One of the key differences between a destination wedding and a normal one is that a welcome bag for your guests is a must. These items are cute little touches for a wedding you’re having near your home, but they’re just extras.
Destination wedding welcome bags, however, are necessary to making your guests’ experience as enjoyable and pain-free as possible.
So where do you start when you need to make these bags? That’s where this post can help you out.
Though destination wedding welcome bags do require some planning and organization, you’ll be glad you put in the effort when your guests aren’t peppering you with questions and are instead referring to their bags.
Here’s how to put together some incredible welcome bags your guests will love to use:
Start Off With Cool Packaging
Packaging for your destination wedding welcome bags is one of the easiest ways for you to make a statement when your guests arrive in their hotel rooms. As such, feel free to have as much fun with the container as you want!
For example, if you sent out unique destination wedding invitations, like mini trunks full of your wedding information, you could always use slightly larger versions of trunks as their welcome “bags.” Another fun option is customized totes for each guest with the date of the wedding stamped on the front.
You can always opt for the traditional basket or gift bag, too, with additional touches of ribbon and tissue paper that match your wedding colors or theme.
Tip: Wait to decorate your welcome bag packaging until you’ve filled it with the information and gifts for your guests. You want to "wow" your guests, but not overwhelm them with too much fluff.
Fill Them With the Necessities
Remember how it’s important for guests attending a destination wedding to have a welcome bag? They’re most likely in a place unfamiliar to them, so you need to provide as much helpful information and guidance as possible.
Here’s a list of necessary info to put into your guests’ welcome bags:
- Thank you card/note: Never forget to include this; it shows your guests how much you appreciate the time and effort they’re making to come to your wedding. Make sure to also hand-sign each one, even if the rest of the card is printed.
- Wedding itinerary: Also a vital piece of information for a destination wedding welcome bag, the itinerary will tell guests about all the events leading up to and on the day of the wedding. This will give them the freedom to figure out what to do with the rest of their time.
- Local information: Speaking of that free time on guests’ hands, show them what they can do with it. Provide a list of local sights and sounds, such as tours, events, food tastings, galleries, etc. that your guests might like to attend. And always suggest a few local places to eat, too!
- Emergency numbers: Give your guests the local fire, police, and hospital information along with a point of contact in your wedding party if they were to find themselves in a dangerous or life-threatening situation.
- Gifts: This is probably the most fun part of packing a welcome bag. Find something fun (and preferably local) to give your guests that really represents you as the soon-to-be-married couple or your wedding’s style/theme. For example, if you’re getting married in Texas, you could provide your guests with a BBQ recipe book and some BBQ sauce or seasoning.
You could also consider incorporating any of these elements into your destination wedding welcome bags:
- Hotel information: Though most hotels already provide information about their own property, you can reiterate anything about the hotel you think is important to your wedding celebrations (i.e. insisting your more boisterous guests pay attention to hotel rules and quiet hours). Some hotels also offer deals to wedding parties only, like discounts at local spas or restaurants, so you’ll want to outline what those are for your guests. Make sure to ask your hotel’s event coordinator about what deals are available before guests arrive.
- Snacks: Sometimes in all the excitement, your guests might forget to drink water or grab some food to keep their energy up. Throw in some water bottles and healthy snacks like trail mix or protein bars to keep your guests happy and ready to party the entire trip (though just make sure to avoid nuts for any guests with allergies!).
- Supplies: In case your guests forgot anything important in their suitcases, you might want to provide them with back-ups like aspirin, band-aids, mini sewing kits, toothpaste, etc. Though the hotel may provide some of these items, guests will appreciate it more if they don't have to run to the front desk to get them.
Finish Off by Displaying Prominently
Make sure you know when all your guests will be arriving at your wedding location and which rooms they’ve booked for themselves.
Ask the hotel staff or your destination wedding planner to help you put the welcome bags in every guest room before they arrive, making sure that the kit is easily seen and accessible when the guest(s) come into the room.
You can also choose to deliver the welcome bags directly to the guests yourself along with your significant other. This would provide an extra touch of care and personal attention that will make your guests feel like they made the right choice in coming so far.
Destination wedding welcome bags can take a while to organize, compile, and prepare, but for every minute you put into making them, your guests will get lots more value out of the welcome bags than if they had to go without.
They also won’t be sending you texts or calling you every other minute to ask what they should be doing, so that’s always an added bonus for your sanity.
If in doubt about putting an item into your bags, ask yourself this question: would you want to see that in a destination wedding welcome bag if you were a guest at your own wedding?
So how about it: what are you hoping your guests will see in their welcome bags?