Guide To: Welcome Bags

August 6, 2013

One of the newest trends for weddings are personalized welcome bags. No longer just for destination weddings, welcome bags can be a great way to thank your guests for traveling a distance or even to show a little pride in your hometown!

Gift Bag by Lisa Vorce

Whatever your reason, trying to choose what exactly should go IN a welcome bag can be a bit of a task, so here’s a handy guide to help!

Step 1: Pick your theme
Some ideas are:
-You and your fiance’s relationship
-You and your fiance’s hometowns
-The city in which your wedding is taking place
-The season in which your wedding is taking place
-Your wedding theme or colors
-R&R
-For “Foodies”
-A mix-your-own cocktail bag

Step 2: Pick your bag
If you’re doing a bag with local foods, a basket might be a better choice. If you’re having your wedding at the beach, you might want to look at a beach tote. If your looking at a bag full of local items, you might want to print a map or the state on the outside.
Sixpence Press and Wedding Chicks both offer really cute designed totes available for purchase.

Step 3: Pick your items
Some things to consider when planning what to put in your bag:
-Look locally. Anyone can buy a bag of Doritos, but a lot of your guests will be interested to try local foods.
-Try to represent you or the culture of the city. In Austin, people LOVE Topo Chico and Tex Mex, so including some salsa and a mini Topo Chico gives your guests a little slice of Austin.
-Include maps and guides. Use this as an excuse to get your guests acquainted with the city and where the events of the weekend will be held. Maybe even include tickets to a local attraction if you are having a weekend long wedding.
-Cross generations. Grandma isn’t probably going to love her rum and coke welcome bag, and your nephew may not be thrilled with a mud mask and foot cream. Make sure to include something for everyone, or do a few “special” bags to cover all grounds.
-Think cheap. As much effort as you put into it, unfortunately, many items may just be tossed or left behind in hotel rooms, so don’t go overboard and remember that less is more.
-Consider things your guests might need during their trip. Mini shampoo, tissues, sunglasses, coffee… all things guests will be relieved you were thoughtful enough to consider.
-Think TSA friendly. Don’t include anything that can’t be consumed during their stay. Local jams sound like a great idea, but if your guests open it, they may not be able to fly with it unless they’re checking luggage.
-Keep the colors complimentary. You want your bag to look cohesive. If you’re having trouble, use glassine bags or other cute containers to store goodies that have unsightly packages.
-Buy in bulk. Check online candy warehouses before the supermarket. You can buy bulk candy for much cheaper.

What I might include in an “Austin” themed tote:

1 Texas Oil Drops, texasfood.com; 2 De La Rosa, candywarehouse.com; 3 Chameleon Coffee, chameleoncoldbrew.com; 4 Texas Tote, Seeker of Happiness on Etsy; 5 Topo Chico, topochico.com; 6 South Austin People soap, southaustinpeople.com

Next week I’m going to post a DIY post on how I made my own Texas tote bag!