The Ultimate Guide to Hotel Wedding Welcome Gift Bags

Remember that wedding you went to when you had to travel for hours and then drag your luggage to your hotel room and you collapsed on the bed only to immediately realize you had forgotten your toothbrush? Or you magically arrived hours early and suddenly you needed something to do for the rest of the day, but the hotel’s welcome book was missing from the nightstand, so you ended up at a two-star restaurant on accident?

You don’t want that to happen to your guests who are traveling to your wedding. You want them to have just as magical a weekend as you will have. We've created this guide to hotel wedding welcome gift bags to help you make the start of their weekend spectacular.

Wedding Weekend Welcome Gift Bag
Source: Canvas Bag

How Many Will You Need?
You will want to plan on putting together a bag for any guest who is traveling in order to attend your wedding. Whether they’re staying in a hotel or with a family member, these gift bags are just one small way you can make their visit more comfortable.

If you are reserving a block of rooms at a hotel or multiple hotels in your area, check in at least a month or two in advance to get an estimate of how many people have made reservations so far. You will want to add some extra for guests that may be staying with other family members, or who simply haven't made their travel plans yet.  

Choosing Your Packaging
Hotel welcome gift bags are bags filled with anything from useful to whimsical, from generic to personal. Give to your out-of-town wedding guests to make their weekends just a little better. Travel can be so stressful; it’s heartwarming to know the bride and groom are thoughtful, even when they are busy with last-minute wedding details.

There are TONS of gift bags out there. How will you ever decide which one to use?! First, set a budget and decide what items you want to include. Once you know how much money you have left over for the bag, it should be easier to pick a style.
  • Do you have a lot of items to include? Consider a canvas bag, which is sturdier and will be able to hold more, and will also hold up better than a paper bag – not to mention they’re reusable, making the bag itself part of the gift.
  • Plastic or paper bags will keep your cost down, and they can be easily “dressed up” with a personalized print.
  • If you do want to personalize the bag, consider a frosted plastic with a bright, bold color for the print.
Purple Frosted Wedding Gift Bag
Canvas Wedding Gift Bag
Gold Wedding Guest Gift Bags with Welcome Message
Source: Plastic BagCanvas BagPaper Bag

Curating The Contents
The welcome gift bags can be as simple or as extravagant as you’d like. Here are some basic guidelines for what to include.
  • The necessities/things commonly forgotten while traveling
  • Something special/unique to the area
  • Snacks: sweet, salty, and savory
  • Water bottles – ensure your guests stay hydrated
  • Wedding itinerary or invitation to ensure guests know the timeline for all of your events
  • Recommendations for the area; what to do, where to eat, etc. Bonus points if you include coupons!
  • A note or letter from the bride and groom welcoming the guests
  • Tissue paper or other filler
Frosted Wedding Welcome Gift Bag
Source: Frosted Bag

Deciding On Delivery
The delivery may be the trickiest part of the gift. Should the bags be waiting in your guests’ hotel rooms? At the front desk when they check in? Should you hand-deliver them? Or wait until the first wedding event?

The simplest delivery method is to trust the hotel staff with the bags. The staff can keep them at the desk (be sure to write the guests’ full names on the bags!) or may even be able to deliver them to the guests' rooms before they arrive. If the guests are staying with a family member or friend, it should be no problem for you to drop the bags off at the houses before your guests get in. Delivering bags in person is probably the best way, but you’re going to be busy, so don’t sweat it if you won’t be able to greet everyone when they get to town. If everyone will be at the rehearsal dinner, you can hand them out after. Or maybe this is the perfect excuse to host a bonfire the night everyone arrives – you can have a relaxing evening and still get to watch your guests’ reactions when they see the bags!

Is It Really Worth It?
If you’re having a destination wedding, your guests are spending a lot of money on travel to be with you. If you’re not having a destination wedding but do have out-of-town guests, it’s a way to thank them for taking the extra time to travel to you. Out-of-town guests who don’t know the area may be uncomfortable being in a new place at such an important time. A welcome gift bag is a really easy way for you to let your guests know how much you appreciate the time and effort they put into being at your wedding.

Consider the luggage restrictions for travelers. There are so many rules for what you can and can’t take on an airplane, or maybe your guests don’t have access to a big enough car. They’ll have to cut down on what they pack, and the stress can cause them to forget something they actually need, or they may have to forgo something they might or might not need because they couldn’t quite justify the space it would take up without being certain they'll use it. Guests who are traveling - with kids in particular - have to make sacrifices with what they pack. Including items in the gift bags for kids (coloring books, bubbles, small toys, etc.) can relieve some of that stress.

Black Wedding Guest Gift Bags with Thank You Message

Assembling Your Gifts 
How can you possibly make time for ordering the pieces, filling the bags, and delivering them?! This last week before your wedding is probably your busiest. Consider these bags a chance to relax. Pour a glass of wine, sit down with your partner, and have fun with it. Hand write the notes and arrange the bags like they’re floral bouquets and placement matters. Or, if you really don’t have time, enlist a younger sibling or cousin to help – they may have fun with it! Even better: make the bags way in advance. As long as you're not including any perishable items, you can also put the bags together as early as you want. Even if you do want to include some perishable items, you can start the bags any time and add to them as the date gets closer.

You can save time (and money on shipping!) by ordering everything for the bag from one website, too.

Canvas Hotel Welcome Gift Bag
Source: Canvas Bag

A welcome gift bag is an easy and thoughtful way to help your guests relax and enjoy their weekend that much more.

Elizabeth graduated from The University of Findlay with a Master of Arts in Rhetoric and Writing. She now resides in Portland, Oregon where she is employed in the real estate business and is particularly enjoying the local cuisine. As a writer, Elizabeth believes in a quote from one of her favorite TV shows: "We have only two jobs on this Earth. The first: to learn. The second: to cope." A deep desire to learn struck Elizabeth when she was young, and now she hopes to help you cope by sharing information, and helping you apply the knowledge. Weddings and event planning can be overwhelming; sometimes it's okay to take a little advice from a stranger on the internet.

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