You know we love giving you tips on how to make your guests feel more comfortable and welcome during your big day. Especially if you know you will not have time to greet many out of town guests before your big day, having welcome gift bags at the hotel is sure to put a smile on their face.



What is a hotel welcome bag?


A hotel welcome bag is a bag/gift filled with the items to make your guests’ expórtenles as comfortable and memorable as possible. It is a perfect way to welcome your guests to the area and thank them for attending your big day. They are most often given at destination weddings after someone has arranged flights and accommodations to attend your wedding. But are becoming very popular especially if you have a lot of out of town guests. Of course, you don’t have to make welcome bags for your guests, but it will definitely feel more welcome. If you do decide to give welcome bags, make sure to include everyone.


What to put in your bag?


There are tons of options, and no limits as to what you can include in your welcome bags. You can go as big or small as you want. We have seen so many great ideas, and think it’s best to include practical items and fun favors.



Welcome/Thank You Note

What is a welcome bag without a personal note?

Here, you can thank your friends and family for attending, and include any information you want or need them to know. Handwritten notes are definitely more personal, but printed notes are just as meaningful. Don’t forget to include your wedding hashtag or any other social media shout outs you wish to include.


Itinerary

An itinerary is one of the most important things you can provide your guests with. Where to go and when to be there can be confusing for an out of town guest. Keep your guests in the loop with a wedding weekend timeline. From the welcome party to the post/wedding brunch, at the very least provide your guests with the time and location of all your important events. An itinerary is also helpful if you plan on providing a shuttle or alternative form of transportation for your guests to and from your event.


Restaurants/Local Attractions

If you expect guests to have a lot of down time, it could be useful to recommend restaurants and local attractions. Maybe your guests are using this time for a mini vacation. Especially if you are having a local wedding, who knows your own town better than you? Guests will absolutely love your personal recommendations. Whether you go to dinner at the same spot every Friday night, or you absolutely love donuts from a cute local shop, share those recommendations with your guests. This information could be included at the bottom or back of your thank you/welcome note or itinerary.


Snacks

Everyone loves snacks, especially after a long day of wedding festivities. A fun way to introduce your guests to the city or state is with local snacks. Guests may not have heard of or tasted before some of the snacks local to your area. For example, in Kentucky we have seen people include Kentucky Hot Mix and Bourbon balls; in Tennessee we have seen people include moon pies and moonshine. We have also seen couples do a "his favorite" and "her favorite", which is a really sweet (no pun intended) way to introduce your guests to you all as a couple. You can get very creative with snacks. We always encourage including something sweet and something salty.


Something to Drink

Dropping a couple bottles of water into the welcome bag is such a nice touch. After a long day of travel all your guest wants to do is get to their destination and get comfortable. I am sure you can all relate to being parched and exhausted after travel. Your guests will save a few dollars and be very grateful. While water is always a necessity, you can add other drinks as well. We have seen people include small 1 shot liquors, sodas, Gatorade, etc. A Paducah specific idea could be to include a can of Purple Toad Black and Bruised wine, a crowd favorite, and a great way to introduce your guests to everyone’s favorite winery.


Hangover Helpers

A crowd favorite in wedding packages are hangover cures. After a long night of celebration, some hangover essentials could definitely be needed and appreciated. Things like pain medicine, liquid IV, tums, alka seltzer, etc are all great options.


Seasonal Essentials

Help your guests brave the elements during your day. During the winter including chapstick or lip balm could be a great addition. If you are having an outdoor ceremony or reception, bug spray and sunscreen are great ideas too.


Paducah & Kentucky Specific Welcome Bag/Gift Ideas


Photos via Facebook - Dough & Co; The Farmhouse of Paducah; Cookie Laboratory

  • Purple Toad Wine

  • Bourbon balls

  • Kentucky Hot Mix

  • Cookies/desserts from a local bakery (Like Artisan Kitchen, Kirchoff’s, Dough & Co, Cookie Laboratory, etc)

  • Soaps, Lotions, Candles from The Farmhouse Coffee and Gift Shop


Our Favorite Examples


Photos via marthastewart.com

1. Silvie Gill Photography; 2. Laura Ford Photography; 3. The Grovers Photography; 4. Elizabeth Messina Photography; 5. Sarah Corona Photography; 6. KT Merry


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Wedding Invitation Flat Lay with Bright Flowers
Photo Courtesy of Krysta Joy Photography

The guest list can sometimes be one of the biggest stressors during your planning process. Whether you are just creating your guest list or giving it that third or fourth pass trying to figure out how to narrow it down. To help you navigate through these tough moments, we are sharing our best tips. At the end of the day, this celebration is about you and your partner, and who you all want by your side on your big day.



Make your guest list before choosing a venue


Making a quick rough draft of your guest list can come in handy while you are searching for a venue.Typically one of the first questions a venue manager will ask is what your expected guest count is, and it’s always good to have an idea. This list will give you a starting point on how many guests you want to attend. Nothing could be worse than falling in love with a venue, and realizing it can only accommodate 100 max, and you have 175 non-negotiable guests on your list. This list is not set in stone, and adjustments can be made as you go through the planning process.


Determine your budget


Not only does your guest count matter when selecting your venue, but it is also the biggest factor when trying to stretch your budget. The number of guests you host will have a direct impact on your budget. More guests means more tables, more centerpieces, more food, more everything. It’s so important to keep that in mind when you are creating your list.



Decide to divide


If your parents are making a contribution to your big day, they may assume this investment includes a say in the invite list. Determine the amount of guests to give each family. Maybe the couple selects 50% of the guest list and each set of parents get 25%. It’s up to you to divide up the list as you choose. Make sure to make it clear from the very beginning, and include everyone in the conversation.


Break it down


We suggest dividing your list into two or even three sections. Start with those you can’t imagine celebrating the day without. This is your first list, and the people who will for sure be included on your guest list. Then take those social, business, and distant connections that would be fun if they were there, but you don’t share the strongest significant bond, and fill in as your budget/venue allows.


Decide where to cut off family invites


As much as you want to invite every single member of your family, there may just not be enough room. As a general rule, if you spend holidays with these family members, you will want to invite them to your wedding. Talk with your parents to see exactly how many extended family members will be invited and decide to stick with a rule. Be consistent with the guests you’re inviting. If you invite one aunt, you should invite the others too. Maybe hold off on those great-aunts and more distant cousins, unless you’re close with them. When in doubt, sometimes it’s better to invite someone than cause a rift in the family.


Coworkers: To invite or not to invite


Inviting coworkers is completely up to you. You don’t have to invite the entire office. Close work friends are always an exception to this rule. If you work on a small team, it is often nice to invite your boss, but not required. A few questions you can ask yourself is:

  1. Do I work with this person on a daily basis?

  2. Do I see this person outside of work?

  3. Would it be awkward if I didn’t invite this person?


Guests you know won’t make it


We are often asked if you should invite someone you know will probably not attend. If it would mean a lot to you if they were there or if it would mean a lot for them to receive an invitation (for example, a long distance grandparent). Send it. If you plan on live streaming your wedding, you could include an insert with the QR code or link to your stream and instructions on how to view.



Pick a plus one strategy


Picking a plus one strategy can be tricky. You want to be consistent with each guest. Let’s start with who should get a plus one. If your guest is married or in a long term relationship, you should allow a plus one. While for a single guest it is always nice to extend a plus one, but never mandatory. If the guest is a member of your bridal party and is not as familiar with others in your party or at your wedding it can make them feel more comfortable. Once you decide on your strategy, stick to it. Don’t break the rules for one but not for others. This can cause hurt feelings.




Decide on children


Some people have families with a lot of kids, while others don’t. It is definitely okay, and becoming more popular in recent years to want an adult only wedding. However, you must be careful with your wording so you don't hurt feelings. Once you have decided, be consistent with each guest. For example, maybe you’d like to invite nieces, nephews, and godchildren only, but not your second cousin’s kids. Make sure you are reflecting that across all cousins and have notified them well ahead of time so they can arrange child care.


A few ways to politely word this would be on your RSVP card and your wedding website. In the RSVP card, consider adding the line “we have saved ___ seats for you” rather than leaving it to them. On your website you could use “We love your children, and thought you could use the night off! Adults only please & thank you” or “With respect, we have decided to have our wedding be an adult only occasion. We hope this advance notice means you are still able to share our big day“.



Stick with the numbers


Every bride can tell you guest lists have a way of fluctuating on their own. Once you’ve reached your final number of guests you can invite, don’t change the list unless it’s to remove people. Make sure everyone knows the guest list has been finalized and no one else can be added. If you are receiving a lot of regrets it can be safe to add a few here and there, but you don't want to go too far above your expected guest count. We recommend leaving a few extra seats for any unexpected guests who are bound to show up.





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Have you ever wondered what you should include in your day-of emergency kit? We have you covered! Find out what we recommend to go in your emergency kit. We even provided you with a packing list you can save on Pinterest or print out.


Photo courtesy of Morgan Newsom Photography



With wedding season right around the corner, we wanted to talk about something super important that is sometimes overlooked: a day-of emergency kit. Now, we know you don’t want to expect emergencies, but you never know when something could happen. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and trust us we have seen it all.


Picture this, it’s 5 minutes before your wedding ceremony. Everyone is lined up and you all are just about to walk down the aisle. You hear a commotion in front of you in line. The strap on a bridesmaid’s dress has just snapped, 3 minutes before the ceremony doors open. While this situation may not be an ideal, you can quickly handle it with an emergency kit.


What is a day-of emergency kit?


It’s exactly what you think: a collection of toiletries and household items to fix any emergency that could happen on your big day. Not only will this emergency kit help you fix small issues, but it will also give you peace of mind to know you’re prepared for anything. Whether it’s a stomachache, a hairdo catastrophe, or the above mentioned broken dress strap — all can be fixed with the contents of your kit, and it can even prevent your bridal party from having to go out to pick up forgotten items. We recommend having both a bridal emergency kit and one for the groom as well.


What should I pack?


Choosing what to put in your wedding day-of emergency kit can seem overwhelming. There’s no way to predict any emergency on your big day, and no two emergency kits will look exactly the same. Figuring out what to put in your kit is a personal choice, and really dependent upon your day. We came up with a list of essentials for your kit to get you started.

Bride Emergency Kit:

  • Nail polish that matches your mani/pedi

  • Lipstick/lipgloss/chapstick

  • Make up for touch-ups

  • Oil blotting sheets

  • Tweezers

  • Bobby Pins/Hair Ties

  • Brush/Comb

  • Nail File

  • Sole inserts for your shoes (thank us later)

  • Extra earring backs and jewelry

  • Lint Roller

  • Sewing Kit

  • Scissors

  • Tide pen/Shout Wipes

  • Fashion Tape

  • Hairspray

  • Lotion

  • Deodorant

  • Breath mints

  • Travel toothbrush and toothpaste

  • Tissues

  • Razor

  • Advil/Tums/necessary medication

  • Bandaids

  • Spare contacts/Solution

  • Perfume

  • Phone charger

Groom Emergency Kit

  • Chapstick

  • Deodorant

  • Travel toothbrush and toothpaste

  • Advil/Tums/necessary medication

  • Bandaids

  • Spare contacts/solution

  • Cologne

  • Hand cream

  • Shaving kit

  • Sewing kit

  • Tide pen/Shout wipes

  • Extra Cuff Links

  • Extra pair of socks

  • Shoe shine towelettes

  • Lint roller

  • Phone charger


When should you start prepping?


We recommend you start working on this in the month leading up to your wedding. It can sometimes take a while to get everything together, but you certainly don't want to throw it together the night before. Sometimes couples will delegate this task to the maid of honor and/or best man.



Looking for a packing list? Pin this one to print later.







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