Wedding favour customs have emerged given keepsake gifts have been given to wedding guests for centuries. The favours are a small gift that shows the couple’s gratitude and thanks for each and every one of their guests.
Wedding Favour Origins
Historians believe the first wedding favour originated in Europe, where it was known as the bonbonniere. This is a small gift box made of a delicate material such as crystal or china. They would be filled with a sweet treat made of sugar, which was much revered at the time since it was imported at quite an expense.
It is believed that over the years, sugared almonds gradually became the popular sweet of choice for the gift and the idea of giving the favour grew to the wider population. The almonds represented all the good wishes for a long life, prosperity, good health and contentment.
Regional Wedding Favour Traditions
Specific traditions exist around the world for wedding favours, a few examples (and what they’re referred to) include:
- Italians and French often give chocolate or Jordan almond (bombonieri or bonbonniere) (often along with a gift)
- Greek favours often include a Koufeta Sachet (boubouniere)
- Spanish give cigars for men and a gift or orange blossoms for the women (favores de la boda)
- Russians give small pictures or candles and ornaments (svadebnoy)
- Irish couples often give a miniature set of wedding bells as favours
- Indians often give an elephant themed keepsake gift (shaadee kee paksh meen)
Wedding Favours – Today
Nowadays, wedding favours have become an essential part of the wedding celebration. The type of keepsake gifts shared with guests vary widely, and brides seek out keepsake gifts for their wedding guests that are both elegant and practical. Traditionalist brides still often attach sugared almonds or other sweets – like chocolate – to the keepsake gift. Options are indeed endless.
Specific traditions exist around the world for wedding favours, a few examples include: Italians give chocolate or Jordan almonds, Spanish give cigars for men and a gift or orange blossoms for the women, Russians give small pictures or candles and ornaments, Irish give a miniature set of wedding bells, and Indians give a hand-made elephant.
Jordan almonds are known as different names in different countries and cultures, from mlabas and sugared almonds, to confetti and koufeta. They are actually almonds covered in a sweet sugar coating and coloured in a rainbow of pastel colours featuring pale greens, blues, yellows, and white.
The almond is said to have a slightly bitter taste against the sweet outer sugared shell of a Jordan Almond. This is symbolic of life’s bitterness and the sweetness of love. The two come together in the act of life-long commitment through marriage. As wedding favours Jordan almonds are mostly given in groups of five to represent the five positive elements in life of: health, wealth, abundance, contentment, and a long life.
It is said that the sugared almonds originated from Ancient Rome, where they ate honey covered almonds at celebrations. Once sugar became more widely available hundreds of years later, it replaced the honey coating. While it is not quite confirmed, the name of Jordan is thought to come from the river Jordan where a certain type of almonds are grown.
Buy Favours or DIY?
For smaller weddings, it could be a great option to make your own favours. They’d be a personal gift to each of your guests and also help to save on budget. The ideal way to create a good DIY favour is to mix a sweet treat with something that’s personal from you and your partner – for example, a picture or personalised music mix is a lovely memory for your guests to take away. Jordan almonds have been given for hundreds of years and are the ideal addition to a DIY favour.
When purchasing favours, personalized chocolates, biscuits or other sweet goodies with your names on them or personalized favour tags is fantastic option. You can also get the sweets made into specific shapes relevant to your wedding.
How to give your favours is going to depend on your wedding set-up and schedule. For a sit-down meal a wedding favour can be left at each place setting. Otherwise a separate table can be set up specifically to hold the favours, locating it near the exit means your guests will be able to take their favour as they leave. Today it’s quite unusual to give the favours out by hand, but it can be a nice gesture as wedding gifts are received to exchange the two at the same time.
Your Unique Favours
Whether you choose to go traditional or decide on something entirely unique to give as wedding favours, of course, is entirely up to you. If your’e a do it yourselfer with a small wedding planned, perhaps visiting the local bulk food store is an option (they often carry jordan almonds).
If you’re like many Canadian brides looking for the leading Canadian and international brands, then there are several great options including the CanadaWeds.ca Wedding Shop and In Casa Gifts or visit our wedding vendor directory for even more options.
Photo Credit: © Enrico Mantegazza | Dreamstime.com