1/ Have a delivery plan
Image by Katie Stoops Photography
Make sure you note on your guest list those who are attending from out of town, so you know how many bags you’ll need. Gather information about where each will be staying and arrange with their hotels to have the bags handed out at check in or as a surprise waiting in their rooms. Check with individual hotels whether they can accommodate delivery and ask after any charges so that you can budget accordingly.
2/ Decide the purpose
Image by Henry + Mac
Keep things tailored to your individual priorities for guests. For instance, if most will be unfamiliar with the city and what it has to offer, build the bag around helping them explore Wellington with lists of your favourite places to visit, eat and shop, including an illustrated map and a small array of local produce. If your primary intention is to help your guests get through the wedding weekend, then choose items to meet their needs; whether that means edible treats or a wedding survival kit with hangover cures and water.
Images by Ryan Ray Photography and Hunter Ryan Photo
There’s certainly no need to spend a fortune on welcome favours. Focus only on practical things that your guests will enjoy and make use of! Set your budget once you know how many bags you’ll be preparing and stick to it.
Remember, there are plenty of thoughtful touches that needn’t cost a thing. Collect free brochures from the local iSite, see if you can find vouchers or voucher codes for local spots and look for sample sizes of toiletry items. You could even go very simple with baked and wrapped homemade treats attach to a sweet, handwritten welcome note - there’s nothing to say the welcome bag has to be large! A tiny welcome with a thoughtful item or two is still an incredibly considerate gesture.
4/ Choose a holder
Images by Amy Arrington Photography and Cassidy Carson
Basket, box, tote, paper bag or crate? If you want the vessel to be part of the welcome gift and thus something reusable, you’re best going with a bag for use during their stay and in the future. The canvas tote is the ideal choice in this category: they’re usually inexpensive and can be personalised with a custom design. (Just don’t go too wedding-specific – an image, map or generic quote is much better for reuse potential!)
If you have no intention to reuse the holder, then keep it inexpensive and recyclable. Try a cute paper box or bag with a decorative logo or tag.
5/ Fill with goodies
Image by Carmen Santorelli Photography
There are plenty of options for the contents of your bag! Pick and choose the best items to reflect your budget, the location and practical needs of guests:
- Food and Drink. Snacks will offer some much-needed sustenance and hydration after a long journey. Add something sweet and savoury to cater to different tastes. Bonus points if you’re able to include local specialities or brands, like Wellington Chocolate Factory chocolate, Six Barrel Soda or local fresh fruit.
- Practical items. Anticipate realistic guest needs and cater for them with small but helpful items like painkillers (or other hangover cures!), a rain poncho or an eye mask. Depending on the weather forecast, things like mini-suncream, insect repellent or cooling spray may also be useful.
- Something fun. If you have children attending from afar, include some little toys or games to keep them entertained, whether bought (colouring book, card game) or of your creation (a scavenger hunt or quiz). A simple but thoughtful souvenir makes a sweet addition too – maybe a key ring or a couple of postcards.
- Local info. Compile a list of must do activities and eateries on cute stationery alongside a few sightseeing leaflets and a map for further info. Include practical locations too, like nearby pharmacies/medical centres or local taxi/public transport information.
- Wedding info. Keep guests in the loop with useful wedding information, perhaps an itinerary, a custom map with important locations clearly marked and some numbers to contact with queries.
6/ Show your thanks
Image by Katie Stoops Photography
Ultimately, the welcome bag is a gesture of thanks to your guests. Put the gratitude into words through a letter – handwritten, if possible – saying how glad you are to have them share your wedding with you. This is also an ideal spot to explain the significance or purpose of any of the items in the bag if needed!