About three years ago I discovered A Favorite Things Party. I was invited to one by a friend at church, did a lil’ google search and fell in love with the concept! I had a blast at the party and couldn’t wait to host my own! Every year since I have hosted this type of party at my home and it most certainly is a highlight of the year for me!
Here is the basic concept:
Invite guests and ask them to choose one favorite thing under $7: beauty product, kitchen gadget, handmade treasure, etc. Whatever they want. Have them bring five of that favorite thing. (Example: this year my favorite thing was Loreal’s BB Cream, so I brought five tubes of BB Cream to the party). Have them bring their items concealed but no need to individually wrap them. Upon arriving at the party, each guest writes their name down five times and places them into a bowl. After everyone arrives, one by one, each guest reveals their favorite thing, sharing with the group:
1) where they bought it or how they made it
2) why they love it
3) how much it costs
Next, that person draws five names from the bowl and those five people get her favorite thing! So you arrive at the party with five of the same favorite thing. Then you leave the party with five new and different things and a ton of ideas.
Things that make it even more fun:
~ Ask guests to bring their favorite dish/food to share and turn the night into a potluck! Everyone’s gotta eat dinner, right? Might as well make a meal out of everyone’s favorite dishes!!! It really turns out to be an epic plate of yumminess. Have cute lil’ signs or mini-chalkboards on hand to label the food with each guest’s name.
~ At the end of the party, pass out cards for everyone to vote for their favorite favorite thing. Offer a fabulous prize for the winner!! Be sure to tell everyone at the beginning of the party about the vote.
~ Give each guest a swag bag, which is just a fun name for any type of bag (paper gift bag, reusable tote, etc) filled with fun stuff like:
-pen and paper (mini-notebook, index cards, scrap sheets, etc) to write down favorite things info & ideas
-your favorite gum or candy
-homemade treat with a cute recipe card
-other cute, cheap, fun & useful items
Depending on the number of guests, swag bags and all the fun contents can get pricey. Mainly, the bag is there for guests to collect their loot. You can always ask crafty friends to contribute to the bags too. I just usually go a little crazy with them because party favors/gifts are one of my favorite things! So I have a blast choosing and filling the swag bags!
~ Door prizes! Because who doesn’t love to win stuff? Again, you can ask a few guests to make or buy a door prize to contribute to the cause… like this year, my brilliant & crafty friend Katie made a gorgeous yarn wreath and donated it as a door prize that one lucky guest took home. Gift Cards also make great door prizes. Another friend brought a bottle of champagne. Choose your winners in any way you wish. But give everyone at least one opportunity to win.
~ Have guests complete a “favorites” questionnaire at the beginning of the party. Then read the completed questionnaires throughout the party. This was a new addition this year and I have to say I loved it! This is how we determined the order of who shared their favorite thing next. I’d randomly choose a questionnaire, read it aloud to the group and we all would guess who wrote it. The author of that questionnaire would then take their turn and share their favorite thing. The questionnaires allowed everyone the opportunity to get to know each other a little better. Ask fun & interesting questions.
~ Find out your guests’ favorite songs beforehand and create a playlist for the night. It is super fun to hear everyone’s different taste in music and maybe even hear a few new favorites.
~ This party works best for a crowd of 10-20 people. More than 20 is just too large and time consuming. The ideal number of guests is 14-16, in my unofficial, non-professional opinion!
~ There are certainly swoon-worthy paper invitations available to purchase and you could obviously make your own, however I always take the easier & cheaper route of sending out online invitations. Punchbowl is by far my preferred party invitation site. Plus, online invites make it much easier to track RSVP responses.
~ Change up the dollar amount and number of favorite things each guest brings. Example: bring 3 of your favorite thing under $10. However, it is super fun to see what folks come up with using the lower price point. So I recommend around $6 or $7.
~Make it a Pinterest Party! For the potluck, have everyone bring a dish they found on Pinterest. And all favorite things have to have been discovered on Pinterest.
~Make it a strictly handmade Favorite Things party! All favorite things have to be handmade in some way.
~Turn it into a baby or bridal shower or birthday party. The guest of honor doesn’t have to bring anything, but have all the other guests bring one more of their favorite thing so that the guest of honor receives one of each favorite thing!
So what are some of our favorite things??!!!
So glad you asked! Here is non-exhaustive list of favorite things from three years of hosting these parties, with links where possible.
2. Starbuck’s card & via packets
6. Ice cream bowls from Anthropologie
11. Hand warmers
12. Pumice Stone
13. King-sized Kit Kat bar
Recipe & ingredients for homemade salad dressing
Homemade salted caramel sauce
Handmade printed wood sign
List of favorite books and $7 cash to put towards a book
Homemade hot chocolate mix in a mason jar
Trader Joe’s Hand soap
Covered shoe-box full of fresh produce from a local organic vegetable farm
Trader Joe’s Almond Butter
Homemade laundry detergent recipe & sample
Handmade dry erase menu board
Décor and Set-up
This is all completely up to you as the host. I tend to host my Favorite Things parties in the fall so the décor and some of the swag bag treats reflect that. However, be as creative and detailed as you want. Or just keep it simple and easy.
When hosting a party, I usually like to begin with a color scheme and go from there. For my most recent Favorite Things party I chose two shades of orange & a dark teal, mainly because it matched the colors in my home. I needed more tables/surfaces for beverages, plates, flatware, etc. but I was short on space. Encore’s high cocktail tables were perfect because they do not take up a lot of space, ideal serving height (42″ tall) and they transport easily because they come in three parts (base, pole, table top) so I easily fit two in my car. Encore’s standard linen colors of pimento, sherbert and teal were perfect and so were the Villa Vintage plates, cups and serving dishes.
Chalkboard signs and banners go a long way in adding to the fun and festive atmosphere. However, no need to over-do it. The magic of this type of party happens in the sharing & swapping of favorite things. That happens with or without a perfectly made pennant banner!
My last word of advice is to ask a friend to co-host. Not only is it more fun to involve a buddy in the planning process, but two brains are better than one! And two sets of hands and feet help share the workload of party prep and enable you to enjoy the party even that much more! I couldn’t have done my most recent party without the help of my brilliant & crafty friend Christi!!
So grab a buddy, your calendars and set a date. Resolve to host a Favorite Things Party this year!!