By Yours Truly
It is believed that the European aristocracy began the tradition of bestowing wedding favors upon all of their guests. They were called bonbonniere and consisted of small boxes of crystal or porcelain, which held delicate confections such as cubes of sugar, then considered the ultimate symbol of wealth and royalty. It was also believed that sugar was the source of many health benefits. (Old Mr. Tooth Decay and Ms. Diabetic Coma were still years away on the horizon of realization.) Over the years, as the price of sugar decreased and became affordable for people from all stations in life, the tradition of giving away wedding favors took root.
Bonbonnieres were slowly replaced with almonds, which were presented either in a confection box or wrapped in elegant fabric. In the 13th century, confetti, (almonds coated with sugar), were introduced and soon became known as sugared almonds. There are five almonds presented in the traditional package of wedding favors, which collectively represent fertility, longevity, wealth, health and happiness. (The bitterness of the almond and sweetness of the sugar were said to exemplify the bitter sweetness of a marriage).
Today, the wedding favor can be almost any kind of keepsake, and is often personalized with the couple's name and wedding date. Other than that, the sky is limited only by the confines of one's own imagination. Every culture in the world shares the practice of distributing wedding favors, albeit it is particularly popular in the United States and Canada.
One way to please most wedding guests is to make the wedding favors food-related (everyone likes food so its hard to miss). Wedding favors, no matter how inexpensive, should look like they are made especially for the occasion and this usually calls for decorations. You can even bake your own wedding favor confections, like cookies for example, and then place them into a wedding favor box or wrapping of some special sort, put a ribbon around them and attach a thank you note on the outside of the box. Better, have some caring friend or relative do the cooking, because if this is your wedding, you will have too many other things to do in preparation for your special day.
Other ideas for wedding favors of the non-edible kind might include: pewter, glass or crystal wedding favors, flowering plants in a personalized terra cotta planter, fragrant soaps, candles, incense, sachet, magnets, or key chain wedding favors. The list, like Sonny and Cher's immortal beat, goes on and on, and it must be remembered that wedding favors whether homemade, inexpensive or costly are meant to elicit fond memories of a day like no other in the lifetime of a couple and to show gratitude to guests who have shared this special day with the bride and groom.
The only rule to remember is that the wedding favor should be a gift from the heart. From there, only good things can flourish and bloom.
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