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.

How To Build a Wedding Welcome Bag | Zazzle How To Build a Wedding Welcome Bag | Zazzle

 

The 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.

 

How To Build a Wedding Welcome Bag | Zazzle How To Build a Wedding Welcome Bag | Zazzle

 

The Snacks

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 #3If 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.

 

How To Build a Wedding Welcome Bag | Zazzle How To Build a Wedding Welcome Bag | Zazzle

 

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.

 

How To Build a Wedding Welcome Bag | Zazzle How To Build a Wedding Welcome Bag | Zazzle

 

Oops! Kit

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.

 

How To Build a Wedding Welcome Bag | Zazzle How To Build a Wedding Welcome Bag | Zazzle

 

Fun Extras

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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Lauren’s favorite shots: There’s no way I can pick a most favorite, but here are our respective top three…

I love the picture of us under the chuppah with Father Brennan and Rabbi Berman blessing us. It captures how overwhelmingly blessed I felt that day – and still do.

 

The picture of us during our first dance is a favorite because of the way that Jay is looking at me – enough said.

 

I also especially love this picture of Jason and me at the end of our first look. It was a lot of pictures, directions, and posing, but this was one of the last pictures taken before we met up with our bridal party. It was a natural kiss surrounded by beautiful light.

 

Jason’s favorite shots:

Jay is partial to the picture of him breaking the glass because it highlights his custom sneakers, (shaking my head…) but he also says it reminds him of how happy he felt to finally be married.

 

One of Jason’s other favorites is the picture of us in the speakeasy post-ceremony. He loves this photo because he says it shows how well we fit.

 

And finally, Jay loves the action shot at the end of the hora because he says it felt like everyone in the room took part – it was so celebratory. He felt the love of everyone around us, and this photo translates that.

 

Photos by Trent Bailey. See the full wedding feature right HERE.

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I cannot get over Trent Bailey‘s photos of Lauren and Jason’s wedding – autumn in New York never looked so romantic! The glow of candlelight, the bride’s jaw-dropping ensemble, the intimate interfaith ceremony… beautiful!

SEE THE FULL GALLERY FOR ALL THE IMAGES FROM THIS GORGEOUS NEW YORK CITY WEDDING BY TRENT BAILEY.

Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink
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The Ceremony

“Our ceremony was by far the best part of our day. It was so intimate – dimly lit, with only the warm glow of candles and the string light curtain. Our family and friends tell me that Jason shed tears (which is not like him at all!) when he first saw me walking down the aisle. There was a moment during our vows where I had to collect myself, too. It was a lot of raw emotion. The true love we have for one another was captured under our chuppah that day – it just felt magical. It’s hard to articulate just how special it was. I felt extremely present – like everyone melted away and it was just Jason and me promising the rest of our lives to one another. I hate to be such a sap, but like our love, the memories of our ceremony won’t ever fade.”

 

Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink
Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink
Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink
Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink

 

Your ceremony in three words.  Intimate, Natural, and True.

How did you go about planning your wedding ceremony?  It was important to us to incorporate both Jewish and Catholic traditions. We had a difficult time finding officiants who would share the stage. The wedding was getting closer and closer and we felt we were going to have to go with a non-denominational ceremony, but we finally made a connection through a friend. We had coffee at a diner in Queens with Rabbi Berman, and after chatting for a couple of hours, we knew we had found what we were looking for. He’s conducted interfaith wedding ceremonies with his friend, Father Brennan, for years. They made our ceremony feel extremely special. Both Rabbi Berman and Father Brennan made suggestions of readings and overall order of ceremonies.

Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony?  We also had a short ketubah/marriage certificate signing in the speakeasy prior to our ceremony. It was special because Jason’s 94-year-old grandmother signed our ketubuh, as well as Jason’s brother, and two of our best friends signed our marriage certificate. After the ceremony, we followed the Jewish tradition of yichud – spending time alone together in the speakeasy.

Would you be willing to share the order of your wedding ceremony? 

Processional: “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley, “Crazy Love” by Van Morrison
Greeting
Reading: 1 Corinthians 12.31 – 13.8
Words of Encouragement
Exchange of Vows
Blessing of Rings
Blessing over Wine
Nuptial Blessing
Words of Encouragement
Three Fold Blessing
Pronouncement
Breaking of Glass
Kiss of Love
Recessional: “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green

 

Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink
Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink

 

The Reception

“When we first started to think about venue options, I was drawn to the whole barn trend that was happening. I knew I wanted a blank slate, something different, and something undone. A friend of ours had walked by The Green Building – at the time it was barely a wedding venue at all – and suggested we check it out. It was the only venue we visited and we knew right away it was the place. The floor hadn’t even been painted yet and there was just an old leather couch in the speakeasy, but the owner painted his vision for us. We trusted him and over the next year and a half The Green Building blossomed into the fabulous space that it is today. There was something quite lovely about getting married in our own neighborhood. I stopped by The Green Building often throughout our engagement and got to know all of the familiar faces. The space and the wonderful people behind it played a pivotal role in making our wedding what it became.”

 

Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink
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Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink
Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink

 

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  I wanted to weave black and white throughout the event. Throughout the planning process, I realized that less really is always more. It was important that our wedding was simple, elegant, and cohesive.

Did you incorporate and DIY elements?  We handmade around 500 glass magnets for favors. I originally saw the idea on Pinterest. Swiss Cottage Designs whipped us up four classic patterns in black and ivory. It was a lot of trial and error!

 

Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink
Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink
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Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink

 

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  To just let go and enjoy the experience with my husband. It becomes such a whirlwind and it’s hard to stick to that advice. I woke up the morning after our wedding thinking, Was so and so there? Did I talk to him? Did we do this? Did that happen the way it was supposed to? – and none of that is important. What’s important is letting go of all the planning and responsibilities and just basking in love of your new husband and all of your friends and family.

Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  Spend the money on a talented stationer, a superb photographer, a great band, and delicious food. We felt those things were the most important! With that being said, there are ways to cut corners in any area of wedding planning. Some examples: you can do a split plate instead of having two options; don’t have music at the cocktail hour, because trust me, no one even hears it playing; buy your own candles for your florist; only print enough programs for every other guest; don’t letterpress your entire invitation suite; don’t spend extra on fancy napkins or linens – no one knows the difference; go with a small kraft bag or box for hotel room gift bags; go for a small cake to cut and do the rest like a dessert bar. The list of corners to cut is truly endless – get creative!

 

Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink Trent Bailey | Snippet & Ink
Photography: Trent Bailey / Venue: The Green Building in New York, New York / Day-of Planner: Brooke Rasheed / Dress: Reem Acra / Shoes: Dior / Veil: Vera Wang / Clutch: Judith Leiber / Suit, Shirt: Alton Lane / Tie: Preston & Olivia / Bridesmaid Dresses: J.Crew / Stationery: Swiss Cottage Designs / Floral Design: Fox Fodder Farm / Rentals: Broadway Party Rentals / Music: The Dreamteam Band / Catering: Real Food Catering / Cake: Baked NYC / String Light Curtain: Solid Angle / Hair, Makeup: Facetime Beauty Concierge

Trent Bailey and Swiss Cottage Designs are Snippet & Ink Select vendors.

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Every time I tried to work on this week’s link round-up, I kept coming back to this link in my bookmarks:

My heart hurts so much over the death of Robin Williams. It feels impossible to reconcile the vibrant, hilarious man on the screen with the news of his suicide. I think that as much as our collective sadness is about mourning his loss, it’s also about the devastating realization that someone who gave the world so much brilliance and laughter could find himself in such darkness.

Depression is not a case of the blues. It’s not a character flaw or a personal failing; it’s a sickness. It’s an overwhelming loneliness and emptiness and hopelessness, and it can feel like you’ll never escape it, because it feels like it is you. Five years ago I wrote a brief post about my own struggle with depression. And then I never mentioned it again on the blog or anywhere else online, because I’m not big on sharing my personal life in a public space, and this doesn’t really feel like the place for it anyway. But I’m believing more and more that when we can, depression is something we should talk about. Because when you’re in the midst of it, when it feels like the walls are closing in around you, it’s next to impossible to talk about it. And because for the rest of the world, it’s very, very hard to understand. So when you can put words to it, it’s worth it to do so. (Allie gives one of the best explanations of depression I’ve ever read over on Hyperbole and a Half.)

I don’t know that one can make sense of a tragedy like this. But I hope that maybe by talking about it, by shining some light on it, we can find the understanding to offer our brothers and sisters who are suffering, more love, kindness, and empathy in their fight against depression; maybe by talking about it a little more, those who are struggling might find the voice to ask for help.

Please, if you or someone you know is hurting, ask for help.

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