Sunday, May 4, 2008
What to put in those welcome bags
Yesterday, I went shopping for goodies to put in guests welcome bags for an upcoming wedding. After visiting some of my favorite artisan haunts and feeling a tad underwhelmed, I hit the Mother Lode at World Market. First, I found water. There's a school of thought that says you should not give your guests the same things they would have received on the plane (i.e. water & peanuts). I don't know about you, but when I get off a plane, I want water. When I check into a hotel, I want water, so water was the first thing I put into my cart. I had a lot of designer and luxury choices, but my favorite was the 1/2 liter bottles of fine artesian water that came with their own built-in cups. Another thing, I don't use the glasses in hotel rooms (mainly, because they're usually in the bathroom), so these were a great find. Any guests who are weary about the cleanliness of hotel room glasses will thank their host effusively. However, to appease that other school of thought, I also picked up some miniature bottles of champagne and cans of designer juices. Then I found snack packets of sea-salted almonds (you don't get those on the plane), fair-trade chocolates and coffee, organic teas, cheese and crackers, pate, miniature Tabasco sauce (why not?). Then I got to the register, gasp! it all worked out to roughly thirty-seven dollars per bag (and that's without the bag). I had to do some editing. I thought of all the pillow gifts and/or welcome bags that were left for me in hotel rooms over the years. The ones I enjoyed the most were the ones that enhanced my stay by adding a measure of comfort: beach bags and towels, fleece TV blankets, fleece sweaters, bottles of wine, jazz cds, books, chocolate, nuts, fresh fruit and bottled water, so I nixed the pate and the Tabasco sauce, the cheese and crackers too, coffee, tea, designer juices, and I added a travel candle. What I love most about these bags is that they aren't traditionally themed. There isn't a monogram or signature color to adorn the goods or the bags in sight, but there is still a unifying element - global products (the more organic or sustainable, the better) - to match the global aspect of the wedding. The bride and groom are from different parts of the world and so are their family and friends who are making the journey to witness their marriage. I compiled one of the bags today and was pretty pleased with the final product (no picture, because I can't give away everything, not yet).