gift/welcome bags are great for out-of-town guests coming to a wedding, reunion or any other sort of extravaganza you can dream up.
your guests may have been in the area before, but as hosts, i believe it's your job to make them feel comfortable and well informed of the activities surrounding your event.
we found out where our guests would be staying (most stayed at the room block we'd reserved) and dropped them off at the front desk. most hotels are used to requests like this and should happily accommodate you. there may be a negilible
rip-off convenience fee of some sort, but ours was something like $1/bag so it shouldn't kill your wallet or anything.
so what should you include inside?
here's some tips
1. tie it all together. using the same wedding suite typefaces, i created reusable grocery bags with 'forever ever' printed on them. they were relatively cost effective and shipped quickly. and it was nice to be able to customize the text/image instead of being bound to a template of some sort. i got mine here but there are dozens of places that sell bags like this.
i created a welcome card to remind people what was taking place during the weekend ("the ceremony begins saturday at six...").
for these bags, i threw in another printed piece as well. as a longtime d.c. resident, i'm used to the 5-cent bag fee. but for people not from the area, i know it can come as a bit of a shock. so the paper offered an explanation about why they were receiving the reusable bag in the first place.
for me, it was important that every printed piece had the same type treatment. it really helps unify everything and brand your event.
2. local flavor. we decided to give everyone a few dc-specific items: magnets, a metro pocket guide, some crab chips, cherry blossom hand sanitizer and the most recent washingtonian.
3. seasonally appropriate item. in our case, sunscreen. a tube of it and some organic chapstick with spf.
4. something that relates to your event/venue. as a nod to our market wedding, we put a little seed packet in each bag.
_ _ _
and there you have it!
you can fill your bags with anything you like. have fun and get creative with it.
your guests will love you even more for it.