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A more authentic OOT bag

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#1 bashigyal

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    Posted 04 December 2008 - 04:06 AM

    Maybe it's just me but I'm thinking it's not too exciting to create an OOT bag with the "usual" beach-themed contents (ie: sunscreen, flip flops, advil, bottled water, etc.) My guests from the states are coming to Jamaica and some of them have never been before...so I want to create something more authentically Jamaican. Like, how about a small bottle of Appleton rum, a small tortuga rum cake, some blue mountain coffee and travel mug, a bag of Chippies, maybe a package of tamarind balls and coconut drops... there are soooo many things.

    So I'm wondering how come everyone sticks to the usual beachy items that most guests bring with them from home anyway? For those who have given these traditional OOT bags, what items were your guests most appreciative of? While I'm going the more authentic Jamaican treats route, I can throw in a few staples but want to know which are the ones guests really think are the most useful. Feedback appreciated!

    #2 ~Debra~

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      Posted 04 December 2008 - 04:15 AM

      I would really love to include some things from Jamaica in my OOT bags but how do I find them? I've searched online trying to find some things and the only thing I found were the minature rum bottles. Can you suggest any websites?

      And I think most people stick with the traditional OOT bag stuff, like I am including sunscreen in ours, is because those are the things you think the guests will use. You figure, they're going to a beach so they should use this stuff, ya know.

      #3 MarieSam

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        Posted 04 December 2008 - 05:34 AM

        I think giving guests OOT bags with items culturally tied to your area are a great idea!! I guess what makes it tough is that for some of those items you would have to wait till you arrived at your location, and from what I've been told, there's already so much running around to do. That would just be another thing to add to the list. But if you've got no time constraints, then purchasing some locals items would be fantastic, or perhaps your WC can get them for you ahead of time??

        As far as including items that are "the norm", I think an OOT bag is also perceived as a care package filled with items to help your guests enjoy their stay a little more. Things that they perhaps wouldn't have necessarily thought of bringing with them.

        Including a little bit of both is a happy medium ~ in the end, it all just depends on your preference

        #4 starchild



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          Posted 04 December 2008 - 06:12 AM

          I agree that many OOT bag items are things people bring anyway or things that are free in hotel rooms, and that local flavor is way better. I also agree with MarieSam that it would require waiting until you get in town to get the local items and she's right, time flies and things are hectic enough once you get there.

          Say you have 50 guests...think of getting in town, going shopping, and lugging back 50 bottles of rum, 50 cakes, 50 bags of coffee, 50 mugs, etc. It's not impossible but it makes for a lot of work when you could be visiting with your guests or relaxing before the wedding.

          In ours we included things like dominoes, cards, waterproof neck safes, etc. that people enjoyed and didn't bring with them. A mix of fun and local is great if you can work it out.

          #5 ErinB


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            Posted 04 December 2008 - 10:31 AM

            While a lot of the OOT bags have things in them that people should bring, they don't necessarily.

            Like MarieSam mentioned, they are little care packages, anticipating guest needs. No everyone thinks to bring a first aid kit, or they lose thier lip balm, a travel candle, underwater camera, etc. Several of my guests forgot their beach bags and were thrilled to get one. Let me tell you that at an AI (with a free bar), there is never enough Excedrin! LOL

            They are also a good way to distribute information. This is where we included our wedding day timeline sheet, postcards, and a sheet that had everyone's room number to make communication easier.

            I had wanted to do all Jamaican items, but found it was going to be very cost prohibitive. I would have had to go shopping for all of my items there in Jamaica, negotiated a price, hauled them back to the hotel, etc. In trying to find things here #1 it was difficult and #2 I would still be purchasing from a US seller and my reasoning for doing an all Jamaican gift basket was to contribute to the Jamaican eceonomy, KWIM?

            I did contact my florist to make my OOT bags for me and they were going to be about $65 each once I got everything in it that I wanted. They do have some smaller packages if you want to go this route. Floral Fantasy; Flowers for All Occasions from Negril, Jamaica / Gift Baskets

            I guess to answer your question, my guests used the postcards, first aid kit with hangover meds, lip balm, and underwater cameras.

            #6 *Casey*

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              Posted 04 December 2008 - 10:34 AM

              I think it's a great idea to do something more focused on your location. Maybe you could do both... some usual OOT stuff, and some Jamaican stuff. The best of both worlds!

              #7 ~*petals*~

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                Posted 04 December 2008 - 11:33 AM

                I love the Jamaican gift baskets from Floral Fantasies-- I was thinking about doing something like this one depending on how many guests we have.

                Click the image to open in full size.

                I also found some ideas here: https://www.reggaetr....CS&PN=CAT-1013

                #8 KEE LAC

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                  Posted 04 December 2008 - 01:34 PM

                  I decided to get some of the traditional beachy things along with thing that are indigenous to Puerto Rico too. I am having my wedding planner to get things things for me. i.e bacardi, p.r. coffee have not really figured out the other things yet.
                  Soon TO be MRS. Clark:[SIGPIC]

                  #9 Jacilynda

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                    Posted 04 December 2008 - 05:17 PM

                    We are also doing a mix. Ours will have the first aid kits cause people don't usually think of bringing one w/ them. But we're adding frisbees, beach balls, everyone gets a beach mat. Then we're going to be there a week in advance and have to go to Costco anyway, so we're going to pick up some authentic local stuff to fill the rest of the bags up.

                    #10 bashigyal

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                      Posted 04 December 2008 - 10:25 PM

                      Wow...so I guess there are quite a few people that have considered adding local flavor to their OOT bags, just didn't see much mentioned about those kinds of contents in any threads.

                      You all have great points about the challange of logistics, ie: lack of time to buy and assemble before the wedding. As I read that I realized that never occured to me because I have a distinct advantage in being Jamaican...that means (1) pre-wedding trips when I'll buy my items, (2) a place to store them--with family/friends living there, and (3) knowledge of where to go to get them there. So there you go, now I get why the traditional items are used more...they're easier when you don't have those resources!

                      Thanks for the idea of the postcard, dominoes and playing cards (which I'd get locally w/ Jamaican packaging), as well as recommending the hangover and headache meds...very useful at an AI. It's also good to include bug spray and a citronella candle to keep pesky mosquitos away.

                      But it really isn't as labor and time intensive, or as expensive, if you just go to the local supermarket near your hotel....there you can buy small bags of blue mountain coffee, mini liquor bottles (rum cream is very Jamaican or coconut rum is keeping with the authenticity theme), lsnacks (locally produced candy, chips, cakes), and some novelty items like a little book on "how to speak patois" or a JA tour guide book. The local supermarket is a much more cost effective avenue as they don't mark up their products to tourists like the gift shops do....and this holds true in all locations, not just Jamaica. Just a thought for anyone who wants to do this, but didn't think it was feasible for them. :-)

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