A History of Wedding Favors
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 bonbonniere. A bonbonniere 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.
Gifts to Guests
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 happiness.
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.
Choosing a Favor
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 delights.