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Easy Ideas: What to Put In Your OOT Gift Bags to Welcome Guests?

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Welcome bag or OOT gift bags by Theo Boutique

Smother your guests in a big warm “welcome to our wedding” via out of town (OOT) gift bags! Plan a collection of bag fillers that will not only highlight what’s fun and famous at your wedding destination, but will also show you’ve got everyone’s comfort and enjoyment in mind. And don’t forget the packaging…both pretty and practical is best. Now, get ready to tote away some great wedding welcome bag tips from us, plus inspiring ideas from fave blogs!

Some Cool OOTs We Found!

First, we’re sharing some welcome bag inspiration we discovered…literally brimming with great ideas. Since gift bags have become staple treats at destination weddings, most of these showcase the location—what makes the place distinct and how guests can make the most of their visit. But they could also be simply a thoughtful gesture that says, “Relax, get comfortable, enjoy!”

Ideas for creating wedding welcome bags or OOT gift bags for a destination wedding

Here’s what we found: Yummy Nashville goodies in a charming brown paper bag (1), a handy tote printed with a map of Austin (2), a creative collection of all things orange, in honor of balmy Palm Beach (3), a charming stash of local specialties for nuptials in Spain (4), a basket of homemade breakfast goodies sure to warm guests’ hearts…and tummies (5), and some ‘get cool by the pool’ must-haves for a Palm Springs wedding (6).

Image credits: 1 – Miriam Ackerman Events / 2 – SMS Photography / 3 – Gifts for the Good Life, via Jet Fete / 4 – Theo Boutique / 5 – Everyday Occasions by Jenny Steffens Hobick / 6 – Jesi Haack Design

Tips for Planning ‘Wow’ Welcome Bags

Tip #1: Think ‘total package’ – This expression has a special meaning for welcome bags. Want to celebrate the location? The season? A special holiday? A shared hobby or passion? Then, do plan well in advance to have colors, materials, graphics, fonts, and of course fab fillers that all work together around that specific motif.

Tip #2: Make it heartfelt – If you put a lot of thought and care into each bag, it will show! Imagine what you yourself would be glad to receive upon coming to a place for the first time: a fun booklet on points of interest with photos and maybe a map, a program of guest activities, yummy munchies and a signature beverage, pampering items (lotion, lip balm, sun block), accessories for the weather (a muffler if it’s chilly, a hand fan and visor if it’s sunny). And for a nice personal touch, a handmade gift item from the two of you or a homemade treat using a family recipe!

Tip #3: Go practical – Out-of-town guests don’t need bulky items cluttering up their baggage. So be kind and give items that can be packed flat or weigh next to nothing. Scarves in sheer fabric, prints by local artists, pamphlets of favorite recipes (yours or from the locale), tiny vials of a fragrance blended in the area. You get the idea!

Tip #4: Mix consumables and collectibles – Select an interesting variety of bag fillers. A good rule of thumb would be: half consumable, half collectible. For guests to enjoy during their stay: snacks, candies and bottled drinks, guest passes to a gym or spa, tickets to a nearby museum, theme park, or show. To take home as keepsakes of your wedding: take an idea or two from Tip #3 above, or choose iconic souvenirs or crafts of the place that guests can actually use!

Tip #5: See double (purpose) – Speaking of “actually use,” we strongly encourage packaging that has a life beyond your wedding. Canvas or fabric totes, baskets, and kraft paper bags have their charms. But we’re thinking more like containers that are actually gifts themselves! Beach towels rolled up to hold those seaside essentials, knitted mittens or ski bonnets hiding winter wedding treats, upturned sun hats filled with summer surprises, laptop sleeves with cool gifts zipped up inside. So many fun possibilities!

Tip #6: Present your OOTs in a unique way – One the latest trends for welcome bags is to present them as “pillow presents” for guests. Leave them on the hotel bed for a true welcoming surprise!

Tip#7: Add a personal note – What could be more meaningful in the age of digital technology than a poignant, handwritten note from the bride and groom. Add special messages that show your appreciation in a classy way using stationery that matches your wedding’s theme or style.

2 comments

  1. I’m planning to have OOT bags for my wedding as it will be in Cabo San Lucas. Because it is in sunny Mexico, I don’t know what to put in the bags for guests! Any ideas? Just a few would be okay–budget-conscious bride here.

  2. Hi Sandara. What fun to have a destination wedding in Cabo!

    Since you mentioned “budget conscious,” we can suggest these for your OOT bags: recipe cards with favorite Mexican dishes and drinks, cello bags of “Mexican jumping (jelly) beans,” maybe a colorful printout of handy (and fun!) Mexican words/phrases guests can use during their visit, bottled water with labels customized for your wedding (there are fabulous FREE printables on the web). Enjoy!

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