Planning for your wedding already requires a lot of thought, time and energy. And if you’re tying the knot in an exotic locale, then the preparation process will demand a few extra considerations. A destination wedding comes with plenty of perks — like a breathtaking backdrop for the big day, stunning photo ops and, of course, the option to start your honeymoon as soon as you say “I do.” That said, these weddings also pose some potential pitfalls as well. Luckily, you can avoid any stressful snafus by planning ahead and packing your suitcase thoughtfully.
Wondering what to pack for your destination wedding? In this guide, we’ll cover all the other must-haves for matrimonial bliss.
It goes without saying that you’ll need to pack your wedding dress, plus any extras that will complete your bridal look. But a word to the wise: don’t put these items in your checked bag — it’s too risky when you consider the possibility lost or delayed luggage. Instead, put your wedding dress in a garment bag and carry it on your flight. You should also pack your wedding bands, bridal shoes and any other accessories you plan to wear (like your veil) in your carry-on bag just in case. And if you can’t fit all of these items in your carry-on, you might ask a trusted family member or your maid of honor to stow these must-haves in theirs.
What you wear underneath your wedding dress is equally important, of course. While you’ll want a variety of basic bras and panties to get you through your trip, you’ll also need some special wedding night lingerie to cap off your big day on a seductive note. Whether you go for a simple matching set or go all out with a suspender belt, stockings and the whole shebang, feel free to kick off the honeymoon early with some luxe bridal lingerie.
Paperwork may not be the first thing that comes to mind while you’re packing, but it should be at the top of your list. There are certain key documents you’ll need to have on hand to make sure nothing gets in the way of your big day. If you’re headed out of the country, your passport is obviously a must-have. It’s also crucial to have copies of both of your birth certificates, as well as your marriage license. You may want to check with local authorities to see if there’s anything else you’ll need, as these requirements vary from country to country. It’s best to keep copies of these documents in your checked bag, but store the original copies in your carry-on bag. And just to be safe, you may want to have digital copies, too.
Who doesn’t want a flawless complexion while they’re walking down the aisle? Be sure to pack travel-friendly sizes of all your go-to products, including cleanser, toner, exfoliator, moisturizer, serums, eye cream, etc. Also, it’s a good idea to pack sunscreen, regardless of where you’re heading. The last thing you want to deal on your big day is a painful, unsightly sunburn, so it’s better to be safe than sorry and slather on that SPF while you’re out and about exploring your destination.
Jetting off to somewhere warm? Then you’ll definitely want to pack some pieces that you can wear to the beach, as well as the pool if your hotel or resort happens to have one. Make sure to pack some trendy swimsuits — ideally, at least two of them. That way, you’ll have a backup to sunbathe or splash around in when the other one’s still wet or needs to be washed. Consider a sleek one-piece with eye-catching accents, plus a bold bikini, so you have options to choose from depending on your mood and the occasion. You’ll also be grateful to have a cute cover-up or two on hand for those romantic strolls by the ocean and impromptu cocktails at the beachfront bar. Don’t forget your favorite pair of sunnies, a beach tote and a casual pair of flip-flops.
Your wedding dress isn’t the only formal attire you’ll want to pack for your destination wedding — you’ll also need something to wear to other special events, like your rehearsal dinner or farewell brunch. And don’t forget to pack something to bring along a killer reception ensemble to slip into after the ceremony, too. Think cocktail attire, which could mean a classy little white dress with some eye-catching accessories or a dressy jumpsuit in a striking hue. Be sure to include some footwear to go with these outfits, like a pair of metallic open-toe pumps, nude wedges or strappy heeled sandals.
Speaking of footwear, you’ll probably be thankful to have a pair of comfortable shoes if you plan on doing any exploring at your destination. A pair of slip-on leather sneakers, for example, are not only practical but still make you look put-together. You can pair them with everything from basic T-shirt dresses to denim shorts while you’re sightseeing or strolling around the resort grounds with your hubby-to-be.
While you’ll certainly have plenty of opportunities to dress up in the days around your destination wedding, you’ll also need some casual clothes to chill out in. Laid-back afternoons by the pool or scoping out the local shopping with your SO call for easy breezy sundresses or rompers, tanks and shorts. Remember to bring some light layers, like a denim jacket or a cardigan, to throw on when you’re enjoying an al fresco dinner and there’s a brisk ocean breeze.
Your makeup bag and hair styling tools are a no-brainer. But what about your nail kit? It can be super helpful to have an extra bottle of polish in the same color as your wedding-day manicure, plus a nail file and other tools for quick last-minute touch-ups.
There’s hardly a more romantic way to say your “I do’s” than in an exotic location. But having a destination wedding demands some special considerations. As long as you refer to this checklist, you’ll be prepared for a smooth, stress-free experience.
Gabrielle Gray serves as the Marketing Manager for Journelle. She oversees Marketing, PR, Social Media and E-commerce needs from the New York City Corporate headquarters. Before joining Journelle, Gabrielle worked as a Social Media and Project Manager for Adagio Events Pte. Ltd. in Singapore, developing business strategies, client relationships, and assisting with the production of high-end luxury lifestyle events.