The giving of small gifts at weddings (ie, wedding favours) from the bride and groom as a thank you to their guests is very commonplace. But how many of you know where this tradition originated? Let us enlighten you with this brief history of wedding favours!
The practice of giving favours actually dates back hundreds of years to around the sixteenth century. At this time they were called bonbonniere. A bonbonniere was a small, intricate trinket box made of porcelain or crystal and sometimes embedded with precious metals. The gift inside was usually sugar cubes or some form of confectionary. You may think the gift of sugar rather odd but, at the time, sugar was only affordable by the wealthy, so to give sugar to your wedding guests symbolised how wealthy (and generous!) you were.
As the price of sugar fell over time, the practice of giving bonbonniere filtered its way down the class system and became more and more widespread. Almonds became the new kid on the bonbonniere block. Almonds were coated with sugar and became known as confetti. However, the distribution of confetti dates back to Roman times, albeit coated with honey rather than sugar. The resurgence of the use of confetti at weddings gained popularity through the centuries. These almonds were, and still are, called Jordan almonds and traditionally 5 would be given to each guest, to symbolise fertility, longevity, wealth, health and happiness. Fresh almonds taste bittersweet and this represents life. The sugar coating is added to hope that married life will be more sweet than bitter!
Over time, the favours given have changed dramatically compared to the humble almond. The only limit seems to be the bride and grooms’ imaginations! Although we have nothing against almonds, we think favours should be of some benefit to your guests, one crunch on an almond and it’s gone. Far better to give them something to remind them of your wedding day for a long time after the wedding – such as wildflower seeds! We know, we are a bit biased, but it is so important for us all to be growing wildflowers to help the natural world. Many aspects of your wedding day can bear in mind the environment, and favours are no different. Plus you will feel really good about yourself that you did something positive for nature!