lundi 1 juin 2015

How and Why to Make Traditional Greek/Italian Bombonieres for Your Wedding

How and Why to Make Traditional Greek/Italian Bombonieres for Your Wedding

Paulina Björk Kapsali

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Bomboniere? Boubounieres? Koufeta? What are these? Find out the history of this delicious Greek/Italian tradition which is probably the cheapest wedding favor ever, and learn how to make your own.
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A bomboniere, as the Italians call it, or boubouniera, as the Greeks call it, is the traditional wedding favor at Italian and Greek weddings. Jordan almonds, called koufeta by the Greeks, are wrapped in tulle or packed in other creative ways, and handed to the guests as they exit the church, or incorporated in the table setting. While unique wedding favors can be a fun element of surprise, the bomboniere is a gift of tradition and meaning.

The jordan almonds represent many things. Their egg shape, first of all, represents fertility and the new life that the couple's union will hopefully bring. The sweet coating represents a sweet life. There is also meaning in the way it is presented, and served to the guests. The number of jordan almonds is always an odd number, symbolizing the newlywed's two lives that are now intertwined, and can never be split apart again. Usually, it is also a prime number, hinting that there is only one thing that can ever divide them (death). A suitable number of koufeta in the bomboniere is therefor 5 or 7. Koufeta is also incorporated in the wedding in other ways, such as on the tray that holds the stefana (wedding crowns) during an orthodox ceremony, and the number of almonds is always an odd number there as well.

Since jordan almonds wrapped in tulle is a cheap alternative to other favors anyway, price isn't really an important factor when you're deciding how many koufeta to gift each guest. Choose 7 if you want a religious message. It symbolizes the 7 divine mysteries/sacraments. 5 koufeta in the bomboniere symbolize health, prosperity, joy, fertility, and long life.  
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The serving of sweet almonds at celebrations dates back to roman times. Back then, the almonds were dipped in honey and then consumed, and for a long time the priest would feed honey-dipped almonds to the couple getting married during the ceremony. However, while the almonds have history, some people today prefer chocolate, and fill their bombonieres with panned chocolate instead. There is nothing stopping you from filling yours with your favorite dragee candy, or other chocolate treats. Choose candy in your wedding colors if you like. Traditional jordan almonds are now made in different flavors and colors, so that you can personalize your bombonieres and still keep tradition alive.   

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A different way to serve koufeta at your wedding that has become popular during the last few years, is by letting your guests scoop some up and fill their own bags; candy bar style. This is great for you if you want to include tradition in a modern wedding. Who doesn't love a candy bar? Also, it gives the guests the chance to eat as much koufeta as they like. Because really, 5 pieces of candy is never enough 

The bomboniere doesn't necessarily have to be made with tulle. Get creative with your choice and use of fabric. Tie them up in any way you want, or use paper cones. You can even tie the koufeta into fabric one next to the other, like a string of pearls, and tie the ends together, so that the guests can wear them around their wrists. Jordan almonds won't melt or soften, so you don't have to worry too much about the packaging  
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Another popular and easy way to wrap the bombonieres is in tiny boxes. Use simple paper boxes for a cheap alternative, or fancier ones made of crystal or metal, which the guests can use in their home decor. 
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Fill tiny gumball machines with koufeta. Kids will love it. And will everyone else.

These tiny buckets are cute, and the guests can use them later as flower pots or candle holders. 

If you are really crafty, try creating these fabric roses, with koufeta tied into them.


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Small jars will also work. You can buy these cheap in bulk, and print out your own labels, for a 
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