Are you traveling for your wedding, or do you have a lot of guests traveling? If so, you may want to consider welcome bags for your guests. Welcome bags are, well, bags of little treats for your guests as they arrive at the hotel. They’re a nice way for you and your fiancé to greet each guest without being there yourselves.
While welcome bags differ from wedding favors, they are just as important for out-of-town weddings. They show appreciation for guests who have to travel overnight. That’s a big ask, and it can be expensive. So these little treats say an immediate, “Thank you!” as soon as a guest checks in.
These bags are also a great way to share something personal with your guests. You can certainly include practical items they won’t want to throw away—and we’ll talk about that shortly! But you can also get a little sentimental. It is, after all, a wedding. And what you include in these welcome bags can help set the tone for the whole weekend.
So, the next big question is, “What do you include in these bags?” We’re glad you asked! Here are a few types of treats you can consider adding to your bag. (Or basket, box, etc. It doesn’t have to be a bag.)
This can be something local to where you and your fiancé live, or local to the wedding spot if you’re hosting an out-of-town wedding. By including something local, you’re sharing a little bit about yourself. It helps you connect with your guests, and gives them a small but meaningful way to remember the festivities.
Something Local Example
Are you hosting your wedding at a vineyard? Include some personalized wine charms, or a sample of your favorite wine from the vineyard. Keep the item on-theme without going overboard. (You might not want to give every guest a full bottle of wine!)
If you’re a regular reader of the Eventective blog, you know that useful gifts are super important to us. This includes wedding gifts, but also favors and other treats. Before you add anything to your welcome bags, ask yourself, “Will my guests actually use this?” Of course, not every guest will use every item. But try to keep that in mind. Like in our Local Example above, every guest might not use wine charms—but it’s still a useful gift, even if it’s personalized with your wedding date or initials.
Something Useful Example
Maybe you’re having an outdoor wedding or destination celebration in a sunny spot. Include sunglasses and a little bottle of sunblock—both will certainly come in handy! To really make these items a keepsake, consider putting the location or month/year on sunglasses to encourage guests to hang on to them.
You can also always include lip balm, ibuprofen, or mints for guests who might have forgotten their own—or who might drink a little too much at the reception! It’s a little touch to make guests feel a little more at home.
SOMETHING TO DRINK
This suggestion is completely open to your interpretation, although water is always a good idea! You could also include loose leaf tea, bags of coffee, or something to spike the coffee with. It doesn’t have to be something the guests drink at the wedding. Quite the opposite—it’s a nice memento to take home and drink at a later time.
Bonus Tip: Always check with your accommodations before putting alcohol in your welcome bags. Some places won’t hand out alcohol for legal reasons.
Something to Drink Example
What drinks match the theme of your wedding? If you’re planning a literary wedding, consider including a few tea samples in your welcome bags. Or maybe you and your soon-to-be met at a coffee shop. Then put a small bag of coffee in the mix, with the story of how you two met. Perhaps you plan to party all night long—a mini bottle of champagne will kick that off.
SOMETHING TO SNACK ON
This might seem like a silly idea, but once again, think about your guests. If they’re traveling—especially if they’re flying—they may end up arriving much later than planned. Maybe nothing is open, or they’re too tired to venture out. Including munchies will help with that. Plus, they can use the tasty treats for the trip home!
Something to Snack on Example
Choose foods that travel well and won’t spoil. Trail mix, protein bars, fruit leather, and chocolate are all foods that will last. If the hotel has a restaurant inside or nearby, you could also work with them to include a coupon or voucher in the welcome bags.
While it is possible to include something sentimental that’s also useful or local, you don’t have to blend them all. It’s a wedding, and you’re allowed to be a little sappy! (Just make sure not everything in your welcome bags is sappy.) These sentimental moments let your guests get to know you a little better, and they can be a good teaser for the celebration to come.
Bonus Tip: When choosing a sentimental gift, ask yourself, “What’s the one thing I want my guests to know about us?”
Something Sentimental Example
What’s your proposal story? What hobbies do you enjoy doing together? What’s something personal you’d like to share with your guests? If you love hiking together, write a thank you note on a postcard from your favorite peak. Maybe you met during college—buy everyone a college t-shirt or beanie. It doesn’t have to be monogrammed with your names; just sentimental so guests will think of you when they see it.
Did any of these ideas spark inspiration? What’s something sentimental you think you could add in your welcome bags? We’d love to hear it!
Welcome bags can seem like a lot of work. And sometimes they can be. But they can also go a long way to thank guests who have traveled far to come celebrate with you. Plus, you can always task your bridesmaids with gathering the items and putting them together. They’re not difficult to create; they just require dedicated time.