When it comes to wedding favours, it seems there are two teams: those who love the tradition, and those who hate it. Some brides delight in creating the perfect take-home bags of cookies or designing monogrammed flasks, while others loathe the idea of spending money on such small, disposable items. Both sides make good arguments: favours are a fun tradition, yet they are an optional expense. There’s no etiquette requirement that guests are given favours, so the choice is entirely up to you.
If you’ve been wondering whether or not brides and grooms still give out wedding favours, the simple answer is yes. But as anyone who’s been to a wedding in the last few years knows, what constitutes a favour has evolved over time. Gone are the days of monogrammed candies and wasteful tchotchkes that’ll end up in the garbage. Now, couples are more interested in giving their guests something meaningful that’ll remind them of the experience they had at your wedding, or else something edible they can enjoy right away. Here’s what you need to know about the new class of big-day favours.
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Table of Contents
- 1 You’re giving your guests an experience
- 2 Welcome bags set a new standard
- 3 Favours are very much still a thing
- 4 Go with something simple
- 5 Swap the favours for something edible
- 6 Waste matters
- 7 Wedding favour Madness
- 8 Hit Two Birds with One Stone
- 9 Go Practical
- 10 Give an Alternative to Wedding favours
- 11 To help you make that decision, check out the following pros and cons of wedding favours:
- 12 Pros
- 13 Cons
- 14 Are wedding favours necessary?
- 15 Are Wedding favours Necessary to Entertain Your Guests?
You’re giving your guests an experience
Weddings have come a long way from the tried-and-true church and ballroom celebrations of our parents’ generations. For your wedding weekend, you might host four or five different gatherings over multiple days. What this means is that you’re gifting your guests an experience rather than a thing. If there’s a favour or something to send them home with that reminds them of this special time, that’s great. But if you’re doling out wedding favours just because it’s something on your to-do list, take the stress off yourself and rest assured that your guests will be heading home with long-lasting memories.
Welcome bags set a new standard
With destination weddings being more popular than ever, the gift-filled welcome bag has taken on more prominence than traditional wedding favours. If you have a large contingent of guests travelling from out of town to attend your wedding weekend, you’ll probably want to greet them with a welcome note and a nice bottle of local cider, box of doughnuts from the neighbourhood bakery, or a bag filled with tasty treats. You might include a fun and festive keepsakes, like custom koozies for a summer wedding or a copper mug for guests to take home and make Moscow Mules in.
Favours are very much still a thing
Rather than the outdated monogrammed box of candy or miniature framed photo of the two of you, wedding favours have evolved to be more reflective of the time, place, and experience you’re sharing with your guests. What does that mean exactly? Well, it could be that you gift your guests a bottle of wine from the vineyard where you’re hosting your wedding, or if you’re getting married at a farmhouse that’s known for its delicious food, you might gift your guests the property’s own cookbook—getting married at the beach? Stick with something guests will use throughout the weekend, as a fun pair of sunglasses or a cool Turkish towel.
Go with something simple
One of the biggest frustrations for couples with favours is that guests leave them behind. Keeping it simple is a good way to minimize waste and ensure you’re giving your guests something they really don’t want to forget at the end of the night. Infused olive oil if your wedding is in the olive-rich countryside, a cocktail kit for a nightcap or a pretty brass bottle opener can all be fun, simple options.
Swap the favours for something edible
Edible favours are always a good way to keep things simple if you’d like guests to depart your wedding with something in-hand. Near the exit, you can set up a takeaway table filled with bags of small-batch popcorn, freshly fried beignets, a mini s’ mores kit, or big, salty pretzels. While guests may not eat these treats right away, they’ll likely dive into the grub when they return to their hotel rooms for the night.
If you’re concerned about the waste-factor of your wedding, you might decide to skip the traditional favour gifts and instead make a donation to a charity or local non-profit. Say, for example, that you’re hosting your wedding in a heavily forested area on the California coast. You might set up a donation to the local fire department or forest service to reflect your appreciation of the area. Or, if your wedding will take place at an urban art gallery, you might set up a donation to a local non-profit arts centre for kids. Either way, the donation is something you can note on the bottom of your wedding menu, and you might even challenge your guests to match your donation as a wedding gift to you.
Do you really have to hand out favours to guests that may end up in a junk drawer? It’s up to you because it’s your wedding, but we have a few things to think about before you make the final decision.
Wedding favour Madness
Wedding favours have been a “must” for centuries. Historically in Europe, a small box full of edible sugary snacks was given to each guest as they left the wedding. Weddings have always been considered lucky, and the thought was sent down for years that the luck should be passed on to guests. These favours are usually given as a token of your appreciation to guests for attending your big day. Some people choose to go all out, spending a lot of money on each favour while most couples give a small gift placed at each guest’s seat. The problem is that many budgets can’t fit in all these favours. If you have a wedding with 250 guests, a couple of dollars for each favour adds up very quickly. You have no idea who is going to remember to take their gift home after a night of drinking and dancing. Many times, the couple is left with a box full of personalized wedding bubbles that will end up in their own junk drawer. Guests probably expect a favour, but they aren’t going to your wedding with that in mind. Your loved ones don’t attend your wedding just to get a gift.
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Hit Two Birds with One Stone
You can use things in your reception that double as wedding favours. We decided to have a candy buffet full of all sorts of goodies. Guests filled up little bags with their favourite candy for dessert and as their favour. Of course, they could also indulge in a wedding cake. They got the choice of having two different types of desserts, so everyone wins. If you’re going to have a photo booth for fun, it’s perfect to use the strip of photos as your favour. You’re already paying for the photo booth as entertainment, so you aren’t out any extra money. Many couples use extra slices of cake as the wedding favour. Almost all weddings have cake, so it’s a no brainer to use it as your favour. Some couples double place cards as photo frames that guests can personalize with their own photos after they take out their name.
If you can’t shake the need for wedding favours, make sure you gift a practical gift. Remember, you are never going to please everyone. If you give a mini bottle of lotion as a wedding favour, someone is going to be upset that they don’t like the smell or type. Just roll your eyes and move on. Think of things you use on a regular basis. A luggage tag is something small that you wouldn’t usually buy yourself, but it’s a perfect little gift. You probably drink out of plastic cups regularly so personalized cups are cute and practical. A drink koozie may get stashed in a drawer full of other koozies, but it’s for sure going to make an appearance when you want to sip a cold drink. No one expects a wedding favour to be an expensive item. Another easy way to go practical is to make homemade items. Ask your cousin to make a few dozen of her famous chocolate chip cookies or ask your mom to whip up some of her famous candies. Edible wedding favours won’t usually end up in a garage sale because they’ll probably be eaten before guests even leave the reception! If you go practical, you can use those leftover favours the guests may forget.
Give an Alternative to Wedding favours
One of the most thoughtful, budget-friendly and easiest things to do instead of actual wedding favour is given a donation. Many couples give a donation to their favourite charity in place of wedding favour. In your wedding program, you can include a line that states, “In lieu of favours, we made a donation to ____.” This gives guests warm fuzzies, and you’ve helped a charity at the same time. Make sure it a charity you and your partner are passionate about and reflect who you are as a couple. Guests will respect your gesture and could even follow in your footsteps when they get married spreading even more love.
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To help you make that decision, check out the following pros and cons of wedding favours:
It’s a fun way to thank your guests for attending. Your guests will likely drive or fly a considerable distance to be there on your big day, and they’ll also give you (at least one) thoughtfully selected gift as well as purchase new outfits or find babysitters. Of course, you’ll send them thank-you notes, but favours are a quicker, more fun way to express your appreciation for the effort they made to help you celebrate.
You can share your favourite treats and trinkets. If you’re always telling your friends about the amazing cookies at your local bakery, or you and your new spouse have a special playlist of treasured songs, here’s your chance to introduce them to your guests. The wedding is a reflection of you two as a couple, and the favours are the last impression they’ll get, so this is an opportunity to share your favourites.
It’s tradition. For centuries, couples have gifted small candies, almonds, and gifts to their guests. There’s no shame in wanting to participate in such a time-honoured tradition. And sure, favours may have fallen out of fashion a bit in recent years, but at the end of the night, many guests will (secretly) hope for that special parting gift.
It’s an opportunity to give back. Candy and picture frame, not your thing? Print out cards letting guests know that instead of traditional favours, you’ve made a donation to a deserving charity. It’ll be a welcome reminder that weddings are about more than just gifts.
You can provide practical items guests will appreciate throughout the weekend. Welcome bags are becoming more and more popular, with couples stuffing tote bags with essentials like water bottles, ibuprofen, sunscreen, sunglasses, scarves, and snacks and providing one bag to each guest upon arrival (of course, this trend is most common for destination weddings). Guests will be charmed at your thoughtfulness, and you can be confident that the favours will actually help guests have an even better time at your celebration.
It’s yet another expense. If you’re trying to trim your budget, favours are the easiest element to cut. It’s a small luxury that can add up quickly, so before trimming the guest list or finding less expensive vendors, eliminate extras like wedding favours.
Guests may not keep them. Unless your favours are food, there’s a good chance those monogrammed wine glasses, candles, or magnets are going in a drawer, never to be seen again—no need to stress over gifts that guests won’t use.
Or, they might not even see them! If you opt to place the favours on a table for guests to grab on the way out, in the midst of all the partying, they might not even realize they’re available. Placing one at each place setting or having servers hand them out as guests are leaving provides a little more assurance that they’ll be received. Still, there is a strong possibility that they’ll be forgotten, since guests move around often throughout the night. Again, there’s no need to worry about favours if you’re not entirely sure they’ll end up in guests’ hands.
Favours take time to plan. Well-intentioned couples often decide to DIY their favours; for example, they’ll plan to stuff bags with personalized M&Ms or spend an evening burning 200 copies of their own mixed CD. But when the wedding planning stress begins to build, projects that sounded like fun at first can start to feel more like homework. Even if you’re outsourcing your favours, it’s still another item on your to-do list. Simplify your life and skip it.
Are wedding favours necessary?
While wedding favours are not as crucial as say, the wedding cake, they are a wonderful way to thank your guests and give them a lasting memory of your wedding. A couple should definitely think about giving favours if their budget allows for them. Favours do not need to be extravagant or expensive, and it really is the thought that counts.
When choosing a favour, be original and pick a favour that is meaningful to you and your family. Or if you have a wedding theme, favours are a great way to complement your theme. Personalized favours are extremely popular because it is a fun way to add your personal stamp to the wedding day. You can also look to the favours you have received attending other recent weddings to gauge current trends and fashions and get ideas, but also definitely try to be unique with yours!
Are Wedding favours Necessary to Entertain Your Guests?
Wedding favours can help keep guests entertained; especially children. Gift them a pack of crayons with printable colouring sheets or provide mini-versions of popular games that they can take home after playing with them during the reception.
If your wedding is seven hours long with a good break between the wedding ceremony and the reception you might want to consider a DIY champagne bar and a homemade treat at your guest’s table to keep them from getting hangry, other cute ideas can be providing take-home sweets or candy bar. When in doubt, you can always opt for edible wedding favours to help keep your guests entertained. So, are wedding favours necessary to entertain your guests? You be the judge.
There are two schools of thought on the subject. Some believe that, no, favours are not needed. After all, you’re already wining and dining your nearest and dearest. Others think you should show your appreciation to guests for taking time out of their lives to celebrate with you. We tend to agree with the latter. This doesn’t mean that you have to sweep guests off their feet with an Oscar-style gift bag; rather, some nicely packaged truffles or sugar cookies is enough to show you care. Plus, it’s the little details that make your wedding up a notch: from a ho-hum gathering to a stylish celebration. Or, if you feel there’s a better use for your money than personalized pencil sharpeners, make a donation in each guest’s name to a charity.