As a gracious Southern couple, we know you and your partner would like nothing more than to personally welcome each and every guest to your Charleston wedding. Unfortunately, with so many guests and so much to do, you simply won’t be able to spend time individually greeting all of your friends and family. So give them the next best thing: thoughtful Charleston wedding welcome bags stuffed with essential, local goodies. They’ll adore these take-home favors and appreciate the personal touch as they kick off your wedding weekend.
Short on ideas? We won’t leave you hanging. The Zola team has come up five steps, and a few quintessential Charleston goodies, to inspire your Charleston wedding welcome bags from start to finish.
Step 1: Get a cute wedding welcome bag.
First thing’s first: a pretty package. While we love personalized canvas totes, paper bags printed with you and your partner’s names and wedding date are just as handy to corral your welcome gifts. Buy a personalized stamp to make decorating plain bags easier. Or consider stamping or printing the location of your nuptials or even one of South Carolina’s famous palm trees on the bags.
Step 2: Make sure sure your guests can get around.
Slip a map of Charleston into the bag to make sure your guests are able to spend the part of their weekend (the hours not dedicated to wedding festivities) exploring the Holy City. Pick up a handful of inexpensive city maps from the Charleston tourism office or order them in bulk online.
Step 3: Choose a few wedding-related gifts.
If you’re having a Charleston beach wedding…
Stuff your wedding welcome bag with a colorful, monogrammed sun visor, a bottle of sunscreen, and silly sunglasses to help out guests attending your beachfront Charleston nuptials. For those with children, throw in a small beach toy.
If you’re having a Charleston plantation wedding…
Remember that it gets H-O-T in Charleston—especially from May to September. These wedding welcome bag ideas are a necessity if you’re having a Charleston plantation wedding and want to keep your guests comfortable in the summertime heat: mosquito repellent, paper fans, or even a misting fan. Trust us, your guests will thank you.
If you’re having a rustic Charleston wedding…
Small burlap sacks add the perfect rustic touch to all manner of welcome bag goodies. Fill them with wildflower seeds, coffee beans, candies, nuts, or grits (more on this Southern pantry staple later). The homespun wrapping will serve as the perfect reminder of guests’ weekend down South.
What Southern fête would be complete without a cold brew in hand? Personalized koozies are an easy way to integrate your wedding colors into the reception and add a personal touch to your soirée. We know your guests will get a lot of use out of this gift both during and after your wedding weekend.
Step 4: Choose a few local gifts.
Charleston is for foodies.
It’s not just our enormous appetites talking when we suggest the following edible wedding welcome bag ideas. With its coastal charm and Southern roots, Charleston is a food lover’s mecca. This foodie town is full of recipe inspo that visitors can replicate in their very own kitchens. So throw in a copy of Food Lover’s Guide to Charleston & Savannah for your kitchen-savvy wedding guests.
Some like it hot (sauce).
Throw some hot sauce into that Charleston wedding welcome bag for a dash of fiery flavor. A local favorite is Lillie’s of Charleston, your one-stop shop for the best hot sauce and barbecue sauce in the Holy City—not to mention amazing Southern recipes. The “Special Blend” is perfect for everyone: mild enough for sensitive palates, but sure to put a pep in anyone’s step. For those who like it fierce, they’re also got a “Low Country Loco” sauce. Boom!
The secret life of bees
It might have been the best-selling book and critically-acclaimed film that brought honey to the national forefront, but for decades South Carolinians have had a love affair with the sticky stuff. Treat your guests to something sweet with jars of Bee City Honey, which you can customize with you and your honey’s names and wedding date. (Sorry, we really had to.)
“I’ll go with the grits.”
Says everyone, when dining in Charleston. And you should too. Nothing says “Southern comfort” like a steaming bowl of buttery grits, and your guests will appreciate being able to whip up a bowl at home anytime. Buy white or yellow stoneground grits in bulk on Amazon and pour them into individual burlap bags to toss into your Charleston wedding welcome bags.
Tea with a buzz
Firefly, the original sweet tea-flavored vodka, is a Charleston native, so head on over to your local ABC store and stock up on some mini-bottles to throw into your wedding welcome bags. It’s the perfect base for Charleston wedding signature drinks, and we’re sure it’ll be a hit with your guests.
Another sweet Southern staple, pralines are a wonderful addition to any Charleston wedding welcome bag. We love the candies from River Street Sweets and bet your guests will enjoy snacking on these treats after the reception or on their trip home.
And something for the kids.
If you’ve got friends or family traveling to your Charleston wedding with small children, it might be a good idea to throw in some toys to keep the kids busy (and quiet!) during your ceremony and reception. Small games, coloring books, or toys are a simple solution to keeping tiny guests—and their parents—happy all night long.
Step 5: Leave a little note.
If you can’t thank them in person, a short heartfelt message goes a long way. Your guests will love getting a little thank you note in their wedding welcome bags, whether you and your partner type up a message or write notes by hand (we personally love the idea of handwritten notes on vintage Charleston postcards).
To make it more affordable, we recommend giving these wedding welcome bags chock-full of Charleston goodness to families and couples, not individuals (unless of course they’re attending solo). This way, you can be sure to give them unique items they’ll keep, use, love, and always remember your Charleston wedding by.