The Perfect Out-of-Town Gift Bag

First Impressions

An out-of-town gift bag can be as elaborate or as simple as you want. Start with deciding what type of container you want to use for your “bag.” Will it be a reed basket lovingly made by local artisans? Or a linen tote bag embroidered with your names and wedding colors?


If your wedding’s on the informal side, consider these: an oversized Chinese takeout container, a wooden crate (both available online or at party stores), or even a rustic fishing creel basket to hold your goodies in. And not to worry — even if you don’t have a creative bone in your body, there are plenty of inventive ready-made baskets awaiting online.

Gathering the Goods

Once you decide what type of container you want, you get to decide what to put in it. Guests from afar are sure to love a bag you’ve stocked with regional favorites, such as handmade soaps, small containers of honey or syrup, distinctive local snacks (smoked salmon or chocolate-covered espresso beans for Seattle; “buckeyes” for Ohio) or other intriguing food items.

And your out-of-town guests are often staying for a few days, so gift certificates to tasty local restaurants (or even spas) will be appreciated. Plus, area maps and entertainment guides are always welcome. So if you’re holding your wedding in Boston, you could stock your gift bags with lobster bibs, a gift certificate to Legal Seafood restaurant and a box of candied Boston Baked Beans, plus assorted maps and guides.

Geeky Wedding

A Little Hospitality

Don’t forget to add a few basic items designed to welcome (and spoil) your guests. Try tucking in a pretty washcloth and some sweet-smelling soaps, along with a bottle of spring water (get creative with the labels) and maybe a small bag of gourmet coffee. Another thoughtful idea: travel-size sundries like toothpaste and hand creams, especially since airlines often won’t accept those items now.

Getting Personal

For guests you know intimately, take a moment to reflect on their hobbies and interests. Does Aunt Sue garden? Maybe she’d appreciate some heirloom seeds from your area. Does Uncle Joe golf? Directions to the hottest nearby golf course (plus some golf tees in your wedding colors) would be a treat!


Are your guests traveling with small children? Including a few magnetic games like checkers or miniature Etch-a-Sketch would be thoughtfulness itself.

Sweet Reminiscence

Finally, with your out-of-town bags, give your guests something to remember you by. Tee-shirts with the wedding date on them, custom coffee mugs or personalized pens are easy, memorable additions to your gift bags. And don’t forget to drop in a little personalized note to thank your guests for traveling to your special day.