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March 18, 2016
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March 22, 2016
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Welcome Bag Ideas for Every Wedding Theme

Anyone can pop some bite-sized candies and water bottles into a colored paper bag and call it a day. Instead, wow your guests with an array of unique items in those baskets, bags and reusable totes that are both functional and fun. Get inspired by these ideas on how to create a welcome basket that matches your theme or location, and also includes a little something that’s so very you.

For Your Island or Beach Wedding:

Start off with a beach-themed tote bag, in a sand color, islandy topical flower print, sea glass colors or palm tree motif. Beach Wedding Bag 1

Fun items to include: 

  • Sunscreen for the more sensitive areas (specifically the face and the top of the head)
  • SPF lip protection in a colorful tube
  • Burt’s Bees Insect Bite Stick and repellant spray
  • Travel-sized aloe
  • A bottle of island rum with soda, juice or root beer for a unique rum drink along with your favorite recipe
  • Bottle opener with cute crab, lobster, starfish, turtle or other island-theme motif
  • A laminated dive card identifying the types of tropical fish, turtles, coral and other sea life that your guests may see while snorkeling or kayaking
  • Candy bars or truffles in tropical flavors, like coconut, mango buttercream, passionfruit gelee, or other exotic tastes

Bigger-budget items:

  • Sunglasses
  • Tropical print sarong

Pro tip: Make sure all snacks are packaged well, since many islands or beaches have indigenous little insects that could find their way into hotel rooms and swarm open treats, a most unwelcome surprise!

For Your Vineyard Wedding:

Begin with a charming, rustic basket or personalized tote bag, and fill it with your gift selection. vineyard wedding bag

Fun items to include: 

  • Wine bottle openers or personalized toppers
  • Frosted cookies shaped like bottles of wine or grape clusters
  • A fabulous bottle of local vineyard wine or sparkling wine
  • Wine-flavored truffles
  • Artisanal crackers
  • Vineyard-motif coaster sets for entertaining

Bigger-budget items: If you have just a handful of out-of-town guests, give them their own picnic baskets filled with melamine plates, wine glasses, and bottles of wine or champagne to enjoy during their stay.

Pro tip: Cheese and crackers seem like the perfect gift, but keep in mind that many hotel room refrigerators or mini bars don’t reach the cold temperatures needed to keep cheese fresh. Avoid guest illness, and skip the cheese gifts.

For Your Fall Wedding:

Rustic craft paper bags tied with raffia or twine suit the autumn theme, especially if you’ll have a rustic-style wedding. Decorative handled gift bags in jewel tones, such as vibrant orange, crimson, deep purple, and hunter green are perfect for fall.
fall wedding welcome bag

Fun items to include: 

  • Maple-flavored toffee
  • Kettlecorn
  • Glazed pecans
  • Ingredients to make s’mores
  • Hot chocolate on a spoon, like Chocomize’s gourmet squares in a variety of unique flavors (seen above)
  • Crispy, fresh apples, straight from the farmer’s market (your hotel can often procure these for you)
  • Pumpkin beer
  • Frosted cookies with a maple-flavored icing, in cute autumnal shapes
  • Bottle of authentic, maple syrup and a tin of regional pancake mix
  • Pumpkin bread mix

Bigger-budget items:

  • Pashmina to warm guests up at evening gatherings
  • Fine bottle of rum for guests to take home to make hot spiked cider

Pro tip: It’s fine to buy a supermarket brand pumpkin bread mix and take the packet out of the branded box; just be sure to include an expiration date and printed directions to the letter.

For Your Big City Wedding:

When guests travel into a major metropolitan area for your wedding, they look forward to taking in the sights, sounds, tastes and scenes of your iconic location. Add some big-city flair to your guests welcome baskets with a city-motif tote bag, or perhaps your bigger-budget item can be the tote bag itself, bought from a chic department store or designer site.

Big City wedding welcome bag

Fun items to include: 

  • A subway map so guests can navigate their way around the city
  • Cupcakes or cupcake mix from a famous city bakery
  • A gift card to a famous city burger chain that guests don’t have back home (Guests get the burger and the experience!)
  • City-themed tchotchkes that guests secretly get a kick out of but may not want to buy from hotel gift shops or street vendors
  • Gift card to a notable store in the area, like a famous toy store or a must-shop boutique

Bigger-budget items:

  • Tickets to a museum or play
  • Bottle of fine champagne for toasting while overlooking the lights of the city

Pro Tip: Provide with your itinerary a list of apps or sites listing free things to do in the city, in case guests want to venture out on their own the day before or day after your wedding.

Your College Town Wedding:

When your wedding takes place in the college town where one or both of you attended school and perhaps where you originally met, your friends and family get to visit a location that’s very close to your hearts! You can share all of your favorite hangouts, the best pizza in town, and so much more through fun welcome baskets. Start with college logo or mascot-printed tote bags and fill them with fun items reminiscent of your glory days. college-town-welcome_0

Fun items to include: 

  • Koozies and bottle openers with your college logo
  • Temporary tattoos featuring the college logo or mascot (one of the top new trends for college town wedding basket gifts and favors!)
  • Bottles of the kind of beer you wished you could afford while an undergrad, along with a note saying what you did drink at parties
  • Hangover remedy kits, including aspirin and bottles of water
  • DIY card with fun facts about your college years
  • Gift card to the local coffee shop

Bigger-budget items: Tickets to a football or basketball game that weekend, as a surprise group outing.

Your Southern Charm wedding:

Think peachtree-lined streets, plantation-style houses and sweet tea served on charming porches. If your wedding will take place in a southern town, add in some southern-style flair to your guests’ welcome baskets. Start off with a pretty wicker basket, inlaid with a pretty, bright-colored linen napkin for a lovely presentation of your gift items. southern-wedding welcome bag

Fun items to include: 

  • Small bottle of whiskey or bourbon
  • Packet of authentic southern barbecue spices or a small bottle of barbecue sauce
  • Peach or berry buttercream truffles
  • Berry or peach jam jars, with packages of fresh-baked scones or English muffins
  • Floral-print coasters and matching napkin rings
  • Bottles of sweet tea and packets of sweet tea mix
  • Vintage bottles of lemonade with brightly-striped straws
  • Authentic southern grits package

Bigger-budget items: Tickets for a horse and carriage ride through town, a great photo op!

For Your Hometown wedding:

Think your hometown isn’t as exciting and rich in detail as a big-city wedding or charming southern nuptials? Think again! There are plenty of lovely ways to make your guests’ welcome baskets extra-special. Start off by asking yourself, “When I’m away from my hometown for an extended period, such as for work or school, what are the things I look forward to having upon returning.” Those tastes of home are a great jumping-off point for the items you should feature in the baskets. hometown-wedding welcome bag

Fun items to include: 

  • Cookies, macarons, or cinnamon buns from your local bakery
  • Fruit from your favorite farmer’s market, such as apples, cherries, blackberries, etc.
  • Donuts from your local donut shop
  • Barbecue sauce from your favorite rib joint
  • Caramel sauce from your favorite ice cream shop (some brides buy this in large containers, then transfer to small bottles for DIY labeling)
  • Flowers from your favorite florist (tiny potted single flowers can be placed next to your guests’ welcome baskets)
  • Homemade treats using your family recipes, such as brownies, fudge or Rice Krispie squares
  • Girl Scout cookies, if you used to be a Girl Scout and have terrific memories of your years in the troop
  • Trinkets with your high school logo on them

Bigger-budget items:

  • Guest passes to the town pool you went to as a child and teen (might require your family to buy a summer membership, but this is one way to share your hometown experiences).
  • Gift cards to your favorite day spa, salon or nail salon.

Pro Tip: You can make a free interactive map at weddingmapper.com to help guests explore your hometown with fun locations for guests to visit during your wedding weekend.

Your Garden wedding:

If your wedding will be garden-themed, take place in a botanical garden or arboretum, or if you’ve selected your wedding venue for its dreamy English garden appeal, impress your guests with a basket filled with colorful floral-inspired items. garden wedding welcome bag

Fun items to include: 

  • Floral-scented pampering lotions, travel-sized so guests can fly home with them
  • Lavender bath salts
  • Frosted cookies in  a flower design
  • Floral-pattern BPA-free drinking bottles
  • Flower-shaped post-its
  • Gift book with quotes about flowers or gardens
  • Small potted flowers
  • Packages of easy-grow flower seeds
  • Floral-patterned spa socks

Bigger-budget items:

  • Gift card to a flower or garden supply website, with a note to plant a living memory of this wedding weekend in their own garden
  • Designer brand perfume with floral scent

For Your Country wedding:

If your wedding venue is in the open air of the mountains or deep south country, incorportate rustic-chic elements in your guest’s  welcome baskets. Start off with a picnic basket, perhaps one with leather straps and buckles to capture that cowboy spirit. country wedding welcome bag

Fun items to include: 

  • Trail mix
  • Flask
  • Bottle of authentic barbecue sauce and rib spice rub for southern-style grilling back home
  • Bandannas- each family can get their own color or pattern, with a printout from Pinterest on different ways to tie or wear a bandanna
  • Wooden coaster sets, branded with an image or the recipient’s monogram
  • Mini mason jars filled with berry jam or preserves
  • ​Chocolates shaped like horseshoes
  • ​Packets of pistachios, cashews or sunflower seeds
  • ​Harmonicas

Bigger-budget items:

  • Authentic Cowboy hats
  • Cookbook of regional dishes

The key to any welcome basket or offering is the handwritten note that accompanies it. Be sure to welcome guests and thank them for their travels, as well as an express your happiness that they are sharing in your big weekend.

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