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Welcome bags?

I'm thinking about making welcome bags for our out-of-town guests.

Those of you who made welcome bags - what did you include?

A lot of our guests are from very far away (halfway across the country). Many are also from 30-90 minutes away and will be staying in the hotel.

Who did you give them to? Everyone, everyone who stayed at the hotel, or only the truly "out of town" guests?

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Re: Welcome bags?

  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    member
    I didn't do them and find them to be an unnecessary expense. However, if you do them, I think you should do them for everyone staying at the hotel. Aunt Susy doesn't deserve a bottle of water and bag of local cookies more than Uncle Bob just because Susy flew in and Bob drove in, you know? People talk, and it could be awkward for Bob to find out he didn't get a welcome bag and Susy did.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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    JennyColadajswedding0916
  • My MIL was hell-bent on having welcome bags.  She did one for everyone staying in our 2 hotel blocks.  She put in bottles of water, chicago mix popcorn, trail mix, bakery cookies, individual packets of tylenol, and maybe granola bars?  Most people were from out of town so I typed up a small info sheet that included a welcome/thank you for coming message, a reminder of wedding time and location, and a 5-6 of "our favorite places" (restaurant, coffee shop, ice cream shop, bars) that DH and I frequented in college. 
  • peachy13peachy13 in my cubicle, doing very important work
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
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    I'm a big fan of welcome bags, whether I'm coming from 15 minutes away or 4 hours away. It's a nice gesture and I'm definitely making them for my wedding... but I know it's not required and if you don't do them, it's totally fine.

    I'm going to buy most items in bulk (water bottles, bags of pretzels, individual packets of advil, candy, etc.) It doesn't need to be high end, just some nice little treats. Like cafarrie I'm also doing a little type-up reminder of wedding details, etc. I will make a bag for everyone staying overnight.
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    jerseykisses
  • You don't need to do them, but if you want to, I always think it's nice to have the following:

    - a bottle of water
    - snacks from local companies (some sweet, some salty)
    - mini packet of aspirin/ibuprofen
    - map of the area
    - schedule of events
    *********************************************************************************

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  • Our guests loved our welcome bags! We also did one for every guest staying at our hotel - it ended up being over 100 people, but we received a lot of complements on them. If you have it in the budget, I'd say go for it! We made a trip to Costco and got a lot of the essentials for a reasonable price. We included the following:

    - Welcome letter with itinerary reminders and information - DIY
    - "Do not Disturb - We were partying the night away with Mr & Mrs X!" door signs - Etsy
    - 2 small waters - Costco
    - Travel-sized packets of Tylenol - Can't remember... maybe Bed Bath & Beyond?
    - Granola bars - Costco
    - Small bags of chips and Cheez-Itz - Costco
    - Gum - Costco
    - Orange or apple - Costco
    - Local flavor:
          -Small bottle of wine from a local vineyard
          -Small box of truffles from a local chocolatier

  • I don't plan on doing these, but my future SIL did this past summer. She included 2 mini bottles of water, 2 bottles of local beer, a few Hershey kisses, and 2 bags personal size bags of chips. She gave them to everyone that stayed at the hotel, but the issue she ran into is that tons of people stayed overnight. The hotel block was completely booked, so other guests that stayed over weren't on the wedding block list, which meant she didn't have the number of other people besides the wedding block. She got a lot of the items from Sam's Club, which worked out well. 

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  • labrolabro Hotlanta
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    An additional tip on welcome bags - you may be able to get free ones from your local Convention and Visitor's Bureau. We did that. We received one free bag per blocked room already pre-stuffed with local "things to do", coupons etc. We hit up Costco and added two water bottles per bag, granola bars, a welcome letter with schedule of events and a map. I also picked up some locally made chocolate chip cookies to add to the bag.



    FutureMsNguyen
  • tcnobletcnoble
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    member
    edited November 2014
    We are making one bag per room booked under our room block. We are including..

    - 2 bottles of water
    - one bag of gourmet popcorn from a local place
    - one bag of chocolate covered pretzels 
    - a "do not disturb" sign from Etsy
    - Vegas guide from the convention center

    We originally were going to include some "Vegas" touch like playing cards or fake poker chips, but when you work out the cost for something most people probably don't want, we nixed that and went for a bigger bag of popcorn.

    We recognize welcome bags are a totally optional expense but it is one we wanted to take on to provide something for our guests. If people book after the closing date on the rooms, they will unfortunately not receive a welcome bag. There's a deadline for a reason, and we do this in hopes of people adhering to it.



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  • Thanks for the thread - I, too, am doing a welcome bag as the hotel we are in (beach ceremony) has no restaurants on site.  I will be combining ideas from the bags above. Thanks!

    BTW, AddieCake and LaPeanut1018
    love your wedding pix!
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  • jenijoykjenijoyk
    Tenth Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments First Answer
    member
    edited December 2014

    I loved doing welcome bags and got a ton of compliments on them. For some reason, putting them together calmed my nerves the days before the wedding. I included homemade sugar cookies shaped like California (you can make them a week or two ahead and freeze them), a bottle of California beer, a mini-bottle of California champagne, a little pin I bought off etsy that referenced my county, a card with info on the hotel shuttle and the address/times of wedding events, a mini-packet of tylenol, a couple tums, some band-aids (with Mickey Mouse on them, to match the Southern California theme), some candy, and homemade chococlates shaped like the bear on the California flag. Most of my hotel guests were from out of state, and several hadn't been to California before, so I thought it was fun.

    We only had about 25 bags, so I also bought large plain gift tags, and handwrote a note on each. Just something like, "Thanks for much for coming out! We're so excited to spend time with you this weekend. We're in room XXX if you need anything."

    I had a lot of angst the day before I dropped them at the hotel, worried that the hotel would have a problem handing out bags with booze in them to guests. But they didn't ask about it. I tied the bags shut with ribbon, but I'm sure they knew there were glass bottles in them when they picked them up.

    We also had issues with people booking the hotel, but not officially as part of our wedding block. So it took some sleuthing to make sure that all my guests were on the list to get a goodie bag. But, I just had my parents check with their family members from out of town who weren't showing up on the hotel block list. And I called the desk a few times and asked, "Is John Doe staying there Saturday?" They were pretty accommodating.

  • Also, one thing that made my homemade stuff and the candy I purchased in bulk look more swanky were the little cellophane bags they sell at baking and craft stores. You can get a bag of 100 for a few bucks, and then I got some metallic twist ties and whatever ribbon was on clearance. This way I could buy a giant bulk bag of candy for cheap, and then divy it into the little cellophone bags, tie it with a ribbon, and stick one in each welcome bag. Looked way cuter than just sticking a generic bag of M&Ms or something in the bag.
  • I am getting Married in March 2015 in St. Augustine, FL I am having welcome bags. Dollar Tree has light canvas bags (multiply  colors).$1.00 a pieces. online if you can't find in store) I plan on two bottles of water, popcorn, CD of our favorite songs, candy, and brochures about activities, tours, etc. St. Augustine has to offer. Not that expensive most items are coming from Dollar Tree. Hope this helps.
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!)
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    I am getting Married in March 2015 in St. Augustine, FL I am having welcome bags. Dollar Tree has light canvas bags (multiply  colors).$1.00 a pieces. online if you can't find in store) I plan on two bottles of water, popcorn, CD of our favorite songs, candy, and brochures about activities, tours, etc. St. Augustine has to offer. Not that expensive most items are coming from Dollar Tree. Hope this helps.
    Sounds lovely, though I'd skip the CD.....there's a pesky little thing called copyright laws.  Laws aside, music is a very personal taste......I want to listen to what I like, not what someone else likes.  Not to mention, I'm not even sure if my car has a CD player.....I haven't listened to a CD in years! 
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    member
    I agree to skip the CD. I don't want a mixed CD of someone else's favorite music.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • I'm planning on doing welcome bags and so far they will have a bottle of water, a door hanger that matches my invitations (One side says Do not disturb, we celebrated blah blah blah, and the other is a very sweet note thanking our guests for coming), a pack of tissues, Hershey kisses, individual Tylenol packet...and I'd like to add another snack and a map of the city or "thing to do" guide

    image

  • Hey y'all, just to loop back the gift bag idea went over really well.

    It wasn't as extravagant as I'd hoped: bottled water, chips, crackers, candies, and a wedding packet with a map with all the pertinent places, a handout I made using tripadviser of things to do in the area, a master schedule of the weekend events for those who were coming to the extra things we were paying for.  Since it was a very small destination wedding and I'd been coordinating multiple people promising to help each other, I also included guests names and phones so they could continue coordination.  Might not be applicable to your group, but my small group of family/friends REALLY liked having each other's contact information.
    image
    charcoalandblushhellohkbhaleyk620dcbride86
  • Hey y'all, just to loop back the gift bag idea went over really well.

    It wasn't as extravagant as I'd hoped: bottled water, chips, crackers, candies, and a wedding packet with a map with all the pertinent places, a handout I made using tripadviser of things to do in the area, a master schedule of the weekend events for those who were coming to the extra things we were paying for.  Since it was a very small destination wedding and I'd been coordinating multiple people promising to help each other, I also included guests names and phones so they could continue coordination.  Might not be applicable to your group, but my small group of family/friends REALLY liked having each other's contact information.
    Thanks for the update!


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  • At first we weren't going to do it but I think it'd be such a nice touch.  Great ideas all around! 
  • jenijoyk said:

    Also, one thing that made my homemade stuff and the candy I purchased in bulk look more swanky were the little cellophane bags they sell at baking and craft stores. You can get a bag of 100 for a few bucks, and then I got some metallic twist ties and whatever ribbon was on clearance. This way I could buy a giant bulk bag of candy for cheap, and then divy it into the little cellophone bags, tie it with a ribbon, and stick one in each welcome bag. Looked way cuter than just sticking a generic bag of M&Ms or something in the bag.

    jenijoyk said:

    SITB

    jenijoyk said:

    This wouldn't bother me at all, but are people creeped out by re-packaged loose candy? I can see some people not eating these types of things because they're worried about germs. What do you guys think - stick with pre-packaged stuff?

    jenni5672
  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer
    member

    jenijoyk said:

    Also, one thing that made my homemade stuff and the candy I purchased in bulk look more swanky were the little cellophane bags they sell at baking and craft stores. You can get a bag of 100 for a few bucks, and then I got some metallic twist ties and whatever ribbon was on clearance. This way I could buy a giant bulk bag of candy for cheap, and then divy it into the little cellophone bags, tie it with a ribbon, and stick one in each welcome bag. Looked way cuter than just sticking a generic bag of M&Ms or something in the bag.

    jenijoyk said:

    SITB

    jenijoyk said:

    This wouldn't bother me at all, but are people creeped out by re-packaged loose candy? I can see some people not eating these types of things because they're worried about germs. What do you guys think - stick with pre-packaged stuff?



    I stuck with pre-packaged.  I got a bunch of Hershey kisses, and I'm putting a few for each guest in a little mesh bag so they aren't loose in the guest bag (super cheap when you buy in bulk). 

    I'm also putting little stickers on the bottom of the Hershey kisses that say our wedding date and stuff.  I know, it's super Pinterest-y, but it's honestly kind of a relaxing thing to do after work that doesn't require much thinking, and can be done while drinking lots of wine.  Plus, I think it's cute, Pinterest-y or not.

    jenijoyk
  • I'm one who wouldn't eat the opened stuff. I am sticking with pre packaged. More for my peace of mind on someone getting sick or someone at hotel getting into it. 
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  • We're planning on doing a gift bag for our guests, with a lot of the same things already mentioned: bottled water, chips, some granola bars or packaged nuts, cookies from a local place, gum or mints, a map of the local area, & a note thanking guests for coming.

    We were also running into issues with guests staying at the hotel but booking outside of the block (AAA rates, rewards points, etc); we sent our hotel contact our full guest list to ask if there were any other guests with reservations not currently on our room block.  They added them to our full list so that we know how many gift bags to make & they know who to give them to, too.  
  • I think our bags ended up costing just a couple bucks per bag, one bag per room. We just bought bulk packages of water bottles, individual sized bags of chips/pretzels/popcorn, and funsize candy. A bag was totally full with 2 water bottles, 2 bags of chips, and a handful of candy.

    We also included a one-page print-out with directions, a few nearby places to eat or drink or see, and a reminder of where/when the wedding was (for people who forgot the invitation, which is always me when I travel for a wedding). 

    And finally, a few tourist maps that I just picked up for free at a tourist stand. 
  • pennydlpennydl
    Third Anniversary 10 Comments 5 Love Its
    member
    Wow, this was super helpful. I too was thinking about Welcome bags, but wasn't sure what to include. Question to clarify, did you make up enough bags for per person or 1 per room? If 1 per room, how did you handle if friends or relatives were sharing rooms? Or guests with children?
  • pennydl said:

    Wow, this was super helpful. I too was thinking about Welcome bags, but wasn't sure what to include. Question to clarify, did you make up enough bags for per person or 1 per room? If 1 per room, how did you handle if friends or relatives were sharing rooms? Or guests with children?

    @pennydl we are doing one per person and I'm doing special ones for the kids.  It will cost a bit more but many of our guests are spending quite a bit of money to come to the wedding (and paying for a hotel) so it's really the least we can do.  Our hotel charges $5 per bag to distribute so I'm giving out many of them at the rehearsal dinner and letting the hotel take care of the rest.    
  • There are some great ideas in this thread. I'd started putting together some ideas for welcome bags but now I have so many additional ideas!

    Thanks!

  • tj&cwtj&cw
    100 Comments 25 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper
    member
    There are some great ideas on Pinterest. I have been working on a list of local items....along with timeline of wedding weekend events, map and list of who to call for what....just making sure my number is no where on that list =)

    Good luck
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  • larrygagalarrygaga Czechoslovakia
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    member
    edited May 2015
    I made them for everyone at the hotel.

    A bottle of fairly cheap wine (I'll be honest), water bottles for the amount of people in the room, some chocolates, a little bag of popcorn and a rice crispie treat. And pain killer packets. Amazon has them for pretty cheap!

    My mom is making the popcorn and FMIL is making the treats. 

    It doesn't have to be a big deal. I've been to a wedding where the bag was just a tiny thing with candy. It's just very thoughtful, even if it's not super fancy or a lot. 

    Plus, when I've been at an open bar all night I love coming back to food! 

    I will also eventually make up a little insert with phone numbers, areas of interest in the town and wedding times/address. 
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  • pennydl said:

    Wow, this was super helpful. I too was thinking about Welcome bags, but wasn't sure what to include. Question to clarify, did you make up enough bags for per person or 1 per room? If 1 per room, how did you handle if friends or relatives were sharing rooms? Or guests with children?

    I did one per room, and just was sure there was plenty of stuff in each that could be split among more people if there were more staying in a room. So each bag had a mini-champagne and a bottle of beer and a bunch of snacks. People who stayed by themselves just got to enjoy two bevies instead of one. 
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
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    The one suggestion I would make is to keep them small enough that they can fit inside a suitcase, especially if they contain food items you can't bring on a plane.

    I've gone out of town to occasions where I was given gift bags in containers that were too big.
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