Never underestimate the power of a welcome basket to excite guests, show your appreciation for their attendance and prepare them for the fun ahead. We gathered some of our favorite products that fit any locale, then turned to four industry experts to get their advice on what works in some popular destinations.
What factors should couples keep in mind when choosing items for their welcome bags?
To keep things simple, include items that are nonperishable and don’t need to be refrigerated; keeping things cold can be tricky in a hotel room. Also consider the weight of the items and avoid things that are too bulky – you don’t want guests to stress about having to find room in their suitcases to bring everything back home. Traditional wicker baskets are nice but hard to pack.
– Kristine Fong, director of romance at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Lahaina, Hawaii
How can couples save on their welcome baskets? How can they splurge?
You can still welcome your guests without breaking the bank. It can be as simple as wrapping a rum cake and adding a welcome letter. Or instead of creating a full welcome bag, just wrap a few items in a cellophane bag and tie it with raffia. On the other end of the spectrum, Caribbean-bound couples can splurge with extravagant beach bags filled with plush towels, caps, beach reads, T-shirts and toys. If you’re springing for an excursion like a snorkeling trip, include their “ticket to board” in the bag, along with some snorkel gear, fish food and an underwater disposable camera. Likewise, if the girls are having a spa day, include some personalized slippers, a robe and lavender oil along with the spa schedule.
– Danielle Cococcia, Octopus Events, Cayman Islands
What do you recommend for the container?
We like to use bags that the guests can reuse during their stay and afterward, instead of a decorative basket that will most likely get left behind. It’s also fun if the bag has some local flair, like a colorful woven shopping bag for an event in Mexico or a monogrammed canvas beach bag for a beach wedding. A cost-effective option that always looks great is a simple paper gift bag filled with brightly colored tissue paper to match your wedding theme.
– Alison Hotchkiss, Alison Events, San Francisco, California