We were clearing out a client’s china cabinet the other day in preparation for her putting her house on the market. We were making the usual divisions – what was getting moved, and what was getting purged, either through sale donation or recycling. Once we’d gone through the good dishes, crystal, serving pieces, candles and linens, we were left with a few oddball items that included two demitasse cups filled with aged candy, topped off with cellophane and embossed with the names of the brides and grooms. The client simply threw up her hands and asked what she was going to do with them. It was unanimous. They were not going with her to the next house.
Thanks to the growing legions of event planners and the industriousness of bridesmaids, no one need fear leaving a wedding empty handed. It is the very least the happy couple can do to show their gratitude. After you have spent a king’s ransom on your outfit, the plane tickets, the hotels and the present, you have the right to expect a token of remembrance to take home after the nuptials and festivities. A wedding meal is not like eating in a restaurant. You cannot request a doggy bag from your waiter for whatever you were unable to consume on your plate.
And so you go home with your little memento whether it is a deck of heart shaped playing cards, a matching set of bride and groom keyboard dusters, matrimonial martini mini olive candles, or a lovebird shaped ceramic dish filled with chocolate kisses and immediately forget about them. They get tucked away in desk drawers or released to remain unseen on top of the fridge. When one of these under-appreciated party favors makes an infrequent appearance, it provides you with pause for reflection. At some level, you’d just like to chuck out the C.R.U.D. that it is and be done with it. But your guild-ridden psyche reminds you some dedicated friend of the bride probably stayed up all night glue-gunning sprays of tiny lily-of-the-valley to that glass flower holder you about to toss. Alas, it stays.
Getting rid of party favors, especially the personalized kind, can be a thorny problem. If you don’t want it why would anybody else? Who is likely to buy, or even want, a book of matches commemorating Mitch and Teri’s vows from 1974? Who could possibly wish to drink his morning coffee out of a mug decorated with a photo of two strangers gazing into each other’s eyes by the names of Ted and Cynthia? You compound the difficulty by stressing over the disrespect you are showing to your family by parting so easily with the scented tea lights from your cousin’s wedding.
Thus, a little strategic thinking is required. Start by rounding up your collection. This may take some time, as wedding favors are likely to found anywhere you have been in the last twenty years. When you corral them, dump out all the candy and cookie crumbs. Do not consider eating any of it. Separate the favors from the couples that are still married from the ones that are divorced. You won’t have to feel disloyal by pitching wineglasses form the latter groups’ weddings. Donate as many as possible to anyone you know is having a garage sale in the foreseeable future or to a thrift shop in your area that lacks a discerning clientele. You may still be stuck with a few favors with names on them. We leave those up to your discretion.
As far as the future goes, perhaps when you leave your next affair, consider conveniently leaving your little trinket behind. If the party favor is of the edible variety, by all means, do indulge.