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 lots of out-of-towners.) That's why many couples put together welcome bags for their guests. Want to do the same? Here's everything you need to assemble the perfect prewedding goody bag that's sure to make your guests feel right at home.
  1. A Versatile Carryall

    Canvas tote welcome bag
    Photo by Clary Photo

    Presentation is key. A basic canvas tote is a great hold-all 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.
  2. Local Ingredients

    Welcome bag with snacks
    Photo by Jocelyn Filley Photography

    The whole idea behind the welcome bag is to make your guests' stay more comfortable. 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.

  3. Something to Sip

    Welcome bag with drinks
    Photo by KT Merry

    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.

  4. Weather Proof Essentials

    Welcome bag with weather proof essentials
    Photo by Robin Proctor Photography

    Take a cue from the season and stock up on items that will 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.

  5. A Few of Your Favorite Things

    Personal welcome bag
    Photo by KT Merry

    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 (or at least 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.

  6. The Weekend Lineup

    Welcome bag with wedding weekend information
    Photo by James Christianson

    Keep your guests informed with all the details of your wedding weekend. Include a welcome letter and a packet with key information, like an event timeline, important locations, 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 without fielding questions from guests needing directions to the rehearsal dinner), as well as details about dress codes and any other must-know information.
    Get Creative: Have a calligrapher or graphic designer create a custom map detailing where all of the day's (or weekend's) events are taking place or a fun infographic that outlines the times and locations of each event.

  7. The Local Lowdown

    Wedding bag with local lowdown
    Photo by Corbin Gurkin

    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.

  8. Hangover Helpers

    Welcome bag with hangover kit
    Photo by Jen Fariello Photography

    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…that's right) 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.

  9. Lots of Thanks

    Welcome bag with thank you letter
    Photo by Trent Bailey Photography

    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, take the time to 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.

  10. A Delivery Plan

    Welcome bag
    Photo by Kate Captures Photography

    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.

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