By 300 Sandwiches
E was not a proponent of welcome bags early on. “Waste of money!” he declared. “I would rather invite a few more guests to the wedding than spend money on gift bags.” I overruled him. I felt if people had flown 5 hours to come to our wedding, we should at least have snacks waiting for them at their hotel. My mom was hangry when we landed at the airport. My guests were likely to feel the same.
Some people believe that the welcome bag sets the tone and vibe for the rest of the wedding. Many think you can tell how extravagant the wedding is by the gift bag. I believe it’s all about personal choice: is money better spent on limo service from your hotel to the ceremony versus buying 100 designer totes monogrammed with “Jerry and Sue’s Wedding Weekend” on it?
For our intimate Barbados wedding, I packed a linen tote with local Bajan items and necessities, including:
- a map and booklet about Barbados
- individual sized rum cake
- small batch of trail mix
- small bottle of Mount Gay Rum
- welcome note
How to make a wedding gift bag people actually use? Herewith, my tips:
BUY BAGS FROM OFFICE SUPPLY STORES
I could have gone to LL Bean or J Crew and bought canvas totes for my 35 guests. But they run from $20 to $40 each, which means spending up to $1400 on bags, before anything GOES INTO the bags. I got these simple totes from an online office supply shop for $4 each. They’re soft, a perfect blank canvas for designs or printings, and fold up flat for easy storage in a carry on.
AVOID MONOGRAMS OR LOGOS
No one will carry a bag on the beach with your initials on it after your wedding weekend. Leave your bags blank if possible, or use discreet markings, and guests will reuse the bags long after you say “I do.” Or, print decorative ribbon with your logo or initials for a personal, but removable, touch.
IF YOU USE LOGOS, USE A STAMP TO STAMP ARTWORK OR INITIALS ON PAPER GOODS
If you absolutely must include logos or names, go small. And instead of having logos printed on, save some dough by stamping your logo or name on the bags. I bought a stamp for about $30 from an office supply store, and stamped “300” on name tags on and on the lower right hand corner of the bags.
STUFF BAGS WITH LOCAL FAVORS, LIKE CANDY AND DRINKS
The individual rum cakes and Mount Gay Rum were local Bajan treats, which our guests loved. It also saved them a trip to the gift shop at the airport on the way home.
INCLUDE HEALTHY SNACKS
If your guests are traveling to your wedding, they’ll be ravenous by the time they check into their hotel rooms, and may not have time to eat a hearty meal before they get to your ceremony. The small bags of trail mix came in handy for my guests, who told me it was the first thing they ate when they received the bags. Granola bars, pretzels, nuts and dried fruit are also great snacks.
BRING EXTRA TAGS, BAGS, TRAIL MIX, ETC
Tags get lost, items may break. Pack or order extra goods. If you have bags left, treat your wait staffers or wedding planner to a bag. They earned it.by