Jordan Almond Wedding Favor


There’s an Italian wedding custom where, as a wedding favor, a couple will place five candied almonds (called Jordan almonds) into a net mesh or piece of lace, tie it up with a bow, and put a tag on them with information about the wedding. The almond net will often be placed inside of something, such as a ceramic angel, a champagne glass, or a ceramic high heel shoe.
Each almond is supposed to have an individual meaning- representing five blessings of health, wealth, fertility, happiness, and longevity for the couple.


The informant is Roman Catholic, and grew up in the United States. She was exposed to the practice when she was younger and went to the weddings of her Italian family members, where these almonds were offered as party favors.


A common interpretation I’ve seen as to why Jordan almonds are given out at weddings is because they are shaped like eggs, and thus represent fertility. Their taste is also supposed to represent the state of married life, with the delicate balance of bitter and sweet reminding the couple how life can be a balance of both. Either way, this seems to be a form of homeopathic magic- attempting to bring about a desired result by mimicking said result through the ritual. In this case, the desired result is to either have a good balance of bitter and sweet moments in one’s life, or to have a fertile and bountiful marriage. There might be some symbolism in the objects the almonds are placed in as well, those being the shoe, champagne glass, and angel. The high heeled shoe and champagne glass can both be interpreted as representations of the “celebration” at the wedding and a part of the bride, while the angel is more comparable to the Christian aspect of Italian marriage customs. These objects, representing the liminal space that is the wedding ceremony itself, literally carry the blessings (the almonds) that the married couple will receive once this space is crossed.