Wedding Favors: A Brief History
For many centuries wedding favors have been a part of
traditional wedding ceremonies, across a wide range of cultures.
Initially wedding favors were an extravagance at celebrations
hosted by European upper classes, who had the wealth to provide
elaborate gifts to guests. The early wedding favors began as
small fancy boxes, known by their French name of bonboniere. A
bonboniere was fashioned of crystal, porcelain or gold and often
encrusted with precious stones. The delicate boxes were meant to
hold bonbons or other confectionery delicacies, at a time when
sugar was quite expensive. Sugar was also highly valued by all,
as it was believed to have medicinal benefits.
The tradition of providing gifts to guests was adopted by
individuals of modest means by selecting simple treats as gifts.
Every culture across time has a approached marriage as a
wonderful event, with the nuptials celebrated throughout the
community. In many societies the bride and groom are associated
with good luck, a common thought was that everything they
touched would be charmed. By gifting members of the community,
they would then pass those same blessings onto others. Many
brides would choose to distribute this good luck by preparing a
small gift of almonds, beautifully wrapped in an elegant fabric.
The custom in the Middle East is for the bride to provide five
almonds to represent fertility, longevity, wealth, health and
For more than a millennium, almonds were commonly given as
wedding gifts to the couple, signifying the good wishes on their
new life together. In the thirteenth century the practice of
coating almonds in sugar became popular, the new confections
were called “confetti”. Over time, confetti has transformed to
Jordan almonds, now a staple of many wedding celebrations. The
combination of the almond and candy signify the bitter sweetness
of marriage. Today, Jordan almonds provide one of the most
common and traditional wedding favors when they are wrapped in
small bundles of delicate fabric or lace and tied with ribbon.
Though the most traditional of wedding favors are still
appreciated, a bride is only limited to her imagination when it
comes to selecting the gifts that will demonstrate esteem from
the blessed couple.
Since the sixteenth century, bridegroom couples have been giving
gifts to wedding guests as a gesture of gratitude for sharing in
the beginning of their new life together. Today, gifts to the
guests are known as wedding favors and are commonplace in
ceremonies worldwide. The small gifts may vary according to the
culture, wealth and the interests of the couple, or theme of the
wedding. When it comes to the decision for the right wedding
favor, the options are unlimited. A beautifully decorated
placecard at the reception table, can make a lovely and
inexpensive memento. For couples with larger budgets, a vintage
bottle of wine with a personalized label is an excellent way of
commemorating the event. Frequently a bride may select wedding
favors intended to complement the décor of the reception table.
Wedding party favors are special gifts provided to members of
the wedding party. The heartfelt gifts may be distributed by the
bridegroom couple at the time of the rehearsal dinner or before
the wedding, in appreciation for assistance in creating the
couples memorable day. Like the wedding favors given to all
guests, there are unlimited possibilities for these special
gifts. Typically they may be specialized items of a higher
dollar value and may be engraved with the name or monogram of
the individual in the party.
A common denominator among all modern brides, regardless of
cultural background or budget, is for the bride to take pride in
the giving and selecting the right wedding favor. The majority
of wedding details are bound by tradition or cost, but the
wedding favor provides the bride a chance to show her
personality and really consider what will delight her guests.
Many reusable favors from candles, to statuary can be purchased
for as little as a dollar each. Edible favors can be purchased
or created for as little as fifty cents a person, while
maintaining the European tradition of giving confectionery