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Favor Ideas for a Geeky Wedding? 173

Rachel Grey asks: "I'm getting married in September to a fellow geek (in the MIT chapel, no less), and we're trying to find geeky wedding favors to give at the reception. Ideally these would cost $4 or less and would provide some instant fun for the guests, so that it doesn't matter if they actually take them home. Some good ideas we've had so far are tangrams (available in bulk for a little under $1/set) and micro Hoberman spheres ($4 apiece). Any more ideas?"
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Favor Ideas for a Geeky Wedding?

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  • How geeky? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lowtekneq ( 469145 ) <> on Thursday January 23, 2003 @12:51AM (#5141352) Homepage
    Why not do something in the spirit of OS, such as having one big "thing" and everyone having a "piece" this would involve everyone and could be fun. I'm sure that someone out there has an idea on what this "thing could be"

    So how geeky is this going to be? Did you propose on slashdot? Is the wedding going to be webcast?
  • by trentfoley ( 226635 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @12:53AM (#5141364) Homepage Journal
    Try a six-pack of champagne and a funnel.

    I've been watching too much Futurama lately...

  • by kommakazi ( 610098 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:04AM (#5141413)
    Mini 2x2x2 versions are $5 or mini original 3x3x3 keychain versions are also $5...little more than you said it should cost but they would be entertaining for sure.
    • by bje2 ( 533276 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @11:37AM (#5143199)
      nah, the little key chain ones aren't that expensive...i've seen the 3x3x3 key chain rubik's cubes sold in dollar stores...they'd be fun...until everyone gets frustrated and starts hurling them across the room...
    • I'd bet you could get these customized as well, with something like this:

      | A | B | C | Initials
      | D | E | F | Initials 2
      | D | M | Y | Date/Month/Year

      done on a side in the appropriate color (white, or whatever). Of course, this could put the price out of the $4.00 range.

      If you really want to be devious, you can scramble them all before the wedding and see who (if anyone) can solve their cube before the end of the reception. Or something.

  • by friedegg ( 96310 ) <bryan.wrestlingdb@com> on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:09AM (#5141437) Homepage
    Just buy a bunch of lego type building blocks in bulk (real ones will cost more), and dump piles on each table. People can build things, and trade pieces, etc. Lots of fun.
  • The only wedding favor I still have is a yoyo. Much fun was had by all...
  • Silly Putty (Score:3, Interesting)

    by McDulay ( 601420 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:16AM (#5141479)

    How about different colors of silly putty? You can buy bulk quantities of putty from Crazy Aaron's Puttyworld, []. You could then give everyone a portion, and they could play with color mixing and other fun uses for putty.

    • > they could play with color mixing and other fun uses for putty.

      Dunno about you, but all I use it for is sshing into my home machine when I'm stuck on a 'doze box.
    • I acutally used this at my wedding last October. Purple was the color (lilac?), divided 2 pounds between 50 people and put it in a plastic hear case.

      Some people went "What is this?" others went "This is cool!"
  • while they are a bit more expensive, you could get those little handheld remote control cars, maybe putting one per table or some. They are so simple, yet so cool.
  • Nintendo Watches are cheap, nerdy, and the coolest!
    • The only Nintendo watch I've ever seen is the Starfox one and the shop wanted A$90 for it. To what are you referring?
      • Around the time nintendo came out with the gameboy they also came out with a zelda and mario watch. You konw those hand held games (the really old cheap ones) that tiger used to make were it was more like a grey and black screen with ~30 randomly placed leds that were each the shape of an object in the game and it played by the different LEDs lighting up? They were like that, but watch form.
  • I got my roommate a Flint sparker lighter thing at Home Depot for $3.50 or so. It's fun to play with, although I'm not sure if the sparks are dangerous. basically you squeeze a handle and it rubs flint against a piece of metal.
    • Well, seeing how they're intended to light torches and such...yes, I'd say the sparks are dangerous. They could conceivable catch the paper on the table on fire or something like that...

  • the wedding pics (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zogger ( 617870 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @04:22AM (#5141647) Homepage Journal
    --burn the wedding pics and small vid clips right there at the wedding / reception and give out copies on cds. You can get the blank labels printed up now in advance so they are semi pro looking.
    • Depending on the time available in advance, you could consider rolling your own distro that would allow the pictures & vids to be added then burned.

      Ideally guests would leave with a bootable distro on CD where the backgrounds and screensavers would be from the wedding itself. The one drawback is the potential that some guests have Macs.

      Friends of mine filled the wedding hall with all sorts of family photos and photos of the time since they got together, but of course the guests couldn't take these home with them. With advance planning these could be scanned and added to the Distro/picture CD.

      • I'd advise against having a bootable distro. While it seems like a good idea now, in a few years the distro will be dated may not be able to support the latest hardware. (Of course, that assumes the CD-Rs actually last that long:) And who will do the troubleshooting if if fails to boot properly on Uncle Fred's PC?

        Also, people will have their own software for viewing pictures and movies. Why force a slideshow on someone who'd rather view the pics in Photoshop, MS Photo Editor or Gimp?
        • You wouldn't have to boot off the CD, would you?

          All you'd need to do is mount the /photos directory (for example), or open it in Explorer, and there are the photos right there.
    • Re:the wedding pics (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Van Halen ( 31671 )
      That's a pretty cool idea. The only real problem is getting someone to assemble the pictures, encode any video clips, and burn the CDs while people are still there. If you just dumped the files onto the CDs with no navigation help, the non-geek guests may not know what to do with them. It would certainly help if there's a delay between the ceremony and reception. Otherwise, you need someone who isn't going to mind not being a part of the festivities while attending to this. And if the wedding is fairly large, burn time could become a factor.

      We thought about this for our wedding, but ultimately decided it was too much hassle. Besides, the Mac was busy playing our hand-picked playlist of ceremony and reception music. ;-) Our favors were just nice little bags of blue and white M&Ms (our wedding colors) that everyone enjoyed. Some of the other suggestions here might have been pretty cool, but that's ok.

      Instead, we made up CDs and sent them out with the thankyou notes. That gave us time to put some polish on the CD, making them friendly to our non-geek guests too. Because music is my hobby, I wrote and recorded 5 songs that were used in the ceremony. So we actually made enhanced audio CDs, containing those 5 songs plus a data track with all of the pictures, MP3s of the reception playlist, and a 5-minute video sample from the DVD (still working on completing that). For navigation, we used a mini version of our website [] pointing to all the files on the CD. The CD was then setup to auto-start the web browser in either Mac or Windows, and we even included QuickTime installers for anyone who might not have it.

      We've gotten a lot of compliments, especially from the non-geek guests, so I'm glad we didn't rush something less polished to hand out at the reception.

  • and had my father's memorial service there... Its a beutiful place, and I hope you have the wedding during good daylight so the light comes in through the moat nicely, its very pretty. Goodluck
  • How about the Matchbox version of Lockheed-Martin's X-33 "Venture Star"? Unfortunately they don't do much other aerospace (if any).
  • Etch A Sketch pens are $6.50: - Novelty Pens - Toys.

    (Maybe you can get a bulk discount?)

  • Multi-meters? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by human bean ( 222811 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @04:56AM (#5141723)
    If you look around in wholesale surplus places you can often find the little calculator-style multi-meter in black plastic folding case for less than five bucks. Have a printing shop foil stamp the plastic cover. Duct tape is good, too...
    • by anticypher ( 48312 ) <> on Thursday January 23, 2003 @04:10PM (#5145373) Homepage

      I'm sorry dear, I didn't realise what my geek friends would do with that much duct tape. We can try apologising to your brides maids again, can't we? I know those photos didn't make it too far on the internet, the link just got posted to a little visited site called slashdot. I'm sure those photos will never again surface to embarass your best friend. But you have to admit, they were right about being able to duct tape your father to the ceiling and the sticky would hold him in place. Honey, please tell me you are going to use that carving knife to cut me loose from all this duct tape, right? Please!

      Some day we'll all look back on this wedding, laugh nervously and change the subject.

      the AC
  • by megabulk3000 ( 305530 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @05:13AM (#5141750) Homepage
    A good browse on American Science and Surplus [] should find you geeky and weird things for low-cost.
  • by nano2nd ( 205661 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @06:12AM (#5141890) Homepage
    Does anyone else find it kind of telling that an article on X-Box posted at 02:47 has 106 replies whereas one about weddings posted three hours earlier only has 22?????

    We geeks need to do more procreating or we'll just die out!!!
  • Dim the room... LIGHTS!

  • Rock! (Score:2, Interesting)

    When my friends go married a couple of years ago they had sticks of rock with their names written in it, just like "Blackpool Rock".
  • Kinder Eggs (Score:3, Informative)

    by mikemacd ( 84328 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @08:00AM (#5142174) Homepage
    How about the Kinder eggs. You know the chocolate egg with a small capsule inside with a toy you can build. [] Guaranteed to keep people entertained for moments.
  • Make a CD of the wedding music, or your favorite songs, or make a theme. If you have a decent color ink-jet printer you can print cd labels and case inserts pretty cheap. Total per cd will be about $2.

    Or if you want to be legal, you could burn and give out your favorite Linux distribution, or that GNUWin2 cd.
  • Mini Tetris (Score:3, Informative)

    by John Harrison ( 223649 ) <johnharrison@gmail.cTOKYOom minus city> on Thursday January 23, 2003 @09:14AM (#5142381) Homepage Journal
    I purchased a bunch of keychain Tetris games a few years ago in Portugal. They were about $3 each. I think that Bandai makes one but it might be more expensive. Less portable but also cheap are the "talking brick game" things that are slightly larger than the original gameboy. If you are lucky you will find one that speaks Spanish. I bought those in Brazil (yes I know they don't speak Spanish in Brazil) for a few bucks each. You should be able to find some Hong Kong or Taiwan based exporter on the web where you can get stuff.

    Another option is the Rubik's cube. You can buy a mini cube or a 2x2x2 cube for pretty cheap at Just remember to make a small initial purchase to get 10% off all subsequent purchases.

    Congratulations and good luck!

  • Modify one of those air powered ping pong ball shooters to fire packets of rice. That way, geeks with bad arms and those who throw like girls (including girls), could get a better shot at you as you are leaving...

  • A buddy of mine gave out screwdrivers (as in hand tools, not mixed drinks), but he's a mechanical engineering geek, so that sort of thing might not be totally to your taste.
  • Mousepads. Either get someone to put some text on it, or do it yourself. You could even have some nice, non-wedding clothes pictures done up before hand and out those on them.

  • They're a blast!! You can get them here [] (click on Miscellaneous Stuff), here [], here [], or any of these places []. Adults and kids love them!

  • by R2.0 ( 532027 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @10:06AM (#5142667)
    I would humbly suggest that, unless your families are geeks as well, you take it easy on the geek themed stuff. Hell, my family IS geek heavy (3 civil engineers, 2 electrical, 2 mechanical, 1 ceramic, 3 nurses, 2 physical therapists, geologist, and environmental science) and we gave traditional favors - Italian, to be exact.

    Remember that favors are NOT gifts from the couple to the guests. They are tokens and remembrances. They should trigger fond memories when viewed in the future, not provide a distraction for the attention span challenged during the toast.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      You gave away Italians?

      Where can I get free Italians for my wedding?

    • (This is the original poster, I created an account) Yeah, I'm a little worried about the nongeeks, but I keep reading all these articles about how nobody really likes favors and they don't all get taken home. Anyway, your point is taken. I have an idea for something that *might* appeal to all... but I want to post it on the top level...
  • Bookmarks. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FroMan ( 111520 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @10:31AM (#5142804) Homepage Journal
    My wife and I did bookmarks. Sure, its not terribley geeky, but perhaps you could do something in theme. We had a couple bible verses. You could try doing something similar, but use something like the GPL on it or something. :-)

    Another idea is to use a love letter or something you sent him/her on the book mark. In retrospect I could have used the first email I asked my wife out on a date with. It went something like this:

    int ask_for_date(char *me, char *you) {
    if (boyfriend(you) == true)
    return APOLOGY;

    if (!free_friday(you)) {
    rain_check(me, you);
    } else {
    return wanna_head_out(me, you);

    But if you have anything similar to that, like a love letter or something that you both share and put it onto/into a bookmark I think its pretty cool.

    (btw, that all compiled down into the wrong byte code when it ran, she did have a boyfriend, but I still got a rain check. :-)
    • Re:Bookmarks. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by booch ( 4157 )
      At my brother's wedding, they gave out heart-shaped cookie cutters with a recipe attached. Something like "love cookies", probably some poem too. I still have the cookie cutter, and use it whenever I'm trying to woo a woman. Anyway, the recipe is cool, because geeks like to make things and experiment. And the cookie cutter is useful, keepable, and brings back memories when they use it.
    • Which browser each of your guests used?
    • Interesting. A man that won't take no for an answer. :-)

      In other words, what's ask_for_date()'s return value if !free_friday()? Clearly you just didn't want to interpret the result...


    • Personally I recommend a bookmark with Psalm 137:9 on it.
      Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.
  • by badlemming ( 644091 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @11:23AM (#5143117)
    Thanks for the comments so far. :) I'll definitely be looking into silly putty, nose flutes, and the little Kinder toys in the chocolate eggs. Lights are a nice idea but won't be very fun because the whole thing is going to be in daylight... I shoulda said that. And things that are too puzzley, like the Rubic's cubes, might just scare off the nongeek family members. Darn nongeeks.

    Anyway, sometime yesterday we also got the idea of slinkies. They provide a nice range of nerdiness depending on the user... to some they're just something fun to flip from hand to hand, but you can get as deep into the physics of the things as you want. And if people get sozzled enough they can run slinky races down the stairs at the hotel.

    • > Lights are a nice idea but won't be very fun because the whole thing is going to be in daylight... I shoulda said that.

      Three words for you:

      "Dry Ice Fog."

      (Or even two words: "Smoke generator". :)

      Both go very well with laser pointers, day or night. (I suppose keeping the kids from aiming the laser pointers at nearby aircraft would be a problem, though. A smoke generator and a pile of laser pointers would be great at the reception, though.)

    • I'd recommend placing a disposable camera at each table, and having a basket or box for people to drop them in after the reception.

      Makes for some really nice memories (and some funny ones) because you'll get shots of more guests than just your photographer would take.

      One per table is about $7.00 plus another $7 or so to get it developed) is less than $4/guest.

      Plus, cameras interest and entertain both geeks and non-geeks alike!

  • by bje2 ( 533276 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @11:48AM (#5143256)
    wedding customized know, condom's where the package says "Dave & Rachels Wedding, January 24th, 2002", or whatever is applicable...

    Ideally these would cost $4 or less and would provide some instant fun for the guests, so that it doesn't matter if they actually take them home.

    i'm sure you could get these for under $4 a piece...and hey, the reception could definetly become "instant fun" if people start using them!
    • >wedding customized know, condom's where the package says
      >"Dave & Rachels Wedding, January 24th, 2002", or whatever is applicable...

      Better still, print that down the length of the condom. When it says "DaRWin2" it's time to remove it...


  • The local skating rink has these flashy LEDs mounted on rare earth magnets for $2.50 a pop - their use is to turn off the lights and let the rink be a sea of flashy thingies.

    The other good cheap but fun one would be to hand out kazoos and hope that a critical mass of people end up inspiring the crowd to play a piece together.
  • by checkyoulater ( 246565 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @11:56AM (#5143303) Journal
    How about saving money on geeky favours and buying the universal party favour: Alcohol. Lots of alcohol. It wouldn't hurt to invite as many women as possible. This will only help the chances of the other geeks at the party. What do MIT geeks really want? Drunken women or geeky flashlight keychains?

  • I gave Swiss Army Knives to my grooms men. What geek doesn't need a good Swiss Army Knife.
  • The tardition at weddings (at least around my area...) is that the couple kisses everytime someone bangs their soon on their glass. Many recient wedding have required the guests to instead sing something, which is a lot more fun. (more so if they can't carry a tune. Anyone over 7 should be shot for attempting the Barney song though)

    In your wedding make them do something with the gift instead. Mess up all the rubiks cubes, and only kiss when shown a solved one for example. Warning, make sure half the cubes are something simple like the donut holes, people will be mad if it can't be done, but if there is something simple, and they can try a few neighbor's cubes until they remember the trick they will think it fun.

    • "The tardition at weddings (at least around my area...) is that the couple kisses everytime someone bangs their soon on their glass. Many recient wedding have required the guests to instead sing something, which is a lot more fun. (more so if they can't carry a tune. Anyone over 7 should be shot for attempting the Barney song though) "

      'Ware getting cute with this. My brother tried to modify this custom by proclaiming that instead of clinking glasses, a toast should be offered. Of course, he had a bunch of tables filled with college buddies, so it got kinda ugly. Toasts like "To Jennifer!" (NOT his wife's name), etc.
  • Legos (Score:3, Informative)

    by chrysrobyn ( 106763 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @12:43PM (#5143701)

    What we did was buy some $9 2000 piece lego crates and dump them on the tables. They were colorful enough for the non-geeks to appreciate, and kept the geeks/nerds and kids busy while those who were more "sophisticated" could talk. Our reception had the fewest kids crying at it that I've ever heard of for 100 people -- and people stayed later than average, too.

    If you're sponsoring an open bar, don't do the legos.

    Hopefully, Mike will forgive me. You can see a few pics of our reception here [].

  • You have to call this place!!! Tell them that you are putting together a geek wedding, they will be able to help out. They have TONS of stuff that would be awesome.

    Here's the link. []

    I'd also get some Futurama items too.


  • Why don't you burn linux distros for everyone? Maybe throw some FreeBSD in for flavor... CD-Rs are virtually disposable, so the only real cost would be the time spent burning them. Since your wedding is in September, wait until August so you can give all your non-geek (and geek) friends and relatives a nice shiny new version of your favorite distro.
  • and would be highly appreciated by most geeks.

    Maybe you can invite lots of desperate elementary education coeds and serve lots of alcohol!
  • Sorry, couldn't resist that.

    Seriously, though, I thought of those little XXX In a Box things that they sell at the checkout registers in bookstores. Like Zen Garden in a Box, and so on. I'm not sure if you could get them for your target price, but they would make cool favors. You could pick one that you like, or get a variety. They might be cheaper if you could get them in bulk.

    You could try these:

    Desk Toys []

    Mini Kits [] - this appears to be the original source for the kits.

    Congratulations and good luck with your wedding!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Do what my wife and I did: don't buy silly trinkets. Instead, we placed cards on each table stating that we'd spent the equivalent amount of money ($1000) on donations to two charities (The Canadian Cancer Society [] and the Huntington Society of Canada []).

    You could do the geeky thing and make a donation to the EFF [] or something.

  • but it sure is fun. Whoopee cushions. If you get them at you could even have your names and the wedding date put on them.

    Got to have the right kind of friends to appreciate them though.

  • Congrats, I just got married myself this past September. For my side of the wedding party (males) I got everyone a webcam. I thought it would be cool to let everyone keep in touch with each other, and the price was right: $C45.

  • Archie McPhee []. And if not, you'll have fun shopping.
  • chocolate (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    My husband and I gave out slightly geeky favors when we got married 13 years ago. A candy-making store searched their catalogs and found a floppy disk mold (5.25 inch, and thicker than the real thing) for us. We ordered floppy disks in dark chocolate with crispies, peanuts, and plain. The candy store shrink-wrapped each one. We created labels for 5.25" floppies on a dot matrix printer - with puns about combining our last names, and cute and humorous filenames on the 'disk'. The candy store attached the labels for us, and delivered the 'favor disks' to the reception place, which put them in the fridge for us.

    We handed these out 1.5 hours into the reception, and geek and non-geek friends made lots of puns about them, and had fun with the idea.

    We made enough extra to bring to workplaces for people whom we hadn't invited to the wedding.
  • by jonr ( 1130 )
    If you are getting married, you are no longer a geek. You just another square who goes with the flow...
    • Re:Bleah... (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Don't tell me. You're having a bit of trouble in the dating department, aren't you?
  • by A nonymous Coward ( 7548 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @06:31PM (#5146589)
    ... give one to every client ... customer ... entrant ... whatever! and tell them to pelt the bride when the minister says "You may now kiss the bride".

    I myself had one in my pocket and gave it to my bride. Definitely confused her.
  • At the reception, you can make your wife Open Source. (i.e. - free as in beer)

    Of course, if Richard Stallman is there, he'll want to call her GNU/wife...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    A wedding I went to a number of years ago had crossword puzzles printed on the tablecloth, and these were 'adult' clues.

    Judging by all the laughter and other comments everyone had a good time and at the end of the evening a substantial number of tableclothes were missing.

    Best of luck getting spliced.

    Ed Almos

  • What could be more geeky than T-Shirts ?

    I had custom T-Shirts made up. A friend who is an artist did a Hershfeld-style characature of my wife and I. We only had enough printed for the rehearsal dinner (which was still 50 people).

    However, they were a big hit and in retrospect would have been great to give out to everyone. And as an added bonus, if I need to remember my anniversary I just look in the closet -- the date is on the shirt!
  • AOL CD's (Score:2, Funny)

    by rjune ( 123157 )
    You could decorate the entire hall with them and I'm sure you could get thousands and thousands of them for free!
  • by Tony ( 765 )
    Archie Mcphee [] has some great stuff all geeks should love, from the original rubber chicken to Senior Mysterioso to test tubes and urine sample cups (great for jello shots!) to just the plain strange and weird.

    It's geeky in a non-technical way, in a social-engineering sort of way. But, unless everyone at your wedding abhors pop culture entirely, it is certainly a lot of fun. My wife and I (I am a geek, she is a non-geek) had pink flamingos (her idea) and 2' penguins (guess who's idea?). For party favors, we had all kinds of bendies, nuns, and other fabulous things.

    Anyway, it was a lot of fun.
  • 'Sorry you're losing you're virginity' cards.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.