Treats for Travelers

I had never heard of out-of-town bags before the ‘bee. Since I’ve never traveled to a wedding as an adult, it didn’t occur to me that some brides provide their out-of-town guests with grown-up treat bags upon their arrival. But we do have lots of loved ones flying in from far-flung places! And I do love goodie bags of any kind. So inspired by Mrs. Turkey, Mrs. Hawk, Mrs. Elk, and many others, I set about gathering the supplies for our (hopefully!) amazeballs out-of-town bags.

The first decision was what to pack the goodies in. Mr. Wallaby and I, like good tree-huggers, tote reusable grocery bags to the store every time we stock up on groceries, and we normally decline plastic bags when we’re shopping for clothes and other things, so I thought it would be really nice to provide out-of-town guests with reusable bags. I found that a lot of reusable bags are expensive—at least when you multiply the cost times 30 couples/families. A lot of bees have scored on canvas bags from, so I drank the Kool-Aid and ordered 30 natural canvas tote bags, plus five extras just in case.

Although I’m a recent transplant from the Pacific Northwest, I am falling hard for Texas and all its quirkiness. And since Mr. Wallaby was born and raised in Houston, I’ve had my eye on this poster for a long time:


I Love Houston Wood Block Art Print by Etsy seller LuciusArt.

…and so I looked again at the canvas bags I had ordered, and realized that this was a DIY project just waiting to happen. I couldn’t find any decent, cheap stencils of the state of Texas, so I made my own. I created a cardboard stencil from the back of a cereal box (no joke!).


My DIY cereal box “stencil.” Personal photo.

I mixed some black and white acrylic paints to make a nice shade of gray, and I went to work painting inside the lines of the stencil on each canvas bag. (All while watching a marathon of Toddlers and Tiaras…reality TV for the win!) I bought alphabet stickers from Hobby Lobby to spell out “Houston,” and painted directly over the stickers. I reused the same stickers on each bag, surprised that they didn’t lose their stickiness. When I pulled off the stickers, this was the result:


My DIY Houston out-of-town bags. Personal photo.


Close-up of DIY out-of-town bags. Personal photo.

They’re not perfect, but they’re cute enough and have some local flair. Mr. W loves them and can’t wait to add any left-overs to our usual rotation of grocery bags!

The fun part would be filling the bags with local treats and hoarding gathering adorable mini things, for example:


Must. order. mini. Nutella. Photo via Deviant Art.

Most of the food would probably be perishable, so I held off on stuffing the out-of-town bags until the week of the wedding. Here’s what I planned on putting in each bag:

  • A welcome letter (I should probably have started writing that sooner…*kicks self*)
  • A Houston postcard to mail home (I bought a bunch of these at the city’s Tourism Office)
  • A map of Houston
  • Texas Bluebonnets seed packet
  • Sunscreen and insect repellent wipes, since the wedding will be outdoors
  • Packets of Advil, Tylenol, and Pepto-Bismol
  • Bottled water
  • Fresh fruit (apple, orange, or pear)
  • Granola bars
  • Chips
  • Homemade cookies if time permits (otherwise, Texas Snaps from Whole Foods…mmmmm)

Are you providing out-of-town bags for your traveling guests? Are there any other must-haves that I missed?


Mrs. Wallaby

Wedding Date:
November 2012
Top 10: Subtle Color from the 2013 Wedding Runway

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  1. buffalo Member
    buffalo 178 posts, Blushing bee @ 11:25 am

    AWWW I love how these turned out!!

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    Aurelie, Guest @ 1:33 pm

    We’re having a very small destination wedding, so we’re going all out for our guests. We’re giving canvas bags customised with our initials, filled with:
    a customised Evian bottle (names engraved in glass bottle), customised notepad and pen (with our initials) – and that’s it for the customisation! We’re also giving shamrock and snail shaped chocolates (I’m French and my partner is Irish), an emergency toiletries bag (painkillers, bandages, alka-setzer, tissues, sunscreen), a L’Occitane soap/ lotion combo, an Irish coffee DYI kit, and activity book for kids.
    I am stealing your lovely idea of the welcome letter and postcard! Love, love, love out-of-town bags!!

  3. Guest Icon Guest
    Aurelie, Guest @ 1:47 pm

    Ok, I just re-read my comment, and it sound like I’m boasting for what it’s that great an OOT bag. What I meant is that we’re giving nice OOT bags, along with treating our guests to other things (treats, activities, etc…). And the customisation includes our initials, but also our last names, so that our families can feel “connected”. Anyway, just my example, can;t wait to read what other brides are doing!

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    Aurelie, Guest @ 1:47 pm

    Ok, I just re-read my comment, and it sound like I’m boasting for what isn’t that great an OOT bag. What I meant is that we’re giving nice OOT bags, along with treating our guests to other things (treats, activities, etc…). And the customisation includes our initials, but also our last names, so that our families can feel “connected”. Anyway, just my example, can;t wait to read what other brides are doing!

  5. Member
    vintagefair 751 posts, Busy bee @ 1:53 pm

    Love the bags!! Might be stealing this idea for my out of town goodie bags!!

  6. camel Member
    camel 703 posts, Busy bee @ 4:04 pm

    These look awesome! I’m sure your guests really appreciated the added touch. We have so many guests coming from out of town that I am terrified to start a project like this. While it looks really cute I am worried that it will end up costing a lot of extra money.

  7. Member
    Soon2BeMrs7913 545 posts, Busy bee @ 6:01 pm

    I love your bags too.. I’ve started to compile mine but also are holding off on the food items til closer to the wedding.. I made an oops eek ouch packet.. which contains a whole bunch of things.. then i’ll be adding some food items from New Orleans (where fiance is from) from Illinois (where I’m from) and from Michigan (where we’re getting married).. I also really want to make the ice cream in a mason jar since it’s a summer wedding.. you mix.. add ice and roll the jar.. thank you pinterest!

  8. Member
    mrshollinger 1109 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:13 pm

    Love your bags!

  9. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 7:19 pm

    oh, I just love how your bags turned out, they’re so cute!

  10. Member
    alyssa719 32 posts, Newbee @ 8:29 pm

    I might be going a little overboard with our bags.. I have like, a first aid kit (bandaids, asprin, emergen-c), and sewing kit, as well as some brain teasers, a postcard to send home, welcome letter, some local (peeps, and pretzels) snacks, and water bottles. There are a few more things, and sometimes I think the Hus thinks I’m going insane, but I really want our guests to feel welcome, and like they’re wanted.
    I’m also the girl who puts together a basket for visitors at home with a washcloth, toothbrush/paste, shampoo/etc. for people when they visit us (just in case)!! I prob get this from traveling so much where you end up needing the most random things and never have them!

    That being said, I love the idea of customizing the bags, we were thinking about doing a phrase (from le petit prince), but I wasn’t sure how to get it on without breaking the bank (stamping was all I could come up with), but maybe if we do stickers in reverse? I don’t know – we are planning on 40 bags or so…

  11. Member
    mariewest 304 posts, Helper bee @ 8:30 pm

    I would love to do bags for our out of town guest, but I just don’t think it will be in our budget. So instead I’m doing a little newsletter that will have list of things to do in town, and information on the wedding weekend events.

    Love the idea of giving your out of town guests a postcard to mail home, it’s so cute!

  12. Member
    brooklyn55 743 posts, Busy bee @ 9:28 pm

    LOVE THESE!! I am thinking about doing OOT bags even though we only have about 15 guests coming from out of town.

  13. mswallaby Member
    mswallaby 2070 posts, Buzzing bee @ 10:59 pm

    @Aurelie: Not bragging at all, your OOT bags sound really generous and thoughtful! That said, please invite me to your wedding stat! :)
    @Miss Camel: Yeah I think this kind of thing really depends on your guest count. You can still write a welcome letter and include a map and a bottle if water or something, though – a little something to let guests know you’re thinking of them when they arrive at their hotel :)
    @Soon2BeMrs7913: Aww that sounds perfect! I’m really intrigued by the ice cream in a jar, haven’t heard of that!
    @alyssa719: Wow that sounds so thoughtful!! I love good old hospitality! And I can’t wait to pimp out the guest room at Mr. W and I’s new house. I think stamping 40 bags is totally doable!!
    @mariewest: That’s really sweet :) I always wonder what to do when I’m in a new place, so I would totally appreciate that!

  14. Guest Icon Guest
    Enrique Adame | Printing Company, Guest @ 11:50 am

    Your article is very fun to read and it contains a lot of great ideas for DIY gifts for wedding guests. It’s good to see that people such as yourself are conscious about our environment and are using things such as reusable bags as gift holders. Cheers, and keep up the good work!

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