The History of Wedding Favors

While planning your wedding, you have probably thought about wedding favors and wondered if they are something you could cut out of your budget.  Perhaps a bit of history can help you understand why favors are a time honored tradition and something guests look forward to taking home.

One of the earliest accounts of a wedding favor dates back to the 16th century in England. Back then, it was common for couples to give love knots constructed from lace and ribbon to each of their guests as a favor and to represent their bond of love.  Wedding favors have evolved into a tradition that can be seen around the world.artworkcav4nbj8

When it comes to wedding favors, anything is acceptable.  Americans usually give favors according to their wedding style, theme or the couple’s lifestyle.  But many countries have different traditional wedding favors such as:

  • At an Italian wedding, guests can expect to receive chocolate covered almonds.
  • At a Spanish wedding, guests receive cigars for men and a gift for the women of either Spanish hand fans, wedding cookies or a local good, such as pottery.
  • In Russia, favors consist of tiny pictures or small candles and trinkets.
  • At Irish weddings, it is common for guests to receive small wedding bells.
  • In India, a lucky wedding favor to give guests is a hand-crafted elephant.

Today, wedding favors are presented in a variety of ways but how each couple does so depends on their own tradition or what they feel is the best representation of them.  Some couples will display wedding favors at each place setting, adding decoration to each table.  Others will have a table of wedding favors, where the small gifts are displayed for guests to take on their way home.  Or couples have wedding favors displayed with a decorative card attached containing each guest’s name and table assignment.  But it is up to each couple to decide which scenario works best for them and their reception.

Here are some of the most popular wedding favors:

Do it yourself wedding favors – Many couples are getting their families involved and saving money by making their own favors, some of these homemade favors include: scented candles, wrapped candy tins, home baked cookies or potpourri.

Personalized wedding favors – These are usually professionally printed and contain the bride and groom’s names and wedding date.  These can tend to be more on the pricey side, but are sure to get the ‘wow’ factor.  Examples of these are: Champagne bottles, sterling silver coasters, matchbooks, pens or golf favors

Edible wedding favors – Personalized fortune cookies, chocolate bars, candy, almonds, mints, honey jars with the “Meant to Bee” slogan, gourmet teas and coffees, candy hearts or Hersey kisses.

Bubbles – A favorite past time from childhood, bubble bottles with wands make a whimsical gift that’s a hit with both kids and adults.

Au natural – Wild flower seeds, tote bags, natural soaps, or decorative sea shells are popular for both summer and beach weddings.

Seasonal wedding favors – Some couples incorporate these into a winter or fall themed wedding: gifts of spice-scented candles, baked goods, jams and jellies, snow globes or personalized Christmas ornaments.

Picture frames – The versatile picture frame may hold a photo, wedding invitation, or serve as a keepsake place card holder that guests can bring home.

Plants & flowers – A ‘Love in Bloom’ saying can be displayed in personalized packets of flower seeds, elegantly presented flowering bulbs, or potted plants.  These are very popular when nature plays a major part in the design, style and theme of the wedding and reception.

Silver – Bells, cookie cutters, inscribed with “we were cut out for each other,” coasters, spoons, wine stoppers, bottle openers, or ice cream scoops.

Wedding favors are a time honored tradition.  Whether you choose to give out tulle-wrapped packages of cookies, decorative candles or a silver bottle opener your guests are sure to appreciate the gesture and will treasure their gift from you for years to come.

- Angela