Welcome to Chicago!

I love Welcome Bags! As a guest, there is nothing better in my mind than checking into a hotel and finding a package to welcome you. While not a must for all Brides, I feel that they are a Must If Affordable.

For my wedding, I was torn by having something visually stunning (but utterly worthless) or something practical (and a little boring). I think my Welcome Bags (aka OOT gift bags) are somewhere in the middle.

Although gable boxes are all the rage, I opted for something reusable. I ordered reusable scarlet totes from Cheap Totes. They were fairly inexpensive and are great for the environment. I thought about doing an iron-on for our wedding but I figured that most guests would be less inclined to re-use a bag branded with my wedding logo. Instead, I attached these cute vintage postcards to the bag with a piece of satin ribbon.

The Goods: I love swag but I also wanted to make the bag practical. In the bags, we gave guests items all made from the City of Chicago:

  • 2 bottles of water – a luxury in Chicago as we have a plastic bottle tax
  • Jay’s Potato Chips
  • Melissa & Denton Word Puzzle
  • Welcome Materials from the City of Chicago
  • Quaker Oats Snack
  • Tootsie Roll’s
  • Fischer Peanuts
  • Wrigley Gum
  • Jelly Belly’s
  • Our Awesome Welcome Letter

Since I wanted to add a cohesive look to the bag, the DIY Champion of our Household – my husband, Denton – made labels to package up the Jelly Belly’s and the Fischer Peanuts.

He also made the labels for the Water Bottles. Adding a label to a water bottle is the easiest DIY ever. Simply buy some bottles from CostCo, rip off the old labels, and then attach the new ones. Denton bought the labels from Labels by the Sheet.

The best part of the bag was our Welcome Letter. Much more than a letter, we had 8 pages that included information on our favorite sites, a timeline for the weekend, a map, and a short note from us.

My husband had this printed on a heavy resume paper and cut at Office Max. He whole punched the paper and assembled with braids from Paper Source. They are simply gorgeous. We received many compliments on our bags.

12 thoughts on “Welcome to Chicago!

  1. ~M says:

    What a great bag! Thanks for the links and ideas! What was included in the Welcome Materials from the City of Chicago? Where exactly did you get these materials? Did your hotel offer you anything that you could put in the gift bags? Thanks!


  2. Misse says:

    Hi M!I\’m glad that you enjoyed the post.What was included in the Welcome Materials from the City of Chicago? We put in a map and the Spring/ Summer guide to the City.Where exactly did you get these materials? We took the complimentary copies from the City Tourist office in the old Water Tower.Did your hotel offer you anything that you could put in the gift bags? My hotel did not. And, FYI- most hotels charge for a fee for delivering out of town gift bags.Misse


  3. Unknown says:

    Hi – Your bag is great – I am working on something similar, using all items from Chicago. Do you have a copy of your welcome, I would love to see all of the information you used – seems like you definitely got it all covered!!!


  4. Anonymous says:

    This basket is adorable, great work. I\’m also looking to do a Chicago themed welcome basket for my december wedding. Can you share what exactly you put in your \”welcome note\” … it looks awesome and SO professional! thanks for the great tips!


  5. Katie R. says:

    Hi Misse,As an upcoming Chicago bride, I was so excited to come across this post! Where did you find the snack-sized Jays potato chips? I looked online – but it looks like Jays has been bought out by Synders of Hanover – who only sells 10oz Jays bags in bulk.Thanks!


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