Favors and Chocolates

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The History of Wedding Favors

No one knows exactly just when the tradition of the happy couple giving wedding favors began, but the tradition appears to have begun in Europe among the nobles, most notably in France and Italy. Although it was also found elsewhere in the world such as the middle east for example.

Nobles would give small boxes which were made from precious materials and were sometimes jewel encrusted to each guest that came to their wedding. These special containers were known by their french name bonbonniere. Inside were often sugary treats, typically five. The five treats, represented fertility, health, wealth, happiness and longevity. It was believed that weddings were lucky occasions and the bride and groom giving the wedding favor was thought to be passing on some of their good fortune to their guests.

Another tradition which is not as spoken of with regard to wedding favors took place in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in England. Instead of sugary treats English couples gave away love knots that were made of lace and ribbons.

As time moved on people of lesser means adopted this custom as well, though their wedding favors were items that were of less value given that only nobles had the funds to give out jewel encrusted boxes. Instead common people typically handed out small cloth bags with treats to thank the guests who came to their weddings.

For a milennium almonds were the preferred treat of choice. In the thirteenth century began a practice of coating the almonds in sugar. Sugar coated almonds were referred to as "confetti." Of course in modern days we know confetti to have an entirely different meaning! And instead of the sugar coated almonds of old, Jordan almonds which are almonds coated with chocolate and a hard candy shell similar to M&M's, are the staple of many weddings when it comes to wedding favors. The combined meaning of the almonds and candy together are supposed to symbolize both the bitter and the sweet in a marriage.

However, Europe was not the only place where there was a tradition of the couples giving out wedding favors. For example in Puerto Rico it is customary to have a doll that resembles the bride sit at the head of the table where the bride is to sit. This doll is covered with charms and then given to the guests as a party favor. Something else called Copias which are elaborate cards with the name of the happy couple and the date of their wedding on them are also handed out. In Russia couples give out picture frames, bud vases or scented sachets for wedding favors. And in Malaysia decorated eggs representing fertility are given out to guests at a wedding. Finally in Holland they give out five pieces of candy wrapped in tulle which represent love, happiness, loyalty, prosperity, and virility, similar meanings as those in Europe with the five almonds or candies.

In the modern era a bride and groom can give whatever they would like for wedding favors, although it is suggested that whatever you choose it not be too large. Some examples are bottles of wine with labels commemorating the date, small cloth or lace bags with Jordan almonds or other sweets that are tied with a ribbon, small foil wrapped chocolates, and even engraved wine flutes.

Modern brides can choose to purchase wedding favors from a variety of sources, however this can be expensive and can lack a personal touch. Because of this many brides choose to make their own wedding favors which of course have that more personal touch.

The truth is a bride's choices are only as big as her imagination when it comes to choosing the perfect wedding favors for her wedding.

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