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Today’s feature is a two-for-one!  I’ve got a DIY for you to make your own out-of-town welcome bags, and then I’ve got a planning tip:  what to put in them.  I think this is often an afterthought for brides, but an area where you can make your guests (especially those who have traveled and spent money & effort to attend your wedding) feel appreciated!

I’ve been to a lot of weddings.  AAAAA LOT!  And as an out-of-town guest, I have always appreciated a good welcome bag.  So when I was planning my wedding and knew a majority of our guests were coming to California from all over, I vowed to make them as comfortable as possible.

I wanted to make my welcome bag a little more personal than the generic brown or colored paper bag with a couple of things thrown in.  I wanted them to include what I believe are necessities.  And I wanted them to be easy and inexpensive for me.
{The DIY}

Materials for the bags:

1.  Canvas tote bags for each out-of-town guest or couple (from cheaptotes)
2.  Iron-on printer paper (from an office supply store like office depot)
3.  An iron
4.  A printer
5.  An image or design to print

We had a monogram that we included on our save-the-dates, invitation suite, and other wedding details, and I wanted to put in on our welcome bags.  I had to reverse the image so that when it was printed and ironed on it would read correctly.

Instructions:

1.  Print  a coordinating number of your image/design as you have totes.
2.  Using a hard surface (a table works well- an ironing board does not), follow the directions on the transfer paper packaging to iron on your image.  I laid an old pillow case down on the table, put the tote on top of that, and placed the printed paper where I wanted it on the tote.  Then I ironed each image on until I had done enough totes for everyone, plus a few extras to be safe.

{The Planning Tips}
Next you have to fill the bags.  Here are what I consider essentials:
1.  2 bottles of water (this is the most important thing, and one bottle is NOT enough unless the bag is for only one person!)
2.  Snacks (in ours I included special K cereal bars, a bag of chips or crackers, and a small bag of Isabella’s Cookies, which are made where we had our wedding and are my absolute fave!)
3.  Hangover helpers (tums, advil, etc.)
4.  A map of the area, activities, & restaurant recommendations
5.  Mints or gum
6.  An itinerary of events, including any shuttle departure times (if applicable)
7.  Sunscreen (if in a beachy area)
Here is a picture of our finished product, complete with itinerary and other items with our monogram:
Total approximate cost per bag (including the stuff inside) = $6
Making your guests feel welcomed, comfortable, informed, and hydrated = priceless!

Has anyone else done their own DIY welcome bags?  Do you have any things you think should be included in them that I didn’t mention?  Let’s make a running list in the comments to help planning brides!

And if you’re around tomorrow, come by and see a fabulous red & blue real wedding just for July 4th!
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