History of Bonbonniere

The history of Bonbonniere, also known as weddings favours nowadays, dates back to early Europe.

The word comes from the Italian “bomboniera” which is from the French word “bonbonniere”. It means a box containing “bonbons”, or sugary treats.

Aristocratic families would give guests treats or sugar as a gesture of thanks. Sugar and sweet treats were considered a luxury in those days and generally out of reach of many. The giving of a small but lavish gift was not just a memento of the occasion but also a reminder of a family’s status.

The gifts were often adorned with dried or artificial flowers made of silk. If the family was well off the Bonbonniere was sometimes given in vessel made of silver or crystal. Nowadays it’s usually a small engraved glass container.

The tradition of giving sugared almonds, also known as confetti in Italy or Jordan almonds, is based in ceremonial superstition and is supposed to be lucky for the married couple. They used to be given in bags of five as it represents the married couple’s happiness, health, longevity, wealth and fertility. Sugared almonds, with their bitter taste and sweet sugar coating were also believed to represent the bittersweetness of marriage. Almonds were also thought to have aphrodisiac properties.

The sugared almonds are usually inside a bag and tied with ribbons in assorted colours. The colour of sugared almonds are traditionally:

  • White for confirmation, first communion or a wedding.
  • Light-blue or pink or for birthday, or baptism of a baby girl or baby boy.
  • Red for a graduation.
  • Silver for 25 year anniversaries.
  • Gold for 50 year anniversaries.

Nowadays, in Australia the word “bonbonniere” is applied to any small gift or keepsake given by the hosts to guests at any occasion.

The personalisation of Bonbonniere is common nowadays, champagne or shot glasses with the couple’s names engraved or tote bags full of goodies with a label or card. Some standard personalised items are; candles, bottle openers, miniature alcohol bottles, thongs (beach weddings), framed pictures, selfie frames, napkins holders and glass jars filled with candies.

With the advent of modern laser cutting and engraving, the choices are endless. Just about anything you want can be personalised for your special occasion.