Locally Inspired, DIY Welcome Bags

Remember the excitement you felt at your sixth birthday party when the time came to send guests home with the cellophane goody bags you eagerly stuffed with pencils, candy and temporary tattoos? Well, the same giddiness remains for many brides and grooms today as they continue to adopt the new custom of wedding welcome bags. While programs and tissues are must-haves in welcome bags, there are many other stuffers to consider. Whether your favors are arranged in totes, boxes or baskets, we’ve picked our favorite themed bags filled with Virginia-made treats to give your wedding a personal, hometown touch.


Good Morning Greeting

Last year’s royal wedding sparked a trend towards morning ceremonies, so design a welcome bag that is filled with caffeinated and boozy pick-me-ups. For morning brew drinkers, include an assortment of organic loose leaf teas from Quintin’s Tea Emporium or a bag of internationally inspired beans from Three Ships Coffee.

Sometimes a cup of joe just doesn’t cut it. Speedy’s Hot Sauce in Virginia Beach crafts a spicy, tangy and beach-centric Bloody Mary Mix perfect for breakfast cocktails. The savory mix is infused with Old Bay, fresh basil and a splash of the shop’s #44 Original Hot Sauce. Add a bottle of the Chesapeake Bay Distillery’s flagship Blue Ridge Vodka or their Ghost Pepper Infused Vodka for an extra kick.


Tourist Tote

Help out-of-town guests feel at home by piecing together a tote that outlines the very best of Coastal Virginia. Include brochures from countless museums, amusement parks and attractions, as well as maps of the nearby Elizabeth River Trail and First Landing State Park. Keep an eye out for coupons to local restaurants and shops too.

You can also welcome guests with a taste of the tides by including an assortment of nuts from the Eastern Shore’s Blue Crab Bay Co. Choose from spicy Crab House Nuts, a zesty Barancles snack mix or a canister of simple Sea Salt Nuts. On the sweet side, toss in a few handfuls of colorful saltwater taffy from Forbes Candies.


Brew Box

Virginia is a leader in our nation’s craft beverage industry, so why not share the commonwealth’s delicious concoctions with your guests? Snag a bottle of wine or cans of the newly released Crosé from Williamsburg Winery. A plethora of craft beers are available too at local breweries or hole-in-the-wall bottle shops like Virginia Beach’s Bottlecraft, Norfolk’s BottleBOX and The Cheese Shop in Williamsburg’s Merchants Square.

Gourmet grocery store Taste vends an assortment of funky beers too, as well as locally made eats and a plethora of libation-centered trinkets sure to get your guests in a celebratory mood. You can also include custom koozies for guests to bring to the reception.


Gratitude Gear

Friends and family have traveled from near and far to be with you on your special day. Greet them with a thank you tote packed with small reminders of your love for them. Shop greeting cards, jewelry and other unique gifts at Nectar. You can also repurpose your engagement photos and endorse them with a personal thank you before popping them into a custom frame from Frame N Art.


Something Sweet

While you handle the something borrowed and something blue, allow your guests to indulge in something sweet on your big day. Stuff miniature bags with champagne-flavored gummy bears, Hershey's Kisses and other love-themed candies.

Norfolk’s Hummingbird Macarons & Desserts is known for its exceptional, handcrafted treats. Choose from 10 rotating and classic macaron flavors including Nutella, Biscoff, Rosewater, Toasted Coconut and the aptly named Bee Love.

If custom treats are not in your budget, swing by Coastal Virginia’s countless farmers markets for a few pints of fresh strawberries and make your own chocolate-dipped creations.

Grace Silipigni Headshot
Grace Silipigni
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Grace Silipigni is an elementary school Spanish immersion teacher based in Virginia Beach and a regular contributor to Coastal Virginia Magazine, covering a wide range of topics such as health and wellness, education and learning, food and drink, happenings and events, travel and getaways and more.

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