A Brief History of Wedding Favours*

If you are due to get married and have already begun planning for the big day, one aspect you may not have thought about yet is wedding favours. The first things to come to mind are usually the venue for the ceremony, the venue for the reception, the food, and of course – the dress! However, putting together a little something for all of your guests to show them your appreciation for attending is a great idea, and can be that perfect finishing touch. This is a tradition that has spanned centuries, but where did it all begin? Here is a brief history of wedding favours as well as a few ideas you might want to think about.

A Brief History of Wedding Favours

Sugared Almonds Were Originally a French Tradition…

The tradition of giving wedding favours actually began in France in the 16th century, where the aristocracy would give their party guests sugared almonds or sweets presented in small jewel coated trinket boxes. These were also known as ‘bonbonniŅres’ which literally translates as bonbon boxes. This was done not only to express gratitude or extravagance, but it was believed that sugar had health-boosting properties, and so it symbolised the host’s care towards their guests’ wellbeing. Although these were given out at both parties and weddings, sugared almonds were chosen in particular for weddings because they are both bitter and sweet, which signifies the bitter-sweetness experienced in a marriage.

…then the World Followed

Around this time, other countries began to follow suit. In the Middle East, for example, guests would be given five almonds by the bride to symbolise happiness, health, wealth, fertility and longevity. In Greece, they gave out sugared almonds but named them ‘bom bom yara’ and in Spain, they gave sugary chocolates because the Spaniards also believed in the health-giving properties of sugar. It was only in England where wedding favours began to extend to handmade items of lace and ribbon, also known as ‘love-knots’. Soon after the tradition began, the price of sugar began to fall, as well as many other commodities, and so both middle- and lower-class people were able to throw larger weddings and invite more guests with wedding favours a part of them.
From Sugared Almonds to Personalised Gifts

As the years have gone by, sugared almonds as party favours have become a rarity, and couples have become more inventive with what they give out. Nowadays, we are seeing more creative wedding favours like personalised wine glasses, packets of tissues with the bride and groom’s name and wedding date printed on them, as well as more environmentally friendly ideas like packets of wildflower seeds. In modern weddings, wedding favours are more than just an expression of gratitude; they can also be great ice breakers for guests that aren’t well acquainted, as well as decorative table pieces.

Ideas to Get You Inspired

So, while you might have decided that wedding favours are wasteful and not worth your time, perhaps learning the history of where the tradition began has inspired you to try and think of your own symbolic gifts for your guests. After all, it is a great opportunity to thank them for not only attending your wedding but for being there for you in life either as friends or family. However, this is the place where you can really start to think outside the box, as you don’t necessarily need to follow the theme of your wedding; instead, think about what your guests would want, or could use, rather than what you think would be a good idea. Maybe they could use an herbal hangover to help them recuperate after partying the night away, or maybe they’re the sort of crowd to appreciate fancy dress props to liven up the reception?

Here are a few more ideas you may want to think about:

· Cookie or cake ingredients in a jar
· Homemade chutney with cheese tasters
· A mix tape or CD of the music you will be playing at the ceremony
· Personalised face masks
· Scratch cards presented in a personalised card holder
· Nail varnish for the ladies and cufflinks for the men

There are wedding favours to suit every budget and For Better For Worse have discussed this in more detail via their blog, with a list of over 90 creative wedding favour ideas. Their website can also point you in the right direction of wedding suppliers and wedding venues, so it’s a site worth checking out if you haven’t crossed everything off your to-do list yet.

When you are thinking about wedding favours, make sure you don’t feel obliged to include them, but if you do, make sure they are meaningful, and that they express both yours and your husband or wife-to-be’s personalities. You’ll want it to be something guests will appreciate and that they can remember your wedding by.
*Collaborative post

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