Wedding Favors and Bridesmaid Gifts

Time-Honored Ways to Show your Gratitude

A traditional wedding is not complete without an expression of gratitude to the guests and the wedding party, a small gesture of love and luck. For centuries, the favor has been a statement of thanks and indulgence, and in some cases, a hope for happiness and good fortune. In the past, guests have taken a piece of the wedding ensemble or décor as reminder of the beautiful event, but today it is up to the bride and groom to choose an appropriately sophisticated and meaningful token of appreciation.

Edible Favors are the Sweetest Gestures

Although it's rooted in European culture, the bonbonniere has become a mainstream marriage tradition in many countries. Typically, a bonbonniere contains five candy coated almonds to represent five important virtues: health, wealth, happiness, fertility and longevity. In centuries past, the bitterness of the almond together with the sweetness of the sugar was meant to represent the bittersweet character of married life. Wrapped in a pouch of tulle, lace or other delicate fabric, this little pocket of sweets is left at each plate setting or given to guests as they leave the reception.

If candied almonds are not your cup of tea, express your gratitude to your guests with another little treat. Personalized candy bars, truffles and homemade cookies are excellent alternatives that are in the spirit of the classic bonbonierre, and can be just as inexpensive to assemble. Wrapped in pretty fabric with a well-designed tag, your edible favor will impart a gracious message in an elegant manner.

Other Classic Tokens of Appreciation

Edible gifts are enjoyable, but they don't always suit the wedding atmosphere. Instead, you might offer a small silver wedding bell or a small engraved coffee spoon at each place setting, and as is the custom, a guest can ring their bell or tap their spoon on their glass when they want the bride and groom to kiss. This is also the sort of memento that can find a home on a curio shelf or china cabinet once the reception is over, so guests can appreciate the favor for years to come.

Although they're small, wedding favors can add up in price quickly, and some might be out of your budget if you're having a large reception. If you want to stick to tradition but are not willing to forego the favor, keep it simple. A box of matches with your names and wedding date is a small but useful gift, and one that won't break the bank.

Customary Gifts for Your Girlfriends

Impress your bridesmaids with a thoughtful and sophisticated token of appreciation that is as useful as it is elegant:

  • In the name of friendship. A monogrammed makeup bag, robe or tote is a sophisticated yet personalized gesture that any bridesmaid is sure to appreciate. Whether you simply add her initial or splurge for her full name, the flourish of the embroidery adds a touch of elegance and luxury, while the gift is practical for any occasion.
  • A glimmer of gratitude. Spoil your best girls with gold or silver jewelry. While gems and pearls can be too pricey, you can still splurge on your bridesmaids with a small piece of precious metal. Show your gratitude for their friendship with a small gold or gemstone pendant to complement your own wedding jewelry, or a pair of simple silver earrings that will never go out of style.
  • Rest, relax and recharge. A day at the spa, a shopping trip, or another luxurious outing will let you spend some quality time together away from the stresses and obligations of the wedding. You can arrange for a day full of grace and sophistication: afternoon tea with all the traditional trimmings, a visit to your favorite boutiques, and a relaxing spa treatment to follow.

Whatever the nature of the gift, be sure to include a hand-written card for each of your bridesmaids to express your appreciation for all the support they have offered you. A personal, heartfelt message will elevate any gift, and is indeed a precious gift in its own right.