Welcome Gifts

The welcome bags are the first thing your guests will see from you as a way to thank them for joining your wedding or elopement celebration. It’s a very considerate gift to give the ones you love. With smaller weddings on the rise, you can have bigger gift bags! These could go out during the rehearsal dinner, the wedding reception, at the front desk, or delivered to the hotel room. To make this decision, figure out what will be the best for your wedding group. These gift bags always sound wonderful in the beginning and in the end feel like another huge task. Before you make up your mind, let's talk a little bit about what goes into the planning behind these bags.

Your first task is to figure out who will receive these bags. In most situations, one bag goes to a couple or to a family staying in the same room. I have seen a bag go out to every single guest at the wedding, but that turns into more of a favor bag than an actual nice gift bag. Once you have your list, consider how much you can spend per bag. The very minimum would be $20, that gets you a bag, tag, ribbon and a few small items inside. The $40-$50 range would have more of an impact. Think about a bottle of wine, local snacks, maps, or an itinerary. You name it! See more ideas here: brides.com

There are even companies that will pack all the bags for you and all you do is pick the items online: shopgiftify.com

Making lists is something that is closely connected to wedding planning. Here we need to start a new list of every bag going out. Then connect the bag to the guest(s) getting that bag. The reason could be that you are putting different items in the bags or giving specific wine to your favorite people who love pinot noir. Lastly, we will need to tag the bags. Each bag should have full names, not nicknames. This is important if you are handing them over to a hotel for them to deliver. Make sure to ask the hotel what it will cost to deliver the bags, it can be up to a $5/per bag charge. 

Delivering to a hotel Room: Ask the hotel reservations department for a list of the guests that made reservations in your room block. Make sure this list includes the arrival dates of your guests. Look down the list for the earliest arrival date. Your due date for all the bags to arrive to the hotel is the day before the first guest arrival. This will give the hotel a chance to get prepared as well. If your welcome bags are going out at the time of check-in the bags will still need to be tagged with each guest name. This will help in the end if there are any leftover bags, the owners will be identified. You can even create custom tags online: zazzle.com

When you deliver your bags it's good to have a page of directions. These can be very simple and straightforward:

  • There are ten bags going to these ten guests (list the names that match the tags) and their date of arrival.
  • The bags are going out at the time of check-in (or delivered to the rooms).
  • All charges for delivery go to your account. You could add your wedding name on the bags. Give any other specific directions you have, assume no one knows anything about your bags.
  • All delivery charges go to a specific account.
  • Talk to the manager or event coordinator when delivering your bags, these bags are very important and we don’t want them to be forgotten in the mix. Make sure they have a secure place to store the bags and are not leaving wine out for anyone to be tempted.
  • Share your cell phone and let them know they can call with any questions. Or give them the cell phone of anyone taking the lead from your group.

It is nice to put someone else incharge of the bags, once they are made. Or even get help from friends to make them. All the bags will need to be delivered to the final destination. That could be the hotel, reception area, a house or the restaurant. This is also a great project for your wedding planner to help with. They will know what is needed from you to get the bags organized. 

 Photo credit: chuttersnap