Welcome bags are a wedding tradition that allow couples to show their appreciation to their guests for being there for their big day. Welcome bags often await guests when they check into their hotels, providing them with an instant token of appreciation. Though welcome bags need not be complicated or include any especially costly items, couples should keep in mind a few things when creating them for their guests.
* Include an item that can be tied into your wedding. Couples having a destination wedding might want to include a memento of the trip in their guests' welcome bags. Bottle openers, coffee mugs or keychains with the name of the locale printed on them make good additions to a welcome bag. But even those couples who aren't having a destination wedding can include an item that reminds their guests of their trip, such as a shot glass with the couple's name and the location of wedding. Items like these can often be purchased en masse at minimal cost.
* Choose nonperishable foods. Some couples choose to include a snack in their guests' welcome bags. Food makes a great addition, especially if your guests must travel a great distance to your wedding. The snack can quell some hunger that developed on their trip in or be enjoyed on their equally long trip home. When including food in the welcome bag, be sure to include nonperishable items. Many hotels ask for the welcome bags a few days in advance, so perishable items are sure to spoil before guests arrive at the hotel.
* Include bottled water. Bottled water makes a valuable addition to a welcome bag. Guests are used to staying in their homes, where a midnight glass of cold water is just down the hall in their kitchens. But vending machines that dispense cold drinks are not always easy to find in hotels, and guests will appreciate a bottle of water waiting for them in their rooms. A bottle of water before going to bed at night may also help those guests who might have enjoyed themselves a bit too much at the reception.
* Include directions to the wedding venue and a schedule of the weekend's activities. Couples typically include directions to the venue with their wedding invitations, which should indicate when and where the wedding will take place. But guests do not always bring their invitations with them and may not remember how to get to the venue or when the ceremony starts. Include directions and a rundown of the weekend's activities in the welcome bag as a fallback for guests who left their invitations at home.