While a wedding symbolizes the new life you are about to start with your significant other, it is also a time to celebrate friends and family who have supported you along the way. Customizing a gift bag that reflects you and your partner, the theme of your wedding, the location, and things that you want your guests to try out is an amazing way to make them feel included. If you’ve ever been to a wedding where there are fifty or more guests, you may have felt like you couldn’t find a spare moment to congratulate or converse with the bride and groom. While material items exchanged between the couple and the guests can never replace a joy-filled interaction, putting together a well thought out gift bag extends your personal gratitude. This is the foundation for a memorable gift bag.
What not to do…
When creating a good welcome gift bag, avoid being generic! In working at a hotel where I’ve been responsible for delivering gift bags, I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen paper bags with a few bottles of water, a bag of chips, and a map, I’ve seen monogrammed tote bags filled with Vermont-made goods, and I’ve even seen boxes filled with homemade jams and baked goods that the bride and groom made. No matter how elaborate or simple you would like to go, make sure that it is personalized. A paper bag with some water and snacks, won’t exactly portray how much you are thankful for their attendance! The other important thing to remember is that if you choose to distribute your bags at the hotel, make sure you; 1) ask how they will be delivered (at check-in or placed in the room) and if there is a fee, 2) remember to place the guest’s first and last name on the bag, and 3) verify with the hotel that everyone on your list has a room. You don’t want anyone to miss out on receiving their gift! These steps might seem simple but the devil is in the details and your guests will appreciate quality over quantity.
So what should be included?
Itinerary: Perhaps the most important item in your gift bags is the wedding itinerary. This should include times, dates, transportation information, and any other information that your guests need to know in order to make it to your function on time. Along with this, especially if your reception and ceremony are in different locations, consider providing your guests with a map of the area. Consider creating a custom map that includes their hotel and things to do in the area like your favorite cafe or boutique.
Snacks: After what could be a long day or days of travel, no guest would turn down a few good snacks. For example, if you are planning a New England Wedding, consider including some locally made cheese or meat samplers and some maple syrup. And if you love to bake, why not include your favorite baked goods along with the recipe? If this isn’t your style, include a voucher to your favorite bakery or store in the area. Really, the point of providing your guests with some food and beverages is so that they won’t have to raid the over-priced hotel retail space.
Emergency Kit: This could include some Advil for after a long night of drinking, a sewing kit for that last-minute adjustment, band-aids, travel size stain remover, etc. Although mundane, the last thing any of your guests will want to do is have to track down a needle and thread to mend a tiny rip right before your wedding. These items have the potential to not only make your wedding run smoother but ease any small discomforts.
Something Special: As I mentioned earlier, give your guests something to remember and hold on too long after your wedding is over. Avoid monogrammed totes with your names on them. Instead, make the tote themed with whatever destination your wedding is in. Perhaps the bag has a silhouette of the state or the name of the city. Instead, as a couple, make a list of all of your favorite places to go nearby, things you like to eat, or a handmade item or souvenir if you are crafty. Putting in the extra effort here can go a long way.
The last, and I believe the most important item that should go into a wedding gift bag is a small note of thanks. Yes, the idea of the bag itself is meant to be a gesture of gratitude but a short, handwritten note can make your guests feel important and welcomed even if they don’t get the chance to say a lot on the day of. Even if you say the same thing on each card for all of your guests, make sure to handwrite your signature for a more personal touch.
xoxo Marissa- JWE Marketing Team