Nothing says "Thanks for being here" as cheerfully as a well-stocked welcome bag (or box or tray!). It's fun to receive, and clever packaging can help brand your day. While there are endless ways to make these gifts your own, you might want to draw inspiration for that innovative presentation from your wedding style. After all, the best kind of welcome bag is one that speaks to your celebration and that your guests will actually enjoy—and don't have to lug home after the festivities are over.
Here, you'll find four welcome bags based on four types of weddings. Whether you're celebrating on the side of a mountain, getting hitched a sleek hotel, or exchanging vows poolside, the following welcome bags are sure to impress your guests—and be of major use during the entire wedding weekend.
If you're marrying by a lake or in a mountain clearing, it's natural to embrace the campy-ness of your locale. Present guests with a sturdy rucksack full of "survival gear"—like a compass, weatherproof matches, pocket knife, and trail guide—plus outdoorsy snacks (s'mores, anyone?) and a local cider. Choose in-palette items and finish others with coordinating paper labels or bands.
Coleman Pocket Compass, $8, coleman.com. Little Belgians Speculoos S'mores Kit, $20 for ingredients for 6, littlebelgians.com. Descendant Cider Company "Heritage Dry" Cider, $16, mouth.com. Weck Cylindrical Jar, 1⁄2 liter, $18.50 for 6, weckjars.com. Weck Wood Lid, $17 for 3, williams-sonoma.com. Odeme Candle, in Mamoncillo, $50, odeme.co. Axel Brechensbauer Fish Pocket Knife, $20, areaware.com. Canvas Rucksack, $19, amazon.com.
Here's a delicious idea: If you're having a rehearsal dinner or welcome party the night before the wedding, send your guests away with a ready-made breakfast to enjoy as they prep for the big day. Breads, granola, cookies, and similar treats can be packed, wrapped in cellophane for freshness, in advance. Add any perishables at the last minute—and remind guests to pop them in the fridge when they get back to their rooms. Have your caterer make and package the goodies, or enlist a friend to help you do it.
As for presentation, keep it simple. We filled a wooden box with a spread for two, plus a small bouquet for good measure. Give the box your signature look by labeling the food containers and bags with your monogram or wedding motif, if you have one. You can do it all with a home computer and printer, or order online from a custom-paper-goods source, like ForYourParty.com.
Set a chic, celebratory tone for a weekend in the city with the makings of a pair of Champagne cocktails: a split of bubbly along with sugar cubes, each "infused" with a drop or two of bitters or your favorite liqueur. Set them out in hotel rooms on an enamel tray (a slim tray is easy to slide into a suitcase, and standard in- room glassware will do for sipping!) with some sleekly packed nibbles for a post-check-in, DIY cocktail hour. Mostly edible (or potable) gifts mean there's nothing heavy or bulky to lug home. And since a great city neighborhood demands exploring, add a map that points out a few nearby bars—plus some shades so your guests can wander incognito.
The Container Store Clear Amac Boxes, from $2 each, containerstore.com. Gold Deep Round Tin Cans, $16 for 24, papermart.com. Project 62 Oblong Enamel Tray, $15, target.com. SojoS Round Cat-Eye Sunglasses, $14, sojosvision.com.
Really want to make a splash? Go a step beyond water bottles and snacks, and outfit your visitors for a day of swimming, lounging, and scene-making. We packed this plastic sack (monogrammed or personalized tote-bag options abound, but an unadorned, clear cinch sack is an inexpensive choice that makes the gifts inside the star) with the basics—a colorful beach towel, sunscreen, after-sun spray—but also some cheeky extras like a cup and an inflatable drink holder, a bottle of nail polish in a juicy hue, an all-access after-party pass, and a little bag of gummy—what else?—fish for nibbling.
The Good Twin Enamel Lips Pin, $12, thegoodtwin.co. Float On Drink Floaties, $12 for 2, bando.com. Augusta Sportswear Clear Cinch Bag, $8, amazon.com. Utopia Beach Towel, in Cabana Stripe, $35 for 4, amazon.com. Odeme Nail Polish, in "Dancehall Days," $12, odeme.co. Glossier Invisible Shield Daily Sunscreen, $34, glossier.com. Sip Sip Tumbler with Straw, in Happy Hour, $14, bando.com. QQ Studio colored flat zip-lock bags, $18.50 for 100, amazon.com. Herbivore After Sun Skin Soothing Aloe Mist, $20, herbivorebotanicals.com.