Weddings are about two people who want to commit themselves to each other, for the rest of their lives, but they’re also about giving your family and friends the opportunity to celebrate that love.
Amongst everything else it’s important to remember you are also playing hosts during this time. As good hosts’ your guests comfort and happiness should be a priority.
Make your guests feel welcome as soon as they arrive with a welcome bag filled with local goodies and personal touches.
Welcome bags are a great way to say “Thank you for making the trip, we are so excited you are here, and want you to relax and enjoy yourself!” Plus they are really fun to put together. :)
For our destination wedding in Maui we were delighted to share some of our favorite local treats, useful information, and fun stuff with our guests. We had family and friends fly in from all over—Connecticut, New York, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg—to celebrate with us. Now East Coast to Hawaii, that's a long couple flights so it’s important to express your gratitude to guests who made the journey.
Here’s a breakdown of what we put in each bag and an explanation as to why we wanted to include them.
A Reusable Tote
Everyone knows it’s all about presentation. :) A good size canvas bag will not only be able to hold the goodies, but could serve as a beach bag (in the case of a beach location like ours) or groceries and miscellaneous things in the future. Plus they can be folded up and packed easily.
We wanted the design to reflect the location so we illustrated elements that pertained to Maui’s tropical location and had them printed by a friend in Nashville.
Probably the most important item in each bag, the itinerary packet contained a short welcome letter, detailed information about the rehearsal dinner and day-after brunch, shuttle pick up times, important phone numbers and addresses, our wedding hashtag (#shabraun), and a wedding day timeline.
I calligraphed the vellum cover layer, had the rest of the pages printed in Nashville, and assembled the packets by pushing a small scrapbooking brad through the corner. (The same brads we used for our Nashville Reception Save the Dates.
For the cover art, we enlisted my youngest brother’s artistic talents. He LOVES to draw. He drew us all kinds of beach/Hawaii-related things from tropical fish and bird to palm trees, fancy drinks, and pineapples. But in his school’s film class they watched Jaws and he made a sketch of the poster…it was too cute to pass up. Every time we looked at it, it made us smile! We’re obsessed! Adorable, right?
When we arrived in Maui we snagged a bunch of Things To Do in Maui magazines at the airport. Each magazine listed top restaurants, popular activities, coupons, and maps.
A great way to personalize the wedding bag is by adding locally-made items and goodies with local flair. Since our wedding was in Hawaii, we included chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, a bag of Hawaiian coffee, a small jar of strawberry guava jam, a wooden pineapple dish, a bag of Hawaiian kettle style potato chips, and some Hawaiian black lava sea salt.
We arrived a few days before everyone else and were able to gather the local goods and assemble the bags before everyone else arrived.
Wherever your wedding is, try and think of fun, quality yet inexpensive items that represent the location or theme of your wedding.
During our recon trip in March we found these really neat postcard packs that featured vintage Hawaiian travel poster designs so we picked up a couple packs and ended up dividing them up amongst our welcome bags. Guests could use the postcards to send a note back home during their trip or save it and frame it as a memento.
There is nothing worse than having your favorite pair of sunglasses get knocked off by a wave and lost to the ocean while at the beach so we put some promotional sunglass, like the kind that are handed out at treat festivals, in our welcome bags. This way guests could take them down to the beach and if they got scratched or broken, it would be no big deal.
Reusable Tumblers (With Lids)
Since all the beaches in Maui are public property there is no alcohol prohibited. This is not a rule that is typically checked on enforced, providing your not acting crazy. So we found some cute, punny reusable tumblers are included them in each bag. The tumblers could be filled with whatever and are a much safer alternative than glass for beach time drinks.