Think of how you feel when you travel, there is no place like home, right!Â As a wedding planner for over twenty-five years, learn from experience, Â it IS in those little details which make a difference in taking your wedding from ordinary to extraordinary!
Remember, your out-of-town wedding guests will spend extra money on plane tickets, rental cars, gas, hotel rooms, and other extras in order to travel and celebrate your wedding with you.Â Â It is courteous to show your guests who traveled far how you appreciate their time and effort it took for them to attend your wedding.Â It need not be fancy and expensive, just choose from a variety of options and you can find simple yet special items your guests will love to receive.Â Who doesn’t love a welcome bag!Â Your welcome bag is a nice gesture to make them feel at home.
Before You Start, Decide on Your:
1).Â Theme. Use your wedding colors, engagement photo, theme, and/or your logo/monogram from your wedding invitation or save-the-date.
2).Â Quantity & Budget.Â Â Determine the quantity of welcome bags you need based on your RSVPs.Â Always recommend having RSVPs due at least 30 days prior to your wedding date.Â Get a list of names with check-in dates from the hotels where you have room blocks.Â Knowing how many welcome bags you need will help you decide on the quantity and quality of products you include in them.Â If you have 10 bags vs. 50 bags, your budget for each bag and their contents may vary.
3).Â Delivery.Â How are you planning on delivering the welcome bags to your guests?Â Find out the fee to distribute the welcome bags at the hotel.Â At the time of writing this blog, many hotels are charging from $1-$3 per bag for the bags to be delivered to the room after the guest checks in.Â Remember, many guests may put out their â€śdo not disturbâ€ť signs on their doors upon arrival.Â This may become a problem, especially if they do not check their message light on their hotel phone, or their hotel room voice mail, which says â€śyou have a welcome bag we tried to deliver to you.â€ťÂ Make sure you have a main contact at the hotel who will be responsible for making sure all welcome bags are distributed to the guests upon checking in, since they will be privy to the number of bags remaining, and potential delivery problems like this.Â Get a list of your hotel guests at the hotels you have room blocks with, which will give you their check-in dates, so you know the earliest arrival.Â Find out deadlines for when you need to have the items for the bags purchased.Â How long will it take for the bags to be packed, assembled with finishing touches?Â When do the bags need to be delivered to the hotel, so they are ready for the arrival of your first guests checking in?
Next, Decide on What to Include in Your Welcome Bag:
1).Â What is your vessel of choice?Â Whatever Â your choice of vessel, make sure it is reusable and easy to carry so it doesnâ€™t add to the luggage of your guests.Â Select something which goes with your theme (see #1 above.)
2).Â Do you have time to DIY or are you hiring a company to do this for you?Â You may want to hire a professional company for suggestions on themes and bulk pricing.Â They purchase in bulk and have contacts for prepackaged items, (since they have more clients than just you), then assemble, pack, put finishing touches on the bags, then deliver your welcome bags to your hotels.Â They will have local contacts and connections to expedite your search.Â You may be able to purchase everything from them in bulk, and they may show you how to â€śassemble one.â€ťÂ Check your local Costco, Dollar Store, and local wholesale club, since they may have trial sized products or items in bulk to help you save on your cost per item.Â You may want to get some items on your own, and incorporate specialty items from a professional source.
3).Â Point of Contact.Â Include the name and cell phone number of your wedding planner or the point person who will handle logistics and answer questions for your entire weekend.
4).Â Wedding Weekend Itinerary.Â NOTE:Â You may need 2Â versions â€“ one for your wedding party guests (highly suggest you sending out PRIOR to their arrival such as spa day appointments, get ready schedules for hair and makeup,Â photography schedules, golf outing tee times, etc.), and another version simplified for your out-of-town guests.
- Your wedding plannerâ€™s name and cell phone number to answer questions.
- Timeline of the Weekend:Â start times, end times, address, directions, transportation schedules (if you are including transportation for them), parking, theme of event, dress code, if food will be served, etc. of the events for the weekend.
- Note Welcoming and Thanking Your Guests (possibly include your engagement photo) or a photo of you and your fiance saying “Welcome and Thanks!”
- Golf Outing Details
- Shopping Outing Details
- Spa Outing Details
- Directions, Details & Transportation info to and from the hotel to your:
- Â Â Â Â Ceremony Rehearsal
- Â Â Â Â Rehearsal Dinner
- Â Â Â Â Wedding Ceremony
- Â Â Â Â Cocktail Reception
- Â Â Â Â Dinner/Dance
- Â Â Â Â After Hours Party
- Â Â Â Â Day After Wedding Brunch
- Fun things you may or may not know about the bride
- Fun things you may or may not know about the groom
- How you met
- The proposal
5).Â Snacks and Munchies.Â NOTE:Â Think about where your wedding is.Â Is there something special about the city or is there something the city is known for?
- Limit perishables so you arenâ€™t stressed filling bags the week of your wedding.
- Bottled water â€“ customized with your names, wedding dates, and logo (use the design from your wedding invitation or your save-the-date)
- Fall wedding â€“ coffee, hot chocolate, something warm to drink
- Summer wedding â€“ Arizona iced tea, lemonade, something refreshing to drink
- Snacks (buy in bulk from a wholesale club like Costco)
- Chips and Salsa
- Cookies with initials of the Bride & Groom or wedding logo from your wedding invitation
- Candy Bars
- Granola Bars
- Fruit (something in not highly perishable, and in season which doesnâ€™t have to be refrigerated)
- Juice boxes (if they have kids)
- Crayons & coloring book (if they have kids)
- Something from a local specialty shop or bakery which is well known (candy, or a baked good)
- Bottle of wine from a local vineyard
- Bottled beers from a local brewery
- Local magazine or newspaper
- Custom CD with old home movies, pictures, and slideshows
6).Â Souvenir or Keepsake Photos
- Keepsake which is unique to Arizona, yet is easy to travel with.
- If you have sports fans, schedule a tour of the arena where their favorite sport is played.
- Hire a photobooth or a photographer to take photos of your guests with their spouse, significant other, or at event as a souvenir or keepsake photo.Â Use a magnet frame (easy to carry and no glass to break) with your names and wedding date.
7).Â Travel Sized Personal Items
- Breath Mints
8).Â Hotel How Tos
- How to Get Free Internet
- Prices of Parking for Valet/Self Park/Special Rates for Overnight (no one likes to get an enormous parking charge on their hotel bill since they didnâ€™t ask pricing options before parking)!
- Restaurant hours
- Room Service hours
9).Â Local Attractions/Things to Do
- Sporting events (Phoenix Suns, Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Coyotes, ASU, Phoenix Open, NASCAR)
- Menus or List of Nearby Restaurants â€“ an assortment of area favorites with brief description of their menu, pricing and dress code
- Maps, brochures, and guides to local tourist spots in the city (you may be able to get this from the concierge at the hotel, or the cityâ€™s visitors bureau, or chamber of commerce)
- Discount coupons from the concierge, or local chamber of commerce
- Things to do with Kids (Phoenix Zoo, Wildlife World Zoo)
- Movie theaters
- Directions to nearest pharmacy or convenience store
- Directions to the nearest same day dry cleaner
- Day Trip or Weekend Trip ideas (Sedona, Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, Prescott, Payson, Tucson)
Copyright 2013, Kim Horn, MBCâ„˘
Hire Kim as your wedding planner, call 480.921.7891 or text your name, wedding date, and wedding planner request to 602.418.9089.
Kim M. Horn, MBCâ„˘
Master Bridal Consultant | 1 of 61 in the World
Scottsdale Wedding Planner | Paradise Valley Wedding Planner | Chandler Wedding Planner | Phoenix Wedding Planner | Destination Weddings
Publisher | Pres. | ArizonaBridalSource.com
AZ State Coordinator Assoc. of Bridal Consultants May 2003 â€“ May 2012
2010 Annual Conference Chair (worked with David Tutera) – Assoc. of Bridal Consultants