More and more of the Weddings I’ve been involved with planning have a high number of Out of Town Guests in attendance. One of the latest trends in the industry is to offer your guest a little “gift bag” or “Out of Town Guest Bag” to welcome them to the area and to say thank you for attending. In addition, the Welcome bag can play a key role in communicating the Wedding related activities for the weekend (if multiple events) or for the night.
I’m often asked what to include in the bags by my couples so I’ve come up with a mini list of the basics and you can add from there:
A beverage of some sort-Water is generally the safest bet since sugar content/flavor preference is not of concern (and we all know how expensive that Hotel water can be- $4, geesh!)
Snacks-usually, I suggest a granola (for substance), potato chips/peanuts (for the salt) and something sweet; this will hit all of the cravings your guest may have and will avoid them having to do the late night creep to the Vending Machine.
Mints/Gum-an item the guests can take with them if they are in a hurry that will allow for a sugar surge without the bulk. If you really want to be creative, label with your Wedding date/monogram etc.
That’s the easy part! What Couples tend to forget are things such as:
Walking map: Chances are, if the majority of your guests are staying at a hotel, they are either flying in to the wedding site, or live a considerable driving distance away. Include in the Welcome bags, walking maps so that your friends and family can tour locally at their convenience even without a vehicle.
“Things to Do”: Compile a list of activities in the area that your guests may be willing to participate in; keep in mind, try to consider costs when doing so, as many guests may spend 2 nights in the hotel-Call local venues and inquire about group rates/discounts.
Transportation: I always encourage my Couples to include a short list of transportation providers in the area if you can. This way, your guests have at their fingertips, the number to local taxi’s, private car service, shuttles, etc and can avoid looking through the welcome binder provided by the hotel.
Lastly, Please remember to thank your guests for attending! Of all of the items in the Welcome Basket, this is generally the most well received, although on those 95 degree days, I’m sure the water comes in handy.