The tradition of giving wedding favors goes back to early Roman days. Almonds coated in honey were given as a sign of fertility (and doubled as the original Jordan Almond!). As time and tradition progressed, we rarely see hard-shelled almonds at weddings anymore. Instead, there are endless varieties of favors for any budget and lifestyle. And not just at weddings, either! Parties and corporate events also hand out post-event trinkets and treats. But is all of this necessary? Does your event really need favors?
Of course, not every event needs favors. And they’re really only expected at personal events, like weddings or showers. But favors can certainly enhance your event. They are an excellent way to communicate with your guests—especially at large events where you can’t talk to everyone in-person. Instead, let your favors do the talking!
If you’re not sure whether your next event needs favors, see if it falls into one of these four categories. Then, consider your budget. Favors can be simple or intricate—depending on the time and money you can invest. But if you don’t have the budget, it’s probably best to skip the favors, unless you’re willing to trim from somewhere else.
To remember a special moment
Like at a wedding or baby shower
Simple favor: Loose leaf tea or soap
Extravagant favor: Bottle of champagne
Your guests are attending the wedding or baby shower to celebrate you (and your fiance or baby). They certainly aren’t expecting something in return! But favors are a physical way to remember a life-changing occasion. You’ll want to find the balance between personal and useful, though. Any favors that are too specific to a couple or wedding theme will get tossed.
Bonus Tip: Wrap the favor in your wedding colors, so it’s on-theme and still useful.
This means that you should focus on favors that guests can use—even if it’s only once. While your friends and family are happy to celebrate with you, they don’t necessarily care to remember the event forever. That’s your job! So don’t be scared to give them something consumable. They’ll think about you while they’re sipping their tea or champagne—and then they’ll move on to your next celebration.
To say “Thank You”
Like at a VIP event or charity benefit
Simple favor: Book or pen set
Extravagant favor: Assorted gift baskets
Personalized favors are also a great way to show appreciation. And your VIP donors and clients certainly deserve some thanks! After all, you wouldn’t be able to do your work without them. But unlike wedding guests, your donors are less concerned about getting something useful. Instead, they’re worried about over-spending, because every dollar that goes to a party favor isn’t going to your organization.
Bonus Tip: Choose a favor that relates to your organization or charity.
There are, of course, ways to generously thank your guests without compromising your own spending. Local businesses can sponsor parts of your event, or donate favors—often in a tax-deductible manner. Or, you may have a separate party budget that isn’t funded by donations. That’s good, too! Be sure to mention that in the invitations or welcome speech, so your event favors don’t hurt your cause.
To advertise your company
Like at a conference or launch party
Simple favor: Beanie or water bottle
Extravagant favor: Product sample
Some type of favor or giveaway is necessary at a conference or launch party. It allows you to stand out among your competitors (who might also be present) or remind attendees of your new product when they get home. While that might seem like a lot of pressure, it’s also fairly simple to do.
Unlike most other types of events, your conference favors don’t have to relate to your business. Of course, they can. But attendees are more likely to remember you if you hand out something seasonal, like a cozy beanie—or free, like a product sample. You can even mix-and-match your event favors. For example, the first 50 attendees to visit your booth or RSVP to your party receive a free product sample. Then the rest get a bunch of branded swag.
To give back
Like at a Christmas or NYE party
Simple favor: On-theme candle or cookie mix
Extravagant favor: Engraved barware
Party favors during the holiday season can double as gifts for people you don’t normally exchange gifts with. It’s an extra-special, unexpected touch of generosity that’s perfect for close friends and family. You can certainly go out all out and personalize each favor, if you required RSVPs. Just make sure that, whatever you choose, you don’t make guests feel bad.
If you’re hosting a potluck-style party, you can be a little more generous without anyone feeling bad. After all, they all contributed to the party. But if you stress how casual the party is—consider a simple favor that everyone can enjoy in the current season, for some extra holiday cheer.
Whatever message you want to tell your guests—event favors can help! From simple to extravagant, there are so many ways to get your brand and message across, within any budget. As with any event, always keep your guests in mind. And remember—if it’s not something they’ll use, they probably won’t keep it very long.
What is the best favor you’ve ever received? What favor did you like the least?