When it comes to differentiating your next dinner party from all the other invitations a couple might get, there is one way to instant success: send guests home with a delicious favor, handcrafted if you can, that will remind them of the meal for a day (or more) to come. Just imagine walking out from a lovely evening with friends, with flowing wine and a simple yet delicious meal, only to be stopped by the host and handed a loaf of still-warm tea bread, wrapped in wax paper and tied with twine. Standing there, touched, thoughts race through your head. Wait, for me? Shouldn’t I be thanking you?
Dinner party favors come in all shapes, sizes, flavors, and price tags. I’ve taken home beautiful, autographed hardcover books and practical yet inexpensive insulated plastic to-go mugs, perfect for toting a cool beverage in the summer. There was the Mediterranean-themed party where guests took home a large bottle of olive oil, and a dinner party where the host gifted glass paperweights and a sachet of tea. But it’s the favors made by hand, like homemade pickles or personalized candy bars, that stand out most. At around two bucks a pop, they’re a whole lot less expensive than buying something, and as they're made by hand, they’re also more thoughtful.
Just as you put thought and time into planning the menu, take care when considering what favors to leave for your guests. Lara Shriftman, a partner at Harrison Shriftman PR, chooses favors inspired by the party’s theme or one of the colors used when setting the scene. For example, if hosting a cocktail party where a signature cocktail is being served, send guests home with miniature bottles of two of the main ingredients (and the recipe) so they can recreate it at home. Hosting a dinner party and have more green beans or fresh berries than you know what to do with? Don’t let them go to waste! Surprise guests with a jar of fresh raspberry jam or homemade yogurt, topped with a circle of fabric and secured by a pretty ribbon, to cover the metal lid. Or recruit little chefs in the kitchen for help and make personalized cookies that reflect the occasion or party theme. Give them out as a way to remind them of the fabulous time they had, even weeks after the event, if the gift hasn’t already been devoured.