Wedding favors are small gifts given as a gesture of appreciation or gratitude to guests from the bride and groom during a wedding ceremony or a wedding reception.
The tradition of distributing wedding favors is a very old one. It is believed that the first wedding favor, common amongst European aristocrats, 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.
As sugar became more affordable, bonbonnieres were replaced with almonds. For centuries, almonds were commonly distributed to wedding guests to signify well wishes on the bridegroom’s new life. In the thirteenth century, almonds coated with sugar, known as confetti, were introduced. Confetti soon transformed to sugared almonds, which later evolved into the wedding favor for modern day weddings. Traditionally, five Jordan almonds are presented in a confection box or wrapped in elegant fabric to represent fertility, longevity, wealth, health and happiness. The bitterness of the almond and the sweetness of the coated candy exemplify the bitter sweetness of a marriage.
Today, gifts to guests are commonly known as wedding favors and are shared in cultures worldwide. Wedding favors have become a part of wedding reception planning, especially in the United States and Canada. Wedding favors are diverse and usually complement the theme or season of the event. Classic favors can range from the classic sugared almonds or individual chocolates to candles and scented soaps. Modern gift trends include: CD with the favorite music of the bride and groom, shot glasses filled with colored candy or silver picture frames with a photo of the couple. Gifts may also be personalized with the couple's names, initials or wedding date.