Wedding welcome bag suggestions?
May 3, 2011 2:49 PM   Subscribe

Reusable bags suggestions for wedding welcome bags? Would love something inexpensive but nice-looking. Separately, would also love to hear thoughts on the most well-received items in a wedding welcome bag that you received as a guest.

We're putting together a welcome bag for out-of-town guests for our destination wedding, and I'm trying to find reusable bags that are affordable but still "nice" (or, at minimum, not terribly cheap looking). Budget is around $1-$2 per bag, similar to these.

I love love love the designs on envirosax, but they're obviously on the out-of-range pricey side.

Anyone have suggestions for reusable bags (a la reusable grocery bags) that are nice/fun/nicely designed/any or all of the above? Would prefer not to have logos on the bags (so no Trader Joe's bags, although the general quality of that type of bag is ok, as is the price ($0.99 per bag)).

I'd also love to hear your experiences with wedding welcome bags - eg items in welcome bags that were particularly well received as guests. Bonus points for hawaii/tropical-specific items.
posted by cranberryskies to Shopping (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Things I've always appreciated:
  1. Shout wipes
  2. Water bottles
  3. Gum/breath mints
  4. Something local (Ooey Gooey Butter Cake for St. Louis, for example)
  5. Map, addresses, and relevant phone numbers
  6. Any schedules
  7. Local attractions/restaurant list, if there's any time to kill

posted by SNWidget at 2:55 PM on May 3, 2011

Target sells some nice reusable gift bags. Can't find a link online, but they are on an end cap, by where all the party supplies are. I've used them many times and they are always greatly appreciated. They might be more like $3, but definitely worth a look.

As for things to include:
- Sunscreen
- Snacks are always good. Maybe like a tropical-themed trail mix? Or a mango-or-other-tropical-fruit leather?
posted by missjenny at 3:05 PM on May 3, 2011

Depending on how many people are coming (and how much time you have), I would look into sites like this for bags. You could even do a custom design, though I wouldn't necessarily want to use a bag with "HAN AND LEIA 4EVER" on it or something. Actually that might be kind of cool, but I meant having the couple's names emblazoned on it would in general discourage use.

As for what to put in it, I definitely agree about snacks. There are often odd time periods around the ceremony/reception/etc. where you have like 4 hours to kill but know you'll be eating soon. Thinking of Hawaii I think sunscreen and cheap neon sunglasses could be nice. Honestly though, I think I prefer consumables so I don't feel compelled to throw things out or bring them home.
posted by aganders3 at 3:15 PM on May 3, 2011

Map (tourist area may have for free)
granola bar or trail mix
bottled water
sunscreen, if useful, in trial size
coffee packet & coffee extras (creamers, sugars, etc) if there are coffeemakers in rooms (hotel might provide)
bottle opener (many breweries have these as freebies), coupons, if you can find any for local stores.

Make a personalized map: where to buy stamps, aspirin, etc., post office, coffee shop, grocery, etc.
Depending on the area, a summary of tourist info would be nice (free from tourist bureau, cut-n-paste-n-photocopy to make it personal), weather info is a help.
and a couple of good chocolates.

Pre-arrival - email map, packing list (i.e., you need a sweater if you visit the cafe on the mountain), tourist info. Have printed copies available at arrival.

I'm in a hotel, and these are things I needed. Have a good 1st Aid kit on site. Buying a knee bandage is okay; I'll use it, but the $25 fancy thermometer was a bit much.
posted by theora55 at 3:29 PM on May 3, 2011

If there will be drinking (and I assume there will) tiny packets of Advil and water bottles for use the next morning.
posted by genmonster at 3:41 PM on May 3, 2011

Advil, safety pins, breath mints, water
posted by candyland at 4:04 PM on May 3, 2011

for an away wedding I went to recently:

Map of area (with 3/4 breakfast places marked out)
Water, tylenol and alka seltzer
Granola bars
Can of soda+ mini bottle of booze for making a drink as you settle in
Toothpaste & toothbrush (they got kids toothbrushes in bulk from someplace. they were pretty silly)
hand sanitizer

They didn't bother with a bag, just got the hotel to let them into the blocked off rooms early, and stacked it creatively. Everything pretty much fit onto one piece of paper, on which they wrote their welcome, and instructions for consuming the supplies. (said instructions were pretty awesome, and totally made the kit- stuff like alkaseltzer to soothe your stomach after the sweetness of the wedding, hand sanitizer to erradicate any evil germs spread by covert agents etc. Instructions on the map to get to breakfast, flip side of paper was a real map, but the written instructions were pretty rediculous.)
posted by larthegreat at 4:15 PM on May 3, 2011

They didn't bother with a bag, just got the hotel to let them into the blocked off rooms early, and stacked it creatively

Excellent idea!

For my sister's wedding, the map/brochure also had phone numbers for MOB/FOB, MOG/FOG, and the maid of honor (me!), as well as a number to call for any problems on the afternoon of the wedding itself, when the five of us would not be available (which came in handy when a few guests got terribly lost on their way to the church).
posted by ocherdraco at 4:25 PM on May 3, 2011

Insta-totes has some lovely bags in designer prints in a slightly smaller size than a shopping bag (but I think plenty big enough for the welcome gifts you are planning). They're a little higher at Amazon than your budget, at $3.20 each, but with free shipping on a $35 order or more. Here's a nice tropical print for your destination wedding, for example. I have a couple of these and they pack up compactly and last forever!

And for inside the bags: simple map of area, wipes or travel hand sanitizer, travel hand lotion, bottled water, granola bar or munchies, and small ziplock bag with Advil packet, sunblock packet, safety pins and breath mints for minor emergencies. :)

Oh, and have disposable cameras for some of the guests for wedding pics!
posted by misha at 4:28 PM on May 3, 2011

This is the place to look for ideas or for getting small orders of single-size items--food items, pharmacy items, tiny bottles of hot sauce, or whatever.

We embraced the cheap bag route and did brown paper lunch bags decorated with nice ribbon. People loved them. Sounds like you don't want to do that, but we included a map, weekend schedule (very important), travel guide for the area (free from the chamber of commerce/visitor center), phone numbers for key people in the wedding party, a bottle of water, maple cookies (fall wedding), granola bar, dried fruit, wet wipes, a blank postcard as a souvenir, and I can't remember what else. We had rented out a giant cabin for everyone to stay at and stocked the bathrooms with other things like little toothpastes, shout wipes, Q-tips, Advil, cough drops, lotion and other small things people might have forgotten since we were many miles from the nearest store. But really, if you're in a town with any sort of grocery or drugstore, people should be able to take care of most of those things on their own, so focus on just a few small things or the cost can add up fast.
posted by BlooPen at 4:48 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

I did these for our destination wedding.

I got the bags at Hobby Lobby. They were plain, handled natural-colored cotton bags and I think I paid $1-2 a piece for them. I created an iron-on design and bought iron-on printer paper - and wha-la, cute, personalized bags. Everyone loved them and I saw quite a few guests carrying them around during the trip.

As far as contents, the best received items in my bags were (in order of most favorited to least used):

- Plastic mug with lid (literally everyone thanked me at least twice for these)
- "First Aid Kit" that I made using plastic zip bags and included travel size headache meds,
immodium, benadryl, bandaids, etc.
- Shout Wipes
- Small plastic waterproof container on a cord (great for carrying things to the beach) - from
Oriental Trading Company
- Tropical beer coozies (also from OTC)
- Travel candle
- Sticky notes and pens (my thought was so people could leave notes on other people's
doors at the resort, but nobody really used them)

I also did a welcome "folder" which contained a welcome letter, schedule of events, information about the resort and the location, and a list of spanish phrases.

Feel free to PM me if you want any of the templates I used for all the labels and printouts - I still have everything saved. And definitely check out Oriental Trading Company for cheap favors.
posted by tryniti at 5:45 PM on May 3, 2011

If you have a half off card shop in your town, they carry cute reusable bags for $1, similar to the trader joe's bags.

Dusting off cobwebs here, but our welcome basket included:

-A deck of playing cards (people loved these)
-Tourism info
-Shout wipes
-Sunscreen & chapstick
-lots of water
-some nice local sweets (caramel and toffee in our case)
-a list of cell phone numbers for everyone (asked permission first)
posted by Nickel Pickle at 6:18 PM on May 3, 2011

My sister did this for her wedding. I don't remember the specific items inside, but I still have and use the bag. she got them from Pier 1 and they are awesome: fun prints, solid fabric and best of all fold up into tiny case for easy carrying! Looks like they run $3 each though, but maybe you can find an online coupon for x% off?
posted by ilikemethisway at 7:50 PM on May 3, 2011

If you can't find any reusable bags in your price range, Dollar Tree has great gift bags for $1.
posted by radioamy at 8:05 PM on May 3, 2011

A tiny bottle of sand with the date and your names.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:50 PM on May 3, 2011

Not sure if this is what you're looking for, but I went to a wedding where they handed out bottles of soap bubbles. Everyone was blowing bubbles the whole time, it was a lot of fun.
posted by one little who at 8:05 AM on May 4, 2011

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