There is no clear history regarding the introduction of wedding favors into the wedding celebration. The first party favors of note are documented in the 16th and 17th centuries, where bridal couples in England gave out love knots made of lace and ribbons. However, party favors are a way for the wedding couple to thank their guests for attending their wedding and sharing in their celebration. In the United States, the wedding favor has emerged as an integral part of wedding planning, with many couples favoring modern interpretations of old traditions.
The early wedding favors began as small fancy boxes, known by their French name of bonbonniere. A bonbonniere was fashioned of crystal, porcelain, or gold, and often encrusted with precious stones. The delicate boxes were meant to hold bonbons or other confectionery delicacies, at a time when sugar was quite expensive. Sugar was also highly valued by all, as it was believed to have medicinal benefits.
Many brides would choose to distribute this good luck by preparing a small gift of almonds, beautifully wrapped in an elegant fabric. The custom in the Middle East is for the bride to provide five almonds to represent fertility, longevity, wealth, health and happiness.
Favors are presented in a variety of manners, how each couple does so depends on their own tradition or what they feel is best for their wedding reception. Some couples will display favors at each place setting, thereby adding to the table decorations. Others will have a favor table where the small gifts are displayed and a decorative card attached containing each guest's name and table assignment. There are still others who choose to give favors out by hand in exchange for a wedding gift. It's up to the couple to decide which scenario works best for their reception.