Indian Wedding Welcome Bags: Packing List + Ideas

Indian weddings are opportunities to show all your loved ones how much they mean to you. Our culture is hospitable and we want our guests to feel welcome, entertained and well-fed throughout the wedding weekend.

Welcome bags for wedding guests that are checking into the hotel are a great way to welcome guests. They’ll appreciate the treats, info, and thoughtfulness as they get settled into their rooms.

{What To Include in the Wedding Welcome Bag}

  • water bottle(s)
    if you want to go the extra mile, get custom made labels to affix to the bottles, like in the photo below.
  • snacks – the key here is non-perishable i.e. potato chips, Parle Gs, pretzels, mixed nuts, trail mix, Cracker Jack’s, M&M’s, Oreos etc.
    you can get chai packets, like instant coffee, that can be mixed with water. I’m sort of a chai snob so I’ve never tried them but I recently learned Instant Chai is a thing and you can bring the packets back with you from your India or South Asia shopping trip.
  • a chocolate or two
  • a note from the couple/families – something that says “welcome, we’re so happy you’re here”
  • the weekend itinerary + any details only applicable to guests staying at the hotel i.e. gathering times, breakfast location etc.
  • depending on your venue(s) you might want to include a map too.

{Additional Ideas}

Send-off Bags
At my wedding we not only had welcome bags but we distributed Send-off aka Thank you bags too – our parents personally distributed the bags, early in the morning at the hotel, on the day guests were leaving. Items included:

  • paranthas/teplas in a ziploc bag
  • 2 apples
  • 2 snack packs – nuts and crackers
  • juice box
  • a couple napkins
  • a thank you note

Note: The welcome and send-off bags were prepped before the wedding weekend started – except the paranthas and teplas. We arranged for someone to make those on the wedding day and finish prepping each bag and deliver them to the hotel on Sunday morning.

Drinks Before Cocktail Hour
Our friends had little vodka bottles of Absolut delivered to each guest’s rooms in-between the ceremony and cocktail hour. It was a nice surprise that got everyone pumped for the reception.

absolut-vodka-listing.png

{Welcome Bag Distribution at The Host Hotel}

We recommend that you deliver the bags (or have them delivered) to the hotel at an agreed upon time and the front desk staff will give a bag to each guest as they check-in. The venue will probably charge you a fee for this. The bags should be ready to go. Don’t expect the hotel staff to put them together. They will just hand a bag as is and hand it to the guests.

The other way to distribute the bags is to have them delivered to each guest room but that becomes a lot harder because you have to keep track of each room number and will cost more because the the’ll probably have the bellmen distribute them and they’ll have to spend more time on each delivery.

{Preparing the Bags}

You’ve gotta get the bags. Places like Uline are great as you can buy good quality bags in bulk. Be thoughtful about what bags you buy. You don’t want to put little water bottles or vodka bottles in there, only to have the bags break. Sample a few different bags and make sure they’re sturdy enough to hold everything you want. Decide on a style, color, and design.

Gather all the items for each bag and a bag stuffing party with your family and friends. Turn on some music, order some great food and it will feel like a “shaadi ka ghar” (a wedding house). All of these details take time so really think through the bags, the labels, the info cards, the welcome cards and give yourself enough time to get everything ready.

You can hire pretty inexpensive graphic designers on sites like fiverr and upwork to put together all of your items. My husband and I created our own logo for our wedding celebration and that was branded on everything.

Reha-Vijay-Newport-Beach-Marriott-South-Asian-wedding-Indian_wedding-Hindu-Jain-North_Indian-head-table-ballroom-Aaron-Eye-Photography-gratitude
Photo: AaronEye Photography

Signs and items you might want: tags for return gifts, program booklets, signs for the ring bearers, thank you sign, anything you want to customize for the wedding party, a sign for your hashtag, a sign for the escort card table, escort cards. There are lots of things you can go to get creative with this. You might like our Pinterest board with more ideas for wedding signage.

Indian wedding at the Hilton Long Beach with everything customized.
Bridesmaids holding signs indicating how long they’ve known the bride. Photo: Payal Photo & Video.
Indian wedding ceremony programs that doubled as fans placed on each chair
Photo: Greycard Photography
Indian wedding ceremony at Hotel Irvine. The pink program match the pink mandap.
Photo: Global Photography

{Take Aways}

These finer details at a wedding really impact your guests’ overall experience. They’ll remember and appreciate the gesture and effort and it’s a lot of fun to put these together. You can get as fancy and customized with the bags as you want and don’t forget about doing send-off bags too! But these things also take time and thought. Naturally you want everything to look great so give yourself some time (about a month) to put together. I know it’s difficult amongst the gajillion other things you have to do to plan your wedding, so add this to your to do list and prioritize it according to how important it is to you.

I recommend Trello for wedding planning organization. If you’ve never used it, it’s free and is an incredible tool to keep track of all your wedding tasks that are yet to be done, in-progress and you can collaborate with family/friends. I like this WAY better than Google sheets and docs and use it even now for everything from my personal to do lists to work applications. I wrote a blog post about it so you can check it out and see if it will work for you.

I hope this article has been helpful to you. If it has, let me know in the comments and you might like to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest – whatever your preferred media is, as we frequently publish articles to help making wedding planning just a little bit easier.

Congratulations and cheers!

Samta Varia
Founder & CEO
ShaadiShop: Indian Wedding Venues

 South Asian-friendly Wedding Venues

ShaadiShop is a free service to help couples, planning an Indian or any South Asian wedding, find their wedding venue. We walk you through the whole process from discovery to booking. And, venues extend better pricing and amenities to our clients. Visit our main website or contact me to start your venue search today!

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