The Art of {Welcome} Gifts for Your Wedding Guests by Aimee Monihan-Greening of Tropical Occasions



By Aimee Monihan-Greening, Tropical Occasions

Gift Bags for your destination wedding are a great way to welcome your guests and  to show a gesture of appreciation that they have traveled to help you celebrate your big day.  Gift bags, and all the lovely, informative literature that comes along with them, can also make the wedding run even smoother.

I want to share some insight on how to create a fabulous gift bag, some ideas that work with every possible budget and still give guests what they really want.

1. Anticipate your guests needs. By this we mean you should give them items they will actually use and make it a size that they can bring home. So no big bulky baskets as they will go to waste. Use a fun tote, or simple gift bag. We suggest items that they might have wanted to buy on own. For example in Costa Rica, we try and include coffee, rum, cigars, sarongs and other fun local gifts. Since destination weddings can have people running from one event to another we also like to have some local yummy treats that they can enjoy in their room.

Momental Designs

2. Make them beautiful. Your bags should reflect the look of your wedding. The presentation should be either in wedding colors, or reflect the style or tone of your wedding experience. As you can see from these gorgeous photos, artistic and thoughtful designers like Momental Designs {also a member of The Bridal Circle} can help bring your wedding concept to each visual piece shared with your guests. You can brand it all and have everything in gorgeous small containers with a monogram sticker. If you have a logo or theme for your wedding design, use it in the gift bags on individual items, the literature and labels. One of the best companies that does breathtaking gift bag presentation is Gifts for the Good Life {also a member of The Bridal Circle} and your event planner can assist you in reaching out to them for the ideal concepts.

Momental Designs

3. Skip the toiletries. All our clients think giving guests toiletries is a great idea, but  in reality people are very brand loyal and like to use their own brand of sunblock,  lotion, etc. Most people will have planned ahead and brought their own. These are the items we see left behind or tossed away most often. That’s a shame.


4. Include some fun creative touches that will wow the guests. in the past we have used things that the guests as well as the bride and groom have loved…

Post cards. This is one of our favorites to include. No one seems to send these anymore and they are a great nostalgic piece of mail. We take it a step further and have the postcards already stamped and ready to send. And one of the postcards is already addressed to the bride and groom. So when they return after the wedding, they receive a post card from all those that attended. This is a fun addition to a guest book and our brides and grooms LOVE these!

Hangover or survival kits. A small bag with a few essentials to help anyone who has had too much to drink or is too tired from all the activities we create – a little cure kit. It should include a sample of an Alka-seltzer tablet, aspirin,  Vitamin C powder, and you can include a sleep mask, a of bottle of water, chap-stick, or bug repellant wipes. For events we do in the mountains in Colorado, I always add a small bottle of Oxygen. A company called Oxygen Plus will supply them and they even have flavors. Our wedding guests LOVE these!

Welcome them with a local cocktail. We love to make cocktail kits. In Costa Rica I use Rum and Coke kits, in Mexico they get a Margarita kit and in Colorado it’s either a micro brew or something to play off the town where they are having the wedding. We package these in cute boxes and label with a cute “cheers” or “Salud” from the bride and groom.

Jose Villa

5. The welcome letter should always be included in or handed out with the gift bags in a noticeable place . When budget is an issue, these can be an inexpensive home-made item that will still make your guests feel special and let them know that you have thought about them. The welcome letter is a wonderful way to welcome your guests and give them all the information about what will be happening and where over the next few days. They also serve a dual purpose as guests needs these for the events to run smoothly.  With out this information, they could be late to any one of the events, not knowing where things are taking place, how to get there etc.

Jose Villa

6. Prepare and clearly communicate the delivery logistics, and then, do it all again. Logistics of getting your guests their welcome gifts can at times be very challenging and will take some pre-planning and of course most importantly feedback from the guests. At most destinations, guests will choose all different types of accommodations, even when a wedding hotel is suggested they may go their own way, stay in a nearby house, condo etc…

In order for your welcome gifts to make their way to the guests, you will need to know ahead of time where everyone will be staying and when they will arrive. We have our clients create a Google Doc Spreadsheet where guests can add this information and it will save everything automatically. Then at the end of planning when the RSVP’s have been returned you can see who is missing and have an easier time getting the missing information from your guests. When they list a condo or house, always ask who or what management company they booked with so that whoever is delivering the bags will be able to find all the guests. With hotels find out whose name the room is registered to.

Always be prepared for the possibility for guests to give the wrong information. When this occurs we suggest you bring the bags that were unable to be delivered with you to the first event and then these guests can take the gift bag home with them at end of the night. Also ask in advance if the hotels and lodging locations will charge a fee to deliver the the guest rooms so you factor this into your gift bag budget.

Best wishes!

Aimee N. Monihan-Greening
Owner, Principal Designer & Event Planner
Follow Aimee on Twitter: @Tropical_Os and share inspiration with her on Pinterest: Tropical_Os
Voted one of the Top Event Planners & Designers in the World by Destination Wedding & Honeymoons Magazine