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$5k Wedding Wednesday: How to Make Hotel Bags for Out of Town Guests On A Budget


There’s a growing trend lately. Maybe it’s because of the influence of Pinterest, but lots of brides are now putting together goodie bags for their out of town guests. “Hotel bags” or “welcome bags” as they are known (usually given out at the hotel either by the concierge or delivered to each guest room) can carry a wide variety of items depending on your theme, budget and location. But don’t fret-there’s virtually no wrong answers!

A quick search on Pinterest reveals hundreds of ideas for Hotel Bags. Here’s a few examples:




You’ll notice from these photos, as well as ones you have seen elsewhere, that these bags can be completely customized. They can be very formal, or very casual. Kitschy or elegant. Inexpensive or grand.

Since of course the $5k Wedding Wednesday is all about budget, I’m going to stick with the simple, budget friendly ideas. You’ll want to pick a variety of useful items that are inexpensive without looking “cheap”.  I suggest choosing at least one item from the following five categories: Food, Drink, Information, Useful and Fun.

To get the items for your bag, start by selecting the size bag you want to use. That way you will have a starting point when choosing the contents: You know that what you put in must fit in the bag you selected. You can always use decorative filler like tissue or shredded paper to take up some of the empty space if needed.

Then choose your items. You can pick these items based on the theme of your wedding (Beach, Old Hollywood, Country, etc), based on the location (Boston, NYC, etc) or simply just items you and your fiance enjoy (favorite snacks, etc).


To get you started here’s some ideas for each category: 


Cellophane wrapped cookies or baked goods
Snack Mix
Trail Mix
Local treats
Rice Krispie Bars
Unpopped Microwave Popcorn bags (if hotel has microwave!)
Beef Jerky
Candy or local treats (ie: saltwater taffy)


Tea bags
Hot Cocoa (best for fall or winter weddings)
Individual powdered drink mix
Bottled Water
Mini liquor bottles
bottle of your favorite wine (bonus if it’s local)
Individual Coffee servings (perhaps a favorite or local blend)
Juice boxes (for the kids)


Maps of events
Wedding weekend itinerary (listing of date, time and location for all the events)
Local tourism guide (you can often request these for free)
List of local hot spots
Listing of local events (non-wedding related such as carnivals, or fairs)
List of favorite local restaurants
Contact numbers for parents of the bride and groom, etc.


Individual Bars of soap
Travel size toiletries (shampoo, lotion, etc)
Small bottle of pain reliever
Travel sewing kit (dollar store)
Toothbrush/toothpaste (sometimes people forget the basics!)
travel size hairspray
Hand Sanitizer
lint roller
Flip Flops (for the reception, or the hotel pool)


Silly party favors (noisemaker, hat, moustache)
Disposable camera
Scavenger Hunt (featuring local interests)
List of local trivia/fun facts
Icebreaker activities (to help the guests meet/get to know each other)

Remember, you can use coupons to help you get the items for your bags. Don’t feel like you have to go out and buy all your items at once. Pick up a few things here and there as you see them and help spread out the cost.

Also important: Make sure you discuss your wishes explicitly with the hotel staff to ensure you are on the same page. Some hotels will hand out your bags at check-in for free, some charge a fee to deliver them directly to each guests room. Make sure they are clear on what you want, and any cost associated. Also follow up with guests after they check in to make sure they received their bags-I have heard stories of hotel staff completely forgetting about the bags!

When you’re ready to buy your bags, check out a few places like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. You can also get deals online from stores like Bags & Bows (use the banner below to get an additional 15% off your order!)

No matter what you decide to put in your bags, your guests will appreciate the gesture and help them feel a little more at home for your special day. It’s a small way to say THANK YOU for the effort and cost of making the trip to see you get married!

What other items would you put in your wedding hotel bags?



eve holder

Monday 12th of August 2013

Great advice. I have lots of out of towners coming in for my sons wedding and i really never thought of any of these ideas. help me learn to be a coupon lady. i am disabled and me medocations run over 3500.00 per month just to stay alive. but food is my next biggest worry. Help


Friday 28th of June 2013

I created bags for my daughter's wedding. I contacted the chamber of commerce. They gave me many pamphlets of things to do in the area. They also added discounts. Their bags were perfect. I added a large label on the blank side thanking the guests for coming. I also added labels to water bottles and added snacks from the area. Lastly the restaurant near the hotel gave us 40 gift cards to their restaurant that didn't cost a thing. Just talk to the manager explaining the positive for them. If you plan any outside activities, call the business and they are thrilled to get a large party. Discounts all around.

An Exercise In Frugality

Saturday 29th of June 2013

Wow, great advice Pam! Doesn't hurt to ask around. And you know me, I love a good discount ;) Thanks for the tips!