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A Brief History of Wedding Favors

Although specific customs vary according to culture and time period, wedding favors have been around for centuries as a way for the bride and groom to thank their guests for attending the ceremony.

Centuries ago, wealthy European aristocrats would send their wedding guests home with a small gift box, called a bonbonniere. These bonbonnieres were made of metal, precious stones, porcelain, or even crystal. In a time when sugar was extremely rare (and expensive) a bonbierre filled with candy and sugary confections was the ultimate decadence for wedding guests.

In many cultures, brides and grooms are considered symbols of good luck, so wedding favors are a way for the bride and groom to pass luck and good fortune on to their families and friends. Many cultures also incorporate the number “five” into their wedding favors (five almonds, five candies, etc.) Each piece represents one of the five wedding wishes: health, wealth, happiness, fertility, and longevity.

Increasingly, brides and grooms are turning toward more practical wedding favors that their guests may actually use again in their daily lives. The hope is that the wedding guests will keep the memento and, in health and happiness, remember the wedding ceremony with fondness. So, even as trends and traditions change, the sentiment remains the same.