OOT Bags: Economy and Ecology

We had a large group of people joining us from out of town. Our guests, friends, and family, came from anywhere in between (and including) New York to Hawaii. We wanted to welcome them, thank them for coming, and provide them with a few goodies as well as some pertinent information. We wanted to do all of this, not spend a lot of money, and to be more than something else to be thrown away (since there is no recycling in Panama City - reducing our waste was key). So while these paper gift bags were affordable at Michael's (about $0.75 each), they weren't a good option since they would just be thrown away.Another very popular idea is to splurge a bit and get canvas bags and then DIY decorate them for the wedding. This is a beautiful example from Mrs. Cupcake of weddingbee.
But as we've seen before, my DIY craftiness level only goes so far... and screen printing or gocco is not included. (Stamping is probably at the far reaches of my crafty level in this regard.) Also, canvas bags aren't particularly cheap unless you are buying ten gazillion of them. So, we needed a new option. A reusable, perferably recycled and recyclable, bag of a decent size for about $1. If only such things were in stores! Oh wait, they are! Right now they are in almost EVERY store!
As much as I love Publix, and am thrilled at their green efforts, it still didn't seem quite "us". And while reusable, they are made from new materials. Somewhere along the line it finally dawned on us that we are a part of a co-op with great stewardship principals and their bags are made form recycled materials, are reusable and recyclable, AND they have are a plastic based so they work as great beach bags too!! WOOHOO for REI!
At $1 a piece - we were sold! So before leaving LA, I went to REI and snatched up a bunch of these guys and packed them with me to Florida. In Florida we filled them with treats from Hawaii and Pennsylvania, some bottles of water, touristy maps and info, and a welcome letter with detailed information and directions to the welcome party. What I didn't count on (but was thrilled to see), was running into my guests at the hotel, heading to or from the beach or pool or shopping - all carrying the REI bags! Everyone said they loved them and that they make great beach bags. Hooray for the bags being a hit!

Next up - why 100 degree fevers suck the week before the wedding!