How to Put Together a Goodie Bag

Three Methods:Making a Goodie Bag for PartiesMaking a Goodie Bag for a WeddingMaking a Goodie Bag for Business

Goodie bags are brilliant ideas for parties, and a necessary addition to weddings (often called a welcome bag) and business conventions. With the right kind of gifts, they can turn a good party/wedding/event into a great one! Regardless of your needs, see Step 1 below to get started on putting together the perfect goody bag.

Method 1
Making a Goodie Bag for Parties

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    If your party has a theme, work with it. Are you having a pirate-themed party? A Christmas party? A black and white party? Whatever it is, start thinking about your goodie bag in terms of your party's theme. How does it fit in with the rest of your shindig?
    • Think about when you're planning on giving out your goodie bag. If it's toward the end, you could include things that will remind your guests of the good time they had. Or you could leave room in the bag for them to insert a few things from the party that they enjoyed (crafts, candies, decorations, etc.).
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    Account for your audience. If the recipients are 10 year old boys, you probably don't want to fill those bags up with inkwell pens and small bottles of Courvoisier. And if your audience is a group of middle-aged women, you're not gonna be giving them bags full of beef jerky and Pokémon cards (and hopefully not having a jerky-themed, Pokémon party). What would your audience enjoy?
    • The younger your audience, the more you should shy away from things that will be messed with for 5 seconds, broken, and then shoved in a drawer. You'd be better off with mostly candies or things that can actually be used, like pens or hair barrettes.
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    Plan on a budget. If you are inviting 10 people, you can afford to splash out more than if you are inviting 30. These goodie bags are out of the kindness of your heart, so don't feel pressure to break the bank on them. How much money would you like to spend? Once you pick that number (and stick to it!), the contents will fall into place.
    • A few dollars per bag is plenty. You want to aim for a number of filler items and just a few tokens that have actual value.
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    Plan your contents. Most goodie bags contain food or candy and tiny knick-knacks such as small toys, pencils, and stickers -- probably 3 to 5 of each. For example, if you were going with the pirate theme, you could include a shop-bought eye patch, some fake gold pirate's booty, and some themed sweets. You could even make homemade ones to save on the expense and make it even more personal.
    • You could also use tissue paper or pretty cellophane grass (the basket filler stuff) to give your bags some volume. Not all of it has to be gifts!
    • Throw in some tootsie rolls, mints, tiny chocolates, or other pre-wrapped candies you can buy in bulk to add to the goodie bag while cutting down on your expenses.
    • Visit your local dollar store to get to stuffing your bags on the cheap!
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    Choose and fill your bag. Adults will be content with a basic gift bag, but children may prefer a more sophisticated bag with splotches of color or with themed designs. Anything from a cellophane gift bag to ironed tissue paper tied with a ribbon will look perfect.
    • Consider adding ribbon, string, or a bow to add more flair to your bag -- or to add a way to tie on a tag where you can write the recipient's name. The more personalized it is, the more your guest will be touched!

Method 2
Making a Goodie Bag for a Wedding

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    Choose your bag template. As a general rule of thumb, you have three standard choices: the gift bag, the tote, or the box. With technology nowadays, they're all good contenders -- anything can be personalized, jazzed up, and made impressive. It's just a matter of taste!
    • The only real thing to take into consideration is that your goodie bag should match your theme. Get creative! Are you at the beach? Use a pail! Does your wedding have a vintage-y feel? Use an antique-y box. Stay consistent -- this goodie bag is one of the first things you have at your disposal to set the tone.
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    Add some edibles. Because everyone loves food -- especially if they just got in from a long trip full of peanuts and sips of watered-down coffee. Little munchies are best, and they're even better if they're from the area the wedding is taking place or your hometown. Get local! What springs to mind when you think of where you are?
    • Whatever isn't available in the minibar is good -- fresh fruit is a great, cheap addition. But sweets are also always, always, always welcome. Think granola bars, chocolate, or even homemade baked goods!
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    Stash a souvenir. You want something you can give your guests that they can remember forever. What's more perfect than a souvenir? Not necessarily of your wedding, but of the entire trip your guests are making. If you're having it in your hometown, have it be along the lines of your wedding's theme. If you're having a destination wedding, have it be indicative of the destination. In Paris? A little Eiffel Tower. In Texas? A star, of course.
    • If you have a few children in attendance, you may want to opt for a toy trinket in lieu of a souvenir -- or in addition to! A mini plane, yo-yo, just a simple gadget that says you're thinking of the entire family.
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    Get to pampering. This is a long weekend for your guests, too. They're exhausted from the traveling and mingling and probably staying up all night. Have some sort of "recovery" aid in your goodie bag for your guests that are going to greet the sunrise. Here are some ideas:
    • Advil/Tylenol
    • A sleep mask
    • Lotion/bath salts/soap, etc.
    • Water/coffee/juice or other morning goodies
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    Be your guests' tour guide. Your guests who have traveled all the way here are probably looking to do more than just attend your wedding. Get them going on their excuse-for-a-vacation by offering them some things in their goodie bag that will make their trip that much easier. Here's a list to get you thinking:
    • A map (with dots or stickers indicating places to check out)
    • An itinerary for the wedding weekend
    • Disposable camera
    • Coupons
    • Postcard
    • Brochures
    • List of local gems (with reviews)
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    Make it personal. At the end of the day, this is your wedding -- not some corporate event you're sponsoring. So get to personalizing your welcome bags! Get the outside of your tote designed, have water bottle labels made, and start scouring the Internet for labels for your goodies.
    • If it's something they can keep forever, try to avoid having something like "CHAN AND JAN 4EVER" plastered on the side. Stick to a symbol and the date, maybe your initials, when you're dealing with the tote or the box -- something that's utilitarian in the future. You don't want them to throw it out in two weeks, you know?
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    Include a thank you. Because without your guests, your wedding would not go how you want it to go. They've spent money and time making sure your day is special, so thank them! Include a nice little note in the bag saying how much you appreciate that they're there.

Method 3
Making a Goodie Bag for Business

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    Have the basics set up well in advance. You probably have months notice when it comes to this event, so start early. What's your budget? How many recipients will there be? What does the boss have in mind? You're putting together quite a few pieces -- sometimes these things take time, so leave yourself some wiggle room to avoid missing the deadline.
    • Do you know the demographic you're dealing with? Men and women, young and old, will enjoy different things. What do you know about who you're working for?
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    Contact related companies for samples. If you're having a convention or holding any sort of event, you'll want to contact companies that sell products related to the topic at hand. There are things to consider here:
    • Contact companies that have offers of free samples on their website. You may only be able to get your hands on a few, but who said the goodie bags had to all be the same?
    • Email companies asking for free samples. It's marketing! They do it all the time. Tell them how many people you have (that could be potential clients), what and when your event is, and what kind of samples you're looking for. Just give them enough advanced notice!
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    Put your brand on the bag. While you may be proffering other companies' goods, you want your own name to be seen, too. Have your company's name on the goodie bag itself so everyone knows where these free gifts are coming from. You're trying to bank brownie points here, not just promote other companies.
    • Pick out your bag after you know what the contents are -- you want neither a bag that's empty nor a bag that's overflowing. And if the bag doesn't have your company's name on it, put it on there. A tag, a sticker, heck, paint it on there if you have to. It's a goodie bag and it's art! Impressive.
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    Plan the contents. You've contacted your companies, you have the goods from the ones who actually responded, now what? You'll need to throw in a few pens, maybe a notepad or a key chain, but is that enough? Nope! Just because your goodie bag is for business doesn't mean you can't make it fun, too.
    • Don't be afraid to add in some decorative things and some food, too. If your company has a color scheme, add in a few tokens that match. And as for food, some pre-wrapped candies or mints will go along away -- and they're usually pretty cheap.


  • Write names on the party bags. That way, if you want to give them a personalised gift, there should be less confusion.
  • You can contact businesses for personal use too! Say you're having a baby shower -- email a diaper company! If you have 40 women who they could make a profit from, they'd be crazy not to send free samples.


  • If you do have personalised bags, do not have one person have a lot more than someone else. Jealously may arise, and that is the last thing you want at your party! You can avoid this by giving out gift bags at the end of the party. Most people won't check out their goodies until they have gotten home or at least gotten in the car where no one else can see what they got.

Things You'll Need

  • Bags
  • Ribbon (optional)
  • Tags (optional)
  • Filler (tissue paper, etc.) (optional)
  • Candy
  • Small trinkets

Article Info

Categories: Parties