The History of Wedding Favours
The earliest reference to wedding favours goes back to 16th Century England when couples commonly gifted each other, as well as their guests, handcrafted knots. Fashioned out of ribbon and lace, the knots symbolised the bond of love. European aristocrats hailing from Italy and France would offer their guests bonbonnieres.
Bonbonnieres were small gifts presented in porcelain, metal, precious stone, or crystal boxes. Sugary treats filled up the boxes, and that's what gave birth to present-day gift-wrapped confections. Passing around bonbonnieres to guests was also considered a sign of good luck and this aspect was reinforced by adding five almonds or pieces of candy to the bonbonnieres.
The five almonds symbolise longevity, fertility, happiness, health, and wealth. Favours have since evolved but some of these traditions still stand. For instance, it's commonplace for guests to go home with gift bags containing Jordan almonds which represent the idea of five wedding wishes.
Should You Offer Your Guests Wedding Favours?
While it's not mandatory to offer wedding favours, giving your guests a send-off gift is a thoughtful gesture. Perhaps you have family and friends flying in for the occasion or yours is a destination wedding; everyone will essentially put their lives on hold to celebrate the beginning of your next chapter.
Welcoming or sending off guests with gift bags tells them that you appreciate their presence on your big day. It also provides yet another opportunity to include more personalised touches to your wedding. Again, this is an aspect of the wedding that varies from one couple to the next particularly when it comes to the budget set aside for the favours.
Most couples often present guests with specially curated gift packages that include edible products, a small practical item, and a thank you card. There's also the matter of when to present the gifts to guests, and in most instances, couples prefer to hand them out during or after their big day. A select majority find it practical to hand out welcome gift bags to their guests.
How Should You Present Favours To Guests?
Presentation counts, and it's up to each individual couple to decide how they'll offer guests the wedding favours. For some, it makes sense to incorporate the items in the tablescape particularly if they are things like coasters, place card holders, and monogrammed wine glasses.
Other couples go the extra mile and set up favour tables with signages instructing guests to help themselves to the treats. Several more decide to personally hand out the favours as they are receiving wedding gifts from each guest.
Welcome Gift Bags
Welcome gift bags are befitting for destination weddings but they equally suit day-long affairs. It's also a thoughtful and kind gesture to offer out-of-town guests personalised wedding favour bags.
For destination weddings, include the itinerary keeping guests in the loop about everything related to the big day. Also, include a map of the area or a guidebook highlighting the local hotspots. Some of the other items that you should include in wedding welcome bags include:
Include a taste of the local flavors in the favour bags. Introduce guests to the region's favourite teas, coffee, chocolates, or baked treats. For instance, offer guests popcorn if you are tying the knot in Chicago.
Other befitting gifts that fall under the edible category include olive oil, jams, jars of honey, maple syrup, and macarons. Condiments like mini bottles of hot sauce and bbq sauce are also great options.
Something to Drink
On the list of practical items, you'll want to include bottles of water in the favour bags. You can always swap this out for something that aligns with your wedding theme. Guests will appreciate receiving mini bottles of wine, locally-brewed beer, or bourbon if you are getting hitched at a vineyard.
Diet coke bottles, bottles of custom fruit juices, flavored lattes, and cocktail mixers are all other great choices under the drinks category.
Include a season-appropriate essential in the wedding welcome bag. That includes items like sunglasses, breath mints, bug sprays, hand-warmers, sunscreen, parasols, sleep masks, and pashminas. Complimentary toiletries like custom lotions, scented soaps, and shampoos are also wonderful options.
Custom hangover kits come in handy, especially if making merry dominates your wedding festivities. Health and safety supplies including hand sanitisers are also worth including in the welcome bags.
Wedding Favour Bags
Wedding favour bags are the most common option, and again, these items are varied and individualised according to each couple's preferences. Just like the wedding welcome bags, the favours are usually small, sweet, and functional items. Keep the following in mind when curating wedding favour bags:
Personalise the Gifts
Offer guests monogrammed and engraved products to make them even more personalised. Some of the products that you should consider customising include mason jars, coasters, chopsticks, and coffee mugs.
Give Themed Gifts
It's a fun idea to offer guests favours that are tied to your wedding theme. For instance, a custom deck of playing cards, scented candles, and wooden carved ornaments can fit into the themed gifts category.
Incorporate meaningful gifts
Beyond just offering favours, you want to try and give guests meaningful items. These should be things that guests are bound to use for a long time or use to create other functional products. That includes items like mini potted plants, seed packets, and DIY kits.
Include a Thank You Note
Don't forget to include a thank you note along with the wedding favours. Take the time to personalise each thank you note, if it's practical, but either way, spell out your gratitude with words.
Wedding Favours Inspired By Different Cultures Around The World
Cultures across the globe have equally inspiring and meaningful wedding traditions that are worth emulating. In Italy, guests go home with Jordan or chocolate-covered almonds. Spanish nuptials often see guests receive gender-specific gifts and often, it's cigars for men.
Russian wedding guests go home with gift bags including small candles, tiny pictures, and other trinkets. Guests are offered small bells during Irish weddings while handcrafted elephants are presented at Indian weddings to symbolise luck.
Destination Wedding Welcome Bags
So while I’m in Fiji I thought it would be absolutely perfect to have the queen of island weddings over here on the blog today! I’m so pleased to welcome Kylie of Bula Bride – a beautiful blog with a focus on gorgeous destination weddings in Fiji. She also runs a graphic design company called Peachy Flamingo that among other things creates lovely wedding invitations.
AND (seriously, this girl does everything) she’s got an awesome Etsy shop so I thought that she’d be the perfect person to come and discuss destination wedding welcome bags, why they are important, and what should go into them.
Take it away Kylie!
Welcome Bags are a hit with destination weddings. They are a nice way to welcome and thank your guests for making the effort to travel over. They are also a nice substitute to the classic Bomboniere that is given during the reception.
Welcome bags can come in any shape or form – from paper bags, canvas totes, baskets, or drawstring bags, and they can be suited to any budget – big or small!
In your welcome bags you should include gifts that will assist and enhance your guests stay. Add personal items that reflect you as a couple, represent an inside joke, or a little reminder of their trip.
If kids are attending it’s also great to give them a separate welcome bag of items that they may enjoy and help keep them occupied, such as beach balls, colouring books, puzzles, or little toys.
A welcome letter is a must to welcome your guests to your destination wedding and thank them for travelling to share in your big day. Welcome letters are also great for letting guests know of any additional activities, house rules, or notes for the wedding week!
Credits: Little Goodies Gift Box // Bula Welcome Tote // Enhiky Kraft Gift Tags // Rifle Co. Notebook // Mini Jungle Kit // Adi Fiji Chocolate // INKKIT Twig Pencils.