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Weddings: to favour or not to favour

Here’s our ultimate guide on how to give useful wedding favours, and alternatives you could spend your money on if wedding favours aren’t for you.

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Wedding favours are small gifts to guests, given as a symbol of good luck as well as a thank you for sharing the special day. The earliest wedding favours date back to 16th century France, where sweets or sugared almonds were given as a symbol of wealth – since sugar was only available to the wealthy in these days. The idea of favours was also to extend a gesture of thanks and care towards all guests, since sugar was believed to have health-boosting properties.

Nowadays, a huge variety of products are given as wedding favours. But have you ever noticed how wedding favours often get left behind at wedding receptions? Some say the tradition of giving wedding favours is now outdated, as wedding guests tend to be spoiled enough throughout the day with food, drink and entertainment put on by their hosts. And when it comes to planning your own wedding, you don’t want to spend time, effort and money to organise wedding favours, only to find them left on the tables at the end.

To help you find a solution that works for you, here are five wedding favour ideas that are most likely to be enjoyed and used by guests. And if you decide not to give wedding favours, we’ve also found the five things you could most usefully spend your budget on instead.

To favour: top 5 wedding favour ideas

1. Personalised water bottles

Everyone needs a spare water bottle, and giving guests stainless steel bottles they can re-use again and again is bound to be a winner. There are other benefits too – it’ll encourage your guests to stay hydrated throughout the evening, plus it’s an environmentally-friendly, non-plastic gift option.

2. Coffee blend

We’re increasingly a nation of coffee lovers, so help feed guests’ caffeine habits with small packs of a coffee blend you’ve put together. Make the packets small enough to slip into a handbag, and it will bring happy memories to guests when they make a brew with it at a later date.

3. Quiz time

Add a competitive edge to a meeting by designing a short quiz for delegates to answer at the end. Not only can you test meeting participants on the content discussed during the meeting to check they’ve retained the most important information, you can add a few unexpected but fun questions too, such as ‘what colour is the kettle in the office?’ Give the winner a hamper or gift voucher as a prize!

4. Practical key ring

Most guests will be carrying a set of keys with them, so there’s no excuse for them not to take a wedding favour if it’s a keyring. Make it extra useful by providing keyrings that have bottle openers or nail files incorporated into them.

5. Scratch cards

Who can resist a National Lottery scratch card? You can buy scratch cards for £1 each, making them good value wedding favours. It’ll create a sense of excitement and fun on the tables too. And if there are any winners in there, guests certainly won’t forget to take them home!

Not to favour: best 5 wedding favour alternatives

1. Wedding speech bingo

Instead of wedding favours that guests might forget to take away with them, give them activities to do at the wedding breakfast tables. Wedding speech bingo cards are a fun addition, where guests have to check off different phrases on their bingo cards during the speeches, such as ‘ladies and gentleman’ and ‘beautiful’.

2. Nicer wine

Since wedding favours are a gesture of thanks to guests, divert your budget from wedding favours to nicer wines instead. Most guests will appreciate having a slightly higher quality of tipple to raise a glass with. Going organic or biodynamic with the wines may also reduce head soreness the next morning too – it’s worth a try anyway!

3. Selfie sticks

Particularly helpful if your photographer isn’t staying on for the evening, selfie sticks provide an alternative talking point at the wedding breakfast. Moreover, it will prompt guests to take photos at their tables, which they can share with you later.

4. Pick n Mix

Instead of giving every guest a small sweet treat as a wedding favour, create a Pick n Mix stand at the wedding reception. This saves on packaging and means people will take what they want, when they want. Sweets last too – so if you have any leftover, you can take them home and use them at a party at a later date.

5. Charity donation

Donate to a charity that means something to you with the money you would have spent on wedding favours. Place cards on tables at the wedding breakfast to tell guests what you’ve done, as this is another great way to raise awareness of your charity of choice.

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