The latest wedding day must-have? Welcome totes to greet your guests and add that extra personal touch. Whether it’s a destination wedding or local fete, hospitality kits with beyond-the-mini-bar amenities and a helpful schedule for the weekend’s events have become more than just a nice gesture—wedding welcome totes have taken on a life of their own. Whether you’re splurging on the accessory or looking for ways to get creative without busting the budget, here are ten picks to include that will make your tote one to remember. InStyle breaks it down in our gallery below.
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1. The Tote
When choosing what you put your welcome kit in, consider the many options available:
Canvas boat totes ($12; zazzle.com) decorative boxes ($2 each,containerstore.com) kraft bags ($218 for 35 bags, etsy.com), and even mini wine crates make great containers for your welcome kits. Boxes have become increasingly popular because they remain tidy and are easy to stack when transporting them to the hotel, and from the front desk to the guest suite. To ensure guests receive the totes just the way you’ve intended, don’t forget to arrange your welcome tote delivery process with the hotel ahead of time. Contact the hotel concierge to ask how they are delivered: do they hand them to guests upon check in, drop them in the room prior to guest arrival, or direct guests to the messenger center? Knowing ahead of time will help you pick the best packing solution and avoid surprise fees!
2. The Paperwork
While the snacks are the most exciting part of the welcome tote bag, do not overlook the paperwork. Help guests have what they need to know at their fingertips with an itinerary that details locations, addresses, times and dress codes for the events of your weekend (rehearsal dinner, ladies’ luncheon, pre-wedding photo sessions, after-party details, and post-wedding brunch, for example). If you are providing transportation, this is a great place to include shuttle pick-up and drop-off information as well. Also, consider including local maps, a card detailing your favorite things to do in the area, and, of course, a welcome note to your guests (even better when handwritten and personalized!)
3. The Water
Bottled water in hotel rooms can often add up to big bucks for your guests. Take the opportunity to offer up thirst-quenchers that also add some style. We’ve recently become obsessed with Boxed Water ($29 for a 24 pack, amazon.com)! Budget-providing, include a sparkling water option as well like Pellegrino ($13 for a 24 pack, amazon.com) or Saratoga water. While glass bottles are elegant, Pellegrino, Acqua Panna ($13 for a 6 pack; amazon.com) and Voss ($46 for a 24 pack, amazon.com) all offer 16oz. plastic bottles that make it a lot easier —and lighter — to transport. We suggest two bottles per guest tote!
4. The Libation
Drinks—alcoholic and non-alcoholic—are a nice way to set a celebratory tone for your affair! Take a cue from your location: are you in New England? Include a microbrew from a local brewery. In Brooklyn? Include a bottle of hipster Cold Brew like Grady’s New Orlean’s Style Iced Cold Brew ($7 for 16 ounces; amazon.com). In the Hudson Valley, offer a bottle of Hudson Whiskey ($45; mashandgrape.com) or sparkling apple cider ($7 for a 6 pack, walmart.com). In the city? Time to include to a mini bottle of Verdi Spumante bubbly or wine. Striped straws are a nice decorative touch!
5. "Something Sweet"
Every wedding welcome tote should include something to satisfy your guests’ sweet-tooth! Make it fun by including your favorite candy in cute packaging like personalized acrylic cubes from Sugarfina ($8; sugarfina.com) or purchase in bulk from Sweet City Candy where you can purchase everything from gummy-bears and Swedish Fish to candy in your color palette! Other sweets to note are specialty chocolate bars like Pecan Pie bars by Chocomize ($10 for 3; amazon.com), individually packaged black and white cookies ($40 for 12 cookies; blackandwhitecookies.com), or for a healthy kick, vegan truffles by Nicobella Organics which make boxed truffles in outrageously hip flavors like blueberry almond, ginger green tea, pumpkin chai, pure cocoa bliss, walnut flaxseed, sunflower butter banana, or lime basil.
6. "Something Salty"
For late nights after the after-party, something salty is always much appreciated by your guests. While nut mixes are always popular, they can also create issues with nut allergies so consider some of these other salty snacks! Potato chips are always a hit—and come in more gourmet flavors than ever before. Torres Premium Potato Chips come in a variety of exotic flavors from Black Truffle ($17 for a pack of 5; amazon.com) to Caviar to Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Mediterranean Herb (plus, they have great packaging which sets them aside from the convenience store brands—which shows your guests you’ve thought through every detail). Popcorn is also a hit for late-night eats: Pop! Gourmet Popcorn also comes in great flavors from Sriracha Hot Chili Popcorn ($6 per bag, popgourmentpopcorn.com) to Garlic Parmesan and Sea Salt, too.
7. Fresh Fruit
Guests always appreciate fresh fruit—so go seasonal and local, if you can. Purchase in bulk from a local purveyor and ask them to sort through their best bundles for your gift bags to avoid multiple trips to the store. Also, stick with apples and citrus as they will stand up in the bags for several days where bananas and stone fruits can get mushy and messy. For a bit of fun, you can even get monogrammed fruit! New Hampshire-based company Fun to Eat Fruit will print a personalized design on your apples — washed and ready to eat!
9. Hangover Relief
Yes, it’s a wedding and there will be hangovers. Pain relief tablets and solutions are always appreciated! Pop in a couple of Advil packets and a tin of Altoids into a cute “hangover kit” mini-satchel ($100 for 100; etsy.com) for the morning after.
10. Do Not Disturb
Give your guests the gift of sleeping in after all the fun! Work with your stationer— or— get crafty with your design and printing skills by creating personalized “Do Not Disturb” door hanger signs for your guests. They’ll appreciate the extra stay-in-your room service and have a token to take home to remember all of the fun!