The tradition of distributing wedding favors is a very old one. It is believed that the first wedding favor was known as a bonbonniere. A bonbonniere is a small trinket box made of crystal, porcelain, and/or precious stones. The contents of these precious boxes were generally sugar cubes or delicate confections, which symbolize wealth and royalty. (In this era, sugar was an expensive commodity and was treasured only among the wealthy. It was believed that sugar contained medical benefits). As the price of sugar decreased throughout centuries, the tradition of providing gifts to guests reached the general populace and was embraced by couples of modest means.
A host or hostess has the option to make or buy party favors for their event. The main factors in this decision are budget, longevity of favor, and time allotted for the task.
A typical party favor budget is computed by allotting a specific percentage of the overall event budget to favors. Traditionally a wedding would allow for 20% of the overall budget to cover party favors.
If the host or hostess chooses to give an edible favor, they have the option to make it themselves or buy it from a favor company. The decision about longevity is personal to the host/hostess.
Time allotted for the task will also determine whether a host/hostess makes or buys their party favors. If the party is scheduled months in advance, time may be available for a handmade favor. If the guest list is large then buying the favors may be more efficient.