Traditions & customs are a big point of discussion for most couples as they outline their wedding day. Often times, family & friends have opinions to contribute on the subject and this can lead to a couple making decisions to include or not include specific elements that they might not want to.

We definitely think there's something to be said for tradition- we love our family's holiday traditions and understand the beauty of participating in a custom that has been passed down from generation to generation.  Tradition has its place in our lives and special meaning to certain people so we don't believe you should bunk it all- unless of course, that's what you feel in your heart you want to do! But we definitely don't think couples should do something for the "sake of" tradition. 

In a series of posts this week, we're talking about the origin of some of these traditions as well as some of the elements of a wedding that our couples often reconsider or forgo altogether. 

#2 - Favors

The Tradition

Wedding favors are said to have originated with French aristocracy in the 16th century. Guests at weddings, as well as other parties, were given ʻbonbonnièresʼ which were delicate, jewel encrusted boxes that would be filled with sweets.  A wedding was considered a lucky occasion and by passing bonbonnieres and other treats onto wedding guests, the couple felt they were also bestowing their good luck upon their guests.

One traditional favor became sugared almonds (known today as Jordan Almond) which were given in quantities of five which represented fertility, health, wealth, happiness, and longevity.  

Today, when it comes to wedding favors, anything goes. While Americans usually give favors according to their wedding's theme or something personalized that relates to the couple, many countries have traditional favors such as wedding bells at Irish weddings, hand-crafted elephants in India, & cigars at Spanish weddings. 

The Alternative

While there are lots of wedding traditions that don't outright cost you money, favors are one thing that do affect your bottom line. Honestly, throwing a wonderful wedding in itself covers any need for favors but if you like this tradition, we suggest taking the original purpose of the favor to heart: A token of appreciation to guests for spending the day with you. 

Here are some ideas to try in place of the traditional wedding favor:

- Welcome gifts: exchange a small trinket for a beautiful welcome gift (like the one above from The Welcoming District). Don't have the budget for all your guests? Choose those who are most important to your day - parents, wedding party and other close family. 

- Write notes to your guests: Write personalized notes to each guest thanking them for their love & support. We love the idea of using escort cards for this purpose!

- Snacks: Put the money you would have spent on favors into late night snacks or treats to-go. After a night of drinking, guests are always happy to have something to munch on. 

- Photos: If you have a smaller wedding, try to get a photo from your photographer with each guest or family, then send a copy of the photo with a thank you note after the wedding. 

Did you miss the other posts in this series of Wedding Traditions Reconsidered?
Check them out here:

#1 - The Bouquet & Garter Toss
#3 - Cake
#4 - Waiting to See Each Other Until the Ceremony
#5 - Wearing a Veil  
#6 - TheWedding Party

About Sincerely Pete

Sincerely Pete is a full service wedding planning and design company in Washington, D.C. and Alexandria, VA with over 13 years of experience. We believe in a personal, curated & customized approach to each wedding couple we work with taking their values & personalities into account and keeping the relationship as the focus of the wedding. We plan Washington DC weddings, Virginia weddings, Maryland weddings and destination weddings all over the world. 

Contact us today for more information!