Welcome Bag Series: #2 Best Things to Put in your Island Welcome Bag

Now that you read through our “Welcome Bags or No” post and decided to make Welcome Bags for your guests, let’s talk what to put in them. Let’s go through this step-by-step:

  1. Things to think of
  2. What Kind of “bag”
  3. What to include

Things to Think of

  1. How much do you have to spend – Including the bag, contents and the delivery. You could spend as little as $7 each or as much as $100 each or more. It would be a good idea to decide your budget before making your plan so you don’t go crazy out of control.
  2. How many bags will you make – It is easier to provide one bag per couple/family rather than one per person. This way you can personalize the contents and keep the amount of bags lower.
  3. Keep it simple – Keep it to a handful of items. You don’t have to fill it to the top with things, just a few meaningful/useful items is better. Quality rather than quantity is best.
  4. Make sure your items are travel friendly – Your guests will probably be flying home if having a destination wedding, so make sure your liquids are less than 3 oz, won’t get taken away buy TSA and Airport security and nothing is bulky to pack.
  5. What items you want to bring from home vs buy local to the place you are getting married. Obviously you can buy bottled water once you arrive to your destination but bringing custom labels for those waters is a fun idea that shows your guests that you put thought into it. Some destinations do not have trial sized items as easy as you can find them in the states, so you might want to bring those with you.
  6. Not everyone needs to get the same bag. Guests that you know don’t drink liquor can get a bottle of Mexican Coke instead to tequila or two coffee cups instead of shot glasses. Also, you might not want to give your Aunt Betty with the gluten allergy those local cookies.
  7. Don’t forget the kids – if you have kids coming, make sure to add things for them such as an activity packet, local toys or added snacks. Family bags can also be bigger sized than the bags for couples or individuals.
  8. Will your wedding party or parents have extra things in them – like a more complete Schedule of Events for the wedding day or special gifts? You might want to think about this when making your “bag plan”.
  9. Make a “Bag Plan” what includes a list of who gets bags, notes about each bag, what goes into each bag, When those bag owners arrive to the destination and which hotel they will be in (this will be helpful when you make your tags). I recommend to make this with a spreadsheet so you can sort by guest arrival date or hotel. With this plan you will know exactly how many bottles of water, etc you will need and where you will buy them.
  10. Who will fill them with you – recruit your wedding party to help you shop locally and fill your bags once you arrive to your destination. You will need help putting them together, so pop open some champagne, crank the tunes and make it a fun process.
  11. We talk about how to deliver your bags here – Tips on How to Deliver your Welcome Bags

What Kind of Bag

There are so many different options here depending on budget and preference.  You could:

  1. Order custom bags (like these). Things to keep in mind: Make sure people will want to reuse your bag in their everyday life. The most popular is your wedding logo/theme (without names) with the location city and date of your wedding. Reusable shopping bags, canvas bags and beach bags are popular.
  2. Buy bags locally from your destination (like these). This would lessen what you need to pack in your suitcase however, if you don’t preorder it might cost more than you expected or you might not get enough of the same size/style for everyone. Mix and matching is a good idea here as well as having a good idea where you will be buying your bags. It is best if you can pre-order them to be delivered to you when you arrive.
  3. Buy paper bags from your local paper store and bring them (like these). To personalize them, you can either print stickers to put on them or buy a custom made stamp to stamp them. This is the most cost effective option. You can also buy collapsed gift boxes as well (like these). This is just a different look but travels well.
  4. Other options include a wet bag or a collapsible cooler. (links)

What to Put in your Welcome Bags

The sky is the limit here but a few well thought out items are best. Here are our favorites:

Bring it from Home –

  • Your Welcome Letter & Schedule of Events/map (Link to Welcome Letter post)
  • Recovery Kit (AKA Hangover Kit) – You can buy pre-filled bags (like this one) on Etsy or you can build it yourself:
    • Bag (like this one)
    • Electrolyte powder (Liquid IV amazon)
    • Tylenol travel size (amazon link)
    • Alka-Selzer travel size (amazon link)
    • Pepto travel size (amazon link)
    • Mints travel size (amazon link)
    • Vit C or B-12 travel size (amazon link)
    • Hangover pill (Amazon link)
    • Mini-Energy like 5 Hour Energy (Amazon link)
  • Travel Size Things for the location: (Amazon link for all)
    • Sunscreen
    • Aloe Vera
    • Stain Remover/Tide pen
    • Purell gel
    • Travel wipe/wet wipes
    • Bug spray
    • Lip balm
    • Spanish Phrases for Dummies mini-booklet
  • Inflatable Pool Toys – beach balls, float tubes, rafts – these are easy to pack from home and generally low cost (Amazon link)
  • Favorite items from home – these are items that are special to you as a couple. Maybe you love to create your own sugar shower scrub or maybe you want to give individually wrapped cookies from your favorite bakery.
  • Go Green – Reusable straws (Amazon), personalized reusable cups (etsy link)
  • Custom Can Coozies – (Totally Promotional? link and photos)
  • Kids things – Activity packets with crayons, legos, beach toys, smaller inflatable toys (links)
  • Bag Label – (See Bag Delivery Post) You will want to bring a tag with your guests names, date of arrival and hotel to put on each bag so you know which bag goes to whom.

Buy it Local –

  • Bottled water (you can buy at your destination) – possibly with a custom label or a bag of electrolyte powder rubber banded to it (link to rubber band – & photo)
  • Local post card (pic)
  • Local snacks – bought locally: spicy nuts, candies, snack bars, chips, trail mix (photo of examples of things that can be bought on Isla)
  • Local liquor – mini bottle of tequila, pox (mayan liquor), xtambentun, flavored tequila, Isla Beer, (photo of examples of things that can be bought on Isla)
  • Local flavor – vanilla, mexican coffee beans, mayan honey, chocolate, hot sauce, juice/soda (Mexican coke), (photo of examples of things that can be bought on Isla)
  • Local Gifts – Shot glasses, coffee cups, cozies, magnet, (photo of examples of things that can be bought on Isla)

More honorable mentions:

  • Pashmina
  • Beach Sheet
  • Personalized Towel
  • Travel bag – Shampoo/conditioner, soap, deodorant, razor, q-tips, tissues
  • Luggage tags
  • Custom Do Not Disturb door hanger
  • Foldable fan
  • Pack of gum
  • Disposable camera
  • Sewing Kit
  • Beach games, like a frisbee, paddleball, water football, hackie sac
  • Hydrating face mask kit
  • Instant cold compress
  • Handmade Soap
  • Travel candle & matches
  • Wrinkle release spray

Now that you have packed your bags, check out our Tips on How to Deliver your Welcome Bags

(Pull out the “Top things to put in a welcome bag for a beach wedding” and post it separately pointing back to the other blogs).