A welcome bag is such a fun way to welcome out-of-town guests to your wedding. And as a wedding guest, there’s nothing quite like finding some thoughtful goodies waiting for you when you arrive at your hotel – especially if you’ve traveled a long way to get there! We’ve partnered with Zazzle to share some of our favorite ideas for building an awesome wedding welcome bag.
There are lots of container options for a welcome bag – anything from simple kraft paper bags to fancy gift boxes. My personal favorite is a customized canvas tote bag, because it doesn’t take up a lot of room in a suitcase, and it’s something your guests will be able to use again. I have a couple of these from weddings I’ve attended, and I use them at the grocery store on a regular basis – a fun reminder of a fun time!
Tip #1: Ask an artistic friend to create a fun wedding “logo” for you - or use some cool fonts to create your own – and use it to customize your welcome bag or other wedding swag (t-shirts, beer koozies, etc.).
Tip #2: If you go with a reusable tote bag, don’t feel like you have to fill the whole thing - your guests don’t want to lug a bunch of extra stuff home with them anyway. Or, think bulky-but-cheap: full-size bags of popcorn or boxes of crackers take up space without breaking the bank, and people will likely polish them off while they’re hanging out between wedding weekend events.
Confession: I remember the welcome bag snacks from the past three weddings I attended. Homemade pretzel Hugs (seriously addictive), Garrett Popcorn’s Chicago mix (even more addictive), and chocolate dipped coconut patties. So my snack bias is probably showing, but I think if you’re only going to include one thing in your welcome bag, it should be something edible. Preferably something sweet and something salty. Bonus points for something made locally. For this San Francisco-inspired welcome bag we went with a couple locally made treats (479° Popcorn and Poco Dolce toffee squares) and yogurt-covered pretzels. For the popcorn and pretzels, we bought large bags and repackaged them in smaller glassine and kraft paper bags, then sealed them with a big round customized sticker.
Tip #3: If you plan on packaging things yourself, glassine or cello bags are best for anything remotely greasy (chips, popcorn, cookies); kraft paper will show grease spots, so use it for things like chocolate covered pretzels or hard candies.
Tip #4: Don’t forget something to drink. Bottled water, soda, or sparkling juice are good options. Make sure you’re considering who your guests are before including booze in welcome bags – your college buddies might be excited to find something from a local microbrewery in their bag, but your fiancée’s grandparents might not. Or they might. Use your best judgment.
Welcome Letter & Itinerary
Send your greetings and gratitude in a little welcome note, and make sure to include an itinerary and transportation information – there’s nothing worse than traveling across the country for a wedding, only to realize you’ve left the invitation at home and have no idea what time the ceremony starts or how to get there! Depending on the location of your wedding, as well as how much of the weekend is scheduled, guests might have a little free time to explore the area. Give them a highlights tour with a list of your favorite things to see and do, and places to eat and shop.
Tip #5: Ask your guests to share their photos from the weekend on Instagram, and to make sure and tag them with a custom hashtag – we used #lizzieandjames for our imagined San Francisco couple. You might even set up Eventstagram at your reception to display all the pics!
Tip #6: Consider including the phone number of your wedding planner or a friend or family member who can answer any wedding-related questions. You probably won’t want guests calling you or your fiancé for directions while you’re getting ready to walk down the aisle.
Without fail, I forget to pack something important whenever I travel – usually toothpaste. If you want to go above and beyond snacks and a welcome letter, a little “Oops! Kit” is a thoughtful touch for your welcome bags. We used a fabric pen to draw a little red cross on small muslin bags for our kits (a rubber stamp would work well too), then filled them with trial size toiletries we think would be most useful: Kleenex, blister healing Band-Aids, Shout Wipes, Advil, TUMS, and mints.
(Note: Make sure to place a piece of cardboard or other liner inside the muslin bag before painting or stamping, otherwise the ink will bleed through to the other side.)
Tip #7: Drugstores should have travel size items, but they don’t always carry trial sizes. If you’re looking for a mini version of a specific toiletry, Minimus.biz is a great resource.
Tip #8: Depending on your wedding destination, you might want to include location-appropriate items that guests will be glad to have, like sunscreen or bug spray.
If your budget allows, it can be fun to include little tokens of the trip for guests to take home with them. Some ideas:
- souvenirs like a magnet, shot glass, landmark miniature
- postcards for your guests to scrapbook or send (Zazzle has a huge selection to choose from)
- local treat to take home like a jar of honey, jam, or mustard
- playful, customized things like a deck of cards, beer koozie, temporary tattoo
- mix CD or thumb drive playlist of your favorite songs
Tip #9: If you include anything like local jam or honey, make sure it’s small enough for your guests to pack in a carry-on bag. It would be terrible to have your thoughtful gift get confiscated at airport security!
Tip #10: Avoid scented candles or soaps; the fragrance can transfer to edibles, making your carefully planned snacks taste like perfume.
So there you have it! Our tips for building an awesome welcome bag for your out-of-town wedding guests. Did we miss anything? If you’re doing welcome bags for your wedding, what are you including in them?!
This post is sponsored by Zazzle, who makes it easy to create custom items for yourself or to sell, simply by uploading your artwork or personalizing one of their existing designs. From invitations to bridesmaid tank tops, from custom postage stamps to table number cards, Zazzle is a great resource for your custom wedding needs.
Custom designs by Kirsten Eva for Snippet & Ink.
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