Our Favorite Wedding Welcome Bag Ideas
Chances are you won't be able to greet all your guests upon their arrival, so a wedding welcome bag (or basket) of goodies is a great way to say, "Hello, we're glad you're here!" right away. (This is especially true if you're having a destination wedding or hosting a lot of out-of-towners.) Check out our breakdown of everything you need to assemble the perfect prewedding goody bag that'll make your guests feel right at home.
A Versatile Carryall
Presentation is key. A basic canvas tote is a great way to hold all your items and is perfect for a wedding where guests will be sightseeing (think: beach day or city adventure). Bonus: Guests can use the bag later to tote groceries or gym essentials. If you decide to go with a custom design, steer clear of names or monograms. If you're just desperate to personalize the bag, call out your location, choose a motif that's in line with your wedding style or stamp a generic phrase, like "Plan to Get a Tan," on the bag. You want to design something your guests will use after the wedding. Whatever you choose, make sure it holds everything guests will need, plus a few fun surprises.
Get Creative: Play up your theme with a creative container. Pick a galvanized pail for a garden wedding, a wicker basket for a vineyard setting or an antique box for a vintage-style affair.
The whole idea behind the welcome bag is to make your guests' stay more comfortable, so keep them from raiding the minibar. Fill their bags with sweet and savory snacks that will tide them over if they arrive after dinner or if they have a late-night hankering post wedding dance party.
Get Creative: Give out-of-towners a taste of local flavor with snacks that are representative of the setting. For example, locally grown Florida oranges, Cape Cod potato chips or Vermont cheddar cheese.
Shop the Idea: Personalized packaging—like these treat bags—are an extra special touch.
Something to Sip
Throw in a drink or two, like bottles of water. You'll keep guests hydrated without sending them to the hotel gift shop. Add a custom label to show off your wedding colors, motif or monogram.
Get Creative: Swap out the bottle of water for something that speaks directly to the theme of your wedding. Try coconut water for a tropical destination wedding, miniature bottles of wine for a vineyard soiree or locally brewed beer for ranch nuptials.
Take a cue from the season and stock up on items that'll help your guests brave the elements. Sunglasses, bug spray and fans will beat the heat, while pashminas, tea bags and hand-warmers are perfect for a fall or winter wedding. Ponchos and umbrellas are other must-haves if rain is in the forecast.
Get Creative: Hotels often provide a few complimentary toiletries, like shampoo or lotion, but not everything is covered. Kick up your welcome bag with a few extra pampering products, like sunscreen for sunny days or lip balm to combat the chilly temps.
A Few of Your Favorite Things
Add a personal touch to your bag by including items you love or things that speak to you two as a couple. Maybe it's a signature sweet, a book of crossword puzzles or a mix of your favorite beats. These details that capture your quirks make fun welcome bag additions your guests will surely love (and get a good laugh out of).
Get Creative: Give your guests a little context by personalizing each item with a note explaining its significance. For example, John used to do the crossword puzzle every Sunday morning with his grandfather, or Emily is infamous for keeping a stash of sweets in her purse.
The Weekend Lineup
Keep your guests informed with all the details of your wedding weekend. Include a welcome letter with a link to your wedding website where they'll be able to find all key information, like an event timeline, important locations and phone numbers for a "wedding contact" in case they have questions. (Assign this to a planner, honor attendant or relative—you're going to have enough on your plate already.) Also include details about dress codes and any other must-know information. If you have older guests who may not be able to access your wedding website, create a little packet.
Get Creative: Have a calligrapher or graphic designer create a custom map detailing where all of the wedding events are taking place (like the one above, featured on a Maptote tote bag) or a fun infographic that outlines the times and locations of each event of the day or weekend.
Shop the Idea: Minted Weddings can help you out with all your custom stationery needs.
The Local Lowdown
Help your guests enjoy their downtime by cluing them in on the area's must-sees and dos. Pop a guidebook or map into each bag, along with the latest issue of a local magazine. Highlight hot spots, top sites to check out and activities they shouldn't miss. If your guests aren't joining you for every meal, recommend a few good restaurants too.
Get Creative: Throw in a list of your favorite boutiques and coffee shops—your guests will appreciate the thoughtful suggestions. If it's the city where you two fell in love, a sweet anecdote about a place (maybe your first-date spot) or street (your new home) makes for a nice touch.
Shop the Idea: These custom wedding maps are cute and colorful.
Don't let your guests regret that last glass of champagne. Create a special hangover kit, complete with a bottle of water, Advil, Alka-Seltzer and Emergen-C (even Bloody Mary mix helps) to help them combat any morning-after ailments that might keep them from enjoying the rest of the wedding festivities. Your friends and family will thank you—trust us.
Get Creative: A bad hangover isn't the only "emergency" your guests might encounter. Add in some Band-Aids, stain remover or a mini sewing kit to help guests deal with whatever disaster might come their way.
Shop the Idea: These tiny travel kits are chic and compact.
Lots of Thanks
Your welcome bag is just one more opportunity to thank your guests. Include a thoughtful letter to welcome them and tell them how happy you are to be sharing your wedding day with them. Handwriting each note will give them that extra-special touch that says, "You're so important I took the time to pen this myself." Or if you're short on time, at least sign each one in ink. And don't forget to give a quick rundown of the items you've included in your welcome bag or basket (especially if they have a good backstory).
Get Creative: Write each note on paper that speaks to the theme of your wedding. A postcard is a fun option for a destination wedding, while aged parchment paper is perfect for a vintage-style affair.
Shop the Idea: These simple folding cards give you plenty of room to write your message.
A Delivery Plan
You've put together an amazing welcome bag, but now you have to figure out how your guests are going to get them. Shipping welcome bags to your location is a no-fuss option, especially if you're flying to the destination. If you'd rather transport them yourselves, pack them well and have a family member (or a few close friends) bring them as checked bags. (Save stuffing the decorative tissue paper until the last minute or it will get crushed en route to being delivered.) Enlist attendants or family members to help you distribute bags to guests' hotels to be handed out at check-in or to be waiting in their rooms when they arrive. Some hotels will charge you up to $7 a bag, so ask first.
Get Creative: Surprise your out-of-town guests by having the welcome bags waiting for them in their rooms. It'll be the first thing they see when they walk through the door and is sure to instantly make them feel right at home.
Shop the Idea: These gift tags (tied with pretty string) may help you keep your welcome bags organized.
Not sure where to begin with your wedding planning? Take our Style Quiz and we'll pull together a custom wedding vision and vendors to match, just for you. After that, create a free, personalized wedding website to keep your guests informed (and excited!) about your plans, and a time-saving Guest List Manager to organize your attendees. Even better? You can sync your Guest List Manager and wedding website to update everything at once.