How to Fill Your Wedding Welcome Bags

Show out-of-town guests your appreciation with these helpful tips!

How to Fill Your Wedding Welcome Bags

Photo: Samuel Lippke Studios

wedding welcome map tote bag with personalized gifts and snacks

Whether you’re having a destination wedding, a hometown celebration, or getting married in your current city, it is more than likely that you'll have guests coming in from out of town to celebrate your nuptials. Many couples choose to show their appreciation for loved ones who take time out of their schedules to travel for the big day by presenting out-of-town guests with a welcome bag or basket! 

When selecting the best items to include in your welcome bags, you'll want to be sure to find the perfect blend of practical and fun items. Maps, itineraries, and first-aid kits are useful, but they won’t do much to drum up excitement for the big event. On the other hand, a bag full of treats and tchotchkes may temporarily delight, but ultimately leave guests deciding whether to toss them or stuff them into carry-on luggage. Not only is maintaining balance necessary for a great welcome bag, but there’s enough precedent with these gifts that some ideas can get stale.

Read below for some of our tips to make your welcome bags unique and useful!

- Make sure to have each bag waiting in the hotel rooms when your guests arrive. Check with the concierge regarding how to make this happen, as the extra touch will make your friends and family feel even more welcomed than the bags themselves!

- Pick a vessel that can be used again. Baskets look lovely, but tote bags are versatile and can be personalized.

- On that note: Resist monogramming everything that your guests may want to keep. Your wedding is important to them, but no one needs sunglasses with someone else’s name on them. 

- Using special wedding-specific labels for disposable items, such as food and drink, is a cute way to complete the look of the welcome bag and shows that you put in a great deal of effort, which your guests will appreciate.

- Hangover cures are popular but can sometimes be read as gauche. Make them more elegant with a special pouch or box and label them “Recovery Kits.” Include electrolyte mix, water, sublingual B-12 tablets, ibuprofen, eye drops, and a protein bar.

- Keep location in mind. Sunscreen, aloe vera, insect repellent, ponchos, and umbrellas could all be helpful depending on the locale and season. Incorporating custom containers matching your color scheme help to make guests feel as though the celebration has already started.

- Every welcome bag offers snacks, but using gourmet brands or location-specific treats highlights the luxury of your event. 

- A standard offering is bottled or boxed water, and while these items should still be included, consider also providing a refreshing beverage like coconut water or fresh fruit juice – especially for a tropical destination wedding.

- As stated earlier, a map and itinerary are extremely helpful, as is a list of activities to do at the wedding location. However, not everyone is up for going out after traveling. Including a book or movie that takes place in your location is a way to include local culture while still catering to introverts.

- If you have the time, hand-written thank you/welcome notes to your loved ones are a personalized touch that will be appreciated by everyone.

View additional ideas for welcome bags here, and be sure to check out the favors and gifts distributed to real wedding guests in our photo galleries!

Opening photo by Samuel Lippke Studios