I like the out of town bag. I really do. I like the non-hotel priced bottle of water and packet of hangover-appropriate Tylenol and cookies. (mmm cookies.) I like the local attraction info, maps, bus route info, rehearsal dinner information, and phone numbers. And I especially like the handwritten welcome notes I've received in some out of town bags at other weddings.
However, I do not have a real budget for out of town bags. Nor am I entirely comfortable with throwing more paper bags into the world (though these might make a nice, affordable, canvas alternative that's sized for reusable gift bags.) Nor do I love the idea of buying single-use, chemical-laden water bottles when the hotel is likely to have glasses for water.
But I still love that packet of pertinent information and the handwritten card (and the cookie, obviously.) They always make me feel truly welcomed by the couple. It's the sort of gesture that creates hospitality and warmth that stays with you long after the event ends. Feeling individually welcomed and valued has no price.
So I'm thinking we may go with Out of Town Envelopes as a waste-free(er), practical-but-still-sentiment-inducing alternative. I can write a handwritten greeting. I can make it pretty with a stamp or fun label (perhaps a double print of our eventual invitation label design and mail merge? or perhaps I won't care when I'm assembling these at midnight?) I may try to bake cookies to hand out with each envelope at hotel check-in. Like the Doubletree chocolate chip cookies, but without the Doubletree getting involved. (And by "I may try to bake cookies" I mean "I will try to wrangle my baking goddess friends to "help" while I eat cookie dough and make a mess with flour.")
I think this compromise embodies the heart of the Out of Town bag without all of expense, disposability, or when-will-wedding-cr*p-stop-taking-over-my-spare-room insanity-inducing potential. Also, cookies. Everyone will be happy about our wedding and can forget about horrid airport stories if they're greeted with cookies, right?
What are your thoughts on out of town bags or envelopes? And, more importantly, do you have any tried-and-true cookie recipes to share?