What to Pack for a Destination Wedding    

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Written by Caila Ball-Dionne on

Caila Ball-Dionne is a freelance writer and full-time travel enthusiast. You can find more of her writing at CailaBall.com.

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Heading somewhere exotic to witness one of your favorite couples tie the knot? Make sure you’ve packed all the essentials for the ceremony, reception—and your own built-in mini-break! Here’s what to pack—and how to pack it—to make sure you’re the perfect wedding guest.

Wedding season is in full swing—which means that you’re maybe starting to notice invitations to destination weddings brightening up your mailbox.

It’s pretty tough to turn down these enticing affairs: After all, as a travel enthusiast, the opportunity to celebrate two global wanderers finding one another (while satisfying some wanderlust of your own!) is reason enough to pack your bag with dancing shoes (or, will you make that sandals?).

Although you may be ready to say, "I do" to some relaxation at the beach (or mountains, or at a vineyard) packing for a wedding at an exotic location is very different than packing for a typical vacation—or, for that matter, a typical wedding.

Don't let packing procrastination get in the way of an affirmative RSVP. Simply check off steak or fish on your reply card, then follow the advice of Mike in the Eagle Creek Marketing Department to make the smartest-possible packing choices before filling up your suitcase.

Q. In 10 words or less, what is your packing strategy for a destination wedding?

Wrinkle-free is the key! Use the Pack-It System.

Q. What is your best advice for packing for a destination wedding?

It's always better to overpack than to under pack. It's a wedding, and unless otherwise noted, flip-flops and swimsuits are NOT appropriate attire. Bring a few options in case your go-to ensemble is either too dressy or not dressy enough (this is one instance where you have the green light to overpack!).

Q. The bride and groom are saying their “I Dos” barefoot on a beach. Should I still pack my dress shoes?

YES. The only people allowed to be shoeless are the bride and groom, and in some cases, the bridal party. Dress for a destination wedding like you'd dress for an interview. It's always better to be overdressed rather than under (remember, you can always take your shoes off if it’s suggested by the couple).

Q. What are some commonly forgotten items that should make it into your suitcase?

Think about the items you need in order to look your best for the big day. Favorite haircare, makeup items, accessories, and your wedding day attire are a must, especially if the destination wedding is far from the nearest mall or shopping center. Even if you’re not in the wedding, you may not have time to run out for things like bobby pins or a fresh undershirt before the couple walks down the aisle. On the same note—make sure your phone and/or camera battery are freshly charged well before the wedding starts! And if it’s a beach wedding, don’t forget your sunscreen!

Q. How do you recommend packing semi-formal and formal attire for airplane travel so that it doesn’t wrinkle?

You never know if you'll have access to an iron, so pack carefully and take advantage of wrinkle-free packing solutions like Eagle Creek's Garment Folders. If you don’t use a Pack-It Folder (which is not recommended) you should make friends with the flight attendants: they've got access to secret closets where your suit or dress can hang neatly and discreetly.

Q. Are there any specific "need to knows" for a wedding abroad?

Read up on the local customs. If it's a traditional Greek wedding in Mykonos, where it's considered extremely rude to wear bright colors to the ceremony, don't be the guy in the bright purple and yellow polka dot tie. The bride and groom's families will thank you!

More Destination Wedding Packing Tips:

● If you’re traveling abroad, don’t forget to pack a travel adapter to make sure you can charge your phone or plug in your curling iron!

● When traveling with expensive (or even just sentimental!) jewelry, keep it safe enroute with a travel lock for your suitcase. And don’t forget to store it in the hotel safe when you’re not wearing it.

● Review the invitation or wedding website before you pack to check out what pre-wedding activities the happy couple has planned for guests. Rehearsal dinner luau? Pack that Hawaiian shirt!

● Don’t forget your passport! Use these tips to safely pack your passport to make sure you can make it to the wedding and back. No one wants to be the Best Man who got caught up at customs and missed the wedding!

● The happy couple will be even happier if you mail the wedding gift to their house before or directly after the wedding—no one wants to worry about cash or checks getting lost at the venue, or lug kitchenware in their suitcase.

So send in that RSVP and get ready to celebrate your favorite people in your new favorite vacation destination!

Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):

Ultimate Travel Packing Checklist

Beach Vacation Packing List: What to Pack for the Beach

Master These Mountains: 5 Peaks to Climb in the USA