How to Pack When You're Traveling for Your Destination Wedding – The Ultimate Guide

How to Pack When You’re Traveling for Your Destination Wedding – The Ultimate Guide


A destination wedding is one of the most romantic and exciting trips to plan and prepare for. Planning a wedding in a remote location offers many benefits, but also demands a little more vigilance from you.

Since a destination wedding involves shuffling, transitioning, and moving while traveling, packing becomes one of the most important jobs. It’s easy to miss out on important things at home because of the excitement. Because your mind is swept up in the excitement when you’re packing, you may forget little but crucial details. Such mistakes can prove to be very costly.

Destination weddings packing tips and tricks

With planning and allowing yourself time, plus a checklist and suggestions from others who have experience with destination weddings, you’ll be good to go.

Here we will share with you some suggestions for packing your bags while you travel to your wedding.

#1 – Create a Checklist

It is recommended that you start creating a checklist of items to be packed, months in advance from the wedding day. Keep jotting items as you remember them, and while packing, check them against your list. This way your packing will be more organized and fruitful.

#2 – Buy Travel Insurance

Anything can happen in life, and though most of the time 99% of all destination wedding travel goes without a hitch, there are times when you may need to utilize your travel insurance. There are different levels of coverage and plans. Consult an expert to ensure you have what is best for you.

#3 – Bring Extras

Always bring extra cash, copies of your passport, and any legal documents you are planning to bring with you. You should also pack extra prescription medication, an extra camera, memory sticks, chargers, and other items that if suddenly lost, would make life very difficult for you. Always keep these items with you at all times, do not put these in your checked luggage, as luggage can get lost or delayed.

#4 – Pack light

One of the important things to keep in mind, and maybe the most difficult, is the weight. With extra charges on luggage and weight limits, be sure to check with your airline in advance so that you don’t have costly surprises at the gate if budgeting is a concern. Use bags and suitcases that are lightweight. Bags with wheels on them are quite handy, which allow the bag to be easily pushed, thus saving you a lot of effort. Check out the vacuum-sealed bags from stores like Target and Walmart to pack your clothes tightly and efficiently.

You may also want to FedEx or mail a box of clothing or items in advance to your location.

#5 – Wedding dress

This is quite obvious, but needs to be said anyway; do not forget to bring your wedding dress. We have known women to pack their bags–and then turn around to realize they still need to figure out how to fit in their dress. It is important to keep your dress wrinkle-free throughout the duration of your journey. Use the coat closets available in aircraft to hang your dress. Grooms are advised to rent and bring a tuxedo from their hometown, and not risk searching for one at the destination. You may want to ask your wedding planner or local hotel what services or facilities may be located near your destination in case you need care at the last minute. Also, do not forget to pack shoes that go with the tuxedo.

#6 – For brides

Pack your makeup box, and other related appliances if you prefer to do everything yourself. Go with travel-size everything as much as possible. Remember if something is liquid to check your airline’s regulations. Most liquid items need to be checked in your luggage, not taken on your carry-on. Ziploc bags are key for keeping cosmetics, lotions, perfumes, and other products organized and sealed from spilling into the rest of your things. Also, you can always choose to visit a salon to have your makeup and hair done before your ceremony. This depends a lot on the location of your wedding…but private stylists or salons are often available if you ask your planner or hotel.

Toiletry items might be provided by your hotel, so it is better to check with them on phone in advance. Pack your jewelry and wedding rings safely. Pack a sufficient change of clothes for before and after the wedding, including swimsuits if you opted for a beach wedding. Also, for the beach, you should definitely pack sunscreen lotion for protection against sunburns.

Forgetting to bring some important paperwork can be extremely excruciating, therefore pay special attention while packing these. You will need to check with your wedding planner about what the legal requirements of your wedding location are and bring the appropriate papers with you.

Some documents you should definitely bring with you are your birth certificate, passport, and if applicable, your divorce papers. Put all your papers where they are easily accessible, for example, your handbag. Do not place them in your main luggage.

#8 – More preparations

Apart from these things, you should have the contact numbers of your doctor, pet- sitter, and your bank. Do not forget your hotel reservation slips and your ATM cards. Take digital photos or scans of your ID, passport, and credit cards on both sides; store these images in a safe place on your computer in case of loss or theft. Make sure you take down the number of your credit card company into your address book contacts as well.

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Destination wedding checklist

A destination wedding is difficult to plan, but as long as you create a checklist you will stay on track and create the best and most memorable wedding that you can imagine!

9-12 months

  • Select a destination and find out all the marriage requirements.
  • Create a Budget
  • Decide what kind of ceremony you would like, the size, the formality of the wedding, and the time of year.
  • Choose a date
  • Possibly purchase Wedding Insurance
  • Decide and speak with the wedding planner you will use
  • Make sure to contact the venues that interest you and ask for their proposals
  • Visit those venues and meet the vendors if you can, do food and cake tastings, etc.
  • Reserve your venue
  • Choose the members of the bridal party
  • Begin shopping for your wedding gown
  • Create and Launch your wedding website with all of the wedding details
  • Compile a guest list
  • Send out your “Save-the-Date” cards
  • Start a wedding binder to hold all of your paperwork, magazine clippings, and thoughts – whatever you might need while you are planning your big event

6-9 months

  • Book a block of hotel rooms for your guests
  • Decide on your music and book a DJ or band
  • Choose a photographer and/or videographer
  • Find an officiant
  • Look into any local customs or traditions that you want to include in the wedding
  • Select your menu and wedding cake
  • Design your flowers
  • Create your registry
  • Shop for your bridesmaid’s dresses – style and color
  • Buy your wedding accessories
  • Make sure to plan your honeymoon if you want to go to a different destination

4-6 months

  • Order your invitations
  • Purchase your rings
  • Prepare your paperwork for traveling – make sure you have your passports, visas, and whatever else you might need
  • If they are required have your blood tests and vaccines taken care of
  • Arrange transportation for your guests for their arrivals as well as the wedding day – Limos, taxis, buses
  • Book your flights – you will want to arrive at least three to four days before your wedding day
  • Order wedding favors and decorations and decides how they will arrive at the destination
  • Buy groom’s attire
  • Ensure your bridal party has ordered their dresses and attire
  • Start a playlist of your favorite songs to be played at your wedding
  • Plan the pre-wedding activities and events including a welcome reception, daily excursions, and the rehearsal dinner

2-4 months

  • Send your invitations
  • Write your wedding vows
  • Select the wedding readings, ceremony music, and ceremony order
  • Check to make sure your guests are booking their trip without any problems with flights and hotels
  • Start writing a “Welcome Letter” and place together “Welcome Bags”
  • Purchase gifts for the groom, bridal party, parents, etc.
  • Have your final gown fitting
  • Decide how your gown will arrive at your destination – will you have it delivered or will you travel with it yourself

2-3 weeks

  • Confirm all details of the wedding with the venue, hotel, officiant, vendors, DJ, etc.
  • Make your seating chart and place cards
  • Design a ceremony program if you want to have one
  • Make sure to confirm your travel plans – flights, accommodation, etc.
  • Check over your guest list to make sure you have everyone’s itinerary and have made arrangements for their arrivals

1 week

  • Start packing – pack strategically and ask family members to help carry anything you might not have room for. If you are traveling with your gown, have it prepared to board the plane with you

When you arrive

  • Confirm all of your wedding details
  • Walkthrough venue, ceremony site, and speak with the officiant
  • Finish your wedding paperwork required by the destination and apply for your marriage license
  • Put together your guests’ “Welcome Bags” and have them delivered to their hotels
  • Have the dress prepared for your wedding day
  • Remember to have the groom’s attire and your bridal party garments prepared for the wedding too
  • Do a hair & makeup trial with the veil and accessories
  • Make sure your guests enjoy the activities you have planned for them
  • Have a wedding rehearsal and enjoy the rehearsal dinner afterward

On your wedding day

  • Relax!
  • Make sure that the Best Man has the wedding rings
  • Get ready and enjoy the excitement of starting your new life with your soon to be husband!

This may seem like a long list, but in the long run, you will find it helpful. You want to make every detail of your destination wedding perfect.

The Ultimate List of what to pack for your destination Wedding

  • Wedding dress
  • Veil/headgear
  • lots of extra bobby pins
  • Wedding shoes
  • Wedding flip-flops for reception
  • A strapless bra for wedding dress
  • Wedding jewelry
  • Makeup and other beauty essentials
  • Hairspray
  • Wedding bands
  • Curling iron
  • Flat iron
  • Wedding vows copy
  • Copy of ALL emails with wedding planner & vendors
  • Flowers (if non-perishable)
  • Seating cards
  • Wedding favors
  • Any special decorations you plan to use
  • Groom’s attire
  • Extra pantyhose
  • Hem tape
  • Ring pillow
  • Reception dress
  • Rehearsal dress
  • Wedding itinerary/ welcome letter
  • Guest book
  • Bridesmaid & groomsmen gifts
  • Groom’s gift
  • Marriage certificate
  • Scissors, ribbon, tape, and other crafty stuff for any last-minute work
  • Safety pins
  • Copies of passport
  • Travel sewing kit
  • Anything you want to use for photo ops
  • Garter
  • Honeymoon attire
  • Aspirin
  • Band-Aids
  • Chalk (to hide smudges or smears on your wedding dress)
  • Clear nail polish (for stocking runs)
  • Sunblock
  • Straws (so the bride can stay hydrated without messing up her lipstick)

Destination wedding planner

For many couples, the decision to get married in a hometown doesn’t seem like the best solution. If you want to change your options so you can have a romantic atmosphere and scene for your wedding, then considering a destination wedding can help you. For this to work easily and effectively, you will want to look at a destination wedding planner to assist you with the planning for your special day. This individual can assist you with the resources that you need for your wedding while allowing you to easily enjoy the atmosphere for your wedding day.

There are a variety of services that a destination wedding planner offers that is different from others. You can expect options such as:

  • Finding the right venue
  • Assisting with the program, including the ceremony and reception
  • Providing wedding favors
  • Supporting the ceremony and reception

Not only will you be able to get the basic needs of a destination wedding planner. There are also specialized approaches that are often used. For instance, if you want to tap into specialized options with local talent and entertainment, then a planner can assist you. Everything from local food and wedding favors to music can be added to your menu for a perfect destination wedding. This allows you to build the atmosphere into an exotic flavor while you are traveling for your wedding.

Another addition that a destination wedding planner may offer is assistance that moves outside of an ordinary wedding. If you are planning on family and friends traveling with you, then you will want to use a wedding planner to find the right accommodations. Many specialists will offer extra assistance with the travel plans that you need.

Destination wedding locations

Timing is everything, and when choosing a destination wedding location, it is even more important. From the overall look of the beaches to the intensity of the sunsets, planning the perfect time is the key to a wedding that will create a lifetime of memories.

Here are some great places where you can celebrate your special day!

  • Walt Disney world
  • Jamaica
  • Hawaii
  • Fiji
  • Las Vegas
  • Caribbean
  • Thailand
  • Grouse Mountain – British Columbia, Canada
  • Bahamas
  • Italy

Destination wedding packages

Destination wedding packages have been growing in popularity because most of the time they can prove to be more affordable than regular weddings. With a regular wedding, you have to look for vendors individually. If you add up the charge of the venue for the ceremony and reception, catering, photography, entertainment, florist, wedding cake, and decoration, it can largely exceed what you should pay for a packaged deal. Wedding packages conveniently combine all of the important elements of the wedding, greatly reducing the overall charge.

Destination wedding packages have been selected to give the bride and groom anything they want from a wedding without the added stress. Most of these packages will include a wedding planner or coordinator to discuss and work out the details of the wedding. Make sure the packages you look into have this feature available. The amazing thing about this kind of wedding packages is that the months and weeks leading up to the wedding will be relatively stress-free for the bride and groom.

Final thoughts

Destination weddings can be tons of fun. It’s a vacation and wedding rolled into one package vacation that even your guests get to enjoy.

The downside of a destination wedding is probably the downside of any vacation: the packing. Except, since you’re putting on a major event (your wedding!), you’ll want to make sure you don’t forget certain vital items that are important for your special day.

If you are having your wedding somewhere else that requires traveling, you will want to make sure you pack everything you need.

Destination wedding FAQs

Q: Do you bring gifts to a destination wedding?

Some couples throwing far-flung nuptials will request that guests do not give gifts, but since very few people still live in or tie the knot in their actual hometowns, almost any wedding must be considered the destination event in some capacity. The most important gift-giving rule of thumb is to spend what you’re able to.

Q: Do you pay for guests at a destination wedding?

You absolutely do NOT have to pay for your wedding guests’ hotel rooms at a destination wedding or any other kind of wedding. Yes, weddings cost a lot for guests, especially when they’re traveling from out of town and most likely have to pay for a plane ticket and/or gas and lodging for 2 nights.

Q: What is the cheapest destination wedding locations?

Riviera Maya, Mexico.
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Cancun, Mexico.
Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.
Runaway Way, Jamaica.

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