I searched through all the pictures, deal finds and ideas on this site to come up with some for my gift bags. Gift bags were not something we intended on doing as the cost can get high and we didn't want to deal with the hassle of shipping. But after searching around on this website and chatting with some other brides, I thought it was a nice idea that I wanted to undertake. My fiance is an accountant, so I had to keep a detailed budget and inventory of all the items and cost of the bags, so I can answer any questions. I found this site to be a huge help and I hope my post can help others too. I want to also mention that I am a Canadian bride from the GTA (all Canadian stores and pricing) and we will be having our wedding in the Dominican Republic, Majestic Elegance on July 11, 2012 I began my search for bag ideas and deals in December and after looking into the shipping costs, we've decided to throw a "launch party" at our house, two days before we fly out, were our guests will come mix and mingle, met each other and collect their "swag"- gift bags . This helped to cut down on some shipping cost and they can then decide on what they would like to bring with them.
I've included some pictures of the whole process...
The actual bag- simple burlap bag from dollarama for $2.00. I needed a smooth, plain bag I could decorate
The bags needed something, so I stenciled flowers onto them in our wedding colour. It did take awhile but I had time over March Break to do them. I got the stencil from Micheal's using a 40% off coupon. The poppy was on our wedding invites (in image below) so we continued the theme on the bags. Beachy
"Luggage tags" that I used to identify each of the bags and who receives them. This was not my original idea, I got it from this website (sorry I can't remember who!) I used the design from our RSVP cards we had included in our wedding invitations. We had a lot of extra invites so I cut them into smaller luggage sized tags, glued them onto our wedding colour blue for the background, hand wrote the guests names and used the Dollarama card laminator's to seal them. The card laminators come in packs of 12 for a dollar and you don't need a machine, you just rub the two sides together and it creates a seal to keep them protected. I then tied them with ribbon onto the burlap bags.
The goodies inside.
Our "big ticket" items for the bags were water bottles, which are essentially our wedding favours (I will get into more detail with those in the next picture). All of the other items were less then two dollars. The "dream" sleep mask was from Michael's for $1.50. The mini manicure set was also $1.50 each from Michael's. The moist wipes sold in packs of 20, for a dollar from Dollarama. "Mento's were also from Dollarama and were 2 for a dollar. After boxing week all the travel sized hand sanitizer from Bath and Body Works went on sale for 50 cents, I picked up some in all different tropical scents. The last thing is a mini photo book or "brag book" I got those from Micheal's also, they were priced at $1.50 each but I got them for free I plan on using these books to hold all our travel information (itinerary, places to eat, things to pack, thank you notes etc) I saw some people made little booklets for this information, I am not that talented, so I will be sliding the information into the sleeves of the photo books, then the guests have a photo album for their trip pictures. The only thing not yet in here is a snack, which will be peanuts. They come in travel packs from Costco, the unit price works out to .60 cents each. I just haven't pick those up yet (waiting for them to go on sale).
As you can see, we decided to make one welcome bag "per couple" or "per room". There were a lot of feminine travel items that guys didn't need/want so they can share with their lady guest. Lucky for me there are no rooms of only males, or I would have had to alter some of the items accordingly. So essentially, the small items in the welcome bags are shared with their travel companion and everyone receives a water bottle as a favour (which is why there are two in each bag). We were out-of-town guests at a friends wedding and their bags were shared per room, it made sense, and was less money/work for me
Inside the two white boxes are our wedding favours which are canteen water bottles with our names and wedding date. We ordered them on clearance from Oscar Parrot. The unit price per bottle was $3.25. The design and imprint was included, we just had to pay the set up fee of $50.00.We ordered 45 of them, so we spend approximately $220.00 total on the bottles. www.oscarparrot.com
The finished painted bag with matching tissue and the travel tag on it
The bags with wrapped bottles and goodies. They were large beach bags, I wanted them to be able to hold a beach towel but all my items inside were small so I had a hard time filling it up. But the water bottles did the trick All ribbon was bought a Micheal's for .59 cents, it took about 10 spools to wrap all the bottles. All the paint and other materials needed were purchased with gift cards and price adjustments so they didn't take up any of my budget.
The mess that is my office through the whole bag factory process
All in all I think the welcome bags will be a success. I did save a lot money by doing some crafty things myself (painting plain bags and making the luggage tags) with the help of the ladies on here I got ideas for items to include and where to purchase them.
We have 40 people booked for our wedding which worked out to 25 bags (shared per room) I had to purchase 25 of all the small items and 45 bottles to be sure there was one each. The bottles, as mentioned, were our biggest cost at $221.76, all the other items came in at under $200. So the grand total for 25 gift bags was $400 we stayed to our strict budget and I'm hoping they don't look that cheap
You can do it! this was a cost we were not expecting and did not want to include so we kept it small and it worked out. Thank you to all the inspiration. Hope this helps!
I also used this site to come up with bridesmaid gift ideas, we are taking care of all the wedding cost, so of course their was a budget for these as well. Though we could not pay for flights or other big ticket items, I did want to get them something special. Micheal Hill was having a sale on their jewelery (not sure if its in the states?) and I found very cute tiffany-ish star fish necklaces. They were an amazing price of $50.00 each, unfortunately it was a one day sale but they will be having another one on April 7th!! It is very busy and you have to line up but the prices are totally worth it! some earring were one dollar!! and bracelets $20! I picked the starfish as it related to our beach wedding. Pictures below..
A little blurry from my camera phone but those will be going into their bride maid's gift bags as well as some other small items suggested from ladies on this site (tan extender, lip gloss etc) that I haven't got yet but will be getting from the L'Oreal warehouse sale in North York this weekend (I'll let you know if the prices are worth going too!)
Thanks again for all the inspiration Let me know if you have any questions!