Welcome bags for wedding guests seem like a great idea: not only are they a way to express your gratitude, but they can also go a long way in helping out of town guests feel a little more at home.
There’s one problem: hand out generic gift bags, and they’re prone to the fate of traditional wedding favors– which up to 70 percent of guests throw away.
Make sure your money and time is well spent on things your wedding guests will actually enjoy/need with these great wedding gift bag ideas:
Interactive Goodie Bags
There’s nothing like attending a wedding after traveling a long way and feeling like you aren’t a part of it. While allowing guests to introduce each other before the reception always helps, so does allowing them to be part of your wedding day. Welcome gift bags including items like confetti or small bottle of bubbles allow your guests to celebrate as you leave the reception. Include disposable cameras (great for capturing all the moments that happen before the ceremony and late at night), or include a single, unique prop for the guests to bring to the photo booth.
Award Favor Bags
There’s nothing more welcoming than recognizing guests for how far they traveled to celebrate your big day. Mix it up and surprise guests by giving everyone a unique bag based on how far they traveled, and a little homage to where they’re from. Cheap or homemade medals/trophies are a playful way of recognizing the efforts everyone took to be there.
Make it a Game
There’s a misnomer that all wedding welcome bags have to be simply ‘gifts’ for guests, but go a step above and beyond for out of town guests makes a difference. If you’re worried that guests will feel bored or out of place, have them communicate with guests they’re going to sit with before the wedding, and then provide bags that add a touch of fun! Sneak in name tags and little games that will force them to meet others during cocktail hour. Mad Libs, custom bingo cards, and scavenger hunts are all great ideas. Just make sure to include little treats or prizes to sweeten the game!
Stick to the Hits
The best part of waking up.. is any coffee that’s better than hotel coffee. Providing your guests a small bag of GREAT coffee is great for them to take home with them, but also to use that very weekend, when the hangover is fighting it’s hardest.
Personalized Welcome Bags
The best idea for gift bags wedding guests won’t give away? Making them personal to what your guests love! Younger guests might enjoy tiny liquor bottles and personal (funny) pictures from the past. For older guests, consider writing a personal welcome note of why it means so much to you that they came.
Having a wedding outside of the country? You’ll want to take extra care with your welcome bags, because your guests have traveled so far. Consider a breakfast basket, a pampering basket (think lotion, facial masks, travel ware) or an adventure basket (suggestions for events or activities around; or a map of the surrounding area). And if you’re having an European wedding, you have to check out this elegant basket idea by Martha Stewart.
Can’t decide on one idea? Combine them! You can also get a read on what your guests might like: make a private Guestboard thread to your bridal party to ask for more great ideas– without spoiling the surprise for other guests.