Favors for Food Lovers

Photo: Holland Photo Arts

Photo: Holland Photo Arts

Fewer and fewer couples are giving favors to guests at their weddings these days. Sometimes it is due to budget constraints, but many times it is because they simply cannot come up with an idea for a favor that they like, so why bother? Fair enough.

Photo:   Eli Turner

Photo: Eli Turner

If a couple decides to do a favor, however, I believe it should always be a reflection of them in some way. Years ago, clients who enjoy coffee and who love their adorable cats, combined the two passions by having a special coffee roast made and gave out bags of the beans featuring a cute photo of the felines. Other clients have given out their own custom tea blend or a treat from their favorite bakery.

Another meaningful takeaway that some of my couples have done is write hand-written notes to each and every one of their guests. This takes a great deal of time, but when guests open a special note meant just for them, they feel appreciated and welcomed in a very warm way.

Some of my restaurant memories and takeaways from very recently to years ago.

Some of my restaurant memories and takeaways from very recently to years ago.

These ideas are not unlike what fine dining restaurants do. After dining at Métier, guests are given a lovely bottled onion vinaigrette to take home. At the end of the tasting menu experience at the Chef’s Counter at Gravitas, each guest receives a hand-written note signed by each of the staff members. Each time I visit Eleven Madison Park, I leave with a gift of their housemade granola. (I don’t even generally eat granola, but this blend is so good I can’t help myself!). Masseria sends guests home with a bottle of beautiful olive oil. And so many times after finishing a tasting menu or a very special meal, a restaurant will provide a printed copy of the menu often signed by the chef for diners to have as a keepsake. I will occasionally find one as I am going through papers and reading the menu and remembering the occasion is so fun—just as it would be for a wedding guest who might hold onto and cherish that special note from the couple.

I love taking inspiration from restaurant dining experiences and incorporating the concept into events. After all, serving guests at a restaurant and hosting an event are both all about hospitality. They should both be driven by a focus on guest enjoyment.

There are lots of ideas for food-related favors should hosts choose to do one: a box of mini sweet treats, a jar of preserves or artisanal honey, the host’s favorite cookie recipe…. the list is endless. The most important thing is that it is a reflection of the host’s interests and tastes—not a random bag of Jordan Almonds (not that there is anything wrong with Jordan Almonds!).

What are your thoughts on takeaways and favors? Yay? Nay? If yay, what are some fun ideas?