It's a thoughtful way to greet attendees, but also another item to put on a checklist and to fit into an overall event budget. It's no surprise then that reader Elizabeth e-mailed to get advice on which of her friends and family should be given a gift upon arrival. Here, we share our advice.

Q: I understand that out-of-town guests should receive welcome bags. However, several of my friends, who live 10 minutes away, are also crashing at the hotel rather than driving home late. Do we prepare bags for them, too?

A: "Welcome bags are a relatively new trend, so there are no hard-and-fast rules that you have to provide them at all," says managing editor Lindsay Brown. "The idea behind the bags is to greet attendees before the wedding and provide them with maps of the area, a schedule of events if it's a weekend-long affair, and a few snacks." Naturally, there's no need to inform locals about the surroundings. Many won't even check in until after the fact and will want nothing but a good night's sleep. But if it's in your budget to spring for a few snacks for them, they'll certainly welcome that surprise, too.

See Favorite Welcome Bag Ideas


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