Say ‘I Do’ to Mix CD Wedding Favors

As a kid, I loved going to weddings so I could collect those candy-coated Jordan almonds that often came wrapped in netting with a ribbon emblazoned with the bride and groom’s names and the date. I’d eat the almonds and toss away the ribbon and netting. Didn’t everyone? After years of feeling guilty as I threw away cute but pointless wedding favors, I received one that I make regular use of: a mix CD. Turns out it’s easy and inexpensive to make!

Everyone knows it: Weddings can be expensive and take a lot of time to plan. On top of that, a lot of materials – flowers and other decorations, mainly – are used for one day and then tossed. Wedding favors are a perfect example of a wasted product: You probably spent hours tying personalized ribbons around pairs of plastic wedding bands, but do you really think your guests will hang on to those once they get home? Likely, they’ll end up in the garbage. One way to create a memorable wedding favor that won’t get thrown away is to make a mix CD.

  1. Create a playlist of songs that have been a special part of your relationship along with songs that either of you love or are known for. Throw in some songs that will be played at your wedding. At one I attended, the mix CD the couple made contained “their song,” Bebel Gilberto’s “Summer Samba”; Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” which was the father-daughter dance; and a number of other songs that they both appreciate. Need inspiration? Check out this list of love songs.
  2. Burn the songs to discs and make die-cut, personalized labels to stick on them. Packs of blank CDs are crazy cheap these days!
  3. Easily design a CD sleeve with a free template. Include your names and the date, perhaps the location and a list of the songs. Maybe even add a thank you to your guests, the story of how you met or how the proposal went down.

Your wedding doesn’t have to be an environmental disaster – by creating a favor that guests will be able to use, you’re preventing a bunch of plastic from ending up in a landfill. That’s a pretty good karmic start to your wedded lives together!

17 Responses to Say ‘I Do’ to Mix CD Wedding Favors

  1. Jamie April 7, 2010 at 3:00 pm #

    Definitely going to keep this one in mind for my big day (if I get one) cause YOU KNOW I love me a good CD mix!

  2. Britt April 8, 2010 at 8:38 am #

    Great Idea!

  3. Artzell July 12, 2010 at 10:07 am #

    Ummm…anybody thought about the copyright restrictions with the music? Sounds a bit “cheap” to me. Maybe it’s because I’m a musician.

  4. vera July 15, 2010 at 7:08 pm #

    great idea

  5. Mark_K July 21, 2010 at 12:30 pm #

    Artzell is right. The word is COPYRIGHT. To all you designers visiting this site, how would you like someone to make a CD of all your templates, designs, and creative materials to give to all their buddies? Not only is the Music Mix CD a bad idea, it’s just plain illegal. The article mentions a good karmic start to your wedded lives together. Try karmic bad start because you are ripping off musical artists. Anybody remember Napster?

  6. Marc August 30, 2010 at 4:28 pm #

    Actually, those two comments are correct: it is, in fact, illegal to create a mix CD without owning the copyright. It is especially so if you are planning on distributing it; whether to 5 people or 500. I realize the “smallness” (scale) of doing so seems insignificant, however it is not.

    A good analogy is the use of the wedding photos themselves. What do you suppose the wedding photographer would say if you created a photo CD slideshow of all his/her photos without permission? Exactly.

    It’s a simple case of copyright infringement and does NOT fall under the “fair use” rule. Though it’s not expressely for commercial gain, distribution of music without a licence for it is a violation of federal copyright statutes. As a musician and a publisher member of ASCAP (American Society of Authors, Publishers and Composers) I can establish that this idea is a bad one. Still, it should be noted that record companies have not gone after single consumers for such “mix” CD’s but the law is there. Whether you agree or not, it is illegal. Proceed at your own risk.

    Though there are popular arguments (that are pure misconceptions) as to why mix CD’s at wedding are OK, these are the facts:
    1) You can do it because you’re not making money- The law has to do with distribution. Even if you don’t make a cent handing mix CD’s out, the artist is not getting paid (or the record company) for music that many people are enjoying.

    2) You bought all the CD’s the music came from originally, so it’s ok- Nope. Just because you bought a CD does not give you the right or license to distribute it. Handing a mix CD to a group of people is considered “distribution.”

    3) These songs are all old and must be in the public domain: Nope. There are no longer any popular songs in the public domain. Unless you have some obscure home recording of some blues singer in the Appalachian mountains singing a sing that he wrote and it’s over 75 years old and he has no family, then you are breaking the law.

    There are many facets to this law and everyone THINKS they know the facts. But wedding mix CD’s are completely illegal. Do the research yourself if you like.

    More info :

    Also at the U.S. Library of Congress Copyright office at

  7. Jennifer August 31, 2010 at 10:43 am #

    Those are good points, Artzell and Mark_K. But what about this scenario: I know a lot of people who legally purchase digital music. A mix CD is not a for-profit music venture — rather, it’s given away. The individual songs were initially purchased legitimately, and now a wedding guest who might not have listened to, say, Bebel Gilberto before is now inclined to purchase her entire album after listening to the disc.

  8. Ash October 3, 2010 at 1:33 pm #

    Hi Jennifer,

    I know you’re just trying to be creative, but the fact is this you are wrong – it doesn’t matter if it is given away, it is illegal and is ripping off the artists.

  9. Charlotte Wedding Photographer October 23, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

    I am entering my second yr in the professional photography business and am discovering new stuff all the time, such as this article – thank you for this blog. Jenn

  10. j'n'a June 17, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    I LOVE this idea and the fact that I haven’t seen it at any wedding i’ve been to or a part of. I brought it up to my fiance and he was on board at first, then started doubting when it comes to the legal aspect of it. If the songs are purchased and handed out, is it still considered “pirating?”

  11. ST from Handheld GPS July 9, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    With my daughter getting married next spring, these are great ideas i’ll share with her. Thanks again.


  12. Lucy July 14, 2011 at 3:50 am #

    I really like this idea. Is there a way of legitimately doing this legally? I.e Is there an easy way that i can contact record companies and artists to get the rights to make 100 cds with their music on that i can give away for free to my guests? Any ideas much appreciated.
    Many thanks!

  13. Victoria Hillenbrand March 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

    Thanks Simon, I really appreciate the feedback. I’d love to see your lessons it’s always good to see what teachers do with my materials usually so much better than what I do with them. Will be saying “Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu!” myself in three weeks I’m moving back to Japan.

  14. megan shepard September 17, 2012 at 3:36 am #

    Omg people, it is not illegal to make mix cds. It is illegal to sell burned cds but mix cds do not go against copyright infringment,,,, smh.


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