Wednesday, 8 April 2009

In favour of favours?

If anyone of the countless wedding magazines I have flicked through in Borders, or the wedding websites which send me e-mails with prize draws are to be believed, favours are an incredibly important part of our wedding.

According to my fellow columnist on Elizabeth Anne Designs, Amanda, "favors are definitely one of the traditional elements of the modern wedding. Typically, good favors [meaning anything truly worth your time, effort and money] fall into one of three categories: edible, fun, or sentimental". She does go onto to say that the favours have to be right, that it can be better to have no favours than the wrong ones and that it can sometimes be better to a budget in a different way to look after ones guests.

Now, with no disrespect intended to Amanda, I am not sure favours are a traditional element of a wedding, modern or otherwise. Yet much like party bags at small children's birthdays, favours seem to be something that all magazine and wedding industry crones make brides feel are a necessity and dress it up as 'traditional' to sell it just that little bit more.

Clearly a wedding without guests would defeat the point (unless you opted for no guests, but then I suppose you wouldn't be thinking about this sort of issue anyway) so we will be very grateful for any guests who are able to give up a precious June weekend to celebrate this day with us. Not just grateful, pleased. Yet I don't feel our thanks to them should be in the form of a small present on the table, or handed out at some point during the reception.

Our thanks to our guests comes in the form of the planning that has gone into the day, the inclusion of family and friends in the preparation for and then the actual day. In serving local, free-range produce, cooked mainly in situ and served in a relaxed fashion. In not making them adhere to a specific dress code; in asking them only to pay for their travel and accommodation costs rather than having a cash bar and then in organising their taxis afterwards. And writing each guest a handwritten thank you card afterwards. Which I hope will mean more than a jar of jam, however tasty, or a small personalised present.

Which is not to say I wouldn't appreciate a thoughtfully chosen favour at a wedding at which I was a guest; I very much enjoyed the fine chocolates which were on the tables at the last wedding I attended (and enjoyed the bonding experience in helping to compile them). I am just saying that they are not for us and our wedding.

What we will be doing though is making a charity donation on behalf of our guests. I have been investigating various options and hope to Build a Bog and provide a village with some clean water. As a soon to be unemployed person, and a poorly paid one before that, we haven't really been in a position to give money in a meaningful way to charity before. So we are very pleased that by saving some money in our budget by doing a lot of the things for the wedding ourselves we have been able to free up some money to donate to charity (as well as the money from my wedding dress, the vast majority of the crockery and the bridesmaids sandals).

I suppose perhaps what I am trying to say, yet again, is that each wedding should be organised to suit the couple in question and that nothing should make them feel their wedding is less than adequate if she/they do not have favours (or what ever else it is, favours are only one such example).


Blablover5 said...

It is interesting how many things suddenly are "necessary" to have a wedding.

Save the Dates are the best example. What was once a rare just for those doing a destination or a holiday wedding are suddenly de rigour and everyone is expected to send them now.

Marie said...

We had no favours because I couldn't decide on what would reflect us and would be good thing to have, plus I ran out of time. None of our guests noticed though, or they didn't tell me they noticed! Possibly controversial here but I always think of favours as an American thing, perhaps I'm wrong but it's something I've read a lot more about on American wedding wedsites than on UK ones. I think it's great you're going for a charity donation as well, it was something I read about in a few places but again wasn't sure I'd be able to chose a charity which I felt reflected us well, or that I really wanted to support without taking too long to decide. Sorry a longer comment than planned!

Peonies and Polaroids said...

Favours are most definitely not a traditional part of a wedding. They've only been around for about 20 years (give or take) and ask anyone of your grandparent's generation what favours they had at their wedding and they'll look at you like you just asked them what colour of ipod they used at the reception.

Which isn't to say that favours can't be a fun idea, but passing them off as traditional is bollocks.

Rachel said...

@Blablover5 - I think save the dates can be quite helpful. We just sent e-mails and facebook group invites to ensure everyone knew our date well in advance. Yet still some people have had to pull out with clashing events. Seems everyone wants to get married in June. Which we knew, which is why we did save-the-dates.

I am all for creating new traditions which are helpful, and I think save-the-dates could fit into this category, depending on the time of year of the wedding and the people invited and so on.

@Marie - That is my favourite line at the moment: 'no-one will notice'!

@Peonies - Indeed. 'Traditional' seems to have a different definition sometimes in wedding magazines I think.

ami @ elizabeth anne designs said...

i absolutely love doing charity donations in lieu of favors (although strangely, i think i'd still consider that a favor!). it's great to use the cash to give to a great cause.