Bomboniere – meaning and ideas

by Tina at Paper Lily

Bomboniere (or favors as they are also known) are the small gifts that bride and grooms choose to give their guests at the reception. They are usually left on the table for the guests to take home with them at the end of the evening or sometimes the bride and groom will visit each table and give them out personally. Whilst they are by no means compulsory, most couples opt to give something to their guests as a way of saying thank you.

The term ‘bomboniere’ is Italian and refers to the tradition of giving five sugared almonds wrapped in tulle and tied with ribbon. Each almond represents one of the following hopes for the marriage:  Health, Happiness, Wealth, Fertility and Longevity. The almonds can be given on their own or as part of a gift. Many couples still give the sugared almonds, however, chocolates and other gifts are becoming increasingly popular.

Glass jar with 5 sugared almonds - a modern twist on the tulle and ribbon

Another trend is to have the bomboniere serve a double purpose. It is the thank you gift but it can also be a place card. We often personalise the bomboniere with the guest’s name which eliminates another object on an often crowded reception table. Candles and chocolates are small and great options for giving each guest a gift.

Candle decorated in the theme of the wedding with the guest's name on the tag


Sometimes couples like to keep an element of surprise about their bomboniere so they will put them in bags or boxes for their guests to take home and open. The choice of bomboniere is endless. Some of the more popular ones we have seen are coasters, bottle openers, candles, photo frames, mini bottles of wine/champagne, mini perfume bottles and sweets.

A mystery box bomboniere

 At Paper Lily, our favourite bomboniere idea for this season is the photo frame as pictured below. It is a contemporary, stylish and practical gift for your guests to receive. This couple chose to insert their thank you card but it could also be used as a place card. It is a lovely idea for guests to then insert a photo from the wedding as a permanent reminder of the event. If the gift is a little larger or more expensive, couples then give one gift per couple or per family.

Clear picture frame with thank you card inserted

Whether the bomboniere is big or small, wrapped or not, the purpose is still the same – to say thank you to your guests for being part of your wedding day. It is a token of appreciation that is well recieved.

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