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.

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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

Photo by: Etsy.com

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

Photo by: Guesterly

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.

3: Drinks

A close up of decorated cork coasters that have been tied to individual bottles of drinks as gifts.

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.

4: Snacks

Snack Food Gift Basket

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

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507112620

Travel sewing kit with spare buttons and safety pins

Photo by: ©iStockphoto.com/bulentozber

©iStockphoto.com/bulentozber

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

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490787556

Salted Caramel Candies isolated on white

Photo by: ©iStockphoto.com/subjug

©iStockphoto.com/subjug

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.

7: Postcards

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000029900772_XXXLarge

San Diego, California, USA - November 8, 2013: A group of vintage postcards showing various California tourist destinations. Shot in a studio setting on a yellow background.

Photo by: ©iStockphoto.com/DNY59

©iStockphoto.com/DNY59

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

Photo by: UberEVENTS

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

Photo by: Beauty.com

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

CI-Michelle-Kim_garden-baby-shower-thank-you-cards5_h

CI-Michelle-Kim_garden-baby-shower-thank-you-cards5_h

©Michelle Kim Photography

Michelle Kim Photography

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

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Suffolk, Virginia, USA - December 18, 2011: A horizontal studio shot showing an assortment of Virginia Lottery scratch-off cards that have all been scratched to reveal that each card is a losing ticket.

Photo by: ©iStockphoto.com/Catherine Lane

©iStockphoto.com/Catherine Lane

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.

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