magic box

The Magic Box

An Interactive, Fun Surprise for Everyone

For couples looking to add some unexpected moments of levity to their celebration, Magic Box vending machines may be just the thing! These customizable vending machines can be used to showcase unique wedding favors and give guests something to talk about. We spoke with Cari Carter, Magic Box founder, to learn more. 

Where did the idea for Magic Box Vending come from?

The Magic Box came to life by accident nearly 8 years ago now. A friend of mine had a snack vending machine in the bar she worked at, and the owner needed to get rid of it – for $100. I have a hard time saying no, so I got my first vending machine. I immediately learned that I had no idea how to move it, or where to put it. A snack machine can easily weigh over 600 pounds, and I was going to need muscle.

My first Magic Box resides at The Standard (a bar) in Portland, and is still in service. In addition to not planning on getting into vending, I also had no idea what I was going to sell, so I started putting random items from my house in the machine. The “Mystery Fun Bags” sold the best, so I kind of ran with it. I’m a sucker for a grab bag when I see one for sale, and apparently lots of other people are too!

What kinds of things can people choose to put in their wedding Magic Box? And how does the process work?

The Magic Box for a wedding is different from a traditional vending machine. Instead of giving your guests a random assortment of gifts, you give your guests tokens with a little note attached, explaining the process. Each item in the Magic Box has an assigned token value (example: sunglasses = 2 tokens, koozie = 1 token), and your guests get to choose what they take home from your big day – in addition to the added fun of choosing from a vintage vending machine. Your guests won’t spend any of their own money.

There are a few sizes of Magic Boxes available, but the size of the gifts are pretty specific. For the last event we did, we included specialty teas and coffees from the NW, mystery grab bags (good for all ages!), koozies, notebooks, temporary tattoos. It’s really up to the couple to decide what the age group is going to be (adults only, kids included, etc.), and what they want the memory of their day to look like. The selection can be chosen from a list of items I have on hand, or the items can be supplied to me.

What are some of your favorite ideas that couples have come to you asking about for their wedding?

One of the most recent events I participated in had included solely gifts made in Oregon. They wanted to celebrate their chosen home, and share a piece of the state that brought them together with out-of-state guests. I thought it was very charming and kind.

Do you have any advice for couples who want to make sure their wedding is fun and engaging for their guests?

I mean, of course I’m going to encourage a Magic Box. It’s fun! It’s engaging! Seriously though, a lot of guests and family members are meeting each other for the first time. Congregating around a vending machine is pretty much the ultimate ice breaker – ” what are you going to get?!”. The shared anticipation of the universal question, “is it going to drop?” is priceless.

Discover more fun ideas for your wedding in the latest issue of our magazine!