Why are almonds given at weddings?

Wedding Favour Ideas

If you’ve ever been to a wedding, you may have seen Jordan Almonds on display. What exactly are these little candies? In short, Jordan Almonds are sugar almond candies, commonly given out as party favours at weddings. The first mention of these candies dates back to 1350 in literary references. More testimonies of them show up later in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance Age, as ancient Romans used the almond candies to celebrate a variety of occasions, from weddings to births. Because the candies come in all sorts of colours, in some traditions, their colour may represent a specific meaning. For example, you will often see white ones at weddings, green candies to symbolise an engagement, and even red ones to celebrate graduations. 

These fancy, sugar-coated candies are rich in flavour and cultural meaning, particularly at Italian and Greek weddings. Fresh almonds have a bittersweet taste, which represents life; the sugar-coating is added with the hope that the newlyweds’ life will be more sweet than bitter. Even the shape of the candy has meaning. Some believe the egg shape is an aphrodisiac, while others believe it’s a sign of fertility. 

When it comes to traditional wedding favours, there is nothing better than sugar-coated almonds. They’re tasty and versatile, but what is the story behind sugar-coated almonds, and why are they used for wedding favours?

Sugared almonds, as you can figure out from the name, are plain almonds coated in sugar candy. Also known as Jordan almonds, they are handed out to guests at Italian weddings, and are typically white, pale pink, or pale blue, and are covered in matching tulle tied with a ribbon. They originated in an Italian town called Sulmona.

Sugar-coated almonds are used as wedding favours for very specific reasons. Almonds come with a bittersweet taste, which is thought to signify life’s up and downs. The sugar coating highlights the wish that the couple’s married life will be sweeter rather than bitter. In Italy, five sugar-coated almonds are typically handed out to guests representing health, wealth, cheerfulness, fertility, and long life.

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What do sugar-coated almonds symbolise?

Sugar-coated almonds are chosen for Bombonieres for very specific reasons. Almonds have a bittersweet taste, which is thought to represent life’s up and downs. The sugar coating illustrates the wish that the couple’s married life will be more sweet than bitter.

How can I include sugar-coated almonds at my wedding?

Making traditional sugar-coated almond Bombonieres couldn’t be easier. You can bulk buy the almonds and then cut out circles of coloured tulle, place five almonds in the centre and gather the tulle up around them, tying it with a ribbon.

Sugar-coated almonds were traditionally only available in pastel colours, but these days it is possible to order almonds in virtually any colour to complement your wedding theme. If you have brightly coloured tulle, you may just want to order plain white sugar-coated almonds.

For a modern take on the traditional Bomboniere, place five sugar-coated almonds in a small square cardboard box printed with your wedding details and tied with a coloured ribbon. You could also pick up the current trend for clear Perspex boxes, and brightly coloured almonds that work with your wedding colour scheme are ideal for this purpose as they will be seen through the box.

Many couples give out Jordan Almonds at their wedding all around the world to celebrate the candy’s symbolism. Still, you will find different cultures often practice variations of these traditions as they relate to the candy. 

Jordan Almonds and Greek Weddings

In traditional Greek weddings, sugar-coated almonds are called koufeta. 

They are placed in little bags in odd numbers and are served on a silver tray. Because odd numbers are indivisible, this symbolises that the newlyweds will share everything and remain undivided. Tradition holds that if an unmarried woman puts the almonds under her pillow, she’ll dream of her future husband.

Jordan Almonds and Italian Weddings

At traditional Italian weddings, five almonds signify five wishes for the couple: health, wealth, happiness, fertility, and longevity. These almonds decorate each place setting as favours, tucked into pretty boxes or tulle bags called Bomboniere that are often personalised with the couple’s names and wedding date. Guests can take these Jordan Almond wedding favours home as a tasty treat and reminder of the special occasion. 

Ways to Package Jordan Almonds

There are several ways to create Jordan Almond wedding favours. One way is to wrap a cluster of almonds in tulle and tie it with a ribbon, Italian-style. Or, pack a few almonds in boxes — made of anything, from sugar to straw, paper, metal, or plastic. Toss a few into decorative bags or pour a handful into champagne glasses or glass bowls on the tables. No matter how you package, attach a little card with a note explaining the almonds’ meaning (so guests know they’re not just an intermezzo between the salad and the entree). How to? Consider using the Jordan Almond poem: “Five sugared almonds for each guest to eat, To remind us that life is both bitter and sweet. Health, wealth, happiness, children and long life!”

When it comes to planning your wedding, Jordan Almond candies make for a sweet addition, both figuratively and literally. Whether you are following a tradition that has been practised in your family for generations or this is the first time you are hearing about it, consider incorporating the symbolic candy into your special day.

Making sugar-coated almond wedding favours

Making traditional sugar-coated almond favours couldn’t be simpler. You can bulk purchase the sugared almonds and then cut out circles of coloured tulle, add five almonds in the centre and gather the tulle up around them, closing it with a ribbon.

If you have brightly coloured tulle, you might just want to get plain white sugar-coated almonds. In the past, sugar-coated almonds were only available in pastel colours, but nowadays it is possible to order almonds in almost any colour to match with your wedding theme.

Why not embrace the current trend for clear Perspex boxes, and add brightly coloured almonds that go with your wedding colour scheme and can be seen through the box. For a slightly more traditional favour, place five sugar-coated almonds in a tiny square cardboard box printed with your special day’s details and tied with a coloured bow.

If you have another idea for your favours but still want to have symbolic almonds at your wedding, you can just add some around the reception venue and on the wedding breakfast tables. Utilise large martini glasses, glass bowls, or oversized jars to contain the almonds and place a sign or note with them asking guests to take five to signify health, wealth, happiness, fertility and longevity.

Why do You Give Favours at Weddings?

Wedding favours are not a mandatory part of a wedding; however, couples may choose to hand them out for various reasons.

Below are some reasons why couples choose to give favours during a wedding;

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As a way of thanking guests…

Wedding favours are an incredible way to show appreciation to guests for being part of your big day. Weddings are very hectic, and they require so many sacrifices both on the side of the guests and the wedding party.

The guests sacrifice their time, money and comfort to attend the wedding. It is especially a big sacrifice when the guests have to travel to a destination wedding and leave behind their family and children. It is, therefore, a good idea to hand them gifts to show appreciation for all the sacrifices as mentioned above.

As a way of making sure that the wedding is memorable

Wedding favours are also a remarkable way of ensuring that the guests have a lasting memory of your big day.

For instance, if you are giving out novelties like customised glasses and mugs or portraits, the guests get to take home something that will last a long time and always remind them of the wonderful time that they had during the wedding.

For parents to the bride and the groom, wedding favours are keepsakes that allow them to memorise the wedding and remind them of the big day.

As a way of avoiding wastage during a wedding…

Some couples choose to hand out wedding favours as a way of utilising the excesses during a wedding.

For instance, if the couple got a lot of food cooked that not all of it was eaten during the wedding, they can choose to pack the food in to-go bags and hand them out to the guests.

Also, flowers and decorations can be handed to guests as wedding favours.

This helps the couple to utilise all the items that they spent a lot of money to purchase.

It is no secret that flowers are very expensive and most of the time they wither after a few days.

There are several unique ideas on how to give wedding favours at a wedding.

However, below are some factors that determine how you give out favours.

The Dos and Don’ts of Wedding Favours

Several wedding articles are based on the dos and don’ts of wedding ceremonies.

The reason why blogs do not write much about wedding favours is that they are in no way a mandatory thing to do during a wedding.

However, if you decide to hand out wedding favours to your guests, below are some don’ts;

The Don’ts of Wedding Favours

Don’t Feel Obligated

One of the biggest don’ts is deciding to go for the idea because you feel obligated.

Keep in mind that the entire wedding ceremony is a treat to your guests.

The food, drinks, music, and experience is enough to give the guests, and you do not have to feel obligated to go the extra mile at the expense of your wedding budget.

Do not spend so much time on the favours

This will take away from the time allocated to planning the rest of the wedding.

The Do’s of Wedding Favours

Do Make it Meaningful

The first thing you should always do when you decide to give wedding favours is to choose something meaningful.

The nature of the gift will help your guests remember the experience, as is the primary purpose of wedding favour.

Always explore a variety of choices and opt for one that is unique.

One that represents the particular experience and what you want your guests to remember about the celebration.

Do Remember Wedding Favours do not have to be a Physical Gift

Some couples opt to consider a donation.

Such wedding favour works in a way that the couple chooses a charity of their choice and ask guests to donate to it.

Do Gift Something Useful

The wedding favour could also be something that the guests can use, for instance, candles or glassware are useful favours.

When the guests use these gifts, they will always have a memory of where they came from.

One popular choice throughout the ages has been sugared almonds, also known as Jordan almonds, which have been generally considered as a mark of good luck. Almonds’ popular use dates back extensively, as they were given to celebrate general good wishes. Sugared almonds specifically make an appearance in the 13th century and are called “confetti”. It was at this point that the symbolism of sugared almonds came to represent parts of the wedding favour story. Coating bitter almonds in sweet sugar, so the reasoning went, could signify the bittersweet nature of marriage.

Eventually, this symbolism grew. Sugared almonds are offered in specific amounts, which has a specific meaning. For example, a lot of three almonds signifies the bride, groom and their future child. More common, perhaps, is the tradition of offering five almonds, each one with its own meaning: fertility, longevity, happiness, health and wealth.

Sugared almonds are often ornately packaged, reflecting the ornate history of the trinket boxes in which they were presented in the past. Today it is just one more way that couples can differentiate. The presentation of their wedding favours can be another manifestation of their wedding themes and colours, another reminder of their love and the visual representation of that love or can showcase the tastes, personality or memories they want to send their guests away with.

If you have another idea for your Bomboniere but still want to incorporate sugar-coated almonds in your wedding arrangements, you can simply place some around the reception venue and on the wedding breakfast tables. Use large martini glasses, glass bowls, or oversized jars to place the almonds in and put a sign or note with them asking guests to take five to represent health, wealth, happiness, fertility and longevity.

However, you use sugar-coated almonds, and you can use this poem or something similar to convey their meaning to your guests:

  • Five sugared almonds for each guest to eat
  • To remind us that life is both bitter and sweet.
  • Five wishes for the new husband and wife
  • Health, wealth, happiness, children, and long life!

When planning a wedding, it is often these little things that distinguish the final impression left with guests – and because it is such a small thing (but with the potential to make a lasting impression), it can easily be overlooked. Finding detail-oriented help in the form of professional wedding planners can help ensure that the big things run smoothly but also that the little things run perfectly and are not forgotten.

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