The Art of Gifting | What Makes a Perfect Wedding Guest Welcome Gift?
Whether you're planning a destination wedding in a faraway land, or inviting your friends and loved ones to travel to your hometown to celebrate, we always recommend that you give your traveling guests a welcome gift. Your gift can be extravagant, and meant to create a real "wow!" moment when they check into the hotel, or it can be simple and sweet. The reason it's important to do something, no matter how great or small, is that it allows you to shape their overall experience. At the end of a long travel day, your guests don't just check into a hotel... they're welcomed with love, by you! That simple welcome gesture can truly make a world of difference.
So let's tackle the nuts and bolts of wedding guest welcome gifting, shall we?
First things first... basket, bag, or box?
Above all, consider the delivery method! Will the gifts be placed in your guests' hotel rooms prior to their arrival? If so, a basket is a beautiful choice. Ask for it to be placed at the end of the bed, or on the corner of a desk so that it is featured prominently and your guest sees it immediately upon entering the room. A gift bag can also be wonderful! It's worth noting that you will likely need to pay for this extra service. The hotel will need to plan for additional labor in order to hand-deliver these gifts to guest rooms in between the time the previous guests check out so that the rooms can be serviced/cleaned, and your guests arrive. Don't forget to account for this in your budget and establish the terms and conditions with the host hotel(s) in advance.
If the gifts need to be distributed upon check-in by a hotel desk attendant, we advise you to consider boxes. Unlike a basket, which cannot be stacked, a box is packaged perfectly to contain all of the gift items and can be easily stacked and stored in the hotel's "back of the house" space. It's so vital that consider the storage conundrum. Many hotels, even five-star luxury properties, don't have tons of space to store gift items near their front desk. It's always a risk that your gifts will need to be stored on another floor, or in a closet, and that they will be stacked, jostled, and handled numerous times before they're placed in the hands of your guests. This is the reason that we create custom gift boxes for our clients so frequently... because we want to be sure that the presentation is the exact same for a guest when he or she opens the box as it was when we packaged it in the first place. Basket and bags also carry the risk that contents may be spilled and that's just not a risk worth taking.
The Perfect Recipe
Over the years, we're noticed some consistencies in guest preferences that have helped us craft the perfect recipe. It's so simple. Your guests will most love a gift that includes the following: (1) water bottles, (2) something savory, (3) something sweet, and (4) information. Seriously, that's it. Anything else is just a bonus and it may or may not be utilized or enjoyed.
Water bottles are appreciated by everyone. Your guests have been traveling and the last thing they want to do is pay $5.00 for the bottle of water sitting on the dresser in their hotel room. Treat them to some simple hydration and they'll be so grateful.
Everyone loves a snack as well. Savory snacks might include pretzels, cheese straws (a southern favorite, it's a hit every single time!), or popcorn. Sweet treats could include custom baked goodies, cookies, candies, or French macarons... you get the picture. This is a fun chance to get creative. Feature the bride and groom's favorite snacks, or stick to local delicacies that will allow your guests to immerse themselves in the local culture (whether it's that of your hometown, or a faraway wedding destination).
Information is crucial! We often create extremely detailed booklets that include a personalized message from the couple, a full weekend itinerary, a transportation agenda, suggestions of local eats and attractions, and a map.
Beware of DIY Ambition
I don't want to discourage those of you who may be planning to tackle gifts as a DIY project. This can be a fun task for you to complete with friends and family! I simply encourage you to be realistic in planning ahead. You will need a lot of space to spread out and assemble these gifts. You will also need to likely be doing this the week of your wedding if any of your edibles need to be freshly packaged. Also, you won't really be able to deliver these to hotels until the date your guest arrivals begin. Often that means Thursday or Friday of your wedding week. This can add an awful lot of pressure during a very busy time. Don't let a fun project become a stressful burden. If you need help, it's okay to outsource and hiring a professional or commission the creation of a custom gift. Your guests won't think any less of you and they'll be so grateful for your hospitality!