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November 12, 2012


Gift Bags, Boxes and More: Wedding Welcome Bags!

I looooovvveee giving gifts. Picking them out, packaging them, and imagining the smile on the recipients face when they open them are some of my biggest thrills in life. So, it’s only fair that one of the things HCS has become known for is our Welcome Bags, Boxes and Gifts.

This blog will be the first of 4 going live this week, where we give some helpful pointers to help you all out there in Gift Bag land, starting with Wedding Welcome Bags.

What separates a great welcome bag from one that will be left in the hotel and forgotten? We think it boils down to relevance. How relevant your bag and its’ contents are to your guests, your wedding and your location is key. Here are three ways to plan your bags to maintain their relevance to you and your event:

1.) Make your bag about YOU, the couple. Fill it with things you like – your favorite candy, gift cards to your favorite store, a print from your engagement session. These people are there to see you, right?

2.) Make your bag about your wedding LOCATION. Are you having a destination wedding in Hawaii? Fill your bag with treats from the islands – Macadamia nuts, souvenirs, etc. If your hometown is the setting, treat out-of-towners with locally made items.

3.) Make your bag with an ACTIVITY in mind. Include sunscreen, a towel and magazine for a beach wedding; perhaps bug spray, a guide and trail mix for hiking at your wedding in the mountains.

Santa Monica Wedding Welcome Bag, by HCS:

Now that you have your guests excited, the other must-have element for all wedding welcome bags is INFORMATION. Most welcome bags are for out-of-town guests, as a way of thanking them for traveling to your celebration – which means they aren’t familiar with the location where your wedding is taking place. Additionally, as we’ve seen numerous times – don’t count on your guests being able to check your wedding website, or bringing your invite with them, or anything else that may help them remember the salient details of when/where your wedding activities will occur. Because of this, be sure to include the following info (if relevant):

1.) A timeline of activities for your wedding. Include events that ALL guests receiving the bags are invited to, including the wedding itself. Be sure to list times and locations. For activities where only some guests may be invited, such as the rehearsal dinner – make a separate insert or card, this way awkward moments can be avoided.

2.) A map of where the listed wedding activities are located. Doesn’t have to be fancy (but can be if you want!), but people should have an idea of how close/far things are.

3.) 1 or 2 contact numbers of designated people (Maid of Honor, etc.) for people to call ‘just in case’. Don’t list yourself if you can help it!!

4.) Schedules and info for any wedding transportation you may be providing your guests, such as a bus or shuttle service.

5.) 5-6 Restaurants/Shops/Points of interest close to the hotel. You can’t keep your guests entertained every minute, trust me they will appreciate some suggestions.

6.) A thank-you note! Your guests want to spend this important time with you, but remember they are still taking time (and money!!) to do so. A short thank you never hurt anyone!

You can also include any other info you like, or that your guests will find helpful. We’ve included everything from surf reports to check-out time reminders, each event is unique.

*Helpful Hint: Most cities have ‘Tourism’ offices, where you can stock up on local brochures, magazines, coupons, bus maps, etc. to include in your bags for FREE!

Lastly – remember that we just call them ‘bags’ – yours can be a box, a basket, a tote, whatever you desire. As for what exactly to include in your bags, we usually suggest including Water (everyone could use more water, and this way your guests don’t have to shell out for exorbitantly priced hotel water), 1-2 snacks, a souvenir or tangible item (to be remembered after the snacks are gone), and your info. A nice mix of goodies for your guests to tide them over until the main event!

We hope you have found some useful ideas here, and contact us if you would like HCS to put together some amazing Welcome Bags for your wedding – honestly, we would love to!