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A Warm Welcome: Gift Bags for Guests

Nothing says “Thanks for coming” like a bag filled with hometown goodies and helpful items for out-of-town guests.
updated 9/4/19

Whether they came from 10 miles away or a few states, your wedding guests often travel to make it to your big day. Between the wedding prep and festivities, it can be difficult to show them how much you appreciate their journey. What better way to thank them for going that “extra mile” than with a welcome bag full of wedding weekend necessities?

“Nearly all couples we work with are providing welcome bags for their hotel guests,” says Rachelle Mazumdar, director of weddings and events at Style-Architects. “It’s a wonderful way to welcome guests to the Twin Cities and to thank them for making the trip.”

Starting the Party Off Right

Welcome bags can serve as a considerate gift to jet-lagged guests. A safe rule is to factor one bag per hotel room. Often there is a reservation deadline two weeks prior to the wedding date. At that point, the hotel will be able to provide you with an estimate of how many rooms your guests have booked.

When deciding how best to distribute the welcome bags, make sure to contact the hotel for advice. “There is likely a charge for [the hotel] to distribute these to guests, whether to the rooms or handed out at check-in,” says Mazumdar. “Be sure to get [the bags] to the hotel the day before any guests are scheduled to arrive.”

Treats and Necessities

Welcome bags can be tailored to fit your wedding theme and are a nice surprise for guests when they’re checking in. When deciding on what items to include, consider the three Cs: comfort, customized and considerate.

Your guests may have just stepped off a long flight or finished a stressful workweek. What’s more comforting than a tasty snack and drink? Pair a salty snack, such as popcorn, with a sweet treat to satisfy all cravings.

There are also many ways to express your wedding theme with beverages. “It’s always fun to incorporate the branding of the wedding with the welcome bags,” says Mazumdar. “If you have a monogram or motif, create custom water bottle or wine labels.” Minnesota is home to many excellent breweries, so adding a local beverage is a nice taste of home.

Another simple way to customize welcome bags is by providing little favors the guests can keep once the weekend is over. Ideally, they should be small items that won’t be difficult for the guest to tote home. Yumzar, an online farmers market, offers sample-size jars of locally made jam and honey that make the perfect favor. Personal care items are also a practical pick.

Tie It All Together

It’s important to remember that your guests may also be in an unfamiliar city. Include a customized itinerary that provides a ceremony/reception timeline, as well as some of the activities you enjoy in the area that they can explore during their downtime. “We suggest providing guests with a map showing the location of the hotel as well as the location of local coffee houses, shopping, parks and restaurants,” says Mazumdar.

Have a stationery company design paper elements that incorporate your wedding colors and theme. Cute gift tags or customized “do not disturb” door hangers are fun additions to the mix. Most importantly, don’t forget to include a welcome note. With all the hustle and bustle, you may find it impossible to have a lengthy conversation with each one of your guests. Including a thoughtful note adds a personal touch and lets them know how much you appreciate their presence.

1. Reusable totes, like this one, are easy for guests to take home, and serve as a fun reminder of the big day. We favor ones that show off our home-state pride. State Love Tote ($10) from Vital Industries.

2. Hop Dish and Farm Girl are just a few of the creative Minnesota-themed names Lift Bridge Brewery has given their locally brewed beer. Six-pack (bottles, $9.49), available statewide at liquor stores.

3. What says celebration more than champagne? Toss a mini bottle of bubbly in your gift bag so guests can continue the revelry. Chandon Brut Classic ($7), available statewide at liquor stores.

4. Head to your grocery store or farmers’ market to pick up locally made goodies. Or go visit Yumzar, a Minnesota company that brings the farmers’ market to your front door. Bare Honey raw honey ($3.49), Duluth Preserving Co. jams ($4.49), Vine Appétit wine jellies ($2.99).

5. Minnesota’s own B.T. McElrath’s Salty Dog chocolate has won awards for its perfect combination of sweet and salty. Chocolate bar ($6), chocolate bites ($17.50/28-piece pack), available statewide at grocery stores or

6. Amp up your guests’ hotel shower game. This eco-conscious bar of soap does triple-duty, good for a shampoo, shower and shave. Shhh bar (6 oz. bar, $17; 1.5 oz. bar, $5),

7. Angie’s Boomchickapop Popcorn is a delicious, natural treat made right here in Minnesota—perfect for post-reception snacking. $7.74/six-count snack pack, available statewide at grocery stores or

8. Offer your guests a quick pick-me-up for the morning after a long night of partying. Caribou Coffee gift card.

9. A welcome note and list of wedding activities will be a nice addition. Work with your stationer to create pieces that match your wedding theme. Bag tag, note card, activity card by Spark Letterpress.

Wedding Gift Bags for Guests Minnesota

Minnesota Bride Planning Checklist!

Brides, grooms, photographers: Get a wedding published in Minnesota Bride magazine! We are looking for fabulous, creative and beautiful weddings that took place in Minnesota. We want to feature couples who have a great story about their engagement, proposal and/or wedding.

UPCOMING DEADLINE: February 5, 2021 (Weddings occurring between August 1, 2020 - January 31, 2021)

Please include as many of the following elements as possible: the couple, flowers, tabletop decor, interesting or innovative signs, favors, seating assignment table, decorative elements, food close-ups, the cake, invitation suite, the church, a view of the entire reception or ceremony scene, bridesmaids or groomsmen with the bride or groom.

  • You must include the following information about each couple: their first and last names, phone number AND email address, date they were married, location of reception site/ceremony.
  • Do not send images that will run in your ad.
  • Do not send the same images you are also sending to other local bridal publications.
  • Do not send out-of-season images, old images or images that have already been published.
  • Do not send all of the photography from the wedding. Edit to your best shots (about 60 per wedding).


We are now only accepting submissions through our online submission site.
Online submission instructions:
  • Click here to find a registration form. Fill out the information and click "create new account."
  • An email will be sent to you allowing you to log into our submission site and set up a password.
  • You are now logged into the site. Whenever you're logged in, you'll see a small camera icon at the top right of the page. Click that icon at any time to go to your profile page, where you'll have the opportunity to submit photos and view any images you have previously submitted.
  • Site limitations: The size can only handle 30MB per upload. You can upload your submission in batches if needed. Batches of 10-15 images might be necessary for larger images. File size suggestion: 1440 pixels x 960 pixels at 300 dpi is about a 1 MB jpeg file.
  • Save: Please click save after you have completed each submission.
  • Proof: Please check that all your photos have uploaded.
  • To log-in again at any time, simply go to
By May 15 if we are publishing one of your weddings. Please email Janet McLaughlin ( if you have not heard from us and would like to submit your weddings to another publication.
We also accept submissions for our website. Email Minnesota Bride Digital Editor Laura Crosswith a link to images as well as basic information about the wedding—date, location, couple's names and bride's contact information.

By submitting these forms, we assume you have received proper releases from any individuals and locations features in the photos. Photos you submit may be featured in the print version of the magazine, on our web site or both and will be credited with the name of your photography business.
By submitting photography or artwork, Tiger Oak Media, Inc is guaranteed that:
a) The use of art in connection with the magazine title will not infringe or violate the rights of any other person or entity, including without limitation, any copyright, trademark or service markright, or violate any applicable law. b) The supplier of the art/photography hereby agrees he/she will obtained adequate and proper releases, permissions, licenses or other authorizations from all persons and entities who or which provide services, materials or rights with respect to the work at the time of submission of final artwork who would claim any interest or right, direct or indirect. Public figures or celebrities are exempt from signing a release.

Contact Minnesota Bride editor Megan White.

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