Who doesn't love receiving the perfect gift? We can't think of anyone, so really put some thought into the gifts you give your destination wedding guests. Or better yet, enlist the help of Melangerie Inc., a company that designs bespoke papers, gifts, and event details for occasions big and small. They do everything from invitations to wedding genealogy charts to welcome gifts (they call them mélanges), so I sat down with Elana Dweck, the company's founder, to find out what she'd pack in her guests' welcome bags.
Shira: First off, what is a mélange?
E: Mélanges are our answer to the gift basket: a thoughtfully-curated group of items accessorized with distinct design details -- and no cellophane wrap, thank you. We help create personalized packaging, select and source the contents, and do the final gift assembly if you like. You can even include a custom guide with event details, locations, and personal recommendations.
S: How do you decide what goes in the gift bags?
E: First, we think about the client's intention. Is it a welcome gift, or a favor, or a bridal party gift? Then we use the couple's personality, preferences, and background, as well as the location of the wedding (and the couple's budget) to come up with something useful and helpful to the guests. Generally, we prefer to include a few well-considered products that work together rather than a whole bunch of filler, like inexpensive candy and snacks.
S: Do you have a favorite gift bag from over the years? And if so, why is it a standout?
E: I love one of the mélanges we created recently for a New York City wedding. The aesthetic was based on a pattern and typography from the couple's wedding invitations. We designed a custom tote and guide, and curated products in an eggplant and kelly green palette. It was beautiful and personal.
We used a Kelly green water bottle from the Central Park Conservancy because the groom was a triathlete who trained in the park daily; all the proceeds from the purchase of the bottles was donated back to the Central Park Conservancy. We also included a coordinating hang tag on the bottle prompting guests to fill the bottle with tasty and clean NYC tap water. I love products like this that are personal, functional, and give money back to a worthy cause -- and are "green" to boot!
S: What are some must-haves for welcome bags for destination weddings?
E: For destination weddings near the beach, I like to have the gift packaging double as a beach bag. RuMe or Baggu bags work great for this, and they come in tons of different colors and sizes.
Custom wedding weekend guides are especially good for destination weddings because your guests are generally at the destination for a weekend or longer and may not be familiar with the area. I mean, everyone wants to know the best place to grab a cocktail and watch the sunset at right?
I also like to include one snack that guests can eat in their hotel room.
S: What's in your tool kit that comes in handy when you're making these mélanges?
E: We love, love, love glue dots. They're like double-sided tape but stronger, and they come in a variety of sizes from mini to large. We use them to attach hang tags, close food products, etc. We also like crystal clear, resealable cellophane bags. They also come in lots of sizes, look crisp and clean, and are great for re-packaging products that may have come in a less-than-attractive box or bag.