Saturday, June 30, 2012

Star's Favorite Things: Welcome Bags & Packages

Your out of town guests are thrilled to be spending the weekend celebrating your day of matrimony; however, even with a blocked room rate, booking a hotel room for the wedding weekend can be costly.  On top of hotel costs, when you include the wedding and bridal shower gifts as well as the new cocktail dress they may have purchased just for your wedding, your guests may feel like they've forked out quite a chunk of change.  We all know they are happy to do it but wouldn't it be nice to give those out of town guests a little something extra to say "thank you"?  Consider surprising them with a welcome package!  It can be waiting for them in their hotel room or at check-in and is a great way welcome your guests and let them know you appreciate their presence.  It is also a chance to set the mood for the weekend ahead and give guests an idea of what they can expect.  A welcome package is a great way to tie your wedding theme in right from the beginning, as well as give your guests an opportunity to get excited about the upcoming festivities.

Start with something to hold the goodies in.  A reusable bag is a great option as guests can reuse them and will think of your wedding every time they pull it out.  If you are a DIY bride, you can purchase inexpensive canvas bags (Oriental Trading has them for less than a two dollars a piece) and stamp or iron your initials, monogram or message on the front.

Photo courtesy of Etsy

Photo courtesy of Style Me Pretty

I happen to think the stamped option, shown above, is just beautiful and is the easiest DIY option.  Simply choose a rubber stamp (Paper Source has gorgeous options), colored ink and have at it!  

Below is an example of an ironed on monogram.  It is beautiful but requires a bit more work.  Martha Stewart provides a step by step iron on tutorial on her website.

Photo courtesy of The Knot

The above DIY customization is fairly simple ; however, if you are not the creative type and still want to go all out on the bag, there are tons adorable custom bag options out there.  These are some of my favorites...

Photos courtesy of Wedding Chicks

Photos courtesy of Zazzle

If you'd prefer to go the simpler route, boxes, baskets or paper bags are also great goodie holders.  They can be personalized with stamps, ribbons, stickers and/or paper tags and can also save you a few dollars.

Photo courtesy of Ring of Yes

Photo courtesy of Etsy

Photo courtesy of Etsy

Once you've chosen your packaging, its time for the fun part... filling it with goodies!  Below are some things you may want to include:

  • -A letter from the two of you - This is your chance to welcome guests to your wedding weekend and to thank them for participating in your celebration.  This letter can be short and sweet or detailed with sentiments.
  • -Information about your wedding festivities - If your wedding weekend is full of events, a weekend itinerary is a nice extra to include.  If you are hosting a post wedding brunch or offering a shuttle service to and from the wedding site, this would be the ideal place to provide guests with these details.  Even if you've referenced this on your wedding website, it's always helpful to reiterate it for those guests who may have missed it initially.  
  • -Information about the area - Since the majority of guests staying at your hotel of choice are not from the area, it is also nice to include a list of restaurants, activities, and fun facts about the area.
  • -Snacks and beverages - It is nice to provide some treats for your guests to indulge in when they check into their hotel room or when they need a late night snack after a night of dancing at your wedding!  You can keep things simple by including things like chips, granola bars, candy and bottled waters, or you can go all out with a bottle of Champagne, gourmet nuts or olives, and truffles.
  • -Additional items - You may want to include items to make your guest's hotel stay more comfortable.  These items may include a candle for the room, cozy socks or specialty body washes and lotions.  It's also fun to include an item representative of your location.  Things like mugs, shot glasses, stationary, or even specialty treats from the local area are perfect additions.  This could be something like wine for Napa or kona coffee in Hawaii or even a local sport's team token item or souvenir which is always a favorite for the sport's lovers out there.  If your wedding is expected to get wild, you may also want to include recovery items too, such as Advil or Tylenol and a sleep mask :)
Again, these are just ideas to get you started - the possibilities are truly endless!  Remember, this is your opportunity to welcome your guests and set the mood for your wedding weekend.  Your welcome package can be silly and quirky, location specific (e.g. beach wedding), or elegant and luxurious.  Sit down with your love and put some real thought into what you will include and have fun!  If you met at a baseball game, include a bag of peanuts; if he proposed at Ghiradelli Square in San Francisco, include a few mini Ghiradelli chocolate squares; if you are going to Fiji on your Honeymoon, include a bottle or two of Fiji water.  Remember include a note explaining why each item is relevant to your relationship is a nice touch too so they understand why you choose the items you did. 

Below are some of my favorite welcome packages...

Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings

Photo courtesy of The Bride's Cafe

Photo courtesy of Brides Blogs

Photo courtesy of Real Simple

Photo courtesy of Etsy

Photo courtesy of Style Me Pretty

And something kind of fun to include for the party animals...

Photo courtesy of Intimate Weddings

If a complete welcome package is not in your budget, you can still provide out of town guests with a thoughtful welcome.  Consider something like this...

A tiny flower arrangement and welcome note hanging from their hotel room door.
Photo courtesy of Think Garnish

A small package including the morning paper, a pastry and coffee, delivered to their hotel room the morning after your wedding.

Photo courtesy of Think Garnish

Whether your budget is large or small, there are many ways you can give your out of town guests a special welcome.  This gesture will truly make their stay because who doesn't like a little surprise gift?!



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