Creative Guest Favors for Any Event

Hand holding colorfully-painted bomboniere wrapped in plastic for article on creative guest favors

Let me start by saying this: you by no means are required to give your guests a gift. You have invited people to your celebration and are already providing your guests with free food and drink, so swag is not necessary. That said, if you want to give your guests a token of appreciation for coming to your event, here is a near exhaustive list of creative guest favors.

Little bottles of whiskey for article on creative guest favorsI have scoured the internet and come up with a pretty comprehensive list of guest favors that can be used for any type of celebration – be it a wedding, birthday party, or bridal shower. A lot of these items can be homemade, thus saving you a bit in your budget. If you are using the favors for a wedding, making your own favors is a great task to either delegate to a family member or to use as an event at your bridal shower. Get some champagne chilling, get your girls together, and then start baking some brownies or creating s’mores kits, etc. While I’m sure after a few bottles of bubbly the first group of favors may turn out better than the last, it’s the thought that counts.

The bottom line with all of these favors is to make a personal connection between you and the gift. If it is your birthday, think about giving away candy that was popular when you were a kid. If this is for a wedding, think about a gift that has a tie to you as a couple, such as a brand of cold brew coffee you both love or a mini bottle of booze that was used in the special cocktail served at your reception.

Hands holding a cup of coffee with chocolates around the plate for article on creative guest favorsIf you live in a unique location, think about a personal touch by highlighting your city or region with a local food product (honey, fruit, or BBQ sauce) or a quirky souvenir. One other option is to highlight your own local background with a favor that represents your nationality. In the case of the wedding I photographed this past weekend at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park, the bride, Carolina, was Brazilian, and in her country it is a wedding custom to give away truffle-like candies. Showing your national pride in your gift favor is a fantastic idea especially if you haven’t gotten the chance to work your own background into the menu. In Carolina and Erich’s case, the catering was provided by the Loeb Boathouse. And while the food there is excellent, it is no Brazilian churrascaria. To make up for it, the little candies, called brigadeiro, were served during the coffee hour.

Colorful boxes lined up for article on creative guest favors

In terms of packaging, most anything and everything can be personalized now by way of Etsy. From getting cooking utensils personalized with the name of the bride and groom, to having bags with printed stickers for guests to bring home a handful of goodies, Etsy is a goldmine for getting just the look you want for your favors. Also, think outside the box when it comes to packaging. The mason jar is ubiquitous, but how about mismatched teacups for delivering mini succulents to your guests? Get lost in a dollar store or go find your local Chinatown for some interesting options.

So without further ado, here is a gigantic list of creative party favors:

    • Cookies, homemade or not
    • Mini pies – shout out to my favorite flavor, key lime!
    • Doughnuts
    • Brownies
    • Cake pops
    • Cookie or cake mix with cookie cutters
    • Macarons
    • Fortune cookies with a personalized message
    • S’mores kit (graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate)
    • Marshmallows
    • Chocolate – either candy bars with printed labels or mini pieces of chocolate
    • Customized candy such as M&Ms
    • Ice cream decorations, candy confetti, or colored sugar
    • Candy bar
    • Cookie buffet
    • Coffee and mug
    • Hot cocoa mix, with or without Bailey’s
    • Mulling spices
    • Tea, diffuser, and tea cup
    • Local soda pop with funky straws
    • Recipes and blank recipe cards
    • Cooking utensils: whisk, spatula, etc.
    • Wooden cheese or cutting board
    • Chopsticks
    • Spice rub
    • Cinnamon sugar
    • Homemade salts: sriracha, chili-lime, citrus-rosemary, lavender, or even saffron-fennel
    • Vanilla extract
    • Granola
    • Nuts
    • Fruit
    • Jar of jam, honey, jelly
    • Spaghetti or BBQ sauce
    • Salsa
    • Hot sauce
    • Olive oil
    • Popcorn (already popped or kernels with flavored salt)
    • High-end potato chips in different flavors
    • Cocktail creation kit: margaritas, mojitos with muddler
    • Mini bottle of liquor
    • Cider
    • Mini bottle of champagne
    • Homemade vodka, limoncello, moonshine
    • Bottle opener
    • Personalized koozie
    • Shot glasses
    • Hangover kit (eye mask, ear plugs, aspirin or ibuprofen, bottle of Gatorade or water, directions to a local diner for hangover food)
    • Flip flops
    • Shawls or scarves (perfect if your ceremony is outside on a breezy day)
    • Personalized playing cards
    • Mini game – small puzzle, crosswords, Sudoku book
    • Flower vases (with flowers)
    • Plants: mini flower pot, succulents or herbs
    • Seeds with growing instructions
    • Birdseed
    • Local souvenirs
    • Candles, soap, lotion, lip balm
    • Vintage handkerchief
    • Coasters or tiles
    • Magnets
    • Sunglasses (fantastic idea if you are hosting a summer wedding at the beach)
    • Water bottle
    • Tote bag
    • Mints
    • Sparklers
    • Matchbooks
    • Noisemakers
    • Mix tape of personal music on a flash drive or have it available online
    • Mini art—small canvas or art from an Art-o-Mat
    • Single-use cameras with instructions on where to get the photos developed (or have a place for collecting the cameras after the party)
    • Sketch book, journal, stationery
    • Colored pencils or art kit
    • Vintage postcards or local postcards
    • Books
    • Lottery tickets – for richer or poorer, right?
    • Temporary tattoos
    • Christmas ornaments
    • Luggage tags, especially if you are hosting a destination wedding
    • Charity donation

If you would like to view more images from my wedding photojournalism portfolio, then please visit my website —

Personalized corks from a wedding for article on creative guest favorsCopper mugs from a wedding for article on creative guest favors Owl pots with succulents for guest favors at a Bronx Zoo wedding Bins of flip flops with pair of high heels on floor for article on creative guest favors Gold wine stopper in shape of elephant for article on creative guest favors Little bottle of hot sauce from a weddingSilver pails containing mini succulent plants for article on creative guest favors Display of guest favors for article on creative guest favors Bottle of Stumptown Cold Brew for article on creative guest favors Box of animal crackers with note for article on creative guest favorsDisplay of seeds for guests for article on creative guest favors Cookie with personalized sticker on the front Mini chocolate covered in brown and white sugar beads Orange and black bags with customized stickers on the front Display of candy at a wedding buffetDisplay of guest favors for article on creative guest favors Books with papers sticking out for article on creative guest favors Books lined up on a shelf for article on creative guest favors Book opened with card catalog card inside Display of candy for guests Mini bottle of whiskey personalized with name of bride and groom Display of candy cigarettes Baskets of bombonieres wrapped in plastic




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