EVERYONE LOVES TO get gifts, and event guests are no exception. It's not just pricey presents that make an impression, either. Whether costly or cheap, well-chosen gifts and favors personalize special events while creating cherished keepsakes for guests.
Personalization continues to be the trend in event favors. At Indianapolis-based wedding accessories supplier Cathy's Concepts, “We're seeing a trend toward unique products such as personalized cosmetic bags for wedding attendant gifts,” says director of sales Vicki Hardin. “Things like engraved picture frames and trinket boxes are still popular, but we're definitely seeing a shift to more contemporary products that can be used every day.” In addition to cosmetics bags, the company carries a collection of gifts, such as wristlet bags and jewelry holders, that can be monogrammed. For groomsmen, the chic style of a silver-plated pocket watch — engraved with the recipient's initials, of course — creates a timeless memento.
Functional items are also all the rage at Beaucoup, which carries a large collection of upscale party favors, gifts and decor items for occasions ranging from weddings to corporate events. The company's colorful, miniature blown-glass salt and pepper shakers can be used by guests during an event, then taken home as keepsakes. Silver-plated luggage tags make “a practical gift that is great for guests who are traveling from afar to attend events [such as] corporate meetings or destination weddings,” notes Polly Liu, president of the Mountain View, Calif.-based company. The line includes a silver-plated rectangular tag, as well as whimsical airplane, cruise ship and golf club shapes to match event themes. The tags can also do double-duty as clever place card holders for dining tables.
While they won't keep forever, edible gifts — especially personalized ones — are an inexpensive way to make events memorable. The chocolate souvenirs created by the Chocolography Food Imaging System from the Chocolate Printing Co. in Inwood, N.Y., are a huge hit at children's events, fund-raisers and conventions, notes CEO Mark Weiss. The innovative system can take a photograph of a guest, then print a high-resolution copy of the image directly onto a chocolate surface. The process uses FDA-approved ink made from food coloring that allows for the creation of four-color photographs, logos and text, Weiss explains. The company's range of chocolate products includes white, milk and dark varieties of chocolate bars, lollipops and business cards that can be imprinted with images.
Tasty treats are also among the best-selling products at Beaucoup. “Edible favors are very popular because they can be enjoyed by guests of all ages,” Liu explains. The company recently introduced custom-designed butter cookies available in eye-catching designs that match most event themes, from flowers and palm trees to martini glasses and handbags. Customized mint tins — printed with event details and filled with peppermints — are another crowd-pleaser.
LIGHT OF THE PARTY
Light-up items continue to electrify event guests, and the range of neon and lighted favors available — from flashing pins to glowing glasses — is impressive.
Judith Mutton, president of The Cube Lady in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has seen demand for the Litecubes her company distributes soar over the last four years. And, of course, personalizing the cubes with logos and messages is a must: “I've helped event planners with more customized Litecubes in the last six months than I did in the first three years of the product's life,” she says.
Original Litecubes continue to sell well — thanks in part to the addition of new colors, including the color-changing Rainbow version — but new shapes are also keeping the cubes fresh. The dice-shaped Lites D'ice are big for “casino night” themes, while the golf ball-shaped version is a hit at sports events. And although light-up ice cubes are familiar to many event professionals, “It's still amazing to me that a huge percentage of party attendees have never experienced what we call ‘the power of the cube,’” Mutton laughs. “It's wonderful that the idea of a lit drink is as fresh for most of the general population as it was [for us] in the beginning.”
Beaucoup, 877/988-2328; Cathy's Concepts, 800/969-7417; Chocolate Printing Co., 502/742-3733; The Cube Lady, 877/399-5645