Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Hotel Bag in a Box - Aka: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Welcome Bags But Were Afraid To Ask

What’s a bag in a box, you ask?  A hotel box carries only the best in creature comforts for your guests while they’re in town for your wedding. 

I designed and assembled these boxes while planning for my wedding.  My undying love for mini toiletries, junk food, and clearly organized information fueled my process.  I truly believe it is a perfect box and will help keep a traveling crew happy, healthy and in the know for the entirety of any wedding weekend. 

The hotel boxes for our wedding included a nifty schedule (from on the front, and a small bag of essential toiletries on the inside.  They were also stocked to the gills with delicious goodies including: 

- one full package of M&M’s
- one full Snickers bar
- one full bag of Sour Patch Kids
- one snack bag of Cheezits
- one snack bag of pretzels
- one snack bag of Smartfood popcorn
- two Trader Joes granola bars
- two small bags of ‘Omega Trail Mix’ from Trader Joes
- two 16 oz bottled waters (to stave off hangovers, obvi)
- one 5 stick pack of peppermint gum (no one wants to be the one with stank breath)

It’s an odd thing, but most of the treats from our box somehow made their way into our cabinet before I had a chance to take pictures.  I regret nothing. #sorrynotsorry

My aim was to create a box that cost approximately $15.  If you're looking to spend less, there are places where you can compromise or leave certain items out to modify the cost. Because I have information from when I priced everything out, I have decided to share my knowledge with the world.  For example: for all the edible goodies above, I spent a total of $6 per box.  Do with this information what you will.

Before I go into all the particulars, I wanted to give a shout out to writer Meredith Goldstein for providing me with an incredibly helpful account of what it's like to be a traveling guest at a wedding (see it here on HuffPo).  Written back in 2012, Meredith's article was by far the most witty, interesting and informative piece about the specific topic of wedding welcome bags that I encountered in my (extensive) search for info on what to include in my boxes.  I incorporated a good percentage of her ideas, and if this were a business venture I'd probably owe her some money.  

Where appropriate, I have included links to sites where I clicked a few buttons online and then stuff appeared at my doorstep like magic.

The Logo

We asked our close friend Chansoda, of design the logo for our wedding.  (PSA: Chansoda is an amazing graphic designer with over a decade of experience.  She is thoughtful, creative and fantastically personable.  In short:  Chansoda is amazing!  Chansoda for all your design needs!) 

The logo was a super useful element that helped us tie together many of our wedding elements such as the website, invitations, programs and the hotel boxes. As we had our wedding ceremony at a library, the logo is comprised of a book with pages flipping into the air to form my husbands and my initials.  Like overeager kindergarteners we immediately made stickers featuring the logo and stuck them on anything and everything we could get our hands on. 

Fun With Stickers

White and Clear Printable Stickers - - OL350CK(Clear) / OL7425WX (White)
Raffia Ribbon: Michaels

COST: $1.20 per box

Sure, you have to assemble each box but the resulting receptacle is sturdy, large enough to fit oodles of goodies, and won't tip over or rumple in transit like the traditional gift bag.  It's totally practical and super affordable.  

We centered the logo on one side of the box, and then printed it slightly askew on the clear label so we could have a fancy piece of 'tape' to keep the Infobooks in place.

Infobooks - Aka: Keep Your People In The Loop

COST: $4.00 each

This was my big splurge.  In all honesty you could probably make your own infobooks/schedules and exponentially cut this cost, but I instantly fell in love with the Minted ‘Minibook’ and desperately wanted to incorporate into our wedding stationery somehow.  For a Photoshop noob like me, I had a great experience finding a template on the Minted site that worked for me, and then communicating with the designers to get everything just the way I wanted it.  The quality of the printing, the durability of the paper and the addition of the two metal reinforced holes on the spine of the booklet made it perfect for this project.  In addition, the booklet had space for all the information I could possibly want to convey to our guests, including a comprehensive schedule for the events of the weekend.  

HOW TO:  I used the holes from one of the Minibooks to measure and mark each box, and then used a sharp nail to poke through the markings and create holes. DISCLAIMER:  Use caution when poking the holes.  That’s what she said.  Ahahaha.  Ok, end DISCLAIMER.  After the poking was complete I threaded a small strip of raffia through each booklet and then tied the ends together on the inside of the box.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezey.

If You Love Toiletries, And Gettin' Caught In the Rain

One of my great loves in life are toiletries.  Specifically mini toiletries.  Give me a wall of travel size conditioners and shampoos and I'm in heaven.  I really don't know why.  Maybe I was a giant in a past life or something. 

Therefore, I decided to be really thorough about the toiletries I selected for the bag.

Advil/Shout Wipe/Tylenol/Pepto/Muslin Bags  - Amazon
LA Fresh Makeup Remover Wipe: LA Fresh (Online)

COST: $5.75 per bag

I chose both Tylenol and Advil as per the suggestion of Ms. Goldstein, a Shout wipe for any stains that may have sprung up throughout the course of the evening (I don't want to know), Pepto for all the various things Pepto works on, a sewing kit and an LA Fresh eco-friendly makeup remover.

(Side note: If you're a lady and you've ever been at a fancy event that involves unlimited free booze, chances are that you're not removing your makeup before you face-plant into bed.  Um, 'lady' was definitely the wrong word choice there.  I don't think ladies face-plant.  Let's rephrase: There are usually so many things to regret after a night of drinking, makeup shouldn't be one of them.)

I chose to stuff all the toiletries into a small muslin bag and adorned it with a small iron-on version of our logo, because, logo.

That's All, Folks

If you've been doing the math, you'll see that I ended up a little over budget, with a total cost of $16.95 per box.  I admit that I did go a bit overboard, but my philosophy is that if your guests are paying a hundred-plus bucks per night to stay over for your wedding, the least you can do is give them a great goodie bag.

Happy Wedding!

No comments:

Post a Comment