History and traditions of wedding favours

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History and traditions of wedding favours

When did the tradition of giving wedding favours begin? And how has it changed over times?


Wedding favours: a bit of history

Knowing the history of wedding favours means to discover the origins of a custom that, even now, is linked to the happiest moments in people’s lives. In fact, giving a wedding favour has always been synonymous with good wishes. But when did this tradition originate?

The word wedding favour has French origins and derives from the word bonbonnière and literally means a box of bonbons. In fact, the word refers to a precious little box that contained small sweets that, as good luck, it was customary to give to spouses just after the wedding.

Still in France, wedding favours were also a status symbol of the courtiers because, during the reign of Louis XIV, the king spread the custom of paying homage to his guests with wedding favours as a form of thanksgiving.

In Italy, the custom of exchanging a gift to seal the promise of love was already widespread since the XV century, but there is a symbolic date that testifies to a change of register. It was 1986 when, for the wedding of Vittorio Emanuele, next king of Italy, with Elena of Montenegro, the guests brought wedding favours as wedding gift.

It is in this way that the modern tradition of the wedding favour was officially born, which over time has transformed into the gift that the spouses give to their guests today.


The wedding favour between tradition and innovation

olivetta handmade Apulian wedding favor

Today, the wedding favour is no longer a simple box of sweets. The wedding favour is the first gift that the spouses make together as husband and wife. A real act of love and friendship – at least that’s how we image it – which is reflected in an object that must symbolise the memory of a special day.

Even choosing the wedding favour, among all the options on the market, has become more complex for the spouses. First, the wedding favour must be an object able of reflecting the personal taste of the spouses and the style of their wedding.

But not only: the wedding favour must touch and please the tastes and expectations of the guests to thank all the participants of the wedding, or of the party in general. It must also leave a concrete testimony of a unique and unrepeatable event.


Occasions in which to give a wedding favour

olivetta wedding gift

Over time, the occasions in which a party favour is given have increased. The origins of the party favour are strictly linked to the wedding ceremony but, as time passes, it has become a consolidated habit to give party favours in the occasion of the most important events of personal and familiar life.

We are used to making and giving party favours to celebrate the birth of a son and the most outstanding moments of his life, religious and otherwise. Who has never received a party favour on the occasion of baptisms, communions and confirmations?

It’s customary to give a party favour even when you celebrate the goal of the graduation and, of course, the wedding and its most significant anniversaries.

The common aim of all party favours is always the same: to thank the participants in an event and leave them with a memory that can last as long as possible. However, the habit of giving a party favour on all these occasions has meant that the guests have become increasingly sceptical of these gifts up to define them as useless, repetitive and all the same.

These opinions, in last years, have modified the taste and needs of the spouses who have started looking for different wedding favours, defined above all as useful wedding favours.


Olivetta: a gastronomic wedding favour

Olivetta a gastronomic wedding favour

Among the useful wedding favours, the most sought after and appreciated are of course the gastronomic ones. This type of wedding favour has the merit of combining the local craft sector with the typical food and wine of the area.

Gastronomic wedding favours are increasingly widespread and appreciated, by spouses and guests, because they have the peculiarity of being able to be used and consumed by those who receive them.  Among the most widespread there are the wedding favours containing oil, wine, preserves, honey, liqueurs and small pastries. For this reason, they have also another definition: edible wedding favours.

Generally, gastronomic wedding favours have at least two advantages: their content is edible, whereas the container is a piece of local craftsmanship that can be reused at home. The gastronomic wedding favour isn’t a knick-knack.

The reuse also answers to one of the latest trends in wedding favours and weddings in general: sustainability and attention to the environment. Being eco-sustainable is also becoming a prerogative of weddings in all their aspects.

Olivetta, our made in Puglia wedding favour, answers to all these new trends in wedding favours and spouses.

  • It is a gastronomic wedding favour because it contains extra virgin olive oil from the Cultivar Coratina.
  • It is an object of local craftsmanship as the oil is contained in a traditional terracotta jar made by a master potter.
  • It is useful and reusable because the oil inside can be consumed, and the jar can be used in different ways. For these reasons, it can be considered a sustainable choice.


The etiquette of wedding favours

olivetta wedding favor

The landscape of wedding favours has changed a lot over time, but there are some rituals that continue to repeat more or less always in the same way.

In fact, a real etiquette is kinked to wedding favours, which mainly regards the times and delivery methods of these gifts.

It is good to remember that the wedding favours are addressed to all those who attended the event or who sent a gift, even if they were not there personally. The wedding favours intended for the guests are all the same, excepting those for best men, in the case of the most important and even more significant wedding.

According to tradition, the wedding favours should be given only after receiving the gift from the guests. In reality, this custom has been superseded by the one that provides for the delivery of party favours at the end of the party, a moment also dedicated to greeting guests, especially during weddings.

Although wedding favours have changed a lot over time, these gestures continue to repeat themselves with great anticipation by the celebrated and guests.



With this little story of party favours we want to give value to an object and to a custom that in the common imagination may see only a traditional gesture and devoid of new meanings. On the contrary, this object proves to be a choice always in line with the sensitivity and tastes that change and are transformed over time.

Last modification: Sat 6 Apr 2024

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