European Fashion Heritage Association

Journal Fashion & History

Sweet Traditions: Wedding Favours

European fashionwedding style

A brief history of a the sweetest – and one of the oldest – wedding tradition

The image shows a wedding favour made of wax, cloth, paper, wire and silk satin ribbon, made in Great Britain around 1889.
The history of these objects dates back to the early Romans, who gave wedding favors of honey-coated almonds following an episode of Greek mythology. By the 15th century, confectioners coated the almonds in candy. These treats were meant to represent how having a person in your life can sweeten hard times, just as the bitterness of almonds is sweetened by the sugar.
The first documented wedding favours other than almonds were given to guests at aristocratic weddings in England and France as early as the sixteenth century. These favors came in the form of small boxes made of crystal, porcelain, or gold, and creators went as far as decorating them with precious pearls and gems.

The couples who could not afford elaborate favours used to gift their guests with the so-called “love knots” created of ribbons and lace and fake flowers, usually fashioned in a way recalling the dress of the bride.