7 Must-Have Items for Wedding Guest Welcome Bags

A guest welcome basket for a wedding with nuts and bottles.

Are you looking for a special (and functional) way to thank your out-of-town guests for putting in extra effort to attend your wedding? Welcome totes or baskets are becoming increasingly popular and for good reason. These goodie bags are the perfect way to add an extra, personalized touch upon the arrival of your guests. This is especially true for couples who are orchestrating a destination wedding, are hosting numerous people from out of town, or have a full weekend of events planned. Leave them with the hotel for a surprise at check-in your guests will appreciate!

The first step is finding a bag or basket to put everything in. You can choose anything that suits your fancy, but remember these two key factors: presentation and price. With welcome bags, presentation is really important. The best ones are personalized in some way and coordinate with the wedding theme and/or colors. Finding a budget-friendly option is also vital, however, as you will be purchasing one for every person who’s traveling to attend your wedding.

Once you have the container situation, what exactly should you put in it? That’s a great question and there are a wide array of possible answers. Fortunately, there are no wrong ones. If you find a particular item that you feel is appropriate, throw it in there! If you’re struggling to come up with ideas for your guest welcome bags, however, consider incorporating some of these popular items.

1. A Welcome or Thank You Note

A card with the words

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s vitally important. Make sure you and your fiancé spend some time creating a welcome note to include in your guest welcome bags that thanks them for attending your wedding. This can include anything you want and sample text can easily be found online. Do ensure the final version is personalized, however, as your family and friends will appreciate it more this way. Depending on the number of welcome bags you’re creating, you may want to consider handwriting each person (or couple) a special note!

2. A Weekend Agenda

Things can get hectic at a wedding, especially when the festivities span over several days. To keep everyone on track, plan to include a breakdown of your agenda. This doesn’t have to be insanely specific, but it should provide enough detail to ensure your guests know where to go, when to be there, and how to dress.

3. Water or Beverages

A little something to sip will also be greatly appreciated. It’s important that you and your guests all stay hydrated. To this end, make sure to provide at least one bottle of water per person. Customize these for the occasion by making/ordering your own label. If your budge allows, include some small bottles of liquor for the afterparty!

4. Local Cuisine or Food

A row of small maple syrup bottles on a fence against a winter sky.

When picking items for your guest welcome bags, consider types of food make your wedding location special. Every town or city has something that will appeal to others, whether it’s a local produce, handmade goods, or unique products. Throwing a wedding in Texas? Include a bottle of the famous local barbecue sauce. Wedding in Florida? Include some locally grown oranges!

5. Sweet and Salty Snacks

Snacks are essential. While you’re likely planning to spoil your family and friends with delicious cocktail hour treats, a lavish meal, and amazing desserts, it’s a good idea to include a few snack items in your guest welcome bags as well for them to enjoy at the hotel or on the road. To best accommodate everyone’s preferences, find at least one or two salty and sweet items to share. These will be particularly helpful during the late evening hours after your reception when other food options may no longer be available.

6. Weather-Appropriate Gear

Every wedding is different based on the setting and season. Try to find items that will be useful for your guests in terms of your specific event. Hand-held fans, for example, are a perfect addition to guest welcome bags for summer weddings. If your ceremony or reception is taking place outside, consider a container of bug spray or sunscreen. Other helpful items may include sunglasses, hand-warmers, and ponchos.

7. Hangover Cures

Two hands holding heart-shaped pills with a glass of water.

Are your family and friends likely to get a little rowdy during your reception? If you’re providing an open bar, your guests are going to take advantage of it. This means that more than one or two people will go overboard. To ease potential hangovers the morning after your wedding, throw a few afterparty favors in your guest welcome bags. Pain relievers, extra water, and Tums will be greatly appreciated by many.

With so much to do before your ceremony and reception take place, it’s likely you won’t have time to greet each and every one of your guests individually before the actual wedding. The bigger the guest list, the more impractical this becomes! While your family and friends will understand, it’s still nice to provide something as a token of your appreciation. These welcome bags are the perfect solution and a fun way to kick off the celebration.

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