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Party Basics

Although not absolutely essential to the success of your party, small favors are a nice way of thanking your guests for attending your party. Because many people will bring wine, food, or hostess gifts, it's a gracious touch to offer something in return.

Try not to waste your money on stupid favors. If you're going low-budget, make sure the item will be perceived as kitschy, not tacky. If you have a budget that will accommodate elegance, make sure your favors are useful and interesting. There is no point in spending money and time on favors that will be thrown away when the guest gets home.

Party favors should be inexpensive and specific to your party's theme or occasion. Although almost any small, interesting memento will suffice, here are a few suggestions for favors that work:

  • Bulk-printed matchbooks with your name and the date of your event – although this concept is a standard for wedding receptions and other largescale events, consider these favors for smaller parties, as well. Your guests will find printed matchbooks a surprising favor at a cocktail party, and the cost is less than you might imagine.
  • Polaroid pictures taken at the event, and then slipped into preprinted cards; guests pick up the cards on their way out the door.
  • Miniature bottles of champagne or airplane-sized liquor (about $2 each), decorated with theme-specific trimming.
  • For Girly Parties, little makeup bags filled with hair accessories, inexpensive cosmetics, or nail polish.
  • Small boxes of incense (about $2 each), tied with an inexpensive burner (as little as $1).
  • For an outdoor or garden party, individual seed packets or flower bulbs wrapped in cheesecloth, with instructions for growing attached.
If your budget does not allow for much money to spend on favors, think way outside the box. Shop at Mexican or Chinese variety stores and look for kitschy little items for as little as a quarter.

Creativity counts when it comes to favors, so get those juices flowing and shop closeout stores for unique trinkets. Favors also serve as a memento of your party, reminding guests what a fabulous time they had at your event and possibly prompting them to plan something of their own.

Tip
At my wedding, we gave out homemade mixed CDs with songs featured at our reception. After I compiled the playlist, a friend downloaded the songs (free!) and burned them onto a CD. We purchased bulk packages of CDs and inexpensive plastic cases, burned enough copies for each of our guests, and printed out liner notes for very little cost. Many guests said these were the best favors they ever received – and we only spent about $50.



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Reproduced from Plan a Fabulous Party In No Time, by Tamar Love, by permission of Pearson Education. Copyright © 2005 by Que Publishing.

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