Anatomy of a Welcome Bag

Imagine traveling 12+ hours to a wedding, in a city you’ve never been to, and arriving to a thoughtful welcome package in your hotel room. Amazing and personal, right? Wedding Welcome bags are not a new idea, but they are certainly getting more extravagant and almost a checklist must these days. So how do you know what to put in one or how lavish to make yours, if you choose to do so?

Have no fear my darlings, it’s really quite simple and completely dependent on your wishes, as with most anything regarding your wedding!

When compiling your welcome bag, think through the experience you want your guests to have and what is vital for them to have that weekend. Similarly to how your invitation sets the tone for your wedding, as the first thing guests see, a welcome bag will set the scene for the weekend. It will be the first part of the experience they get when they arrive in town.


After a long day of travel, a snack and fun beverage is always welcome, so they don’t have to worry about where to get a snack later in the evening. A map from the hotel to both your ceremony and reception locations will save time and confusion for anyone driving themselves around town. Also be sure to include a list of restaurants and fun things to do around town. Even though the hotel staff can help advise your guests, you know them best and might even have some local spots that the desk staff won’t recommend. It’s always a great idea to include contact information and information for the wedding day, such as timeline and any traffic reminders, etc. that will help the day run more smoothly.

When it comes to personal details, the options are endless. A handwritten note, deck of cards, sunglasses, homemade cookies, a post card for them to keep, a local delicacy, your wedding favors, your favorite beverage, flip flops if you’re on the beach, a puzzle book or mad libs. If you are all staying on a property, maybe a directory of guests’ cabins, a scavenger hunt, a list of activities you might have planned and a whole host of other ideas.


{ Jenny Steffens | Martha Stewart Weddings }

As you can see, champagne can have a more casual and simple feeling. These miniature Prosecco bottles are packaged in a clear cellophane bag with a  printed top enclosure. On the right, a grocery store water bottle was personalized to match the wedding colors with a simple printed sleeve. For the water bottle sleeve, you could also just cut wrapping paper to size and use double sided tape. Many of these packaging items can be purchased a the Dollar Store and dressed up to give your guests a very special welcome.

We had very simple bags for our wedding and guests raved! We included water bottles, pretzels, assorted candies, 2 decks of cards and an information envelope with each piece of paper printed on color coordinated card stock. They loved not having to go out for a snack between lunch and the wedding and really enjoyed having an activity to do in the hotel. My family are BIG card players, so they all congregated in the community room and went at it.

Casual and Personal Bags

{ Pinterest | Tara Guerard Soiree | The Bride’s Cafe }

Next, we can get a little bit more elaborate, but still very casual. If there are a lot of  local hot spots and special items that were created in your town, make a themed bag. If you’d like to dress up your information, get welcome bag stickers and paper goods that are ‘branded’ to your wedding. Maybe a beach or lakeside wedding would include playing frisbee for the two of you and you’d like to share that with everyone.

Canvas Luxe Bags

{ Southern Weddings | SMP }

Now, if you really want to go above and beyond, getting personalized canvas totes for your guests is a great way to go. You can get as themed, branded or personal as you like with welcome bags. The thought that goes into them, just like any aspect of your wedding, should have your personalities infused throughout.

It is worth mentioning that this is not a requirement or expectation, simply a nice gesture if you find you’d like to offer something like this to your guests. If you have a small percentage of guests arriving from out of town, this may not be the best place to distribute those funds. However, if the majority of your guests will be venturing in, it might be something you’d like to extend to them in the form of hospitality. Think of it this way, you won’t be able to give them a hug and welcome when they arrive in a hotel, like you would if they visited your home. It’s just a warm and personal touch as an additional thank you for coming.

xoxo- Jenn