Welcome bags are one of those things that are totally optional, but can make your guests feel extra loved when they arrive in town for your wedding. Typically, you only need to provide welcome bags for out of town guests, and most hotels will allow you to drop off these bags and will do the work of placing them in your guests’ rooms before they arrive.
Welcome bags can include just about anything, but they are a major cause of waste in weddings. That’s why we encourage you to be extra thoughtful about which items you include.
Here are 6 items that are sure to make your welcome bags fun and super useful to your guests!
1. A Reusable Tote Bag or Recyclable Bag
Sure, baskets and fancy gift boxes are nice, but it’s not likely that your guests are going to be able to fit these items in their suitcase as they travel home. Using these containers is a recipe for waste, as they are likely to end up in the trash can. They also tend to be more expensive, so there is really no reason to pour good money down the drain.
Instead, opt for a custom printed reusable tote bag or a paper gift bag to hold all of your welcome goodies. I’m a firm believer that you can really never have too many tote bags, and they are easy to fold up and pack away in a suitcase. Etsy is full of options for custom designs that you can customize with your names and wedding date. Keep in mind that gender neutral designs are less likely to get ditched!
But remember, not everyone is going to love and cherish the tote bags the way that you do, and some may still end up left behind or in the trash. For the most affordable and most environmentally friendly option, stick with a recyclable paper gift bag.
2. Wedding Itinerary and City Map
While your wedding website may suffice for the majority of your guests, remember that some of your family and friends might not be that tech savvy. Including a printed list of all the wedding events as well as a map of your city that highlights your favorite spots is a great way to keep all of your out-of-town guests informed as to what is going on throughout their stay.
You’re probably going to be feeding your guests plenty of food at your reception, but you better believe that some will still head back to their hotel room with a serious case of drunk late night munchies. Include some sort of snack in your welcome bags so that when they get back to their room they have something to nom on. This is especially important if your wedding is in a more rural or remote location far away from convenience stores or late night restaurants.
4. Hangover Kit and Bandaids
After all of that dancing and drinking at your wedding, your guests are likely to get back to their hotel room with blistered feet and a bit of a headache. These are signs of a great wedding reception, but no one wants to suffer through a hangover and blisters the morning after the wedding. Guests never PLAN on having one drink too many, but it happens to the best of us. Make sure they have everything they need to make it to the morning after brunch.
5. Bottles of Water
A lot of people will say that you should include a bottle of wine in your welcome bag, but really bottles of water are much more likely to be consumed after your guests have hit your open bar all night long. Dehydration post-reception is a major factor for guests, so make sure they have a bottle of water or two to return to. You can even add more personal flare with a custom water bottle label.
6. Cell Phone Power Bank
My cell phone is always dying, and I have had to miss out on photos of friends at weddings before so that I could conserve energy for my Lyft back to the hotel. That’s why a fully-charged cell phone power bank is a truly amazing item to throw in your guests’ welcome bags. This is a pricy item, so I would only include it for guests who you know would use and appreciate it. To really wow your guests, charge them ahead of time so they are full of juice before your guests arrive.
Jen Siomacco is the CEO and Creative Director of Catalyst Wedding Co. She works to mesh together her love of feminism, love stories, equality and design into the layout and brand of Catalyst while she sits on her couch and snuggles up with her SUPER lazy cats.