Rebecca Marie is a creative wedding planner based in the UK. She plans celebrations all over the world and loves nothing more than working with stylish couples who are interested in creating a unique wedding day

Rebecca started her wedding planning business as a ‘hobby’ when she had her twin boys and wanted to work from home, but in a few short years it has grown rapidly. She now finds herself with a small team working all over the world for prestigious clients advising them on what decisions to make for their wedding.

A bride and groom miniature on a wedding cakeA bride and groom miniature on a wedding cake

Keep reading for her insights on the history of wedding favours, tips to help you decide if favours are right for your big day, and the Dos and Don’ts she recommends as an expert. Or if you want to skip ahead to her unique ideas, click here.

Long gone are the days of gifting your wedding guests a bag of sugared almonds. The concept of wedding favours is ever-evolving along with the modern-day ceremony. I am here to offer an insight into what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to those special little gifts made for your guests.

What are wedding favours?

Wedding favours are small gifts or keepsakes given to guests as a token of appreciation for attending a wedding. In the past they have typically been placed at each guest's table setting or arranged for guests to take as they leave the reception.

The tradition of giving wedding favours, also known as bonbonnieres, began as a way for families to show their wealth and social status. The bonbonnieres were small, ornate boxes filled with sweets or sugared almonds, which symbolised the bitterness and sweetness of marriage.

Sugared almonds on a wedding tableSugared almonds on a wedding table

The tradition of giving wedding favours has continued and evolved to become more personalised. In the Victorian era, wedding favours were given as a token of appreciation to guests and often included a small piece of jewellery or a trinket. Today, wedding favours have become a popular way for couples to thank their guests for attending their wedding and can range from items such as candles or seed packets, to more elaborate and costly gifts like personalised keepsakes.

Are wedding favours a necessity?

Giving wedding favours is definitely not a requirement and in reality, whether or not to give them is ultimately up to the couple getting married. In my opinion, wedding favours work best when they are unique, funny or relevant to the couple and their celebration.

What makes a good favour?

Favours need to be worth the investment, as justifying budget allocation is important when planning a wedding. It's best to consider what favours will work for both you and your guests, instead of simply becoming pretty clutter in their homes.

Personal favours are top of my recommendation list and often the best received wedding favour. This can be as simple as a handwritten note to each person in attendance or a donation to a charity close to home. For destination weddings, a wedding favour relating to the location can work well and a practical gift is always a great option – think personalised fans for a hot day!

A wedding table adorned with flowers and favoursA wedding table adorned with flowers and favours

If you are planning to place your wedding favour at each guest’s table setting, then it is also important to consider what it looks like and whether it works with the overall décor and styling of the event. 

How much should be spent on wedding favours?

There is no black or white answer to this as the amount spent on wedding favours can vary depending on overall wedding budget, guest numbers and favour preferences. It is not necessary to spend a lot of money on favours as there are inexpensive options available. Some couples choose to spend a small amount, while others may choose to spend substantially more and enhance the guest experience. 

The Dos and Don’ts of wedding favours:

A bride and her bridesmaids on a wedding dayA bride and her bridesmaids on a wedding day

Do make it memorable – the first thing to think about is how to make it meaningful and relevant to you. Choose something that will help your guests remember being at your wedding.

Don’t feel obligated – keep in mind that the ceremony, food, drink and guest experience is enough. Your guests are in attendance to celebrate your love for one another. 

Do remember gifts don’t need to be taken home – leave disposable cameras at each guest’s seat so everyone can share unique memories of the day at a later date. Or, since you’re tying the knot, give each guest a shot! Make it even more special by giving them a spirit matched to their taste. 

Don’t spend excessive amounts of time on favours – ultimately they are a small part of your entire wedding day and guest experience, try not to get carried away.

Do gift something practical – if you don’t want your guests to leave any gift behind, make sure it’s something they’ll really appreciate. Think sleep masks, soaps or succulents!

Unique ideas for wedding favours

A spirit in a glass as a wedding favour, the label says A spirit in a glass as a wedding favour, the label says

Drinks – if you don’t have an open bar perhaps gift a drink in the way of a token. Or if you’re in Italy, maybe a shot or mini bottle of limoncello

Handmade touches – Some of my favourite favours are handwritten notes to each guest; something that is always met with such an incredible response of surprise, joy and fondness of memories recalled.

Fragrance – always a great option and fully customisable. Fragrances often evoke memories. You can emulate this, for example, by lighting a candle of your choice throughout the day at your wedding and then gifting the same candle to your guests. That way, when they light it then they are transported back to your wedding day. 

Lottery tickets – gifting a lottery ticket or scratch card can be fun and who knows, one of your guests might win the jackpot! 

Fans and parasols – as I’ve touched on before, practical gifts are always well received. This idea is dependent on your location, of course, and what your guests may need on the day.

Personalised items – this can be monogrammed napkins or coasters, mini gifts or even food items. It’s even better if they relate directly to your relationship, or a funny story you allude to in your speech.

Coupons, gift cards or a charity donation – we have all received that gift we secretly hated! Avoid this altogether by giving out coupons or gift cards. Donating to charity and leaving a note for your guests can also be really special, specifically if you have a charity in mind or close to home. 

Flowers – imagine spending thousands on your wedding florals and the next day they go on the compost. Encourage guests to take home flowers to avoid a little bit of wastage. 

Books – trawl the charity shops and wrap each book up for your guests. If you’re a lover of literature, then that could be for you. 

To-go boxes – there’s nothing better at the end of a night out than a little box of just what you need (hot snacks, bottles of water).

Want to see more from Rebecca? Check her out on Instagram here and find more wedding tips and inspiration here. Don’t forget to shop our latest candle collection here.

Josh Millar