The idea of giving a parting gift to your guests that sums up you as a couple as well as the entire wedding day may be daunting. Should you send them home with something edible such as a sweet or condiment? Or should you take a different route and gift them with something they might find useful? We spoke to Alexandra McNamara, Toronto-based wedding planner at Blush & Bowties, and Andrea Hounsell, Atlantic Canada-based planner at Borrowed & Blu, to weigh in on wedding favour etiquette, the best wedding favours they’ve seen couples give, and their best tips for picking what’s right for your celebration.
1. Contrary to popular belief, giving a wedding favour is not necessary.
However, it is a nice gesture for your guests, and can also be a lovely addition to your decor. “Take time to think about what you want as a couple without the pressure of thinking of ‘this is the way it should be done’,” Hounsell advises. McNamara agrees. “I advise my clients to only give favours if it’s something that reflects who they are and that the guests can keep, otherwise it can be wasteful,” she says.
2. When considering what favours to give, turn toward personal things you love.
“Think about handmade, local or artisanal favours,” McNamara shares. “Meaningful favours are always the way to go!”
3. Some of the best favours are both functional and personal.
“We worked with a bride who planted 160 mini succulents for her wedding guests to take home. We also used them as decor to line up the escort cards,” Hounsell recalls. “We did another wedding for a groom from Newfoundland and a bride from Texas, and they gave their guests mini bottles of hot sauce and Screech (a Newfoundland rum). It was great to see both their backgrounds included!” For McNamara, some of the best favours she’s seen tied the whole wedding theme together. “We had a Toronto couple who were married at a brewery who gave iron bottle openers made by a local company. They loved craft beer so it was meaningful to them,” McNamara explains. “I also had a couple that did laser-cut names of all their guests that doubled as a place card and a favour. Guests went crazy over those!”
4. You might want to consider giving a donation in lieu of favours.
“It’s a really beautiful thing to take that money and donate it to a worthy cause,” Hounsell says. “It also eliminates wastage from favours being left behind on tables at the end of the night.” If you’re stuck on what to give, extending a donation is a great idea, McNamara says. “It makes total sense, and you won’t have to spend money on items that may end up being thrown away.”
5. Consider edible favours.
“Most of our clients in the past few years have been using their budget for favours toward a sweet table for their guests, which adds a beautiful decor element,” Hounsell says. “I recommend choosing a sweet treat for the reception place setting. If it’s not something your guests can eat, it will more than likely get left behind at the end of the night.”
6. Favours can go either at each guest’s place setting, or on a designated favour table, depending on what the favour is.
“If it’s something pretty like Sloane tea or Kitten and the Bear jam, these can add to a place setting and the overall design of the table,” McNamara says. “Larger favours may be better to put out later. Whatever it is, make sure it is easy to locate or guests might miss it!”