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History of Wedding Favors
As the mother of four adult sons, I've spent the last ten years or so congratulating myself on my foresight of having all boys. Son #4 is marrying the girl of his dreams in two months so for the third time in my life I am involved in making a wedding quilt while having very little else to do with the planning or stressing over the million and one details that go into making everything perfect for the wedding.
While sitting and sewing the many curves required for the Double Wedding Ring quilt that I'm making, my mind is busy thinking about all the other things that as the mother-of-the-groom, I haven't ever had to give much thought to. For a previous wedding I volunteered to make the wedding favors but found to my astonishment that wedding favors have fallen out of fashion. Naturally, that made my thoughts turn to exactly why people starting giving favors out at weddings and what these favors were intended for.
Background of Wedding Favors
You may be surprised to learn that the tradition of giving wedding guests a small (usually sweet) treat as a token of appreciation for their attendance at the wedding is first recorded as happening among the French and European aristocracy. At weddings joining members of the aristocracy it was common to give the guests a small treat box called a bonbonniere. These bonbonnieres were very small, exquisitely decorated trinket boxes that contained either a lump of sugar (an expensive delicacy of the time) or some other sweet confection.
History of Weddings
Once the price of sugar began to drop, making it available to the masses, almonds began to replace it in the bonbonnieres. Almonds coated with sugar were called confetti in the 1400s and today five sugared almonds given as a wedding favor in a box wrapped with elegant fabric are said to represent wealth, fertility, health, happiness and longetivity. Fittingly, the slightly tart taste of the almonds in combination with the sweetness of the sugar coating represents the way in which a marriage can be both bitter and sweet throughout the years.
Sweat Treats for Favors
Wedding Favors Today
Today's weddings have left the field wide open with regard to wedding favors. In keeping with the original wedding favor tradition, the small token given to wedding guest to thank them for coming to the wedding is usually something sweet, whether candy hearts or Hershey Kisses (tm). The small trinket boxes are often replaced with small fancy bags or pouches that hold just a few of the sweets being given out. Other popular wedding favors have ended up as being taken home gifts on the wedding tables (goldfish are very popular as mementos of a wedding -- hopefully the marriage lasts longer than the fish!
Modern Wedding Ideas
As theme weddings rise in popularity, wedding favors are an excellent way to keep tradition alive while extending the wedding theme to all facets of the reception. Fabric favor bags can be created ut of the material used for the wedding dress or the bridesmaid's gowns for example, thus each guest can take an actual part of the wedding home as a remembrance of the couple and the start of their life together.