If you are inviting out-of-town guests, or having a destination wedding, welcome bags are pre-wedding favours to help get guests acquainted with their surroundings and the timeline for the day. Weddings are expensive, and let’s face it, the cost of regular wedding favours alone can add up. So why is it important to provide welcome bags as well? These little additions to your wedding can show appreciation for guests who have made the long journey to be at your special day. If guests are staying in the same hotel, you can even arrange to have the bags in their room when they arrive.

Here are some cost-effective items you can include to make your guests feel more at home:

Water Bottles

Bottled water is expensive if guests need to buy it themselves. Combined with a long journey, and a day of festivities before the actual reception, guests may be in serious need of hydration. Provide them with a bottle they can refill, which you can buy in bulk from Costco or a grocery store.

photo-1450150205175-1e2ee46bb78bGranola Bars

Guests are new to the area, not knowing where to find food, and may even be dealing with a large time change. Granola bars make a great snack for road trips and when their internal clock is trying to get used to the different meal times. These can also be picked up from a bulk food store.

Gum/Mints

Keep your guests’ breath fresh all day long by providing them with some gum or mints. These can be purchased in bulk and individually wrapped from Party City or the Bulk Barn.

Things To Do

Printout a map of the area (via Google Maps) and include some local things to do, depending on how long they will be staying for. For example, if they are staying more than a couple days, you’ll want to show them where restaurants, a mall, and maybe even a movie theatre are.

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Mini Toiletries

You never want to be that guest who has forgotten their shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, feminine products, hairspray, etc. Providing miniature versions can go a long way for out of town who may have forgotten some key items. Shoppers Drug Mart and Walmart have some cost-effective mini toiletries that you can include.

Itinerary

This is the most important item you need to include in the welcome bag. Even though you’ve already sent out your ceremony and reception timing and locations on the invitation, you may also want to organize a breakfast on the morning of the wedding or the morning after (not including yourself of course) with other family members. Include the phone numbers of some taxi companies if the hotels do not provide shuttles to your ceremony and reception locations for both before the festivities and for the ride home.

While welcome bags might seem like an unnecessary expense, if your budget allows and you want to show some extra appreciation to your out of town guests, they are a great addition to your wedding. Happy Planning!

by Brittany McGourlay

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