When guests travel a long way to come to your wedding, it means a lot if you’ve put the time and care into greeting them with a little welcome package. Most welcome bags include some information about the wedding festivities, a water bottle and maybe a few generic snacks bought in bulk. But imagine getting a welcome bag that felt like it was thoughtfully assembled with interesting items that are one-of-a-kind and specific to where the wedding is – wouldn’t it be lovely?
For today’s post I’ve put together my idea of a fun welcome bag for a New York wedding. I like the idea of having the edible treats be from small shops and bakeries that are one-of-a-kind to the locale of the wedding along with some other fun or useful things. If you’re on a budget, you could easily pick just one or two items (like your favorite cookie or treat from a local bakery) to welcome your guests along with a printed note about the weekend’s festivities.
1. Yes, it’s super touristy, but if your guests have never been to New York, chances are they’ll secretly get a kick out of receiving this classic t-shirt (plus, you can buy them in bulk on the street for cheap!).
2. Martin’s Pretzels aren’t made in NY, but they are a fun snack that you can always find at the Union Square Greenmarket.
3. A classic New York black-and-white cookie. Get some at William and Greenberg.
4. A postcard that you can fold into a taxicab or other NYC icons.
5. Handmade candies from one of my favorite shops, Papabubble. They sell small bags or jars of hard candies with a New York theme (each candy has a different borough written on it, with a corresponding flavor).
6. An issue of New York magazine, because they have the best list of events and restaurants for a weekend of exploring.
7. A cheap bag of honey-roasted nuts from a sidewalk vendor.
8. A mix CD of classic New York jazz songs.* (You could also include a printed list of the best jazz clubs in the city).
9. A 3-day MetroCard for the subway with a free subway map.**
10. An assortment of unusual Asian gummies and candies from my favorite Chinatown candy shop, Aji Ichiban.
11. Guests with children? Include a small Statue of Liberty stamp, a small notepad and ink pad.
12. Better looking than a subway map.
13. A gourmet treat – a compost cookie from Chef David Chang’s Milk Bar.
14. An apple straight from the Union Square farmers’ market.
15. Mast Brothers chocolate bar, made in Brooklyn.
16. I love these magnets from the MTA subway shop.
17. A black cotton tote to hold all the goodies.
* Here’s my ideal playlist of New York-themed jazz songs. Purchase the songs, download and burn them onto a CD to include it in your welcome bag.
1. Central Park West – John Coltrane
2. Manhattan – Ella Fitzgerald
3. There’s a Boat That’s Leaving Soon for New York – Miles Davis
4. Autumn in New York – Billie Holiday
5. Broadway – Dexter Gordon
6. Lullaby of Birdland – Sarah Vaughan
7. Take the ‘A’ Train – Clifford Brown and Max Roach
8. Harlem Air Shaft – Duke Ellington
9. U.M.M.G. (Upper Manhattan Medical Group) – Joe Henderson
10. 52nd Street Theme – Bud Powell
11. Skating in Central Park – Bill Evans
** You can find free subway maps at any MTA subway station. One fun idea is to take some neon stickers and mark the important wedding locations, or your favorite eateries or activities on the map. You could also print your text onto labels and attach them to the map.
Hope my ideas here will inspire you to come up with your own creative welcome bags. Please leave a comment and share your ideas for what would make a fun welcome bag for your city!