Explained: what are favours at a wedding?
Easily overlooked or left to the last minute, wedding favours are a gorgeous finishing touch and an elegant signal of attention to detail at your wedding. Initially used by the French - who began the tradition of gift giving to guests at weddings - wedding favours have developed over the years. As a wedding guest in 2023, you might find candied almonds, chocolates, seeds, tiny bottles of whisky and much more at your place setting. In this article, we answer the question 'what are favours at a wedding?' and offer some ideas and inspiration for yours.
What are favours at a wedding?
Wedding favours are tokens of appreciation distributed to guests by the bride and groom as a thanks for for attending their wedding and sharing in a joyful occasion. Sometimes considered treasured keepsakes, wedding favours need not be grand, costly, or extravagant. Instead, they merely need to put your own personal stamp on your big event and leave a memorable impression on guests.
So why do we give out wedding favours? Although we will share a little more information about the history and tradition behind wedding favours below, there are some great reasons that we offer wedding favours to our loved ones in the modern day.
Why do we give wedding favours today?
To elevate the tone of your event
Firstly, distributing wedding favours is a lovely gesture, and there's no doubt that it can help to elevate the tone of your upcoming celebration and add a sense of personalisation.
To provide cherished memorabilia
Secondly, depending on what kind of favours you choose, your small gifts can act as memorabilia for many years to come. For example, let's say you and your partner love nature and the outdoors and you decide to share a elegantly decorated packet of seeds with guests. Once your guests go home and plant these in their gardens, their sunflowers, tree (or whatever you have chosen for them) will act as a memory of your big day for years to come.
Simply for the sake of enjoyment
Thirdly, let's not forget that wedding favours can also be hugely fun to select and bring to life! Although you will have plenty of opportunity to make your wedding your own and style it to your own taste, favours are one of the few things you can design which actually stay with guests physically. Many couples love the process of choosing their wedding favours, creating them, ordering them, personalising them and seeing the looks on there guests' faces when they receive theirs!
To say thank you to our loved ones
Finally, wedding favours are a gesture of thanks and appreciation for your loved ones. Although you are thanking guests for being with you on your special day, your wedding favours also symbolise your gratitude for each persons' presence in your life up until this moment.
What is the tradition behind wedding favours?
Now that you know the answer to the question 'what are favours at a wedding?', you might like to know a little history about the tradition and where it came from. That's what we will cover next.
It is widely thought that wedding favours originated in France; amongst the French aristocracy and upper classes. In fact, the words 'wedding favour' actually have French origins and come from the word 'bonbonnière' meaning a small box for sweets or candies. Typically in France during this time, such wedding favours traditionally consisted of a small box filled with sugar cubes or other delicacies.
Historically, wedding favours were given to guests as a symbol of appreciation and gratitude for attending the wedding ceremony and celebrating the event with the newlyweds. And although initially reserved for the upper classes and aristocrats, the tradition gained popularity, and slowly became more inclusive and accessible to people across all social classes.
But as far as we can tell, it wasn't only in France that wedding favours became popular. In other cultures, wedding favours served as a symbol of good fortune. For example, in ancient Rome, sugared almonds were given to guests to represent the hope that the newlyweds' life would be sweet and prosperous. Similarly, in some Asian cultures, guests receive wedding favours that are designed to bring good luck and fortune. These gifts can vary widely and may include items such as lucky coins, small bells, and even live plants. In other parts of the world, wedding favours traditionally included the following.
- Miniature wedding bells at Irish weddings.
- Cigars for men and presents for ladies at Spanish weddings.
- Miniature paintings or candles, as well as souvenirs are in Russia.
- Chocolate-covered or Jordan almonds in Italy.
- A hand-crafted elephant in India.
The practice of offering wedding favours has evolved greatly over the years, and in 2023 couples are likely to give small gifts, such as candles, mini bottles of wine, personalised chocolates, handmade crafts and other mementos, to thank guests for their presence on their big day.
What kind of wedding favours are there?
If you're currently in the phase of getting creative and planning your wedding favours, you'll want to know what the possibilities are. It's time for a little inspiration!
From keychains to succulents, your wedding favours can take any form, but they should absolutely represent you as a couple. Here are some of the most common categories of wedding favours for you to ponder:
When we talk about edible treats, we are talking about chocolates, cookies, candy, nuts or anything you can find that can be individually packaged and gifted. You could also gift mini bottles of whisky, rum, gin or wine.
A personalised favour can be any kind of gift that is personalised for guests. Whilst you could engrave your guests' names into a keyring, you could also opt for personalised labels.
Plants and succulents have become popular wedding favours. Offering guests something they can enjoy at home or in the garden for years to come, plants make for a great wedding favour. Not sure about plants? You can also offer seeds.
Including anything from bottle openers, to coasters, to keychains or bookmarks, handy wedding favours can be just that. With these items, you're guaranteed to be leaving guests with a memory of your event for years into the future.
Local or handmade gifts
Anything from artisanal honey, to handmade soap and scented candles can be gifted at a wedding and personalised with a custom favour tag.
Hoping to spend a little less money on yourselves and put it towards a deserving cause? Make a donation in your guests' name to your favourite charity.
Should I order or make my wedding favours?
Making your wedding favours can add a wonderful personal touch to your event, but it also takes up a lot of time. Meanwhile, ordering your wedding favours packaged and ready to go can ensure that the process is smooth and the product is of professional quality. So which option is best for you?
Whether you choose to order or make your wedding favours depends on your personal preference and your budget. Ordering wedding favours can be convenient, especially if you don't have the time or resources to make them yourself. Many companies offer a variety of ready-made wedding favours that can be personalised to fit your theme or interests, and they often come pre-packaged and ready to hand out to guests.
But on the other hand, making your wedding favours can be a fun and cost-effective way to add a personal touch to your celebration. Those crafty people among us, or those who enjoy DIY projects, might like to make their own wedding favours; it's a great way to express your creativity and customise your gifts. You can also take into account that handmade favours can have a home-made feel that your guests may truly appreciate.
Whatever you choose to order or create, you may also want to consider ordering or making a few extra favours in case of any unexpected mishaps!
Where can I buy favour tags for my wedding?
Wedding favour tags are small cards or labels that are attached to wedding favours. They serve as a personalised touch and can include messages, such as 'Thank you for sharing our special day' or otherwise, they could simply state the names of the bride and groom. Looking for even more personalisation? You could even choose to write each guests' names on the tag.
Customisable in various shapes, colours and styles, our wedding favour tags can be made to match your wedding theme. Browse Peppermint Press favour tags here.