Wedding Welcome Bags
Let me preface this post with a disclaimer of sorts: every Bride has one or two things she is allowed to obsess over, and Welcome Bags were mine. Actually, I think this was the only thing I obsessed over as I wasn’t super interested in the other details (I sort knew what I wanted, but didn’t need to micro-manage to make sure everything was “perfect” – broad strokes of understanding were fine). Bart and I were fortunate to have our wedding at the Four Seasons Resort Vail, where I knew they would cover all the important things and I didn’t have to worry. The few vendors I did have to pick (Florist, Chair Rentals, DJ, Photographer, etc.) were selected right off of the “Recommended Vendors” list provided by the hotel and I didn’t give them another thought. I didn’t meet with them in person, plan strategy, provide inspiration photos, discuss ‘dreams’….nothing. I essentially planned my wedding in under 48 hours. It. Was. Awesome. See? I totally was not a high-maintenance Bride, despite anything the Hubs might try to say. Kidding – he wouldn’t say anything because 1) he knows better, and 2) it wouldn’t be true. :)
Since most of our guests were coming to Vail from the Denver/Boulder area, and the rest were real out-of-towners, I wanted to kick off our wedding weekend with something that 1) actually made people feel welcome and appreciated, 2) provided instructions, directions, and other helpful hints for the next couple of days, and 3) shared a bit of our personality.
My initial ‘wants’ for the bag were this: snacks (mini-bar style), water (because of the high altitude), wine (because, well, it’s wine), a hangover kit (for the wine), wedding mad-libs (for the Bride and Groom to enjoy later), and a welcome letter to say THANK YOU and offer up all the details for the weekend on where to be and when.
Since I wanted to shove a ton of stuff in my bag, I needed something sturdy. A paper gift bag was definitely not going to do the trick. I was so excited to find these personalized canvas bags (mine had super cute bunting that read, “Welcome”, along with our names, wedding date, and wedding locale. When you buy in bulk, they work out to be $5 each – I don’t think I could have even made something that cheap (I looked into that too).
We were definitely going for a Colorado theme with the snacks since this is home and all….and we thought it would be fun. It was! Who knew Colorado was home to so many tasty foods?! Each snack bag had two of most items as they were intended for a couple to share – each one included the following: Izze Soda (Made in Boulder, CO), Boulder Canyon Chips (Made in Boulder, CO), Rocky Mountain Popcorn (Made in Centennial, CO), Justin’s Nut Butter Packets (Made in Boulder, CO), Justin’s Nut Butter Peanut Butter Cups (Made in Boulder, CO), Nita Crisp Crackers (Made in Fort Collins, CO), Chocolove Chocolate Bars (Made in Boulder, CO), and Veggie-Go’s (Made in Boulder, CO and Found at our Local Farmer’s Market!)
I put all of the snacks above into a paper lunch sack – they barely fit, but it worked. I folded over the top of the bag twice, then punched two holes to run the twine through, then tied it into a bow.
I bought these cute, custom stickers from Delphine Press that read, “Colorado-Made Snacks. Enjoy a taste of Colorado with some of our favorite treats. Love, Sarah and Bart”
I have blogged about these before – Hangover Kit Party Favor – and still think they make a great party favor. I went with a more PC name for the wedding, but they definitely got used. I made a couple of changes to make them more wedding-y, but they were really limited to the stamp I used and a small business card that I added saying what it was. The stamp choice was maybe a bit too detailed though – I ended up having to use a really fine paint brush and essentially hand-paint the image on every bag. It took FOREVER. I added the date with a fine-tip Sharpie.
For the tags, I just used Avery Business Card templates (Office Depot) and got creative with layering in a background and text box. The Word Doc of my template is here: Post Wedding Recovery Kit Label. Just in case the formatting is off, this is what it is supposed to look like (PDF): Post Wedding Recovery Kit Label PDF.
I’ve posted about these before too – Personalized Wine Labels – I’m not really all that creative. :) These were a huge hit – I mean everything was, but the wine was unexpected I think. My big tip (which I added to the original post) is to check with large liquor stores in your area before buying the wine. I accidentally found out that I could order 75 bottles of a California Red with no labels on them – this made everything so much easier….and they looked nicer too! I bought the labels from Pinhole Press – they are a thick material and actually look really professional. You can upload any picture you want, but for a wedding I would use your Engagement Photos – my Mom was so cute and saved it for posterity. Well, she technically saved everything, but the wine is proudly displayed in her kitchen for all to see.
Aaaand we have another repeated post – Custom Water Bottle Labels – but for good reason. I’ve used this at all sorts of events now (fundraisers, parties, overnight guests), and they don’t seem to get old. Especially fundraisers – we felt better about charging money for water with a logo….and I think people felt better about paying too! Anyway, I just changed up the template a bit so it coordinated with everything else I printed. Easy, peasy.
Water Bottle Template: Waterbottle Label Template
I thought it would be fun to have everyone do a Wedding Mad Lib then read them later – mostly because Mad Libs remind me of those awesome years in third and fourth grade, but also, I wanted to have something other than photos to remember everyone from the wedding by. The ones we got were super funny, but most people forgot to either fill them out, or bring them to the reception. Nice try, but a bit of a failure I suppose.
I formatted it so that two cards would fit perfectly on one sheet of card stock, then I just cut them in half. The top half being the welcome letter, and the bottom was the Mad Libs. I used card stock so that I could tie them together with twine (I also added a Vail-area map in the back) and they wouldn’t lose their shape in the canvas bag. They held up really well!
Welcome Letter/Mad Libs Template: Welcome Letters and Mad Libs
Welcome Letter/Mad Libs Template, PDF Version: Welcome Letters and Mad Libs PDF
The last small touch was that I added a kraft paper tag with the wedding guests’ name on one side, and hotel on the other. After having worked in hotels for most of my career, my big Pro Tip is to personalize the tags….the front desk very frequently forgets to hand welcome bags out. The only way they can tell who they forgot is by looking at the name tags later in the day. I added the hotel name only because there were several hotels where people were staying – it was just a reminder of where to take the bag. So, parting thoughts on the Welcome Bags:
Upside: The Welcome Bags were a big hit! I absolutely loved them and so did everyone else. We used a free App called Wedding Party where you can crowdsource photos from your friends – there was definitely a theme in the pictures for a bit. That theme being pictures and comments about the Welcome Bags. You know I loved that. A few of the pictures our friends posted are below.
Downside: The bags were made up of a million projects that took up a ton of time. Luckily I had no other wedding planning responsibilities, so I stretched this project out over a few months. I don’t really know if this was actually a ‘downside’ though since I always love a good project.