Be sure to put favor shopping on your list of things to do far in advance of the party so you don't run out of time and end up blowing your budget on something less than perfect. Here are some general guidelines for party-favor shopping:
- Stick to your theme. If your party has a photography theme, go for film or small frames. If you've gone for something musical, consider a CD or a tune-playing trinket like a key chain. The theme is there to help you make good choices, so don't be shy in using it for favors.
- Try crafts fairs. Or any unexpected shopping venue. It's a good way to find something really unique and fun. Crafts fairs can turn up a host of potential party favors -- coffee mugs, candles, napkin holders, or other handmade items.
- Consider your guest list. The favor should favor the recipients. Are the party guests mostly moms? Or mostly not? Are they the guest of honor's coworkers? Relatives?
- Stick to your budget. If you've got a big guest list, it's particularly important to keep the spending under control. After all, your main focus should be on the event itself. Spend on the mom first, and the guests second.
- Consider a catalog or online store. Often mail-order sellers can offer interesting ideas, such as personalized party favors. And if you order far enough in advance to avoid big shipping charges, it's an affordable way to get the favors in hand. Order at least two weeks before the party day to get the best shipping rates.
Often the best party favors are those that are picked expressly for the guest list. For example, if your party is packed with moms, you might pick magnet picture frames. If your party consists largely of coworkers, you might try for pencil cups, paperweights, or other desktop items. Either group might appreciate spa items such as scented soaps, candles, or bubble bath.
For a small party, your budget for favors may go a bit farther. So for this group, you can get something a bit more artistic and unique without breaking the bank. Picture frames or coffee mugs from crafts fairs make fun party favors, and they're a welcome change from traditional store fare.
If you're truly stumped, you can always go edible. Party bags filled with with chocolate or other treats are sure to please.