Wedding welcome bags are a great way to warmly greet wedding guests as soon as they arrive at your festivities. These gift bags let family and friends know that you’re grateful they’re able to share your special weekend with you. Plus, wedding welcome bags are filled with items that will make guests’ experiences as comfortable—and memorable—as possible.
Welcome bags are particularly popular for destination weddings, but they’re also super common for local celebrations. Read on for our tips on how to build and how to package your wedding welcome bags—and when you should give them out to guests.
What to Put in a Wedding Welcome Bag
What would a wedding welcome bag be without a welcome note? Your note doesn’t need to be long—a simple, meaningful message is all that’s necessary. Handwritten notes are always appreciated, but if time doesn’t permit, try to at least sign your names in ink. Don’t forget to include your wedding hashtag at the bottom of the note, too, or any other social callouts you want to make.
An Itinerary and a Map
Even the simplest wedding needs a plan. A detailed itinerary helps guests understand the timing of the weekend and figure out how much time they need to for getting ready and traveling to and from events. For getaways or multi-day events, a detailed itinerary is crucial. Letting guests know where they need to be and when saves them from texting or calling you, or continuously logging onto your wedding website.
If you’re hosting a destination or an out-of-town wedding, include a map of the area and recommendations of restaurants, museums, and other attractions in the area. We recommend also including a list of contacts. You can add local emergency numbers and the names and numbers of the best people to reach out to for any questions—you and your fiance will havé enough going on.
A Water Bottle—or Two
This is a necessary staple. If your guests are staying in a hotel, they may not feel comfortable drinking tap water. Offer water bottles that they can bring with them to events or can graciously grab the morning after your reception. It’s a wedding after all—people will be celebrating.
Photo Credit // Blue Photo NYC
Weddings are basically mixers for your guests. It’s a lot of small talk with a lot of people. Add in passed hors d'oeuvres and things can get, well, stale. Keep everyone fresh with a small pack of mints. Add a tin of your favorite mints and guests can throw them in their clutches or suit jackets for the night.
It’s not a welcome bag if there’s no food. Well, it can be, but your guests will be happy to have the snacks. You can include standard options like chips, popcorn, granola bars, or dried fruit. The welcome bag snack is also a great time to showcase a local treat, like homemade caramel squares or fresh shortbread cookies from a popular bakery.
Your wedding welcome bag should be an extension of you and your partner. So, add a memento that’s reflective of your relationship. If you’re a huge tea lover, give guests a bag of your favorite kind. If your partner has a notorious sweet tooth, include their favorite chocolate bar. If you two are famous for your homemade jam, gift everyone a small jar. Include a little note or label to explain the item’s significance.
Help guests get the party started with a cute mini bottle of champagne, a can of a local craft beer, or a sparkling rosé. You can also gift a mini liquor bottle and a small mixer. For example, a nip of gin and a can of flavored tonic will set the evening off—or end it—right. Throw in a colorful paper straw for a decorative touch.
How to Package Wedding Welcome Bags
Package your wedding welcome bags in a way that showcases your wedding’s theme and your personality. If you’re getting hitched waterfront, for example, you may want a nautical-style tote with a rope handle. If your wedding is in a country garden, think floral-print paper bags with pastel ribbon.
Craft Paper Bags
Craft paper bags are easy to personalize and decorate—and they’re budget-friendly. They also make packing and bringing them to your guests’ accommodations easy. Use a stamp or customized sticker to label each bag with your and your partner’s name and wedding date.
If you want something more playful, brand each bag with the wedding hashtag. Add tissue paper on top, and tie a ribbon around the bag’s handles to seal the gift.
Tote bags are a take-home souvenir in and of themselves. This option may be better for smaller weddings as it’s definitely an expensive choice. You can go classic with a standard plain tote, or personalize the bags with a custom design or message. You can customize the bags with your couple monogram, your names, or just your wedding date and location.
Like craft paper bags, paper or cardboard boxes are easy to assemble and recycle—which is ideal for guests traveling light. Give a box the same treatment you would give a bag. Add a custom sticker, fill it with tissue paper, and add your items. It’s important to get a box that’s sturdy enough to hold your bag contents, too.
Photo Credit // Unsplash
When to Give Out Wedding Welcome Bags
If you’re having a destination wedding…
If guests are coming from out of town at various times, it’s best to have their wedding welcome bag ready for them as soon as they arrive. If possible, arrange for the bags to be ready in their rooms (if everyone is staying at the same accommodation), or have them handed out at check-in. Ask your wedding party to help organize this.
Things to consider: If you’re traveling far for your wedding, you want to either have your wedding bags shipped to your destination ahead of time or packed carefully and transported by your wedding party. Since it’s easy for things to get moved around or damaged in transit, don’t assemble the bags until you’ve arrived.
If you’re having a local wedding…
It’s pretty typical to have welcome bags ready at the various hotels or other guest accommodations. However, if your wedding is small or most of your guests are traveling from their homes day-of, you can also have welcome bags on display in a designated area of your venue. You can arrange gifts on a front table, stack on a decorative shelf, or have members of the wedding party hand them out to each guest as they arrive.
Wedding welcome bags aren’t required for all weddings (budgets are important, we get it!), they are a thoughtful addition that really adds to the guest experience.