Wedding favours are a popular tradition. But when a guest list runs into the hundreds, choosing items that are within budget and suit a range of ages and personalities requires prudent planning.
Michele Li, managing director at wedding planning specialist The Wedding Company, says favours generally are given to guests at a sit-down dinner. According to Li, edible treats, such as chocolates, macaroons or even boxed cupcakes, make appropriate gifts, while candles and mini bottles of alcohol or wine stoppers are also acceptable.
'We have done several candy bars with a variety of candy, scoops, glassine bags and ties,' she says. 'Guests can help themselves [and they do] and it appeals to all ages.'
Cost for favours should be determined according to the overall budget for a wedding. According to Li, HK$25 per favour is generally an acceptable amount but 'one should also be prepared to pay for ribbons, gift tags and packaging'.
Nunu Luan, managing director of Double Happiness Gift Registry, suggests practical or edible favours that can be used by recipients after the wedding.
'It's wonderful to be able to match the favour to the wedding theme or location to make it more personal,' Luan says. 'It's also good if a favour is unisex, as presumably there will be just as many males attending the wedding as females.'
Luan says the most popular favours her company arranges include Double Happiness bookmarks and wine stoppers. Luan recommends between HK$25 and HK$40 per item, as that 'would give you many options for lovely and unusual favours'.
Li and Luan are divided on the popularity of gift giving to the bride and groom. Li says Chinese guests still prefer to give lai see packets to the couple.
But Luan says giving and receiving gifts is growing in popularity, as they can be a sentimental reminder of the couple's wedding day.
'Nearly all registrants choose high-end crystal wine glasses, perhaps given that Hong Kong has become a global wine hub,' says Luan, but adds clients sometimes request more unusual items. 'They tend to be contribution funds, for example towards a safari trip in South Africa or towards a piece of art.'
Luan says there is no real etiquette for giving gifts to a bride and groom. Her clients register a gift list and guests can purchase them online. The gifts are sent to the bride and groom after the wedding.
Li recommends that a bride and groom set up a gift registry at a large department store to make the selection easier for guests. But if a guest prefers to buy something not on the registry they could purchase an 'experience' for the couple or buy a gift for their marital home.