Guest blogger: Indigo Bunting, welcome gift

Categories   DIY Projects


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!

xo, Erin

Social Love

Julie Gallagher on Apr 29, 2010

I was literally just typing up an ideas document for a NY inspired 40th birthday and this post arrived in my inbox - THANKS SO MUCH for the inspiration!

Ashley on Apr 29, 2010

I think you should do an LA Wedding bag.... that way I know what t put in mine! So AWESOME!

Melanie on Apr 29, 2010

I am ABSOLUTELY going to do this for my welcome bags! They are so brilliant! Also, The Strand bookstore sells totes so that might be a good bag to hold all of these goodies in! Thanks so much for the inspiration!

boody on Apr 29, 2010

Erin, this is the CUTEST idea EVER!!! And I LOVE that you added the compost cookie. YUM!!!! They package them now, so it's perfect! =)

Anne on Apr 29, 2010

That is a very sweet idea and ideas. I would probably add some southeastern taste to it when I recommend it to my friends.

Caroline C on Apr 29, 2010

I love this list! My two favorites are pappabubble candy and mast brothers chocolate! I'm so glad these two made the list. I highly recommend both.

caroline on Apr 29, 2010

i love all these ideas... makes me want to go to new york right this second.

joy on Apr 29, 2010

i put together a mini NY welcome for everyone too.. i added a mini purell hand sanitizer and i saw everyone pulling it out throughout the week.. non new yorkers get crazy about germs!

ch8r on Apr 30, 2010

I have that statue of liberty stamp and it is ADORABLE. It stamps a skyline and the statue is part of the skyline. The cutest.

Teresa on Apr 30, 2010

This is perfect. I did a very abbreviated version of this for my NYC wedding, but this is way better. Bravo.

Meghan on Apr 30, 2010

What a great bag - beyond weddings, this would be a wonderful gift for someone who's just moved to NYC (or who's moving away!), or a houseguest. I do need to comment, though - you can find free subway maps at any MTA subway station? Is that for real? I've never seen anything beyond the one large map they usually have on the wall.

Sarah on Apr 30, 2010

I love this idea! If I were doing an Atlanta welcome gift, I'd have to include Cokes in vintage Coke bottles, Pralines, Savannah Bee Company honey, a guide to the 52 streets in our city with Peachtree in the name... Maybe a copy of Gone With The Wind! And of course something with "Y'all" on it that the northerners can make fun of. :o)

Alexis - OMG I'm Getting Married on Apr 30, 2010

great idea! I might have to steal it for my wedding London style - would definitely have to include an umbrella! great post. x

Kelly on Apr 30, 2010

That is just the cutest!

jonahliza on Apr 30, 2010

mmMm... i miss black and white cookies from ny. soo yummy.

Karena on Apr 30, 2010

What a super tote of treats for any guest to receive upon arrival!! Karena Art by Karena

Amy on May 1, 2010

Thank you for posting this! I'm getting married in NY and this is a wonderful idea. Thank you Thank you and thank you!

Emily on May 1, 2010

What a great idea. I love the map with the stickers pointing out some of the spots in town. what a great idea no matter what city the wedding is in.

Michelle on May 2, 2010

Erin, This is awesome! I want this welcome bag!!

essny on May 2, 2010

Meghan, re: free MTA maps--you may just need to ask a station agent (assuming the subway station you're asking at hasn't gotten rid of the agent due to budget cuts!). On buses, there are usually maps on the divider between the driver and the rest of the bus, but again, you can ask the driver for one.

joanna goddard on May 3, 2010

i absolutely LOVE these ideas!!!!!

Sherisa (L'elephant Rose) on May 3, 2010

These are pretty awesome. I'll have to snag some for my Oct wedding. :) And throw in some exclusively Jamaican and strictly Brooklyn treats as well.

Margie on May 3, 2010

For our Portland, Oregon wedding, I included a bottle of Oregon wine, Starbucks free drink certificates, a Tri-Met pass, a local chocolate, and a pamphlet I wrote myself, describing Portland's weird places. (Velvet Painting gallery, vacuum cleaner museum, Holy Church of Elvis, smallest city park in the world, etc.) I also included a bumper sticker that says "Keep Portland Weird." Since our family motto always was "Proud to be Weird," it was perfect. I also wrote a pamphlet with our recommendations for favorite restaurants, with suggestions for foods to order...since we have so many chefs and foodies in our families. We stuck in a map with the weird places, restaurants, church and reception location all marked.

Charissa - The Gifted Blog on May 3, 2010

Love this. It's so thorough, Erin! I posted recently about an "American" (and more specifically, Californian) gift for our Japanese friends, but you seriously found so many great NY goodies. It's making my scratch my head a bit and rethink my gift - there must be more California-specific items out there!

Erin | The Indigo Bunting on May 3, 2010

Thanks for all the sweet comments and ideas. Margie, I love your Portland bag. Meghan, a lot of stations do have free subway maps, but many do run out of them as well. If you cannot find one at your station, you can also get free ones at the MTA Transit Museum at Grand Central Terminal ( And Charissa, your gift bag turned out lovely.

amanda on May 4, 2010

love this! i would add an issue ot 'time out new york' as it has EVERYTHING going on in the city! esp. free things, and things you might not hear about otherwise! it's my bible when i'm in the city!!!

Katy on May 5, 2010

This IS a fantastic idea and super cute, but I have to say that I think a bag this extravagant simply isn't realistic for a lot of brides. It's just too expensive! I would love to see a post about a fun, creative welcome bag on a budget. On a related note, one cheap but very useful item I added to my welcome bags for my D.C. wedding is Bath & Body Works hand sanitizer. They come in a ton of scents and are just $1!

Sara Mendelsohn on May 6, 2010

Thanks for the inspiration! I love these ideas and may have to incorporate a few into my NY Welcome packages available through www.Sara'!

Julia on Jun 8, 2010

Dipping my toe into the whole wedding thing - this is my first wedding-related comment, eek! And I've been pouring over your archives until this post, which is exactly up our alley. The other day we said we had to have Momofuku cookies as part of the wedding somehow, as I love them so much and it's so NY. Love the map idea - thank you! x

Kim on Jun 9, 2010

I'm a little late to the party, but for our LA wedding we're planning on including the following for our welcome bags (among a few other things that aren't quite so "LA"): Oranges (for SoCal) Gift certificates to In N' Out or The Coffee Bean (we haven't decided yet) Paul Newman mints (we wanted to give mints and figured Newman was a nod to Hollywood) Sunscreen wipes from a company called "LA Fresh" (which is probably "La Fresh" and not "L.A." fresh, but it's ambiguous so we're taking liberties) I would have liked to included macaroons from Jin Patisserie, but that will probably be too expensive!

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