Wedding favors can be so diverse – from tiny and cheap souvenirs to costly housewares and fancy gifts. But people in Slovakia spend so much time and effort on their wedding favors, like no other. Several women (and often kids as well) give their full attention to baking and decorating cookies during a week. We’re talking about 10,000 cookies, for example, for a wedding. In the end, every guest family gets a bag of delicious traditional sweets. Isn’t that a sweet wedding custom?
Slovak women start to bake cookies for the wedding favors about a week before the wedding. They make plenty of different types of sweets – up to 30 types of cookies and even more! Of course, despite this sort of ritual being traditional, not every single family does that. Some mothers of the bride prepare cookies as the wedding favors, others don’t. It’s up to every family. But in the rural areas of Slovakia, the tradition is still strong and very common.
Though, the family isn’t left alone with hundreds of cookies to bake. In the past, it was traditional to help them out – every neighbor or friend or relative (in villages, every household) had to donate some ingredients: eggs, butter, flour, jams, nuts, etc. It was considered a shame on the family if they didn’t give anything. This united the community and made the relationships between the neighbors better. Also, some people helped baking as well, especially the closest relatives and friends. So, you can say that the whole village took some part in the wedding favors prep. Even today, people often continue to donate cookie ingredients to the bride-to-be, though, it’s not that common as it used to be.
At the end of the wedding reception, every family got a box of cookies, cakes, and similar sweets to take home as a wedding favor. Not every guest got the favor but every family as a unit.
By the way, another, even bigger, box of cookies is delivered to the most respected and close family members and friends during the ritual of inviting them to the wedding. So, more cookies to be made! Traditionally, Slovakian wedding guests have to be invited 3 times to the marriage ceremony, otherwise, they would be offended that they got not enough attention.
These sweet and tasty wedding favors are extremely common in Slovakia even these days. Some people think that they absolutely have to do it because this is a centuries-old tradition. The local women are so skilled in baking, because of that big an experience, that they could be professional bakers in other countries. We’re talking about 10,000 cookies, for example, for one wedding. Different cookies, of course. Because you can’t just bake one type of sweets, it has to be dozens of variations. So, this wedding tradition is very delicious and fun but so time-consuming and labor-intensive, at the same time.