure the scissors you use are sharp. You can add an extra special touch by using decorative “pinking” shears that add a crinkly edge to the cut tulle, which also helps prevent fraying.

Next, cut an 8 to 12 inch section of ribbon, depending on how large a bow you want

for your favors. The longer the ribbon section the larger the bow. Measure how much filling will fit into the shot glass. If candy does not appeal to you, or you want to make a more lasting memento you could also use colored beads or small decorative pebbles to fill your glasses.

Put the filling in the center of your tulle circle and gather it all together. Tie with

ribbon to form a pretty “packet”. Remember, the packet has to be small enough to

rest inside the shot glass, so do not overfill. Place the packet into the shot glass, with the ends of tulle sticking out from the top.

Votive Candle Wedding Favors

Votive candle wedding favors can be even cheaper to make than shot glass favors, but every bit as impressive and effective with a bit of hard work. They make an excellent blank "canvas" and the fact that votives can be purchased in many different sizes and colors means that they can be easily matched to your wedding colors. Scented candles are certainly an option as well, however they should not be placed too close to food on the tables (lavender flavored beef may not be to your guests' tastes!)

Pal colored candles can be the easiest to decorate. You could choose to add decals or tattoos or even consider buying plain transfer paper at an office supply store and designing a more personalized, easily printable image or message to add to each candle favor.

Alternatively, another excellent, but occasionally fiddly, way to decorate your wedding favor candles is to embellish them with colored pins, sequins or even tiny buttons. These too are easy to find in craft stores and are easily applied with just a little bit of glue. 

DIY Beach Wedding Decorations

Beach weddings are becoming more and more popular every year. Some are destination weddings, held on exotic and faraway beaches, and some are almost backyard affairs, held on whatever pretty stretch of sand is close by.

Decorating for a beach wedding takes some thought, as this is obviously a venue that is very different to the average church hall! It would be possible to spend hundreds, if not even thousands, on premade decorations and favors, but a beach wedding is actually perfect for DIY wedding decor, something that cannot only save you a great deal of money but can also ensure that your beach nuptials are completely unique, even if dozens  of couples get married in the same spot every year.

Here are just a few ideas for simple - and inexpensive - ways that you can put your DIY skills, as well as some simple supplies from home, garden and craft stores, to good use to create some truly impressive DIY beach wedding decor.

The DIY Altar

An altar is not really a must for a seaside wedding ceremony as you do have the dramatic backdrop of the sea on the horizon to create a stunning tableau all by itself.

If you do prefer to add the air of formality an altar can lend though a beach worthy one is not hard to create.

If you head to your local home store you will find that they usually offer bundles of bamboo poles for less than $40 for over a dozen or more good-sized ones. Using some twine you can actually rig up a simple altar on the sand very quickly and the effect is one that is pure, graceful simplicity that will not detract from the beauty of the landscape all around it. Adding on streamers of tulle and flowers can heighten the effect of the look even further.

You can also use the bamboo to create a formal aisle in the sand and the addition of a few simple tiki torches, either lit or topped off with a container of potted blooms instead will complete the look.

DIY Beach Wedding Favors

Beach wedding favors can be hard to pull off as many things are out of bounds if they are going to be left sitting out in the sun for hours. One of our favorite DIY ideas is jars of 'sea glass candy', a sweet little treat that guests will love that will fit the simplicity of a beach wedding perfectly. Here is how sea glass candy wedding favors can be made:

What You Will Need

For the Candy:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 – 1 tsp. flavoring oil - this is available in the bakery aisle and comes in many different flavors but watermelon, orange or lemon would be great refreshing choices for a sunny day on the beach.
  • Food coloring - optional, but a nice way to match the favors to your theme.

For Presentation

All of this is easily available at any good craft store:

  • Favor Tins or jars
  • Decorative seashells
  • Ribbon/ Printed labels.
  • Permanent laundry marker
  • Glue gun and glue sticks.

How to Make:

Grease a cookie sheet with butter. Fold together the granulated sugar, corn syrup and water in a saucepan. Simmer over a medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Without any more stirring boil the mixture for about 20 to 30 minutes. you can test to see if the mixture is ready by dropping a small amount of ice water onto it. If it breaks instantly into strands then it is done. Remove from the heat.  

At this point add your flavoring oil and food color. Blend with a wooden (not a steel) spoon. Pour the mixture onto the cookie sheet and allow to harden and cool.

Next, lay parchment paper over the cooled candy. Tap gently with a hammer or mallet to shatter the candy into small (but not minute) pieces.

Fill each favor tin with candy. Use the seashells and the glue gun to decorate the tins as you see fit and then after replacing the lids cut a length of ribbon and write, using the laundry marker, a personal message on each. Alternately you can affix a preprinted greeting to the lids (or even do both).


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