Planning a wedding is hard enough without the added anxiety of whether or not the party favors you picked out are good enough, because, in all honesty, a lot of wedding favors aren’t very practical, or even all that great. … read more
I’ve been prepping for this post for the last four weekends. Goodness grief, that’s a long time! These out of town bags have really thrown me for a loop. I desperately wanted to give our guests bags, but we are really trying to keep our wedding costs low. I priced some things out, and everything seemed a bit too expensive.
So, I decided to go a different route. As you know by now, I LOVE to bake. That being said, I wanted the guests to be greeted with homemade treats that screamed “Syracuse!” Now, how I was going to pull that off was the problem.
I finally have professional photos back, so recaps are coming! Before I get started, I want to share our last-minute DIYS that we completed before the wedding. I am the kind of bride that will pin the crap out of some Pinterest ideas, but when it comes time for me to execute anything, I nearly always get it wrong somehow…which is really a bummer considering the fact that I’m a middle school teacher and should probably be a lot craftier than I am.
For our wedding favors, Mr. Blue Moon and I pretty much knew we would like to make something ourselves so that we could (a) save money, and (b) personalize our favors. We started off with some pretty ambitious ideas…handmade candles or our own jams, perhaps?
Something happened in the final few weeks before our November 13th wedding: Mr. Puffer and I hit the planning wall. I think it happens a lot. We were still really excited about being married, and we wanted our guests to have a great time, but suddenly worrying about every minor detail just seemed…minor. Going for a walk with the dog or cuddling on the couch became more important than finishing up place cards.
It’s not that I stopped caring; I just stopped caring about perfection. And with that new mindset, I also stopped capturing the DIY process as thoroughly as I had before. I just couldn’t be bothered to photograph every detail when it meant trading up an opportunity to steal a few minutes of quiet with my husband-to-be.
And once I willingly gave up my picture-perfect vision of our wedding, I felt a lot of stress dissipate. Oh, problems with the ferns? No biggie. Someone’s plus-one isn’t coming? OK, not a problem. Again, I didn’t stop caring, but I redirected what I cared about to my love for Puffer and excitement over marrying him.
So long story short, this post (and the next) has very quick overviews of the last few DIY projects we finished immediately before the wedding.
Ninety-five percent of our guests are from out of town, and guess what? There will be no welcome bags waiting for them at their hotel.
Welcome bags are one of the things that modern brides are “supposed” to do that I can’t wrap my head around. I’ve gotten a few over the years, and while the wedding-branded bottled water and little packages of Goldfish crackers were nice to have, I’ve never gotten something in a wedding welcome bag that made me scream “THIS! I NEEDED THIS THING!”
Favors were one of the last DIY projects Mr. Puffer and I completed in the weeks leading up to our wedding. I’m not sure who came up with the idea of gifting music, but we both believed the guests who knew us best would appreciate getting a playlist they would identify with Puff and me. The trouble is, in this day of mp3s and digital streaming, how do we give them music?
So we went old school: CDs. I know, I know…giving CDs is probably not “cool” and really shows our age. But hey, both Puff and I are old school. We grew up jammin’ to cassettes. When you wanted to express your undying love to your crush, you gave him or her a mix tape. Heck, I didn’t get my first CD player until high school!
Puff and I now use our iPods, iPhones, and iPads to stream music. We don’t even have a CD player in the house. But we and nearly everyone we know still listen to CDs in the car, so we knew there was a good chance people would listen to them.
Wednesday afternoon our guests started arriving from Cancun! It was about an hour and 20 minute shuttle ride. We used a shuttle that the resort recommended, and it was quite tricky to coordinate all of the flight changes and shuttle groups. I felt like I was constantly worried about the shuttle and trying to update the information when our wedding planner said she would be taking care of it, but it all ended up working out all right.
The first shuttle was picking up my family because they had already been staying in Cancun. Since they would all be staying at Villa Zanzibar, we met up with them there and after they got settled in a bit started putting together the welcome bags! Villa Zanzibar was a perfect hub for the entire weekend. It was the perfect hangout spot—there were large couches, a full outdoor kitchen, bar, and a pool. It became the go-to spot for everyone to meet up and relax and for the after parties.
So now for Fin’s last guest post! As she describes, things got a little mixed up because of the weather, and they were unfortunately delayed in DC, but luckily they made it to Mexico safe and sound! We ended up assembling the welcome bags as soon as they got to Tulum and Cabanas la Luna. Thank you again for all of your help with these, Fin!
Let’s chat about wedding favors today, hive! I have to admit, I actually really love favors. No, I don’t need a shot glass or deck of cards with your name and date on it, but when I see it I’ll remember your special day and reminisce over the awesome time I had. 🙂
However, I understand not everyone shares this opinion; a lot of people don’t care about them at all, especially if you can’t eat them. So even though I do love the special little thank yous, favors were not something we wanted to throw a lot of money at. I wanted to give something I knew my our guests would enjoy, so edible was the way to go. Thankfully, we already had an easy solution because Pittsburgh has this AWESOME tradition called the cookie table! This glorious display of confections warrants its own post at a later date, but just think piles and piles and piles of cookies…like a candy bar…but with COOKIES. Toward the end of the night, we’ll put out cute little to-go bags for guests to fill up and take home. It’s gonna be amazing. 🙂
Here’s another guest post from my older sister. Thank you thank you thank you for dealing with every aspect of these welcome bags, and for all of your help with planning and in Mexico. You’ve been there for me since the very beginning!
Waaay back throwback photo of Fin and me 🙂
For the welcome bags, I put together information packets with suggestions for hotels, restaurants, and activities. Here’s how I made them.
card stock in the color(s) of your choice
white card stock for hotel cards
double sided tape
optional items: paper slicer & paper folder
Step 1: Collect information for your packet.
I wanted to make a little information packet for the guests to include in their bags. I knew that WiFi would be patchy, so we wanted to offer a few suggestions for places to go and things to do to tide everyone over until they found their way.
I basically divided the information into a few categories:
Hi bees! I’m Miss Stingray’s older sister. In past posts she has called me Fin. I live several hours away from her, so I haven’t been able to be very involved with wedding stuff. But she was such a huge help with my wedding two summers ago that I knew I wanted to take on a project for her! So I offered to take on the welcome bags. I love crafts and I do a fair amount of travel, so I have an idea of things people might forget when they take a trip, and I get a free checked bag, so I have space to pack them.
This Is Episode 1 of Welcome Bags: Decorating the Bags
Now, I should start with a disclaimer. You probably already know if this is a project you’d like to take on. It will probably be as much fun as one of the more tedious craft projects you’ve ever tried. So if you’re someone who loves every project you’ve ever tried—great! Full steam ahead. But if you tend to find crafts to fall somewhere between a three hour work meeting and a root canal on the scale of fun, this is probably one to leave to Etsy or Vistaprint.
$36 for bags and shipping
$5 for roll of contact paper/vinyl
$4 paint (~$1 per bottle)
$1 foam brushes (You can usually get 12 for $1.)
The main expense here is the bags. All of the other pieces are a few dollars or less. If you had to buy everything for this project, it’d cost somewhere around $46.
I bought the bags from Cheaptotes for 89 cents each. They are flat and slightly loose woven (though not see-through). Some people online have complained about the quality, but mine seem to be pretty good for less than $1! If you want to splurge, the heavy-duty totes have a fold out base of about 3.5 inches and cost less than $3 each.
I used up about four partial bottles of acrylic paint (mine were two-ounce Craftsmart or Americana brand, less than $1 in stores) for 28 bags. So one bottle should be more than enough for 10 bags if your design is similar in size to mine (about eight inches square).