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Wedding favours with South African flavours

To favour or not to favour? That is the question. Some wedding etiquette experts are adamant that they are a must, while others have a more casual attitude to the question of wedding favours. This post is for those of you who are perched on that favour fence.

You’d like to thank your guests for joining you to celebrate your wedding day, but you live in dread of splurging your budget on favours that will be discarded like flotsam and jetsam at the reception venue. The fear is real, people, and the waste is a crying shame.

The solution? Go for something consumable. Pick favours that guests can gobble! You get to say thank you, and they get to nosh on the yummies. It’s a win all around. And since we are in South Africa, we thought it only right to inspire you with a few tasty wedding favours with proudly South African flavours!

Here’s the story

Before deciding on which favour floats your boat, it’s worthwhile knowing a little bit about the tradition. Wedding favours are no new trend. They graced the wedding tables of the French aristocracy in the 16th century who used to give their guest “bonbonnières”: - jewel-encrusted boxes with a cube of sugar or sugared sweet inside. Believe it or not, back in those days, sugar was a rare commodity that people thought of as a healthy snack! So gifting it to your guests was a sure sign that the family was, not only rolling in riches but also generously blessing them with good health. As sugar became more readily available and the price dropped, the middle class soon picked up the tradition, and it spread.

Meanwhile in Italy…the tradition was to present guests with five coated almonds. Get this: the combination of the sweet coating and the tartness of the almond was meant to represent the bittersweet nature of married life. Each of the five almonds represented a different virtue - Health, Happiness, Wealth, Fertility and Long Life. People followed similar traditions at wedding ceremonies around the world.

And down it went through the centuries until there was YOU… looking for inspiration for your wedding favours!

How can you use this at your wedding?

If you are keen to follow an age-old tradition and you are sold on edible favours, then why not give it a proudly South African spin? We’ve assembled a list of some of South Africa’s champion chow to provide you with a little bit of inspiration for your wedding.

Rusks
Who can say no to the buttermilk-y goodness of an Ouma rusk? No one, that’s who! Pop a couple in a pretty paper packet with a quote or thought that is meaningful to you. Or you could label it with the guest’s name, use it as a place name and you are good to go! Your friends and family can either indulge in a late night coffee and rusk on the wedding day or “dip an Ouma” the morning after. If you have your own Ouma keen to bake up a batch - even better!

Biltong

We are not sure if this one even needs explaining. You can choose sticks or sliced, lean or wet, either way; there will be none left over. Guaranteed.

Locally sourced honey

Little jars of golden goodness. And South Africa boasts its own speciality flavours. Do some research and find yourself a local producer that operates ethically and sustainably. You’ll get delicious wedding favours and the feel-good feeling of supporting honest producers. Not only can these pots of gold double as place name holders but the jars be reused once the honey is finished. Or you could look at the range of honey-inspired products on offer instead - honey brittle, honey nuts, honeycomb, honey fudge. Honey is a seriously sweet idea.

Koeksisters

Mmmmm, plated dough drenched in syrupy goodness. Yummy! And they look so pretty they are darn near irresistible, so why even bother? Bring on the gooey goodness and let the finger licking commence! Remember these are sticky, so would work best in non -porous containers - you could try glass or plastic holders, enamel mugs, wax wrappings - and so on.

The Nostalgic Nosh Bag

For those of you out there looking for a funky retro spin to your wedding favours, how about a goodie bag filled with South African corner shop favourite? Go wild here and choose your own cherished childhood confectionaries: Chappies, Flings, Wilson’s Toffees, Chomps, Zoo Biscuits...the list goes on! Not only will these retro sweets offer folks a stroll down memory lane, but they’ll also infuse your wedding with a sprinkle of colour and fun.

Hangover Muti

Not technically a snack - but it still gets ingested, so we are listing it. You know your crew, and if you think a hangover cure might be appreciated come the morning after the night before, then why not give the poor souls what they need. You may have your preferred hangover cure that you swear by, but if you are looking for inspiration, this is what we’d put in our hangover kit:

  • A bottle of water for sure. It’ll help rehydrate and will be used to swill down the vitamins. Look for South African brands like Ceres or Cape Aqua and so on to give it the South African flavour.
  • Then you’ll want to add something to give the body a boost - Regmakers has a nice local ring to it. Or you could go with staples like Essentiale or Berroca and the like. Remember to dole out one per guest only and keep away from the kiddies!
  • Finally, you may want to include a little snack high in carbohydrates - for example, honey and oat crunchies - apparently honey is a ninja when it comes to beating back a babbelas - who knew?

And the best bit‍

You can be original in your presentation of favours. They can do double duty as place cards with your guests’ names on them. You can have a serving station where folks can go and fill up a bag themselves, or on a table at the exit for them to collect on their way out. And, if it’s a cozy, intimate wedding, there’s the option of presenting them yourself.

So, there you have it. Just a few edible South African wedding favours for inspiration. You get the general idea, now go run with it and have fun with it!

The Brahman Hills Team
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