I love a good welcome bag, there is something about welcoming your guests with all the essentials they need to have fun in your home town (or far flung destination) that feels cosy to me. Peachy Flamingo has just launched her Dodomo Levu “Love Greatly” Collection. Each wedding tote bag is designed and screen printed by Kylie who, also owns wedding blog Bula Bride (the destination for couples marrying in Fiji!) and is influenced by her love of everything tropical, bright and fun!
I love these black printed bags for any season, they’re a lovely option if you’re wanting something neutral guests can reuse constantly.
These tropical inspired bags are just right for a destination wedding- acting as not just a welcome bag but an easy tote for guests to lug beach towels and supplies around in while they’re enjoying the sunshine. My favourites are the neon pink ones (to be specific pina coladas and getting caught in the rain, it taps into my fantasies of a beach side holiday).
The bride bag is a fun idea as a gift from the bridesmaids, or just for yourself to carry all your wedding gear in- magazines, binders, calculators! While the bridal party bags are fun to pack with goodies as gifts.
1. Postcards! I found these vintage ones on Etsy from seller TheHoWideWorld, but you can find them for a few cents each at newsagents and tourism offices (you can even buy them online). They’re a fun item for guests to use to tell everyone at home how much fun they’re having, or to keep as a memento.
2. A local foodie treat- Marrying in Byron Bay? Then of course Byron Bay Cookies are my pick but if you’re marrying in Melbourne maybe you’d pick Haighs Chocolates, Queenslanders could include pineapple lollies, even Coffs Harbour weddings would be remiss not to include banana lollies! You could even try local treats like herbal teas and soaps. If local isn’t your style, you and your beloved’s favourite foods are another idea. Have a favourite chocolate bar? A favourite snack? Include it with a note!
3. Thongs or soft shoes. If you’re heading to a tropical destination I love the idea of popping in a spare pair of fun thongs for guests to wear (especially handy if you plan on a long night of dancing) and for city dwellers, fold up flats are always a handy option. These fun coloured thongs are by Dupe (who can also personalise thongs with your names and wedding date if you want something a little extra).
4. A weekend schedule. Planning a lot of celebrations for your guests? Include a schedule so they know where to be and when! This one by Simplethings Press is a chic black and white letterpress design.
5. Sunscreen! Summer weddings with outdoor ceremonies need sunscreen! You might even think about an after sun spray to help with that sunburn, from guests getting so excited they forgot to reapply!
6. A local wine- Marrying in Adelaide or McClaren Vale? This Wirra Wirra wine might be a nice gesture for your guests. But with almost every State having their own fantastic wine region, it’s not too hard to find a local delicious drink. If your guests aren’t wine drinkers consider an apple cider (seems fitting for a wedding on the Apple Isle!) or a craft beer from a local brewery.
7. If you’re going to get into the nitty gritty, think about items like Berocca, band aids, headache tablets, sting cream, hand sanitiser, stain remover, ear plugs and items that are not necessarily easy to find but handy to have in case of emergency. You can often find sample (or single) sizes of these at pharmacies.
8. A public transport ticket or token is always handy- if in Melbourne you could supply pre paid Myki tickets for example. If guests only need to use change, perhaps include an information sheet about transport methods.
9. On the same line, fashion fixes like party feet fashion tape (like the classic Hollywood Fashion Tape) are nice little, often forgotten treats, and so handy for the guests wearing in new shoes or delicate dresses.
10. If guests have to travel to your wedding, a map is always a good idea (this one is by The Print Fairy). Note important locations- the ceremony, the reception as well as the location for any pre or post wedding events.
11. Fun trinkets that suit your wedding style are nice fillers and always pretty cost effective. These flamingo drink stirrers from The Party People are a little ode to the Peachy Flamingo but also work in well with neon pink, tropical bag designs. Parisian wedding? A mini Effiel tower! Sydney couples with plenty of overseas guests flying in might even choose a fun replica of the Sydney Harbour bridge or a Bondi beach trinket and for Melbourne? A mini tram!
12. Travel brochures- Always handy if guests are unfamiliar with the area and have a lot of time to kill. Sunlover Holidays have a huge range you can download and print or you can visit your local tourism offices and see if you’re able to grab a handful for your guests to slip inside their bags.
13. A thank you card or welcome letter – Always a nice idea to officially “Welcome” guests to their mini holiday, or thank them for attending. (This pretty Merci card is by Rifle Paper Co at Plum Pretty Sugar)
14. Travel skincare – How often do you arrive somewhere and realise you’ve forgotten something as simple as body cream? These travel packs are great if you really want to pamper your guests. This one is from MILK & Co Skincare and includes shampoo, conditioner, body wash and body lotion in one handy zip lock travel security friendly pouch.
15. Water! There’s nothing like getting in from a long trip and having a big chug of water without worrying about hitting up the mini bar. Water bottles like this are cheap and if you’re into customisation you can even personalise the labels with your own design.
Here’s some bonus tips for an epic welcome bag!
– Style it to suit the style of your wedding. Planning a garden occasion? Why not something like Lavender infused cordial? Use floral motifs and soft, pretty tones. Something rustic? Tie your packaging with hessian and use canning jars to hold sweet treats. Winery weddings might focus more on wine related items and dark burgundy colour tones.
– Tie the colours in with the colours of your wedding. If you’re using black, gold and white keep the packaging monochrome and imprint it with gold touches. Nautical inspired weddings might pick items with navy colour tones and pops of red. If you’re using a wedding “logo” (like your monogram, or a certain picture across all of your stationery) you could add this across the items in your bag- tags attached to the items, the stickers holding shut bags of treats and even on the bag itself.
– You don’t have to go overboard – I have listed a stack of options above but pick and choose what suits you, your entertaining style and what you know of your guests. A smaller guest list might allow you to pack more in- but get creative!
– Always include the basics- by this I mean include the basic information or things people need to land on their feet. Transport information, a schedule of events, a map, your favourite recommendations in the city so they have it at their finger tips!
– Personal recommendations are the best kind- Have a favourite hairdresser? A favourite restaurant? Know the best place for breakfast? Include these in your bag along with addresses. You could even add the events on in your city that weekend (like exhibitions and festivals) and a sporting calender schedule.
– Buy in bulk and repackage. Stores like Campbells Cash & Carry and Costco allow you to buy treats in bulk, mostly at a lower price (though you will need a membership for both). If you’re planning plenty of toiletry type items it’s a great to get them in bulk and if you’re choosing treats like nuts and snacks you can buy in bulk bags and repackage them into guest friendly sizes yourself.
– Be careful of customs and import restrictions. If you’re traveling internationally, items like fruits, nuts and seeds or even large alcohol quantities may not be allowed so be sure to check the policies before you go!
– Consider the weather of your location. Avoid chocolate at tropical destinations (melted chocolate in a gift bag is nobody’s idea of fun) and perhaps include treats like hot chocolate or pocket warmers for icy cold winter weddings.
– Talk to the hotel your guests are staying at to see if the welcome bag can be left in their room or be given to them on arrival. Make sure when you do this you give the hotel as much information as possible- i.e time of arrival and names!
– You only need to consider one bag per couple, but if children are on the guest list, consider customising the bag with boredom buster toys and recommendations of local kid friendly activities.
– Have fun with it! As with everything you work through for your wedding, this is a chance to inject your own personalities and have fun with the ideas you could come up with to make the packages a lovely welcome for your guests and a taste of what’s to come.