I peruse craftgossip.com and pinterest.com pretty much daily. It seems to be mostly a younger than me crowd on both sites so both have a lot of wedding, baby and child stuff on them. One of the things I see a lot of is creative favors to be used at children's parties or weddings and showers.
I've been to a decent amount of weddings but I don't really remember favors except at the last one I attended a couple years back. That one had tiny paper bags with a couple of chocolates in it. Others had little bowls of pastel colored mints on the tables. So I got to wondering where did the whole idea of favors come from. Wikipedia to the rescue!
"The tradition of distributing wedding favors is a very old one. It is believed that the first wedding favor, common amongst European aristocrats, was known as a bonbonniere. A bonbonniere is a small trinket box made of crystal, porcelain, and/or precious stones. The contents of these precious boxes were generally sugar cubes or delicate confections, which symbolize wealth and royalty. In this era, sugar was an expensive commodity and was treasured only among the wealthy. It was believed that sugar contained medical benefits. As the price of sugar decreased throughout centuries, the tradition of providing gifts to guests reached the general populace and was embraced by couples of modest means.
As sugar became more affordable, bonbonnieres were replaced with almonds. For centuries, almonds were commonly distributed to wedding guests to signify well wishes on the bridegroom’s new life. In the thirteenth century, almonds coated with sugar, known as confetti, were introduced. Confetti soon transformed to sugared almonds, which later evolved into the wedding favor for modern day weddings. Traditionally, five Jordan almonds are presented in a confection box or wrapped in elegant fabric to represent fertility, longevity, wealth, health and happiness. The bitterness of the almond and the sweetness of the coated candy exemplify the bitter sweetness of a marriage.
Today, gifts to guests are commonly known as wedding favors and are shared in cultures worldwide. Wedding favors are diverse and usually complement the theme or season of the event. Favors can range from the classic sugared almonds or individual chocolates to candles and scented soaps. Modern gift trends include: CDs with the favorite music of the bride and groom, shot glasses filled with colored candy or silver picture frames with a photo of the couple. Gifts may also be personalized with the couple's names, initials or wedding date."
How about that? Did you know anything about the tradition?
One option I saw probably falls more into the category of an alternative to rice. We've all seen confetti or birdseed used instead, and soap bubbles too (I like that one). But a new one is sparklers! How very fun!