evergreen eco-friendly tea bag wedding favor

22 Eco-Friendly Wedding Favors Guests Will Flip For

Feb 13, 2023
By Wedding Spot

The average wedding in the United States produces sixty-three tons of CO2 and up to 400 pounds of garbage. No matter how you slice it, that’s a lot of waste for a single wedding! To reduce the negative environmental impact of your marital celebration and promote future sustainability efforts, choose eco-friendly wedding favors your guests can use over and over again.

With eco-friendly wedding favors, couples can help protect the planet while showering cherished friends and family members with appreciation. From reusable gear to organic edible arrangements, we review a wide variety of eco-friendly wedding favors that will impress and excite your guests. Keep reading to learn more about our favorite sustainable, environmentally-friendly wedding favors.

Explore eco-friendly wedding favors that your guests—and the planet—will appreciate

Eco-friendly wedding favors that promote sustainability

1. Reusable BPA-free water bottles

Each year, Americans are responsible for throwing away more than 35 billion empty water bottles, only 12% of which get recycled. To help reduce planetary waste and the overconsumption of harmful plastics, provide wedding guests with customized or personalized refillable water bottles. Look for BPA-free products made of sustainable materials, such as stainless steel, which is long-lasting and infinitely recyclable, or aluminum, which is also incredibly durable and recyclable.

2. Bamboo straws

Gift wedding guests with engraved bamboo straws to further reduce single-use plastic waste. Durable and eco-friendly, partygoers can take their reusable straws home and remember your big day each time they use them.

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3. Trendy totes

Give guests reusable tote bags as welcome gifts or take-home wedding favors. Sustainably sourced all-natural cotton tote bags are attractive and versatile. Fill custom wedding totes with snacks, folding fans, or other small gifts, and set them on a guest welcome table. Upon arrival, friends and family can grab a bag and use it to carry items they acquire during the event. Afterward, guests can use their totes for storage or carrying groceries.

4. Coconut cups

Coconut cups are fabulous favors for tropical and destination weddings, and they can be carved right from natural coconuts! Guests can drink fruity cocktails from them at the reception and keep them to display as an aesthetically pleasing keepsake. If you don’t have the time or resources to DIY coconut cups for everyone on your guest list, have no fear; personalized coconut cups are available from specialty shops, like these favors from Coconut Greetings.

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5. Woven fans

Help keep guests cool at summer weddings, outdoor events, and tropical destination celebrations by providing woven hand-fan favors at the beginning of the ceremony. Eco-friendly hand fans may be made with straw, seagrass, palm leaves, and other natural materials. Not only will hand fans help guests cool on warm wedding days, but they can add to the design of various wedding themes, including bohemian, rustic, farmhouse, and beach-themed unions. In addition, guests can take them home, using the fans on future lake trips, vacations, and summers to come.

6. Cork wedding coasters

If you’re searching for eco-friendly wedding favors to fit a boho-inspired or farmhouse-themed affair, consider swinging for custom cork coasters. A sustainable alternative to traditional coasters, natural cork is impenetrable to liquids. It also helps protect surfaces and absorbs moisture—making it useful for every guest. Select personalized pumpkin coasters for a budget-friendly fall wedding, or memorialize your wedding theme with custom coasters from artists or shops on Etsy. Nostalgic couples will adore these typewriter-themed pieces from BestDayEverSpot.

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Eco-friendly wedding favors for plant lovers

7. Personalized seed packets

Give guests the gift of gardening by providing customized seed packets as wedding favors. Include seeds for pollinator-friendly flowers or fresh herbs that are easy to grow (and hard to kill). Be mindful of providing mixed wildflower packets, as some of the species included may be invasive in your region. If you’re not sure which seeds to include in your personalized parcels, consider choosing one of the following stunning species:

• Baby’s breath is a classic wedding flower that’s easy to grow.
• Freesias produce colorful blooms with a peppery, sweet fragrance.
• Sunflowers boast beautiful stunning flowers that follow the sun across the sky.
• Choose penstemon wedding bells for a thematic gift that blooms year after year.

Download and print your own design on sustainably sourced seed packets, or order custom eco-friendly seed packets from an environmentally friendly online retailer.

8. Plantable place cards 

Using organic seed paper, you can create wedding place cards that “go green” in more ways than one. These eco-friendly wedding favors look lovely on reception tables and produce attractive flowers after planting. On one side of the place card, include the guest’s name and wedding date. On the other, write care instructions for the plants that will spring from the enclosed seeds, such as watering, lighting, and plant spacing information. After the wedding, guests can place their favors directly into the soil, with the sprouting plants will serve as a charming reminder of the celebration.

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9. Potted succulents

Potted succulents and cacti make superb one-of-a-kind living wedding favors that don’t require much maintenance. Affordable and easy to maintain, succulent favors also come in an assortment of colors, sizes, and shapes. Some have trailing tendrils, while others bloom. Place the tiny plants in miniature terracotta pots, wooden boxes, or other eco-friendly planters before personalizing each gift with a guest’s name and the wedding date.

10. Grow-your-own herb kit

Grow-your-own herb kits are fantastic favors for foodies and plant lovers alike. Couples on a budget can make the favors themselves or order them in bulk. Pack small, biodegradable boxes with seeds, planting instructions, and potting material. Print custom decorative stickers that commemorate the occasion and place one on each box. To create a more eye-catching version of these favors, display young herbs in biodegradable planter pots that are ready to go in the ground.

Sustainable wedding favors for food fanatics

11. Organic tea set

Thank friends and family for celebrating with you by offering tea sets as wedding favors. Organic tea sets are perfect for rustic weddings, farmhouse-inspired events, and anyone who loves the cottage aesthetic. Tea sets could hold a tea strainer, soy candle, eco-friendly honey, and tea, or they may contain an assortment of organic loose-leaf teas. Impress wedding guests with whole-leaf teas boasting notes of apricot, fresh herbs, or unexpected floral flavors.

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12. Fair trade coffee

Support sustainable farms and labor practices with fair trade coffee wedding favors. Fair trade coffee is Fair Trade-certified, meaning that the supplier who produces the coffee has met a variety of rigorous labor and sustainability standards. Choose ethically sourced wedding favors that support farmers, workers, and more equitable labor practices, like Dean’s Beans, a company specializing in fair trade coffee and makes custom wedding favors. They provide adorably packed 4-ounce bags of organic, Kosher, and 100% fair trade coffee beans for events.

13. Spice blends

Individually package your favorite spice blends to create delicious, fragrant wedding favors. Pumpkin spice blends are perfect for autumn weddings, while guests at your summer wedding will surely love a smokey BBQ rub. Choose a spice mix that matches the season, or if you have a secret recipe, whip up the spice mix to share with guests—without sharing too much.

14. Homemade organic preserves

Show your appreciation to wedding guests with delicious and organic homemade jams, jellies, or marmalade. Whip up tasty preserves with fresh seasonal fruits to wow your wedding guests with simple yet divine condiments. Place the preserves in miniature mason or jelly jars. Create adorable gift tags to accompany them using recycled paper, seed paper, twine, or similar materials.

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Pamper wedding guests with environmentally-friendly favors

15. Soy wax candles

Soy wax is a low-cost green alternative to traditional paraffin candle waxes. In addition to being better for the environment, soy candles burn more slowly than their paraffin counterparts, lasting longer and requiring less frequent replacement. Moreover, the cleaner burn of soy wax candles leaves less messy soot to worry about getting on your hands, clothing, or furniture.

16. Sugar scrubs

Give wedding guests the gift of a fragrant, all-natural exfoliant: sugar scrub. Sugar scrubs are fantastic DIY wedding favors that cost little and can go a long way toward showing guests your appreciation. There are many different organic sugar scrub recipes that incorporate a wide range of ingredients, such as brown sugar, honey, coconut oil, vanilla, lavender, and essential oils. Choose a colored sugar scrub that matches the wedding’s color scheme, or place a brown sugar-based scrub in small baking containers for a baking-themed gift.

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17. Handmade soaps

Gift guests handmade or locally-created botanical soaps. Support a local business with a strong focus on sustainability, or save a few bucks by making your own. Add oatmeal, lavender, essential oils, coconut, and other organic ingredients to give these eco-friendly wedding favors a fresh fragrance and homeopathic properties.

18. Shampoo bars

Each year, more than 550 million shampoo bottles get thrown away and added to landfills in the US alone. Of this total (which doesn’t include body wash, conditioner, or other personal care products), only a minuscule fraction of bottles end up at recycling centers for repurposing. Do your part to reduce shampoo bottle waste by gifting wedding guests all-natural zero-waste shampoo bars.

19. Eco-friendly lip balm

No matter the season, sustainably made lip balm is one of our favorite eco-friendly wedding favor ideas. Look for balms encased in paperboard push-up containers or small reusable tins made with coconut, beeswax, jojoba oil, or other reef-safe and paraben-free organic ingredients. Create custom labels with the guest’s name, the wedding date, or the couple’s initials to further personalize your organic lip balm wedding favors.

Planet-friendly eco-friendly wedding favors

20. Bird-feeder ornaments

Easy to make, affordable, and eco-friendly, hanging birdseed tree ornaments are adorable wedding favors that anyone can make using a few simple ingredients. To make the ornament base, mix wild birdseed with egg whites until fully coated and the seeds begin to stick together. Next, spoon the mixture into heart-shaped cookie cutters. Place a straw in the middle to create a hole, which you will later thread twine or a ribbon through for hanging.

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As the mix dries, the yolk functions as a binding agent, resulting in a solid heart shape wedding guests can hang in their garden or on their porch to attract wild birds. Add a recycled personalized paper gift tag with the couple’s initials and wedding date.

21. An acre of the rainforest

Instead of gifting wedding guests trinkets they don’t want or knickknacks they don’t need, donate the wedding favor money you set aside to a noble cause, like saving the rainforest. Donate in each guest’s name to a reputable rainforest conservation group, such as the World Land Trust or Rainforest Protection Trust. These organizations, and similar nonprofit conservation groups, allow donors to “buy an acre” of the rainforest to protect for a preset amount of money. Provide each guest with a personalized donation certificate outlining how their contribution will aid rainforest protection efforts and details where their acre is located.  

22. Evergreen saplings

Live evergreen seedlings are profoundly thoughtful eco-friendly wedding favors. They make thoughtful gifts for guests at winter wedding celebrations and Christmas-themed ceremonies. Easy to put together, individual seedlings can be placed in planting material, wrapped in a small burlap bag, and tied with twine or ribbon. Meaningful and sustainable gifts, guests will love watching their wedding favors grow, a vibrant reminder of your special day.

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Frequently asked questions about eco-friendly wedding favors

1. How can you sustainably wrap wedding favors?

Don’t give friends and family eco-friendly gifts wrapped in wasteful or non-recyclable materials. Instead, use sustainable gift-wrapping alternatives, such as newspaper, glass, fabric, or biodegradable paper.

2. Do you have to give wedding favors?

Couples hosting a zero-waste event, or trying to plan the most eco-friendly wedding possible, can forgo guest favors altogether. Instead, donate to an environmentally focused organization or nonprofit charity.

3. How much do couples care about sustainability?

Sustainable Wedding Alliance surveyed engaged couples to identify where sustainability ranks in terms of its importance in the wedding planning process. 89% of surveyed couples said they had become more environmentally conscious in the last year, with 98% of all respondents stating that sustainability factored into their wedding planning experience. Furthermore, 78% of responding engaged couples considered sustainability an “important or very important” part of the process.

Promote sustainability with eco-friendly wedding favors!

Now that we have wedding favors all figured out, let’s explore some other sustainable wedding ideas, tips, and tricks. Up next, we review eleven simple options to help couples plan an eco-friendly wedding.

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Wedding Spot

The Wedding Spot blog is designed to help couples navigate every step of the wedding planning journey. From before the engagement to after you say “I do,” our goal is to give you the tips, ideas, and inspiration to prepare for your big day — and all that comes with it.