Thoughtful touches: wedding welcome gift bags

Published by Claire Gould on

Wedding welcome bags for a luxury destination wedding in Italy - Elegante by Michelle J. Photographer credit David Bastianoni

Weekend weddings are here to stay, as lots of couples plan a celebration to last for more than just one day. We’re here for it, and we have some great tips to share with you – courtesy of top UK destination wedding planner Elegante by Michelle J.

Wedding welcome bags are a lovely treat for guests, especially for weekend weddings. If your guests have travelled a long way and are staying overnight, it’s an especially thoughtful touch to provide a little welcome bag.

A little welcome pack is brilliant for destination weddings. If guests have flown to be with you on your big day, make them feel really at home with all the information they could need – and some treats!

Where to start with wedding welcome bags

Think through your budget first of all, as this will dictate the contents of your welcome bags.

How much can you spend overall on your welcome bags?

What will the cost be for each bag? (Allow one per couple / family rather than one per guest)

Don’t forget to include the cost of the bag itself! Structured jute bags will be most expensive; printed or blank totes are mid-range, and paper gift bags are most affordable. You could personalise the bags themselves by having them printed, or design a gift tag to tie to the handle.

Wedding welcome bags for a luxury destination wedding in Italy - Elegante by Michelle J. Photographer credit David Bastianoni

Wedding welcome bags for a luxury destination wedding in Italy – Elegante by Michelle J. Photographer credit David Bastianoni

Location and information first

Wedding welcome bags should be useful as well as lovely!

Information should come first: a map of the area, with your venue(s) and routes between them marked on.

A schedule of events will help your guests know where to be, and when. Include any dress codes and whether food will be served.

Although you have likely already given out this information in the form of an invitation or wedding website, including a welcome booklet detailing where they need to be, what time to arrive, and what the dress code is will save you fielding a lot of questions! ~ Elegante by Michelle J.

A thoughtful touch is to think what guests might need in your location: if it’s hot, a paper fan. If it’s cold, hand warmers! For example, Michelle suggests including heel protectors if your wedding will be on grass.

When preparing information cards for your wedding welcome bags, try to answer your guests’ questions before they have to ask:

  • Are there taxis?
  • How long will it take to walk from A to B?
  • Local tourist attractions and must-sees
  • Where’s the nearest supermarket / chemist?
  • Any recommended local cafés, bars etc.

Something to keep and take home!

You could include a little souvenir or a personal gift in each bag – a little treat or keepsake which is easy to pack to take home. Avoid anything tacky, and personalise these if you can.

Affordable gifts for welcome bags might be cute packs of tissues (for happy tears!), lip balm, bottle openers, or fridge magnets. Michelle says it is possible to find beautiful, handmade or locally designed trinkets your guests will love. Look for artisan craftspeople in the local area.

The most essential component of any wedding welcome back is a personal note. It’s free and will be the one little thing your guests treasure most of all. Say thanks for coming, and let them know why you’re thrilled they – personally – can be with you for your wedding!

Treats and nibbles

Include little treats for your guests to tuck into! These might be local cookies or snacks – see if you can provide a sweet and savoury snack in each bag.

Local drinks and nibbles have been especially popular at our Italian weddings this year, and guests love to be greeted by local wines, home-grown olives and other snacks and refreshments they can enjoy in their rooms

Here are some more ideas on what to include in wedding welcome packs

Things to avoid in wedding welcome bags

  • Single use plastic bottles are never necessary. Choose glass bottles over plastic, or include a reusable drinks bottle if your budget allows
  • A one-for-all approach never works. Consider any guests who don’t drink alcohol, or who are vegan, or who have allergies. Hangover kits for non drinkers might offend, for example. And be sure you include an alternative to alcohol gifts for any guests who don’t drink
  • Don’t include anything bulky or heavy which your guests would have to pack in their suitcases to take home – keep it light and easy to pack!

Handing out your wedding welcome bags!

This is where the experience of a top wedding planner can come in especially handy! Logistics require a little thought, so plan carefully and no one will miss out on your welcome gift bags.

If you’re hiring an exclusive use venue for a weekend wedding, with all of your guests staying on site, you could put welcome gift bags in al of their rooms. This can be a little complex if there are any last minute room changes though!

If guests are scattered all around, staying in difference places, have your welcome gift bags at the first event of your weekend. Make a lovely display of them and put someone in charge of seeing that everyone picks theirs up!

It’s really key to make sure everyone knows about the welcome event well in advance, if you’re doing this.

If wedding welcome bags are over your budget

Your welcome doesn’t have to be in a bag filled with gifts. A simple note to welcome everyone is enough – even better if you can take a little time to personalise each one! Remember your guests are coming because they want to share the occasion with you both, and because they love you and enjoy your company! If you can’t afford a welcome note, go all in with a massive hug!

Michelle says,

Great wedding welcome bags can really make a significant difference to your guests’ experience, and the advice we’ve given here is a good starting point for you to work from when putting them together. Don’t forget that if your budget doesn’t stretch to welcome bag gifts, a thoughtful welcome note with an itinerary booklet or sheet will always be appreciated instead. Michelle’s blog is full of helpful tips and advice for planning your wedding, and if you’d like the expert guidance of an Elegante by Michelle J full planning service, get in touch – welcome bags are just the tip of the planning iceberg!

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.


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