Wedding is one of the most vital events in a person’s life. Wedding favors form an integral part of the ceremony, as they are basically a sort of return gifts that are given to the guests, after they have attended a wedding. This is considered to be a gesture of appreciation or gratitude, through which the couple expresses its happiness over the union and graces the guests with small tokens. However, apart from the agreeable gifts, the tradition also boasts of an interesting background.
The history of wedding favors dates back to the 16th century. The initial wedding favors have been identified as biscuits, fruits and nuts. They were usually presented prior to the ceremony, so that they could be enjoyed by the guests during the festivities. In ancient Rome, nuts and cereal grains were scattered at the time of the ceremony, to symbolize fertility. However, in ancient Italy, favors were seen only amongst the wealthy. The wedding couple presented their guests with silk scarves, incense and muhr.
The tradition of wedding favors was also seen in ancient European Aristocrats. It was known as a Bonbonniere, which was a small trinket box made of crystal, porcelain or precious stones. Usually, these precious boxes were filled with sugar cubes or delicate confections, symbolizing wealth and royalty. This is because during that time, sugar was considered to be the most expensive commodity and was available only to wealthy persons. After sometime, sugar or Bonbonniere were replaced by Almonds.
With the passage of time, in the thirteenth century, almonds coated with sugar, known as Confetti, were being given as wedding favors. Soon, Confetti was replaced by Jordan Almonds. Five Jordan almonds were presented in a confection box or wrapped in elegant cloths, to represent fertility, longevity, wealth, health and happiness. This seemed to have signified the bitter sweetness of a marriage represented by the bitterness of the almond and the sweetness of the coated candy.
Over the centuries, the tradition of wedding favors has evolved. It has become more sophisticated and themed favors are quite popular today. Some of the most popular wedding themes are Wine theme, Heart theme, Flower theme, Elegant theme, Seasonal theme, Cherubs theme, Valentine's Day theme, etc. Some other favors include personalized pens, wedding flowers, trinket boxes, goblets, candles, vases, etc. With this, it can be stated that wedding favors have evolved to become an industry, rather than just a being a tradition.