Easy options to dress up welcome/gift bags for your out-of-town guests

By on Dec. 9th

Looking for ideas for how to make your welcome/gift bags look awesome and still be something that people will reuse? I just helped my oldest buddy dress up her plain brown paper bags for her out of town guests, so I'm in the mood to delve deeper into this idea…

First, let's talk bags:

Brown paper bags: Simple, easy, cheap and reusable (for a while). The bags pictured above can be purchased here, if you're interested. My best buddy and I got creative with these guys, but more on that later…

Plain canvas totes: These plain canvas totes with a shoulder length strap are a great option. Guests can use these while they stay for your wedding and even when they go back home.

Canvas tote with pockets: A variation on a theme of canvas tote… these have pockets inside for water bottles, perfect for packing them snacks and then they can use them on outings around the town.

Colored reusable tote bags: Of course you can always go the colorful route, like these guys. Maybe pick bags that coincide with your wedding colors/them if you have 'em.

Now let's talk decor:

Fabric flowers.
Buy pretty fake flowers pins and voila! — Instant pretty! Or if you wanted to go the DIY route, our beaded flower tutorial could also be a unique option.

Decorative pins or personalized buttons.

Courtesy of Esty seller Repchi.

These could be anything from little cheapy things you pick up at a craft store to custom pins made special for your wedding guests. OBT member Emzy suggested something like these from Etsy seller Repchi.

Stamping with fabric paint.
Tribesmaid Petals&Thorns created these customized tote bags for her bridesmaids using fabric stamping.

Stencil and spray paint.
The photo above is from a night of outdoor stenciling action for my best friend's wedding. She actually made the I ♥ LA stencil and we bought different colors of spray paint and went to town. It was super easy for non-crafty people like myself and the guests thought they were adorable.

Decorative tapes.
So many adorable tape options, like these. How easy would it be just to run a strip along the edges of the bag? Especially if it's one of the paper bag options.

Bleach stamping


Dude, you should totally check out Ang's bleach stamping tutorial! And then do what she says: make things better by ruining them.

And then there were some other suggestions from Tribe members like…

  • Patches
  • A whip stitch in your wedding colors around the top edge
  • Ribbons

Now I'd like to ask you… what other ideas have you guys used to decorate your gift bags?

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About Megan Finley

Megan Finley is the Associate Publisher for the Offbeat Empire. When she's not slaving away for the Empire, she's sharing her dork side on her own blog, Twitter @meganfinley, and Instagram @meggyfin.