Destination wedding planner, travel agent
Mar 21, 2016
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Hi All,

I always have a number of requests with what to put in a welcome bag for wedding guests, so I figured I might as well write a blog about it!

generic bag

This info is specifically tailored for a destination wedding

PLAN AHEAD:

  • Determine Number of Bags:
    • ADULTS: 1 bag per guest room (not 1 bag per adult)
      • Keep the bags something that is either recyclable or easy to pack
    • KIDS: if there are kids attending, think of doing something extra special for them. For example, for a Hawaii wedding I coordinated, the kids received sand pails filled with more child friendly goodies and snacks to keep them busy.
      Kids Pail
  •   Hotel Policy:
    • In my experience, many hotels don’t love working with welcome bag deliveries as they can get misplaced, room numbers change, etc.
    • Many hotels often charge to have them delivered. This charge can be extremely expensive at some hotels, so best to know that ahead of time to see if this is even in the budget
    • Some hotels don’t allow welcome bags to be handed to guests at check in
    • Also check what the hotel policy is for contents of the welcome bag. We have had some hotels not allow ANY food/beverage in bags before.
    • Welcome bags are generally an “American” thing. So if you are planning a wedding in a more remote part of the world, alert them as to what welcome bags even are, ask them if it would be easier to be delivered or at check in
    • Bottom line, simply ask for their policy. If the policy won’t work for you or your budget, consider handing them out at a welcome dinner or another pre-wedding event
  • Purchasing:
    • The only think I would do before your trip is order anything custom (tote, sunglasses, etc). Do this early to avoid steep rush fees.
    • Be sure to also bring along any hand written welcome notes, printed itineraries, etc.
      • Have the same designer that did your invitations do this to keep the theme cohesive.
    • Beyond that, purchase as much as you can at the destination when you arrive if you can. More local the better and saves on a lot of luggage space.
  • Assembly:
    • As the wedding planner, I often do most of the purchasing and assembly for the welcome bags for my clients. If you don’t have a wedding planner hired to do this, be sure you have a friends and family tasked to help.
  • Budget:
    • Define your budget — these items can add up quick!
    • If purchasing custom welcome bags are not in your budget, try use craft bags and do a custom sticker or stamp instead
      © Dana Cubbage Wedding Photography 2013

If no welcome bags are in the budget, at least do a hand-written welcome note and I strongly suggest making room in your budget for an itinerary. The more informed your guests can be, the more on time they will be to shuttles, excursions, dinner, etc.

ItineraryCustom Cookies and Message-in-a-bottle itinerary we did for clients in Boothbay Harbor, Maine
photo by Alante Photography, Stationary by Nicole Mae Paper Design

Add a contact person’s info on the itinerary. For example, my clients use my Mobile number/Viber/Skype contact so guests can contact me anytime during their stay and I can answer questions for them.

Contact Card

WELCOME BAG IDEAS:

  • Tote
    • Make it something generic that people will actually reuse again
    • Customize the bag tag
      generic bag2
    • Lunch bag cooler — love these from Toss Designs
      Lunch Bag Cooler
  • Weekend Itinerary & Welcome Note
    • Map
    • Things to do
    • Restaurant Recommendations
    • Contact Person
    • Local Transportation Info
    • Social Media Hashtag/where to upload photos

      Map
      Custom map created for our clients for their wedding in Postitano (including their beloved dog that couln’t join them!)
      By Momental Designs

  • Something to Sip
    • Water Bottles
    • Wine from the region
    • Local Beer
    • Mini Cocktail Kit
      Bloody Mary Kit
  • First Aid Kit
    • Target has great mini first aid kits in their travel size section for around $2 each
  • Hangover Kit
    Hangover Kit
  • Something Sweet
  • Something Savory
  • Local/Hometown Favorites
    • Food
    • Beverage
    • Souvenir
  • SPF (if somewhere sunny)
    • Sunblock
    • Aloe
    • Lip Balm
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Sketchbook
  • Music Playlist
  • Custom Sunglasses
  • Custom Beer Coozie
  • Custom Door Hanger
    Door Hangerdoor hanger2