(Closed) welcome bags for out of town guests

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
11525 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

@PinkAndPearls2013:  My wedding was a semi-destination wedding, and a large number of our guests stayed at hotels near our venue. We did not do welcome bags. 

Post # 4
790 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

I spent a considerable amount of money on them and can confidently say they were a total waste. Dealing with distributing them (especially if guests are staying in different hotels) is a logistical nightmare, as different hotels will have different policies and possibly fees to deliver them, and they will also have different motivation levels to follow through with distributing them when they should. Most of my guests didn’t even get theirs until a day or so after they checked in, so basically they were a major (expensive) fail.

I’m sure some people have success with them, and the idea is nice, but I would absolutely not do them if I had to do it all again. As a guest I’m not disappointed if I don’t receive a welcome bag (I don’t expect them, so I wouldn’t even notice).

Post # 5
807 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

My little sister had them for her wedding, they were completley unexpected and a nice little extra. Hers were bags from her husbands store (he manages a food co-op) filled with things like bottled water, chocolate, chips, a map of the city & a schedule of eventus. While not absolutely necessary, they were a great touch. I didn’t expect one so I wouldn’t have been dissapointed if I hadn’t gotten it.

My mom had a wedding on a cruise & I made welcome bags for her guests, everyone at the same hotel and the hotel REALLY screwed up handing them out so I can imagine dealing with different hotels could be a nightmare

Post # 6
705 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

If nothing else, maybe make them a welcome packet with maps (you can print them) and info on local restaurants or things to do. That is what i will  be doing, and throwing in a couple snacks and such for their rooms.

Post # 7
425 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I love the idea of welcome bags! I think they are a nice little extra to welcome and thank the guests for coming.

I do agree with @Eglantine, if your guests are all over in different places it might be more of a hassel than a nice gesture. We are doing them for ours since 99% of the guest are Out of Town but all of our hotels are located at the mountain resort so they are in chagre of distributing them to the correct building.

You can do these for a very low cost. I bought bags from https://www.storesupply.com/ and planning to go to Costco to get small water bottles, chips, and making our own trail mix. We will also include information on the area which can easily be printed at home or even picked up from local places. In total our bags will cost less than $100.

Post # 8
735 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Out of Town bags are a pretty new invention, and aren’t required as far as etiquette is concerned.

If they are something you’d like to do, people tend to think they’re neat, and (as long as they get distributed) they’re usually appreciated – especially snack food and maps!

I’m not sure that anyone expects them, though, and if you can think of another way to use that money to make your guests feel comfortable and welcome, then by all means, go that route.   — I know I feel a lot more welcome when there’s a place for me to sit at the reception, than I would getting a welcome bag and having to stand awkwardly in the corner, because the budget wasn’t big enough to cover Out of Town bags and seats/food for everyone. 😉 – obviously that’s not really your plan, but I’m using it to make a point, there are other costs that are necessary and other ways to make your guests feel welcome.  Don’t fret too much if you can’t squeeze welcome bags in your budget.

Post # 9
5473 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

The hotel at which we blocked rooms did these for us, FOR FREE!  They were just amazing to work with 🙂  Had they not been complimentary, we would have skipped them.

They were simple white gift bags with tissue paper (Green & yellow, I think?) and inside were small water bottles, a bag of cookies, a bag of chips, a pack of gum, and an insert about area restaurants.  Out of Town bags don’t have to be elaborate at all, and they are certainly not required.  If they’re out of budget, don’t sweat it 🙂

Post # 10
883 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

didn’t have any, but we did take all our out of towners to dinner after the rehearsal, and breakfast the day after.


Post # 11
1561 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

They are definetly not important.  However, a word to all brides doing them – make sure you know who is staying in the hotel!!!  My hotel refused to give me a room block list, and my IL’s said that only five rooms were staying overnight.  So I made only 5 bags.  It turned out that 15 rooms were booked.  My request via the wedding website for people to let me know if they booked never happened – and it was all DH’s family – every single one stayed the night!!!

Post # 12
9541 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

welcome bags at the hotels are nice, but definately not necessary!

Post # 13
1511 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

@PinkAndPearls2013:  I’m glad you asked about this!  I’m not from Omaha originally (I’m from the East Coast), but we’re having our wedding here.  This of course means that a large number of my guests will be coming from out of town.  Several of my fiance’s guests will also be traveling for the wedding.

I’d love to do the out of town bags, but we’re kind of in the same boat … It’s really just not in the budget.  I’m sure it would be nice to do something like that for them, but I’m thinking as long as they have directions to the venue (or venues if you’re doing separate spaces for your ceremony and reception), it should be fine.  I honestly hadn’t heard of doing this before I signed up for the Bee.

Post # 14
458 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I did fab out of town boxes with wine, waterbottles, bandaids, tylenol, homemade muffins, maps, crossword puzzles of us, candy, post cards of my city etc…..

Not ONE person commented on them! Sooo sad!

Post # 15
402 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

I have read some ideas:  Printouts of activities, puzzles, a little story on the bride and groom, etc.  Also, maybe just some homemade cookies or a small treat.  No need to go all out.

Post # 16
3 posts
  • Wedding: October 2012

I did Out of Town bags and my guests were so grateful. I bought the handle bags from Michael’s (13 for $5.99). I made about 9 bags. I decorated them with my Cricut. I included two small water bottles (more if it was a family of 3 or 4) and some fiber one bars, dried apple snacks and cheese/peanut butter crackers (may fav growing up). I also included a short one page welcome newsletter with directions to the venue. I also bought the blister packs of gum and cut them in half so each bag got 4 stcicks of gum. That way I had to buy less gum. All purchased from Costco.

I can’t tell you exactly how much each bag cost but the guests loved them, especially the one’s with kids. You can make them as simple or as elaborate as you want. My hotel (they gave us a group rate) handed them out when everyone checked in. They also gave me the names of everyone who made a reservation so I could personalize the bags.

I was also on the receiving end of one once and it was nice to have some snacks after a long day of wedding festivities. 

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