Our Wedding Welcome Bags (on the cheap!)

by Melissa on January 9, 2012

Several months before our wedding, I gave an overview of what I intended to include in our wedding welcome bags. I’m pleased to report that our wedding welcome bags were a success at our November 11 wedding.

In that previous post, I mentioned that 1) I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on the contents of the bag (i.e., no bottles of wine or $4.50 pieces of chocolate shaped like the Washington Monument). But, I did want to include some useful, inexpensive (or free!) contents. Also, as silly as it may sound, it was very important to me that the bag itself be reusable. Not necessarily for environmental reasons (although that is a big bonus), but because I knew folks would probably throw away the contents of the bag eventually, but at least the bag itself would remain useful. Therefore, I didn’t want to use a paper gift bag.

The Bag

So, I purchased 20 of these bags in royal blue from Cheap Totes for $1.49 each. We had blocked off 20 hotel rooms, so I assumed that that would be a safe estimate for the wedding welcome bags. (Total: $40.79, including shipping)

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Brochures and Attraction Information

I picked up brochures from the Fairfax County Visitor Center storefront in Tysons Corner Mall. Tracking down brochures was more difficult than I anticipated. I thought I would be able to pick some up at our local AAA office, or at DC hotels with brochure kiosks. But apparently our AAA doesn’t carry brochures for local attractions, and those brochure kiosks are too pedestrian for fancy DC hotels or something.

But, randomly, one day when Ken and I were at Tysons Corner mall shopping for suspenders to go with his suit, we tripped over a nice storefront operated by Fairfax County. The lady in there was super helpful, and we picked up 20 brochures each of several “lesser known” DC attractions, like Mt. Vernon and Old Town Alexandria.

Local Maps

Yes, I realize that maps are a bit old-fashioned nowadays, but I still thought they would be a nice touch. I used my AAA membership to get 20 maps of the DC Metropolitan area, with a focus on Prince William County (where our wedding was being held), a street map of downtown Washington, DC, and a free local magazine called DC Metro Mag. All free!  I also picked up some pocket metro maps (available at any metro station).

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Personalized information sheets

This was probably the longest task of the welcome bag process. I created a “Guest information sheet,” that included:

  • Directions from the hotel to attractions Ken and I recommended
  • A list of nearby eateries and their addresses
  • A list of nearby stores, like Walmart, the Supermarket, and CVS and their addresses
  • Directions from the hotel to the wedding venue

I printed these out, double sided, just on regular paper. I realize that a lot of folks put a lot of time and effort into making theirs look pretty, but I just went with a simple table layout, printed it, and voila!

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Snacks

I purchased a box of 30 snack-size bags of chips from Costco for $9.99, a case of water for $6.99, and a huge bag of Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses (separated into small plastic baggies of about 8-10 kisses each) for $6.99. (Total: $23.97)

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Note and Tag

I wrote a very quick note using some fun gift tags I already had around the house (purchased from an Etsy seller years ago). Then I tied the note tags around the bag’s handle.

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Assembling the bags

This was super easy, and took less than an hour. I set up a mini assembly line on our dining room table, and laid out the brochures, DC Metro Magazine, and Guest Information Sheets (forgive the crappy cell phone picture below. Apparently I didn’t take a real photo with my real camera of the actual assembly line)

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First, I put the brochures, DC Street Map, DC Metro Map, and Guest Information Sheet in blue folders that I purchased from Amazon.

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Then I put the folder in the bag, followed by DC Metro Magazine and a Fairfax County Tourism Booklet.

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Then I added the snacks to the bag.

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And voila! We had 20 welcome bags ready to be dropped off at the hotel. This task was completed in early October, more than a month before the wedding, so wedding welcome bags are definitely something you can check off your to-do list far in advance!

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Total cost: $64.76. Not too shabby!

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