Wedding planning can be a long and complicated affair. In the midst of planning the big things – like catering and entertainment – sometimes, the smaller details can get forgotten about, or left until the last minute. Wedding favours are one of the lesser talked about parts of wedding planning, and can easily be overlooked or disregarded as unimportant. But handing out favours is a lovely gesture for your guests, and a well-known tradition that can help to elevate the tone of your celebration.
Wedding favours are small gifts given out to wedding guests by the bride and groom, as a little “thank you” for attending the wedding and celebrating with the couple. Favours don’t need to be large, expensive, or elaborate – but they can still be fun and meaningful, and are always appreciated.
This guide will talk you through what wedding favours are, how the tradition started and give you some examples of traditional wedding favours from around the world. We’ll also discuss why you should have favours at your wedding, and how to choose and present them to your guests.
The History of Wedding Favours
The custom of giving wedding favours dates back centuries. One of the first references to a wedding favour can be found in 16th century England. As a favour and to symbolise their love connection, couples would often give love knots made of lace and ribbon to each of their guests.
A little trinket box composed of crystal, porcelain, and/or precious stones (known as a bonbonniere) was popular among the European nobility. Sugar cubes or delicate confections were commonly found inside these boxes, which symbolised wealth and grandeur.
Back in those days, a wedding was seen to be a lucky occasion. The couple believed that by giving bonbonnieres and other goodies to wedding guests, they were also imparting their good fortune on others. These blessed gifts typically consisted of five almonds or candy pieces, which indicated fertility, wellness, riches, contentment, and longevity.
Today, favours are still a popular tradition at most modern weddings. Wedding favours are varied and usually match the event's motif or season. Traditional favours include individual chocolates, candles, and various other knickknacks. CDs featuring the bride and groom's favourite music, shot glasses filled with coloured sweets, or a charitable donation in their guests' names are also popular modern present ideas.
Wedding Favours from Around the World
Anything goes when it comes to wedding favours. While most Western countries offer wedding favours based on the theme of the wedding or the couple's lifestyle, many other countries have customary favours such as:
1) Guests at Irish weddings are frequently given miniature wedding bells as a favour.
2) Guests at a Spanish wedding are given detalles, such as cigars for the men and a present for the ladies.
3) Favours in Russia include miniature paintings or candles, as well as souvenirs.
4) Guests can expect chocolate-covered or Jordan almonds at an Italian wedding.
5) A hand-crafted elephant is considered an auspicious wedding favour in India.
When it comes to your own wedding, you can take inspiration from your culture’s history, or go completely non-traditional. Give out something that means something to you as a person – or just something pretty that matches your wedding theme!
Are Wedding Favours Necessary?
The distribution of wedding favours is a tradition that has continually been passed down through generations. Of course, they're not a necessity, but they're certainly a nice gesture for your guests and make for some great pictures and memories.
Aside from being an important wedding tradition, wedding favours also serve two purposes: to thank your guests for celebrating your special day with you and to leave a lasting impression that will keep them thinking of you for years to come.
Favours also serve as a memento of your wedding. Many guests like to keep their wedding favour (or the favour box that it came in) as a keepsake afterwards. You can add them to each guest's goodie bags, place them on your dining tables next to each guest’s place card, or set up a special table near the entrance of your reception for guests to pick out their own.
What Types of Wedding Favours Are There?
There are many types of small gifts that you can use as wedding favours. Some of the most popular kinds of wedding favours include:
1) Novelty Favours: Think personalised matchbooks, small toys, mints with a monogrammed label, and temporary tattoos.
2) Edible Favours: From chocolate truffles to delicious candy buffets, edible wedding favours are always appreciated by guests. You can even have beverage favours, such as tiny bottles of whiskey or gin.
3) Inedible Favours: From potpourri sachets to soaps and scented candles, inedible wedding favours are also a great way to thank your guests. They’re particularly well appreciated by guests who might not be able to enjoy an edible favour (such as guests with special dietary requirements).
Wedding favour boxes will help you present your wedding favours in style. They’re available in many different colours and designs to suit any wedding theme. You can also buy matching ribbons and tags that can be customised with your name and wedding date.
How to Choose Your Wedding Favours
When it comes to picking the perfect wedding favour, the possibilities are endless. A beautifully decorated place card at the reception table can make a lovely and reasonably priced piece of memorabilia. A vintage bottle of wine with a customised label is a fantastic way to commemorate the event for couples with a larger budget. Frequently, the couple will choose wedding favours that suit the reception table's decor.
The majority of wedding details are constrained by tradition or budget, but the wedding favours allow the bride and groom to express themselves and think about what will delight their guests.
Many favours, ranging from candles to sweets, may be found for very reasonable prices (under £3 each). You can even make your wedding favours yourself, if you’re a crafty sort of person, saving even more money!
Here are some things to consider when choosing a wedding favour:
What kind of budget do you have to work with? Is there a wedding favour that fits within your price range? Your wedding favour need not be expensive to make an impact. You can find great deals on sites such as Bride and Groom Direct, where you can purchase wedding favour boxes and other customisable keepsakes.
Add a Personal Touch
What kind of personal touches can you add to your wedding favour? Labels, ribbons, and other decorative accessories are available in the craft store and online at reasonable prices. You could customise each favour box with a tag bearing your guest’s name, for example.
Does your wedding have a cultural basis for having wedding favours? For example, if you're having a Polish wedding, the tradition is to have lighted candles in your reception room. You can follow this tradition by purchasing votive candles and putting them in bags with labels like "The Gift of Light."
Match your Décor
Your wedding favour should be related to your wedding, and it's important that they match your décor and your colour scheme. You can find gold, silver, and other coloured wedding favour boxes at a reasonable price that will perfectly complement your wedding theme.
Edible vs. Inedible Favours
Weddings usually have food at the reception, and there’s no better way to show appreciation to your guests than by offering them a tasty treat. Wedding favours such as individually-wrapped lollipops, small squares of fudge and chocolate-covered pretzels are both edible and will delight your guests.
However, you might prefer to choose something inedible – whether it’s because it can be kept as a memento, or simply out of consideration for guests with dietary requirements. Otherwise, diabetic guests, vegans, and guests with food allergies (for example) may miss out.
Remember that your wedding is all about you and what means something to you both as individuals and as a couple. Wedding favours are a great way to personalise your celebration while also thanking your guests for being there.
How to Present Your Wedding Favours
Favours are given in various ways, depending on the couple's own traditions or what they think is appropriate for their wedding reception.
Some couples will incorporate their wedding favours into their dining table décor by placing one favour at each guest’s wedding breakfast place setting. Others will have a wedding favour table and a sign (such as a customisable peg board) instructing guests to come and help themselves to one each.
Others prefer to give out wedding favours by hand. For example, you could have one of your ushers give out wedding favours at the door as your guests enter the ceremony venue. It’s up to you and your partner to figure out which scenario will work best for you and your wedding.
Are Wedding Favours Just for Day Guests?
In short, it’s completely up to you whether to offer wedding favours to your day guests only, or to your evening guests as well. If you’re giving out favours to your evening guests, you will obviously have to distribute them during the reception rather than during the ceremony or wedding breakfast.
We’d recommend placing your favours on the table next to your wedding guest book, so that attendees can take a favour and sign at the same time.
Where Can I Buy Wedding Favour Boxes?
The purpose of wedding favours is to show appreciation for guests who attend your wedding celebration. As with everything in the wedding planning process, it's good to be creative and follow your heart. Wedding favours today can be as personal and unique as you are, which is why they have come to represent a symbol of love from the bride and groom.
At Bride and Groom Direct, we stock a wide range of wedding favour boxes in a variety of different designs and colour themes. We also sell wedding favour labels and ribbons to attach to your boxes, to even further customise your guests’ experience.
Before you place your order, don’t forget to also browse our huge selection of wedding invitations and other stationery. We offer a flat rate of shipping on all orders, so you’ll want to take advantage of the huge savings you could make!