12 Things to Put in Your Wedding Welcome Bags
Welcome guests to your wedding festivities with these fun bags filled with local fare and everything they need for the weekend ahead.
Weddings these days require a lot of planning. But one of the things that often gets overlooked are personalized welcome bags for your wedding guests. Whether you have a destination wedding or an in-town affair, most couples have a group of family and friends who travel long distances to celebrate their special day. And for these guests, it’s a really lovely gesture to make them a special welcome bag.
These bags can either be left at the hotel's front desk (so guests can grab them when they check in) or distributed at an event, such as a rehearsal dinner. (It’s also a good idea to ask another family member or friend to be in charge of distributing the bags once you have them assembled, as that’s one less thing the bride or groom needs to worry about.)
There are countless options and ideas for what you can fill your welcome bags with, but I’ve rounded up 12 of my favorite ideas to get you started.
1: Custom Tote
The first thing you’ll need is a chic tote to hold everything together. If you feel like splurging, you can go with a customized tote that includes the couple’s names. However, you could also easily go for a simple, solid-colored gift bag to save a bit of money. Small, wooden crates would work well, too.
We're Loving: Custom Wedding Tote, Etsy, $16
2: Weekend Schedule + Maps
Most out-of-town guests will be sticking around for a few days which usually means they have several wedding activities they’ll be asked to take part in. It’s super important to make sure your guests know where they should be and when they should be there at all times during your wedding festivities. So, you’ll want to include a schedule, maps and any other important information they’ll need to know (such as dress code, parking, etc).
You can easily create your own wedding documents on your computer; however, there are also some options online that work, too. I like Jauntful, which allows you to make customized maps that include local restaurants and points of interest. Another one of my favorite discoveries is Guesterly, which allows you to create little booklets that include photos and tidbits about all of your wedding guests. It’s a fun way for guests to get to know each other and even stay in touch after the event.
Consider filling the bags with a mix of bottled water, juice or iced tea and even something more fun like a small can or bottle of champagne. If you want to get a bit fancier, you can even print your own custom labels for your drinks.
Snack Food Gift Basket
Help friends avoid any last-minute entertaining fiascoes with a thoughtful dry goods dessert basket. Gather an assortment of finger food-style desserts, then present them in clear bags and glass containers. Should extra guests show up to holiday gatherings, the recipient will have more than enough dessert options to end the night in good spirits.
In addition to the drinks, you’ll want to make sure your bag includes some snacks for your guests. Keep things simple here and go to your local Sam's Club or Costco and load up on some of your favorite treats. Try to include both salty and sweet options. If you want to go one step further, include some packs of gum or mints, too.
5: Useful Items
Don’t forget about those items that your guests may have forgotten but will likely come in handy during your wedding weekend. Things like: a lint roller, wrinkle release spray, stain wipes, a sewing kit, aspirin, lip balm, sunscreen, etc. Most of these items are available in the travel section of your local pharmacy or discount store. You certainly don’t need to include everything we’ve listed out, but a few additional essentials are always much appreciated by out-of-town guests.
6: Local Items
A great way to personalize your wedding welcome bags is to add some local items or even themed items. If you’re having a destination wedding in Mexico, for example, think about including sunblock and a delicious jar of local salsa. For a wedding in New York City, you could include some subway cards or a bagel. A couple of bottles of local wine would be a great choice for a couple who's having a wedding in Napa.
Try to think about some fun, inexpensive items that you can add to your bags that will speak to either the place you're having your wedding or the type of wedding you're having.
Local postcards are a fun, inexpensive addition to welcome bags that your guests can have some fun with. You could pick out a few intentionally cheesy postcards from a local souvenir shop to be a bit cheeky, or you could go in the opposite direction and source some awesome vintage postcards from the area. Vintage postcards are surprisingly easy to find online or even at a local thrift store.
8: Uber Rides
If your wedding festivities are in several locations and you don’t have a shuttle to take guests from spot to spot, consider setting up an Uber Event and paying for guest transportation that way. Uber allows you to create "events," then pass along cards to your guests using a promo code. They can then arrange their own rides through the Uber app using your special code. This means all charges for transportation will be charged to you after the event, but you will feel safe knowing that all of your guests are safely cared for.
9: Candle + Matches
Another lovely gift to include in a wedding welcome bag is a small candle and matches for guests to use in their hotel rooms. Extra touches like these help your guests to feel more at home during their stay. It’s also a nice way to remember the trip, even after all the fun is over (as they can then take the candle home with them).
We're Loving: Voluspa Japonica Mini Travel Candles, Beauty.com, $24 (for 3)
10: Handwritten Card
Another lovely touch for each of your welcome bags is to include a handwritten note. While it does require a bit of extra time, it really goes a long way in helping your guests' appreciate how excited you are to have them join you during this special time.
11: Quirky Item
I always like to suggest including one fun or quirky item in your guests' bags. This could be something like a scratch-off lottery ticket, a favorite family recipe, a horoscope for the weekend or a cute Instax photo of the happy couple. You can really get creative here!
12: Info on Local Events
Pull together some pamphlets or information on local activities your guests might be able to enjoy while they're in town. Or you can, again, use an online service to create a map with suggestions of your favorite local spots and activities. This way, you can be sure your guests are having a blast the whole time they're in town.
This Rose and Mint Champagne Cocktail makes an elegant signature wedding drink. Better yet, you can fill Mason jars with dried rosebuds, attach a tag with the recipe and send guests home with some happy hour inspiration. Get the recipe.
For something really sweet, consider giving infused sugars like the ones shown here by Eden Passante of Sugar and Charm. Just layer sugar and the dry ingredient of your choice in a sealed container for a few days to let the flavor set. Try dried fruit, vanilla beans, coffee beans, lavender — or all of the above!
Potted succulents are a great giveaway at summer weddings and they're hearty, so guests will have a long-lasting reminder of your celebration. Extra credit: Customize the pots with paint like Chelsea Costa of Lovely Indeed did here. If you use your wedding colors, these can double as centerpieces during the reception! Get step-by-step instructions.
Gourmet Chocolate Bars
Gourmet chocolate bars with custom labels make elegant goodies. Remove outer wrappers and cover bars in gold crepe paper. Then wrap our printable wrappers around the bar and secure with double-sided tape at the back. Embellish with paper rosebuds from craft stores for an unexpected 3D touch.
Who can resist a candy buffet? Stock apothecary jars with homemade truffles and provide take-out boxes to transport the treats. Decorate each box with a sweet printable tag and ribbon to match.
Tins of Lip Balm
Whenever your guests clink their glasses at the reception, it's customary to kiss. Make sure your lips — and the lips of your loved ones — are smoochable by giving out DIY lip balm as a favor. You can make a plain version for the gents and add a little pigment for the ladies. Add custom stickers to tin lids and they're ready to go.