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Wedding Favours: The History and Modern Ideas

134_1507066Well what do we know about the history of wedding favours? Where does this idea of giving the guests a sweet treat come from? Here’s the history bit!

The tradition of the wedding favour goes back to French aristocracy centuries ago, and the original name for the favour was ‘bonbonniere’ (how cute!) It was a small and curious trinket box made from something gorgeous like crystal, porcelain or precious stones filled with something edible. Think Marie Antoinette levels of luxury and decadence. The edible element was generally something made from sugar or similar confections, symbolising wealth and royalty, as sugar was extremely expensive and only available to the very well-off.

As the price of sugar decreased over the years, this tradition became more widespread and meant that the lower classes could also afford to offer their guests this special gift of thanks. Bonbonnieres were then replaced with almonds which were coated with sugar, known as ‘Confetti’ or ‘dragée’, (which a very hard by the way, tried these at a couple of Italian and Greek weddings and very nearly chipped a tooth! Not a great wedding look) which them became known as sugared almonds, becoming the traditional and popular wedding favour that we are familiar with today.

Below: An example of an original bonbonniere

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Traditionally, five Jordan almonds sit in the box to represent fertility, longevity, wealth, health and happiness. ‘Sugared almonds’ is meant to be a metaphor for married life: the bitterness (from the almond) of life and the sweetness (from the sugar) of love.

Jordan almonds originate back to Ancient Rome where honey-covered almonds were commonly eaten at festivities. When sugar became more readily available in the 15th Century, the almonds were coated in sugar instead. The Pelino family in Sulmona, Italy perfected the technique of creating the dragée almonds.

136_3960577As with all traditions, they fade and morph into something more modern. The idea of a well thought out favour can be really meaningful and a great way to thank the guests and help them remember the day by, and can even make a cute keep sake. One of my favourite wedding favours that I’ve received was at (my friends) Mr and Mrs Shrimpton’s Wedding. They filled a jam jar with as many strawberry flavoured ‘shrimp’ sweets as they could, with a lovely gingham lid and our names on each of the jars (similar to the image to the left, which also doubled up as a handy table name card!) I thought it was a really nice idea as this obviously had meaning to the bride and groom, and as a bonus we all got a little mini starter before the meal!

Favours obviously depend greatly on budget, amount of guests, and in a lot of cases, time! DIY favours for over 100 guests can prove quite a testing task for the wedding party to achieve! But we’ve put together a list of images with some ideas that we think you might like. These could also be further personalised (if you have the time and the patience!) but they are definitely cute enough as they are. Cute Maps love the Instagram photo personal coasters, and the bottles of bubbly (of course!)

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