how to plan a retreat

50+ Retreat-Worthy Gift Bag Ideas


One of the most fun parts of planning a retreat is putting together a gift bag that will delight your attendees! I am a huge believer that everything you put into a retreat gift/swag bag should be a useful, delightful extension of your goals and aligned with your event values.

It can feel overwhelming and exciting to imagine filling up a gift bag for your retreat. Begin by outlining your outcomes for the event itself. What do you hope your attendees will walk away with? What topics are you covering? Answering those questions will help you come up with the products and services that will help them continue to meet those goals after they leave your event.

In The Brave Gatherers Facebook Community I asked, "If you could snap your fingers and have ANYTHING YOU WANT - what would be in your retreat attendee gift bag?" We came up with an amazing list of ideas that is sure to spark your imagination! (You won't find any logo stamped flashlight keychains here.)

  • A delicious textile, like a scarf or a blanket because part of my mission in my retreats is to create a sensory experience that is woven into every day life
  • A handlettered inspirational art print from This (Un)Scripted Life Etsy shop
  • A custom journal to serve as a journal the day of the event, but also to continue their writing journey at home
  • Gratitude cards
  • Essential oils 
  • Affirmation deck
  • Inspirational art print 
  • Anything to pamper (candles, bath bombs, etc.)
  • Water bottle to stay hydrated
  • Art prints
  • Books related to the topic 
  • Tea 
  • Essential oil roller bottle (Maven can help you with this)
  • Flowing pen
  • Silk blindfold, candles, creams and oils
  • A card from An Artful Breath card deck
  • Lavender scented eye pillows/bags
  • Gift cards for products of some of the amazing things my friends make
  • Glass water jar (This is one of the gifts we give out at the Mindful Woman Retreat and it is well loved!)
  • Confetti popper (to be used at a celebratory moment!)
  • Homemade essential oil blend
  • Bath bomb
  • Lip balm
  • Art supplies 
  • Artwork for them to display in their work area that has a favorite quote - to remind them of our time together
  • A cute & comfy event shirt with a logo or quote
  • Fun pens in great colors 
  • Warm & cozy blanket 
  • Scarf
  • Planner 
  • Planner stickers 
  • Gratitude notecards (I particularly love this set from Hundred Hearts Project)
  • Organic skin care 
  • Bath salts
  • Ring, necklace or bracelet with inspirational message,
  • Sweatshirt/sweater
  • Cozy socks
  • Packet of seeds 
  • A kaleidoscope
  • Wrist mala from Sacred Becoming
  • Palo santo
  • Candle
  • For the bag itself to be reusable (I get mine from Charlie Thyme)
  • Mantra deck
  • Quartz crystal
  • Recording of a mantra meditation
  • Infinite Receiving Cards
  • Custom event-specific essential oil blend (Sweet Abundance does a lovely job with this)
  • Organic Cotton Recovery Robe from Recoop
  • Aromatherapy perfume
  • Organic chocolate
  • Crystals
  • Organic herbal tea
  • Snack bar/protein bar 
  • Something moon related
  • A small string of twinkle lights
  • Bookmark
  • Magnet
  • Tea wallet

A caveat that came up was to be mindful of anything that is scented (things like lotions, lip balms, bath stuff, or candles) - they can be less appealing to some because of skin and fragrance sensitivities.

What would YOU put in YOUR retreat swag bag? Comment below or join the conversation

Thank you to the amazing Brave Gatherers who contributed to this post! You can check a handful of them out here: 

Xandra O'Neill |

Justine Hwang |

Sheila Pai |

Natasha Botbijl |

Deanne Kalda |

Rebecca Wong |

Samantha Brook Johnston |

Betsey Kelly | Maven


Top 5 Reasons Retreats are Essential to Your Wellness Business

Your work is deeply valuable. You are intentional about every little detail, and it shows. You are changing your client’s lives, one at a time. Retreats will allow you broaden and deepen your reach, establishing your business as a step above the rest. Here are my top 5 reasons why retreats are essential to your wellness business.

1. In a busy world of quick, shallow exchanges and endless Facebook groups, many women are craving in-person community support networks. Even if your attendees only stay in touch via social media after your retreat, giving them a chance to connect deeply with each other in person will help them forge online friendships that go beyond emojis. Our Mindful Mama and Mindful Women retreat attendees engage regularly in a very active Facebook group open only to women who have attended one of our retreats, and many relationships have moved offline into play dates, pot luck dinners, and shared glasses of wine.

2. Retreats offer a longer timeframe to get deep with each other than one session or class. Whether you decide to hold a one day, overnight, or weekend retreat, moving through a series of experiences together will allow for the development of a deeper connection between you and your community, and within your community itself. Waiting for the bathroom during a break, negotiating yoga mat spacing, sharing art supplies, sitting down for a meal together, holding hands during a meditation, hearing each other’s stories and being present for each other in person – these are moments where new friendships are born, where wounds are healed, where people take the next step in their journey. Your retreat will facilitate this kind of magic!

3. Live events are so much fun, both to plan and to attend. Extrovert or introvert, being with each other in person gives people a chance to connect for real. There will be laughter, tears, hugs, story telling, and if you’re anything like me, probably dancing. Planning events is also a blast. I cannot get enough of all the little details; signage, branding, sessions, partners, sponsors, meals, swag bags, name tags. Each piece of planning a retreat is a chance to have fun and make it your own.

4. During a retreat, you get a chance to strengthen your audience's connection to you. Time together changes everything. You are no longer the professional at the desk, on the computer, or on the yoga mat at the front of the room; you are a living, breathing, perfectly imperfect person who will unfold in authentic ways throughout the day. They will watch you share your knowledge, facilitate conversations, and manage mishaps, and your grace and power will forge a deeper connection than you ever thought possible.

5. We need to get off of our computers and into shared physical spaces with other women who are also mindfully journeying through this beautiful, messy life. Retreats give us a chance to do it!

Now more than ever, creating a retreat series will give your business the advantage of growing a deeply connected and flourishing community of people who can benefit from your work, share their experience with others, and help your tribe growing roots & wings.

XOXO Lizzy

PS - Ready to dive in? You can get get Retreat Ready in 5 Days my mini-course, Rise Up With Retreats. It takes you through the 5 steps I use every time I am getting ready to plan a successful, sold out retreat. I want you to have the same results!