History of Wedding Favors
Wedding favors have become an important part of marriage celebrations around the world. The tradition dates back thousands of years. Favors were given to guests in appreciation for sharing in the newlyweds’ special day.
Wedding favors are as diverse as the cultures surrounding them and the different cultures have different favors. Though there are a lot of differences, many of the traditions are similar. For example, it is quite common for many cultures to provide each guest with a wedding favor that contains five candies. Each piece of candy is a symbol of the five common wedding wishes: health, wealth, happiness, long life and fertility.
Favors are considered among the most important wedding accessory and range from very unique to practical. Chocolates, picture frames, candles and candle holders are some of the most popular wedding favors. Many brides today try to make some sort of a statement with their favors. Personalized wedding favors provide an especially effective way to display a brief message to the reception guests.
Historically favors were usually in the form of sugar, which was a very expensive product, so favors were commonly given by the upper class only. These sugary treats were nicely packaged and presented to guests at celebrations such as weddings, birthdays and christenings. When sugar became accessible to everyone, the custom of giving favors became wide spread. The most common sugared treat was the almond because of the symbolism behind it. Almonds represent the bitter aspects of life and the sugar represents the sweetness of life. Today, the tradition of giving five sugared almonds is still practiced. Many brides package them in netting, favor boxes, tins and gift bags.
Wedding showers derived from the time when men would prove their intent by bringing gifts to the bride’s father. Livestock, food, land, cloth and money were given to the bride’s family as "payment" for the bride. Eventually, this ritual evolved into men giving gifts of enticement to the daughter to show he was a man of good intentions. Fabric for clothes, the finest dishes and gold and jewels would prove that groom to be could provide a good home for her and their future children.
Some believe the tradition began in Holland when a poor couple was denied the bridal dowry because of the groom’s lowly status as a miller. The groom’s friends showered the bride with gifts to help them set up housekeeping, which evolved through the years into the tradition we now practice today,
Today, friends of the bride and groom ‘shower’ the bride (and sometimes the groom) with gifts to start their new lives together. It is believed to be good luck if the first gift the bride opens at her shower is the first gift she uses after the wedding.
Bachelor parties originated with the soldiers of ancient Sparta. The groom feasted with his male friends the night before the wedding, pledging his loyalty and friendship to them. The soldiers provided loose women, food, drinks and good times for a night of male bonding. The function of this rite of passage was simply to say good-bye to the wild antics of single life while swearing the groom’s continued allegiance to his comrades.
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