Gift Baskets

Not too long ago, extended families lived in neighborhoods together. Today, this is no longer the case. It’s not uncommon for guests to travel by plane, train or automobile to attend a family wedding. We all want our out-of-town guests to feel welcome once they arrive. What better way to show your appreciation than giving them a gift basket when they arrive at their hotel to show your appreciation for making the trip!

Gift baskets for out of town guests come in many shapes, sizes and price ranges. The best baskets are those which reflect your personality.  Here are some ideas on what you may want to include to get you started:

– Whether guests have been traveling for 2 hours or 10, they will be tired and hungry and probably unfamiliar with the area. A list of local restaurants and menus is a touch that will not be forgotten. The list can be printed on pretty stationery or add a special touch by printing it in the couple’s own handwriting.

Writing a Letter

– Add a map of the area highlighting fun places to visit.  Guests will surely have some downtime and will want to explore the area. Provide a list of movie theatres, nearby shopping malls, grocery stores for any items they may have forgotten, and a list of local museums. Don’t forget to point out a favorite place to take a walk in the park to relax and smell the roses.

Man's hand pointing on street map


– All gift bags should include a few bottles of water to take with them while on the go. You could even decorate the bottle with a personalized bottle label from venders such as Favorite Announcements.

– A favorite bottle of wine dressed up with a personalized label will also surely be a hit. Add a favorite poem or quote to the label for a personal touch!


– Personal items such as bars of soap are often forgotten and will be a clean addition to the gift bag.

– Homemade cookies or brownies from the wedding couple or those from a favorite local bakery will surely hit a sweet spot any time of day.

Cookies Fresh Out of the Oven

– In the haste of leaving home, it is not uncommon to forget to pack directions to the wedding and reception. Your guests will be extremely thankful and you may even avoid them having a fight as to who actually did the forgetting!

– Who doesn’t love ice-cream? If it’s summertime, what about including a gift certificate for an ice-cream cone from a local ice-cream shop so your guests can indulge between events. You can even include a note with a must try favorite flavor. If kids will be attending the wedding, this will surely be a hit!

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Cone -Photographed on Hasselblad H3D2-39mb Camera


– Don’t forget to add some healthy snacks for the trip home. If it’s apple season, add some freshly picked apples or what about some chocolate dipped strawberries?! A bag of granola or trail mix for snacking will be a crowd pleaser.

The gift items do not need to be put into anything extravagant or expensive. Decorative bags, colorful paper bags with ribbon, or boxes wrapped in glitzy wrapping paper can be used. With the current eco-friendly trend to use recyclable bags, stores such as Michaels or JoAnn’s Fabrics sell fabric tote bags which can easily be decorated. Staples, Office Depot, and Office Max sell iron-on transfer paper for inkjet printers.  A logo, photo of the wedding couple, or a favorite quote or message can be ironed on to the tote bag as a keepsake. Come up with a witty saying such as “what happens at “Julie and Sean’s Wedding, staysat Julie and Sean’s wedding unless you’re with friends and family!” Or, “Went to Julie and Sean’s wedding and all I got was this lousy bag.” A map of your wedding location ironed on the bag will make your wedding something they will remember each time they use the bag.

Your gift bags do not have to be expensive or extravagant. They should just be a small token to say thank you to your out-own-town guests. Many of the above items are do-it-yourself items or you can solicit the help from your wedding party for items such as gathering maps and menus. Add personal touches to your basket and think about things you would like to receive if you were on the receiving end. Your family and friends will appreciate your thinking of them during this special time.


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