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Wedding Guest Gifts

Candles, Cards, and Promo Codes: A Guide to Being a Pro Wedding Guest Gifts

Rebecca Marie, a wedding planner in the United Kingdom, is never short of creativity. She organizes weddings worldwide and adores working most of all with stylish couples in search of a unique ceremony.

Rebecca started her wedding planning business as a “hobby” after having her twins. She wanted to work from home at that time. Her business quickly flourished. Now, with a small team by her side, she works across the globe for prestigious clients, providing them with valuable advice on the decisions to make for their wedding.

Read on to discover her perspective on the history of guest gifts, her advice on whether or not to offer them on your wedding day, as well as her list of must-do’s and absolute don’ts. If you’re just eager to explore her original ideas, click here.

The time when guests were offered a sachet of sugared almonds is long gone. With modern ceremonies, the concept of guest favors keeps evolving. I’m here to give you an overview of what’s trendy and outdated when it comes to wedding guest favors.

What are guest favors?

These are small gifts or tokens given to your guests as a sign of your appreciation for their presence at your wedding. In the past, these little gifts were typically part of the table setup or they were placed in a way that guests would take them when leaving the reception.

Traditionally, giving these little gifts, also known as bonbonnières, was a way for families to showcase their wealth or social status. These were small ornate boxes filled with candies or sugared almonds, meant to symbolize the bitterness and sweetness of marriage.

The tradition has continued and evolved to become more personalized. In Victorian times, wedding gifts were given as a sign of appreciation to guests and often included a small piece of jewelry or a trinket. Today, they have become a popular way for couples to thank their guests for attending their wedding and can range from items like candles or seed packets to more elaborate and costly gifts like personalized keepsakes.

Ideas for Small Gifts
Ideas for Small Gifts

Are they obligatory?

Offering wedding gifts is absolutely not an obligation, and in reality, whether or not to give them to your guests is up to you. From my point of view, these little presents have more impact when they are unique, humorous, or personalized to the couple and their ceremony.

How to choose them?

The investment should be worth it, knowing that the budget allocated to them is a significant part of wedding preparations. It’s best to consider presents that make sense for you and your guests, to avoid dust-collectors.

Personalized gifts are at the top of my list of recommendations. They are also the most enjoyable gifts for guests to receive. It could simply be a handwritten personalized note for each individual present or a donation to a charity close to your hearts. For weddings with a specific destination, a gift related to the location can work perfectly, and a practical gift is always a good idea… Think personalized fans if it’s hot!

If you plan to place them on the table, in lieu of the guests, it’s also important to consider their appearance and ensure they blend well with the decoration and style of the event.

How much to spend on these small gifts?

There’s no definitive answer to this question, as the amount depends on the overall wedding budget, the number of guests, and preferences regarding gifts. Nevertheless, it’s not necessary to allocate a significant amount to them, as many budget-friendly options exist. Some couples choose to spend a small sum, while others allocate a substantial amount to make the ceremony an extraordinary experience.

Wedding Guest Gifts
Wedding Guest Gifts

Dos and Don’ts for Wedding Guest Gifts

Make Them Memorable: The first thing to consider is their relevance and meaning to you. Choose something that helps your guests remember your wedding.

No Obligation: Keep in mind that the ceremony, meal, drinks, and your guests’ experience are enough. Your guests are present to celebrate your love for each other.

Remember, Gifts Need Not Be Taken Home: Leave disposable cameras at each place so everyone can share unique memories of the day at a later date. Or, since it’s about celebrating your union, offer a drink to each guest! Make it even more special by gifting them a bottle of their preferred alcohol.

Don’t Dedicate Too Much Time to Guest Gifts: Ultimately, they are just a small part of your entire wedding day and guest experience, try not to get carried away.

Offer Something Practical: If you want your guests to remember their gift, ensure it’s something that will be appreciated. Think about sleep masks, soaps, or succulents!

Original Ideas for Small Gifts

Beverages: If you’re not offering an open bar, you might consider giving a token for a drink. Or, if you’re in Italy, why not a shot or a mini bottle of limoncello!

Handmade Gifts: Among the presents I cherish the most are handwritten notes, personalized for each guest; a gesture that is always met with surprise, joy, and leaves everyone with a fond memory.

Fragrance: Always an excellent choice and fully customizable. Fragrances often evoke memories. You can recreate this sensation by, for instance, lighting a chosen candle on your wedding day and giving the same candle to your guests. Lighting their candle later will instantly transport them back to your wedding day.

Lottery Tickets: Offering a lottery ticket or a scratch card can be fun, and who knows, one of your guests might hit the jackpot!

Fans and Umbrellas: As mentioned earlier, practical gifts are always appreciated. Of course, this idea depends on the location of your wedding and what your guests might need on the big day.

Personalized Items: These could include monogrammed table napkins or coasters, mini gifts, or even food items. It’s even better if these items directly remind your guests of your relationship or reference a funny story you allude to in your speech.

Promo Codes, Gift Cards, or Charitable Donation: We’ve all received that secretly disliked gift! Avoid that by offering promo codes or gift cards. Making a donation to a charity and leaving a note for your guests can also be really special, especially if you have a specific charity in mind or one that’s close to home.

Flowers: Imagine spending a considerable amount on your wedding flowers, only for them to end up in the compost the next day. Encourage your guests to take a few flowers home to reduce some waste.

Books: Take a trip to charity shops and wrap up a book for each guest. If you’re a literature enthusiast, this could be a great idea for you.

Takeaway Boxes: There’s nothing better at the end of an evening than a small box containing just what you need (snacks, water bottles).

Want more of Rebecca’s advice? Find her on Instagram by clicking here and discover more tips and inspiration for your wedding day here. Don’t forget to check out our latest candle collection by clicking here.

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