Being prepared while packing for a destination wedding is a must! Destination weddings have exploded throughout the travel and events markets in the past decade. Couples have been choosing destination weddings in both hot and cold areas of the world. While traveling out of town for a wedding is a fun and exciting experience, there is definitely a need to plan ahead.
As a wedding planner, I have witnessed many mini-crises that could have been avoided, had appropriate packing planning been done! I bring you my thoughts on this topic beneath.
There’s Always A Story Behind The Venue
There’s always a story behind a couple deciding to select a destination wedding versus planning a hometown wedding. Perhaps one member of the happy couple grew up in a specific town so he or she couldn’t imagine getting hitched anywhere else. Alternatively, the pair fell in love during a beach vacation, mountain scene, or cityscape and they want to pay homage to that special place.
Destination weddings usually have weekend itineraries that provide guests with plenty of entertainment. A welcome party, rehearsal dinner, a farewell brunch the day after the wedding are just a few things that may be included. Here in Los Cabos, it’s customary to see guests enjoying yoga sessions, surf lessons, stand-up paddleboard lessons, tastings (tequila, mescal, wine, etc), beach days, or pool parties.
Packing For A Destination Wedding
The great thing about being a guest is the details are already taken care of for you. You are given dates, places, and activity times. All you need to do is decide what to pack, then show up, ready to celebrate! In spite of how easy this sounds, packing for a destination wedding can be challenging.
No matter your role in the festivities, everyone attending has to pack certain items. Itinerary, attire, climate, and budget enter into most decisions surrounding packing for a destination wedding.
For a wedding weekend trip, a suitcase with compartments is your best friend. Use each compartment to keep your extras organized, while fitting your main wedding weekend needs into the main sections. Wet/dry bags work well to pack your shoes apart from your clean clothes, or your damp swimsuit for the trip home.
What To Pack Depends On Where You Will Go
It goes without saying that the wedding destination plays an important role when it comes to deciding how or what to pack for a destination wedding. Warm or cold, winter or summer, domestic or international.
My recommendation for you is to plan for the big stuff while embracing the potential hiccups that may arise along the way. Whether you’re packing flip-flops or snow boots, a light shawl or a furry-lined muff, you could make or break your entire vacation if you don’t appropriately pack for a destination wedding.
Pack light, repurpose clothing and bring an appropriate amount of accessories. Do some research about the destination, check TSA for any potential restrictions, CDC/WHO for healthcare warnings & state departments for visa needs. Bring your party dress, dancing shoes, and your holiday attitude.
The Packing List
Here is a list of essential packing items for all guests:
- * Passport (if applicable)
- * Travel information, including boarding passes and hotel reservations. You can opt to use apps on your smartphone to save this information (i.e Wallet app from IOS) in case you’d rather not travel with paperwork.
- * Attire, accessories, and shoes for all wedding events (rehearsal dinner, welcome party, luncheons, etc.)
- * Wedding day attire. (I have a lot to say on this particular topic – so read on!)
- Pack your wedding outfit in your carry-on luggage. The last thing you want is to have your luggage lost or delayed with all of your wedding essentials along with it. If you must check your bag, at least bring your wedding day outfit and shoes on board the plane.
- Try to select an outfit that isn’t going to wrinkle a lot; one that you can easily pack in your bag. A good way to avoid wrinkles is to wrap your dress in a plastic dry-cleaner bag, fold it in half, and place it on top of your luggage. The foldable hanging bags are another option too. Even if after all this planning, your garment comes out wrinkled, don’t panic! Most hotels will offer laundry services or at least an in-room iron. Expect that someone in the bridal party will have a steam iron that you could borrow if all else fails. Plan to iron/steam your outfit the day before the wedding in case of any unforeseen delay.
- Before you leave for a destination wedding, do a trial run with your wedding day outfit and gear. You want to ensure that the dress you are packing actually fits and that you have everything you need to make it work. It’s easy to overlook little things – appropriately colored, seamless underwear, a clutch that comfortably holds all your wedding needs, and the perfect jewelry choices. I’m a fan of packing little saviors like a travel lint roller, fashion tape, and safety pins. Those mini- emergency kits can be oh-so-handy.
- * Pack a back-up outfit: There’s nothing worse than accidentally tearing or spilling something on your outfit right before attending a wedding. In fact, you should expect tearing or spilling on your outfit prior to attending a destination wedding. Without normal access to other options in your closet, it’s very useful to pack a second pair of clothes just in case something happens.
- * Include a sweater, light jacket, or wrap, even if the wedding is at a beach destination. Weather is unpredictable.
- * Handbag (if applicable): Alexander Wang Wangloc Rhinestone Nano Pouch, Cult Gia Gia Bag, Les Petites Joueurs Satin Fringy Crystals Shoulder Bag, Michael Kors Grace Medium Patent Leather Envelope Clutch, GG Marmont matelassé medium shoulder bag.
- * Swimsuits: Marcia B Maxwelll Swim, Cult Gaia, Amaio Swim, L*Space, Anemone.
- Ladies (especially the bride), it’s important to keep your wedding attire neckline in mind. You don’t want to see any tan lines while you’re wearing a beautiful strapless or backless dress.
- * Sunscreen: Sun Bum, Coola, Goop Skin Care, SkinCeuticals
- * After-sun lotion or aloe vera
- * Sunglasses: Loewe Rectangular Acetate Sunglasses, Ray Ban highstreet Wayfarers, Celine Eyewear Cat-eye Sunglasses, Stella McCartney Aviator Sunglasses, Miu Miu Geometric Gradient Glasses.
- * Sun hat: L*Space, Hat Attack, Madewell, Jannessa Leoné
- * Tote bag or beach bag: Anthropologie Dominique Tote Bag, H&M Paper Straw Shopper, Zara Scarf Shoulder Bag, Chanel Shopping Bag, Hereu Callela Organic Cotton Canvas Tote.
- * Sandals: Roger Vivier Viv’s Clogs, Hereu Cabersa Wovem Leather Slingback Sandals, Neoeus Lanke Leather flip-flops, Birkenstock Arizona Shearling Slides, The Row Bare Flat Leather Espadrille Sandals.
- * Sleepwear
- * Undergarments
- * Toiletries
- * Glasses and/or contacts
- * Prescription medicine(s)
- * Hair tools
- * Cell phone and phone charger (with electrical adapters if necessary)
- * Cash and credit cards
Besides the items mentioned above, there are a few additional items the couple and the wedding party should consider.
- * Wedding attire and accessories (sash, belt, etc.) Always pack these items in your carry-on luggage. Your wedding dress vendor will know how to pack it so it travels well.
- * Veil: https://www.brides.com/gallery/wedding-veils-from-etsy
- * Shoes for the wedding: Christian Louboutin Leather and Satin Bow Sandals, Badgley Mischka Embellish Sandal, White by Vera Wang Crystal Back Heels, Aldo Embellished Straps Heel, jimmy Choo Lace, and Pearl Heels.
- * Wedding day jewelry (earrings, necklace, bracelet, ring)
- * Day clutch or evening bag for wedding and/rehearsal dinner: Bottega Veneta The Pouch, Oscar de la Renta Take a Bow, Jimmy Choo Fancy Feathers
- * Undergarments
- * Wedding day hair accessories (headband/headpiece, special pins or combs): OlgaDelice Bridal Hair Vine, ASOS Design Graduating Pearl Headband, Barode Bridal Wedding Hair Pins, Marissa Pavlishina Opal and Gold Hair Comb
- * Getting ready attire (robe, button-down shirt) See some great options on Etsy.
- * Send-off outfit (if applicable)
- * Nail kit (including polish for touch-ups)
- * Makeup
- * Perfume
- * Emergency Kit (for the wedding day)
- * Touch up items (lipstick powder, blush, etc)
- * Eye drops
- * Mints
- * Mini mirror
- * Tissues
- * Small perfume
- * Hair elastic bands
- * Bobby pins
- * Extra contact lenses
- * Pain relievers (Advil or aspirin)
- * Antacid
- * Easy Snack (like and energy bar, something that won’t be messy)
- * Mini sewing kit
- * Fashion tape
- * Safety pins
- * Wedding day attire (tuxedo or suit). Always pack in your carry-on luggage.
- * Tie or bow tie
- * Cufflinks
- * Wedding day shoes and socks
- * Shaving kit (cream, razor, aftershave, etc)
- * Marriage license (if applicable)
- * Wedding weekend itinerary/timeline. If you’re attending a wedding that is being organized by a wedding planner he/she will definitely have and execute this, but it’s always good to have your own copy too. All you Type A’s out there will appreciate this one! 😉
- * Copies of vendor contracts and contact info
- * Wedding bands
- * Ring pillow or ring box
- * Vows (make sure to bring a copy, especially if they are handwritten)
- * Wedding decor extras that haven’t been shipped in advance (cake topper, guest book, toasting glasses, etc)
- * Extra cash for any last-minute expenses. ATMs only give a certain amount per day, and hotels charge a big commission fee for cash advance transactions.
While this list may sound like a lot of work, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you are prepared and plan ahead of time, you’ll be completely relaxed and mentally ready to enjoy the festivities with friends and family. You’ll also be prepared to face any setbacks or last-minute issues that might come up.
Destination weddings are a lot of fun. They are the perfect excuse for a weekend trip that will create a lifetime of memories. Appropriate packing for a destination wedding means you’ll feel much more refreshed and relaxed upon your return.
Pack your bags and we’ll see you at your next destination wedding!
Ximena Perez Marentes
Amy Abbott Events