Wedding favors are as ancient a tradition as weddings themselves. As simple as candies or as elaborate as miniature golden carriages filled with rose petals, these token gifts for those who attend a wedding have become a big industry. These gifts, gestures, really, of appreciation to the guests from the marrying couple, are such a small detail, but can make such a large impact on those who receive them. In the past wedding favors were, on the whole, simpler objects, but as our cultures changed, so did all the things that comprise our culture…down to the details of wedding favors. Nowadays, there is an ever-growing range of wedding favors available for couples to give their guests, and it’s not just an American phenomenon: From country to country, wedding favors have become big business.
The concept of wedding favors has long been there in the human civilization and changes have occurred as times changed. The wedding favors in the older times were far simpler but they did have that unique touch to them which made the favor a special thing for the guests who attended the weddings. The wedding favors are a gesture of gratitude towards the guests, friends, and relatives who attend the wedding ceremonies and grace the occasion. Today there is a wide range of wedding favors available for couples to give to their guests and the sheer demand for them has given birth to the wedding favor industry in the world. Although the wedding favors vary from culture to culture, the idea behind it is common across all cultures.
The Tradition of Wedding Favors
The tradition of wedding favors dates at least as far back as the aristocracy of the Europeans in medieval times. These rich Europeans aristocrats lavished their guests with fancy wedding favors called bonbonnieres. Bonbonniere is a French word that means a bauble or a small box with attractive ornamentations on it, and this little box was generally made of porcelain, crystal, or even precious stones. The aristocracy would then place little gifts within these ornate boxes, often sugar cubes or other such confections.
Since sugar was a rare and expensive item in those times it symbolized the status of aristocracy. By giving a gift of sugar to their guests, the message was clear: We are well-off, look at what we can give away. Of course, as sugar become a common household commodity, it lost favor amongst the aristocrats, who then began favoring almonds and other expensive nuts. Later, confetti became popular. It’s interesting to note that modern weddings often make a nod to their aristocratic past by giving sugared almonds as a wedding favor.
If there’s one key difference between past and present wedding favors, it’s one of personalization. The aristocrats’ goal was to impress people with their wealth. The trend among modern couples, however, is the custom creation of gifts that bear the personal touch of the families and the couples. What better way to truly say thank you for thinking of us, than to give out thoughtful, meaningful gifts. It makes all the difference.
Personalized Wedding Favors
The centuries old tradition of the wedding favor has now been transformed into personalized, custom-made wedding favors. Although these personalized favors can be expensive, it’s not done to impress, but simply to show gratitude through personalization. First and foremost, these personalized wedding favors come with the name of the happy couple, often engraved somewhere. The date is also included, along with a short phrase summarizing the love of the couple, and their feelings for the guests. Inevitably, the gifts themselves are structured around a photo of themselves. Interesting to note, too, how many couples include their pets in the photo. A personal touch indeed!
These personalized wedding favors can reflect the wedding themes, for example the beach, or spring, as well as reflect the colors of the wedding itself. Couples can have wedding favors personalized for their beach wedding with products called Adirondack chairs, which feature tealite candles or a personalized heart-shaped bottles decorated with sand and seashells. Couples can also personalize their summer or spring wedding with favors that feature wild daisy flowers or cute flower hearts. Couples can also give edible wedding favors. Tiny bags of coffee or even chocolate bars can be personalized, now, as wedding favors. How about a wine bottle with personalized label? In that vein, glass wedding favors, or customized champagne chutes have also become a mainstay in personalized wedding favors.
Yes, personalizing one’s wedding favors can become an expensive ordeal, but when done right, the gifts can be a treasured memento.
Why Give Wedding Favors to Guests
Although the aristocrats gave wedding favors merely as symbols of their wealth and power, that isn’t to say that wedding favors today still can’t carry with them some symbolism. They do. There is, of course, the inherent symbol of gratitude that all gifts carry. But beyond that, wedding favors such as the giving of five Jordan almonds are symbolic of things like health, wealth, long life, fertility, and happiness which are the most important things in a happy marriage. Giving sugared almonds can be construed as recognizing that in marriage there can be bitterness and sweetness.
Beyond the purely symbolic level, wedding favors often have practicality to them. Whether its a bottle of wine, or a box of candles, these gifts are to be used, not just admired. Though there certainly are wedding favors which are purely decorational. Still, that’s a function, isn’t it? Couples have given beautiful framed pictures of the beach where they had their first date, or a vase from the glass-blower at the county fair where they first met. Wedding favors are ultimately about the memories.
Wedding favors are also a great ice-breaker. Often there are guests at a wedding who know only a few or even just one of the other guests. But a creative wedding favor can open people up, and have guests mingling. Imagine giving, say, five different photos to each person at the wedding. People would then approach one another excitedly, “Let me see the ones you got!” Or how about giving different candied nuts to the guests. People will mingle and share.
Truly the bottom line in wedding favors is to give a thoughtful Thank You to all the guests who took the trouble to attend your wedding. Give a touch of symbolism, a dash of practicality, a touch of personality and love, and your guests will remember your wedding for a lifetime.