Planning a wedding of any size or budget can have numerous items that may be quite costly. In addition to planning for the dress and cake, a bride will want to spend thought considering the wedding favors for her guests. These small tokens of appreciation don’t have to be expensive. Frequently, the most enjoyable part of planning a wedding, is the selection of the wedding favor. Preparation for right the token at the least possible cost adds to the fun, allowing the bride a chance to tap into creative talents.
The practice of providing gifts to the guests of weddings began with European aristocrats who would endow guests with a fancy box called a bonboniere, named for the bonbons that it would protect. A bonboniere was crafted of crystal, porcelain or gold and could be encrusted with precious stones. Today these gifts for the guests, are known as wedding favors and is a tradition that has continued worldwide since the sixteenth century. A common belief of many cultures worldwide was, that the wedding couple was the focus of benevolent spirits who brought good luck. They believed that the same auspicious luck could be passed on to anything they touched. Betrothed couples would give small items to others in the village to share same good luck, that was expected to last a year.
For more than a thousand years, almonds were a common gift given to the wedding couple, signifying the good wishes on their new life together. Brides would choose to pass on those same good wishes to others by preparing a small gift of the almonds, beautifully wrapped in elegant fabric. The custom in the Middle East is for the bride to make a gift of five almonds to represent fertility, longevity, wealth, health and happiness. In the thirteenth century the trend of coating almonds in sugar became popular. Today the candy coated nuts are pastel adorned treats, known as Jordan almonds and remain a staple of many wedding celebrations. Jordan almonds provide one of the most common and inexpensive wedding favors when wrapped by delicate fabric to form small bundles tied with ribbon.
Wedding favors are typically presented to guests at the reception table, but can be distributed at the end of an informal gathering of coffee and cake. Brides have learned be very creative when it comes to selecting wedding favors that won’t go over budget, and still honor all of her guests. The trends may vary each year, but the favors a bride selects are never out of fashion. Recent favorites have included flower seeds packaged in transparent, frosted envelopes with a small sentimental card attached with a ribbon commemorating the event. Decorative candles tied with a delicate ribbon are another great item to show sentiment and many can be purchased for about one dollar. Custom designed bookmarks with personalized sentiments can be cherished by guests for a lifetime. Today’s desktop publishing software and quality papers greatly reduce the cost compared to the costs of using a professional printer.
The art of presenting wedding favors, provides unlimited possibilities for a couple to express gratitude to guests for being present at the event. Wedding favors serve a dual purpose of allowing the bride to express herself emotionally or creatively and can be chosen to provide décor to the reception table. The selection of inexpensive favors doesn’t have to compromise quality or elegance. Simple placecards in small decorative frames or placecard holders will make a lasting gift selection. Frames and placecard holders can be made with a variety of materials from ceramic to stainless steel, for about a dollar each. Decorative candles, soaps and cookies are easily found in a variety of shapes from cupids to wedding cakes. Stylish bottle stoppers and bottle openers are available in a variety of shapes and crafted in frosted glass or stainless steel.
If a bride is open minded to a wide range of gift items when shopping, it’s possible to find excellent prices on bulk purchases, or closeouts from retailers that specialize in wedding paraphernalia. Avoid having gifts engraved or personalized, as that will greatly drive the prices up. If it is desired to personalize an item, consider custom designed labels for chocolates, coffee or packages of tea assortments. Although prices for private labeled chocolate bars can be about $2.00 each, a bride or her friends can design and print unique labels with a home computer. Candy bars can be picked up at the local grocery for as little as a quarter each or bought in bulk from a club store.
The presentation of wedding favors is a time honored tradition and provides the bridegroom couple with an excellent means to share feelings with those they care about. Wedding favors continue to be one element of the wedding, where presentation and imagination have a greater value than the price of the item.