Having A Destination Wedding? Here's What Goes In the Welcome Bag
Since you may not be able to greet all your guests personally upon arrival, a welcome bag (or basket) is a great way to show you're thinking of them and set the tone for the wedding celebration.
If you're planning on having your wedding out of the state or country, your guests are likely not from the area. You'll want to welcome them with a few items so they can get excited for the party to come. Here are a few suggestions on what to include.
Key Contact Info
Tell your guests how to reach the people you've designated as go-to contacts (family members, wedding attendants, and/or your wedding planner). Include their cell phone numbers (be sure to have ones that work locally) and the number for their hotel rooms. Don't include your contact info—most people won't feel comfortable bothering you, and you'll have enough on your mind already.
A Welcome Letter
Tell your guests how happy you are that they've made the trip with a short and sweet note. For simplicity's sake, you can use your computer to type and print the letters, but sign each one in ink for a personal touch.
A Detailed Schedule
List all of the weekend's events, including any optional ones. Include the time, location, dress code and any other important details for each. Be sure to mention any extra costs for activities such as tours, lessons, sports activities and so on.
Map of the Area
Ask the hotel to give you a reliable one—don't trust something you find on the Internet unless it's posted by an authority like the chamber of commerce or visitor's bureau.
Info on Local Transportation
Bus schedules and the phone numbers of local taxi companies and car services will help your guests get around when they're on their own.
List of Local Restaurants
Include restaurant descriptions, locations, phone numbers and price info, along with a selection of menus from places that deliver.
Local Entertainment Guide
Check to see if the hotel or the local chamber of commerce publishes a brochure, or include the latest issue of a local magazine with listings.
A taste of locally made food and drink will introduce your guests to the destination's delicacies and help them avoid raiding the minibar. Try to include both savory and sweet things to satisfy different cravings: plantain chips in Puerto Rico, Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee in Jamaica, macadamia nuts in Hawaii, Key lime cookies in Key West, or bagels in New York. And since your guests are on vacation too, it's nice to greet them with a celebratory drink—a bottle of wine if you're in a region known for it, locally brewed beer, a mini bottle of the area's signature liquor, or a beautifully labeled bottle of lemonade.
Anticipate little things your guests will appreciate having at the destination: sunscreen and a pair of flip-flops at the beach; a sweet-smelling bug repellent in the country; a subway card in the city. And no matter where you are, disposable cameras and bottled water are always welcome.
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