• Welcome Bags DIY for your Out-of-town Guests + What you MUST include in them

    What to put in your wedding welcome bag

    Today I’ve got a DIY for you to make your own out-of-town welcome bags, and then I’m sharing 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.  And as an often-from-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.  Because you don’t need to take on yet another huge project!  These bags shouldn’t be overwhelming or energy-draining.  But they should show your guests that you are thinking of them and want them to be comfortable.

    {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.

    What to put in your wedding welcome bag

    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! You MUST include TWO.)
    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

    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!

    {credits} Top photo by Expressions Photography, from this wedding / Boston Tote from The Wedding Chicks / Bottom photo by me, but taken before I blogged, so please forgive their poor quality.  If only all of the cool photo-editing apps had existed in 2009….

    Leave a comment.


    1. Posted May 29 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      We wanted to incorporate an element from our autumn wedding decor and baked mini loaves of homemade pumpkin bread! We worked hard to mimic the Starbucks recipe (my favorite) and it coordinated perfectly as our favors on the day of were mini white pumpkins and the ceremony was decorated with white pumpkins. 🙂

    2. Chelsea Swenson
      Posted May 29 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      For our wedding, we stuffed our bags with some of our favorite treats (Pirates booty, peppermints, and of course water that had been wrapped with our wedding colors). Also including the very essential map and recommendations of where to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then I wrote a little poem which was tied to the outside to make the gift seem very personal.

    3. Hope Bailot
      Posted Aug 20 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

      we are putting together bags for my daughters wedding in october. so far we have hand sanitizer,lint rollers, gum, snacks, shout wipes. also adding map,letter,fresh fruit, ear plugs, and more snacks.

    4. Hope Bailot
      Posted Aug 20 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

      oops, I forgot, pepto tabs and advil!

    5. Posted Dec 3 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Very good information. Lucky me I recently found your website bby chance (stumbleupon).

      I have bookmarked it for later!

    6. Posted Oct 15 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      Hello to every , for the reason that I am in fact eager of reading this website’s post
      to be updated on a regular basis. It contains nice stuff.

    7. Posted Oct 18 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      Hello, jist waznted to mention, I loved this blog post. It was inspiring.
      Keep on posting!

    8. Vicki
      Posted Apr 10 at 12:26 am | Permalink

      Since the wedding is in Santa Cruz, CA we want to include items from the state. We have thought of wine, almonds, fruit. I think we will include a lot of the suggestions above. Any thoughts?

    9. Posted Mar 19 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Great post.

    One Trackback

    Leave a Reply

    • The Land of Nod, design for kids and people that used to be kids
    •  You've got a few hours left to enter to win your choice of sling from @mywildbird - head to my blog to enter now! And tag your friends that you think could use one (hint: if you have a baby or toddler, until you could use one! ) enter at link in profile. Also, I can't believe all of these boys are mine  #thefredrickboys #fredrickfamfallfun #giveaway #babywearing #wearthem  Can a person be your happy place? Because I'm pretty certain that Quincy is mine ☺️✨ #quincyrhys #thatdimpletho
       Three things: 1. You've got one day left to enter my @mywildbird sling giveaway, so head over to my blog (link in profile) and tag your friends. 2. I was featured on @loyal_hana blog as part of their motherhood series, so if you want to give it a read and hear about my typical (hot mess) day or how I (don't) balance work and mothering head to their profile to find the link to their site. I pretty much live in their nursing-friendly clothes and was honored to be featured. 3. Charlie took this picture (and basically directed me for the shot) and it makes me really really happy   Putting the finishing touches on the boys' bedroom and had to stop to admire the magic that the morning light and their @babyjives mobile was making. ✨☁️⭐️❤️✨#charlieandcalsroomredo
    • The Honest Company
    • Personalized Mother's Day Photo Cards: She’s always gone the extra mile for you. Now, it’s never been easier to add an extra special touch to Mother’s Day with a personalized photo card.
    • Wedding Paper Divas Wedding Day Needs - Programs, Menus, and more
    • Free Wedding Website from Wedding Paper Divas
    • Earth Mama Angel Baby