Why We Eat Sugared Almonds at Weddings
Where did sugared almonds at weddings come from?
If you’ve ever been to a wedding, found your seat on your assigned table and sat down only to come face to face with a delicate bag containing sugared almonds, and wondered why on earth they’re there, here’s why we eat sugared almonds at weddings.
Why we give wedding favours
Wedding favours are traditionally given from the happy couple to each wedding guest as a thank you for sharing in their special day. Typically they are left on the table in front of each guest at the wedding reception, and whilst wedding favours can range from the extravagant down to a tiny thank you note, they all have the same origins.
Wedding favours are thought to go back centuries, with the Bomboniere being the first wedding favour to be officially noted down. The Bomboniere was given to guests attending weddings of the European Aristocracy and upper classes. These Bombonieres were small trinket boxes usually decorated with precious stones, to symbolise wealth and royalty.
Almonds were also given as thanks and in the 13th century they were first covered in a layer of sugar. Sugar was the obvious gift of choice during this time because of its high value - sugar was an incredibly expensive commodity and as such, only the very wealthy in society could afford it, let alone give it away.
But as the price of sugar began to fall, the tradition of the Bomboniere became much more widespread and has evolved to become the wedding favours that we know today.
The tradition of sugared almonds at weddings
Fresh almonds are bitter, and their combination with sweet sugar is the quintessential symbol of a marriage, bittersweet.
Today sugared almonds - Bomboniere in Italy - are given to guests in lots of five. A gift of five sugared almonds is said to represent five wishes for the happy couple: fertility, happiness, health, wealth and longevity. These almonds are placed in tulle bags or pretty boxes and are often personalised with the couples’ names and their wedding date.
In Greece, sugared almonds are known as Koufetta and are contained in tulle bags in odd numbers - odd numbers represent how newlyweds share everything, even the odd things out. These sugared almonds are then set on a silver tray and guests help themselves. The tradition says that if an unmarried woman pops one of these sugared almonds under her pillow, her future husband will come to her in a dream.
In the Middle East sugared almonds are believed to be an aphrodisiac and are placed in bowls around the venue. Guests are encouraged to eat as many as they want…
Other traditions of sugared almonds include bagging them in groups of three - representing the bride, the groom and their future children.
Unusual sweet wedding favours
If sugared almonds aren’t your thing, why not consider giving your guests an unusual sweet wedding favour? What about an emoji Pez dispenser? Or a Chupa Chup melody lollipop? A heart-shaped lollipop? Or just stick with good old fashioned love hearts.
Sugared almonds at weddings
Whatever you choose to give your guests: Bomboniere (as the Italians call it), or bonbonniere (as the French call it) or Koufeta (as the Greek call it), wedding favours are a synonymous part of getting married.
They are a great way to thank guests for coming, and whether you opt for traditional sugared almonds or any other token of your gratitude to show your guests how much you appreciate them showing up and supporting you on your big day, they’ll be gladly received.