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 cheaptotes.com, 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
- 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?