Wedding Traditions: Why Do We Give Guests Wedding Favors?

This week we’re wondering: Why do we give guests wedding favors?

These days, wedding favors can be just about anything. From homemade jam to expensive bottles of wine, wedding guests have come to expect they will be given a token of thanks for attending a wedding. But where does this custom originate? Who made wedding favors a “thing”? 

Well folks, it looks like we have the nobility of Europe to thank for this extra expense.Sometime between the 16th and 18th century, it became common practice for the rich to hand out sugar cubes and sugared morsels at weddings. Giving away these treats were a great way for these people to show off, since sugar was an expensive delicacy at the time.

When sugar went mainstream, the not-so-rich were able to afford it and began to give it away on their wedding days too. As the tradition grew, other little gifts became part of the package, in particular almonds. Sometimes guests at lower-class weddings would be given the nuts at the beginning of the day so they could snack on them throughout the celebration. As time passed, the sugar and almonds were combined to create what we now know as jordan almonds. A single jordan almond was symbolic of the bitter and sweet sides of married life, while five nuts were symbolic of fertility, longevity, wealth, health and happiness for the bride and groom.

Favors have always been considered a token of thanks, but back in the 19th century, the gifts were also thought to be lucky. Instead of leaving the favors on a table for guests to take as they left, the bride and groom would customarily gift the favors by hand, personally passing on a bit of their married bliss. Maybe we should start this up again! Everyone could use a little luck on their side 🙂

Edible wedding favors are always tastefully useful! Click here to see five of our favorite edible wedding favors.

*Click photographs for original sources
By: Kelly Hamilton

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