How to Pack for a Destination Wedding

Stacey Ebert

Whether you’re helping to plan one, dreaming of your own, or attending a handful a year, weddings can make up a decent chunk of shopping time, girlfriend conversations, and financial budgets. In the past decade, destination weddings have exploded the travel and events markets. Couples have been hitting the scene in both hot and cold areas of the world to say ‘I do.’ Have you been to one recently?

No matter your role in the festivities, everyone attending has to pack something. Itinerary, attire, climate, and budget enter into most decisions surrounding a destination wedding.

  • Headed to Hawaii for a summer beach wedding – heels might not be necessary
  • Celebrating in Paris in February – consider something to keep you warm 
  • Fleeing to Vegas for a weekend affair – add a bit of glitz and sparkle 

For wedding weekend wanderings, your Outbreaker Backpack is a must have. Use the compartments to keep your extras organized and fit all of your wedding weekend needs into the main sections. The wet/dry bag works equally well to pack your shoes away from your clean clothes, or your damp swimsuit on the trip home. Carry on your wedding and holiday attire, organized in packing cubes, and get ready for an adventure filled with friends, family and fun. 

Why Choose a Destination Wedding?

Destinations are chosen for a reason. Perhaps one of the happy couple is from a specific town and the entire event will take place there. Perhaps they’re looking for a Caribbean escape, seaside retreat, mountain motif, or cityscape and the best way to get is it to hop on a plane.

Destination weddings are often built around itineraries that take guests from the rehearsal dinner to the day after brunch and everything in between. Guests are kept occupied with nature hikes, beach barbecues, ski lessons, stand up paddle board lessons, wine tastings, and pedaling pubs. This can make packing a challenge.

Make a Run for It – Flee the Country

If your wedding plans lie abroad – we’ve got you covered, whether you’re packing for warm or cold. For the summer fun lovers, destination favorites include eco-friendly Costa Rica, the international hotspot of the Amalfi coast, or heading down under. The further the destination, the more details involved with visa needs, currency conversions, long distance flights, and language barriers – but the results are worth it.

Some people turn the wedding destination into the honeymoon spot by crossing the border into Mexico and doing it all in one place. Winter lovers might warm their cockles with thoughts of the snowcovered Irish countryside, February in Paris, or an Australian winter wedding in August.

Wherever you wind up, consider Flytographer to capture the memories of the happy occasion. Choose your destination, book your travel and whether it’s made of sand or snow – enjoy your walk down the aisle, or have even more fun as a guest!

Ditch the Passport – Stay Local

Increasingly, couples are choosing to travel without leaving the United States. From  nautical themed nuptuals in Maine, Cape Cod, and Newport, or a wine tasting reception in the Napa Valley, to adventure hikes around Aspen or Jackson Hole. Wintry wonderlands make a beautiful backdrop for those album shots which explains why the slopes of Aspen or the wide open pearly white landscapes nearby Jackson Hole, Wyoming are gaining popularity. Whether you’re flip-flopping it on Hawaii’s beaches, partying the night away in Vegas, or enjoying a Sunday afternoon of ice skating with your family, American destination weddings are on the rise.

  •  Hawaii (known for beaches)
  • Florida (known for beaches)
  •  Cape Cod, Massachusetts (known for beaches)
  •  Newport, Rhode Island
  •  Napa Valley (known for wineries)
  • Las Vegas Aspen,
  • ColoradoJackson Hole,
  • Wyomin Maine

What Guests Should Pack for a Destination Wedding

Regardless of where you’re headed, you’ll most likely need clothing, gifts, and a special outfit for the big day. Make your list, check it twice, pack only the essentials, and don’t forget your dancing shoes. Our best advice is to see if you can find out the itinerary in advance. Fly in and out in the same outfit, plan minimal extras, remember your accessories, and be sure to pack in carry on luggage. There’s nothing worse than lost luggage 24 hours before a wedding.

  •  Travel day outfit
  • Capsule wardrobe of two to three extra outfits (everything should mix and match)
    • 1-2 pants, skirts, capris, jeans, or shorts
    • 1-3 shirts
    • 1-2 evening outfits (appropriate for destination/occasion)
  • Party outfit and accouterments
    • Guys: Belts, socks, handkerchiefs, shoes
    • Ladies: Jewelry, shoes, undergarments, makeup & hair accessories
  • 2-4 undergarments
  • 1-4 pair of socks
  • Easy footwear for occasions beyond the reception
  • Sunglasses
  • Toiletries
  • Handbag (if applicable)
  • Make-up & hair accessories
  • Gift for the happy couple (gift cards are a great choice, or bring a card and ship the gift later)
  • Phones/cameras/chargers/batteries/memory cards

Going Overseas

  • Necessary meds
  •  Passport & visas
  • Vaccinations  
  • Medical information
  • Copies of your passport
  • Power converters
  • Small first aid kit

Warm Destination 

  • Bathing suit
  • Outdoor clothing
  • Sunscreen
  • Bugspray
  • Sunglasses
  • Baby powder (remove sand and stop chafing)
  • Light sweater or wrap

Cold Destination 

  • Gloves, hat & scarf
  • Boots & parka
  • Hand & feet warmers
  • Sunscreen
  • Body lotion (no chapped hands or feet)
  • Pack in layers
  • Extra socks

Additional Details for the Bride & Groom

This is your big day, leave nothing to chance. Planning well in advance, packing carefully to minimize any loss of an important wedding day item, and hiring the right people to help keep it all organized are key.

  • Learn how to pack a suit and a wedding dress in a carry on bag
  • Book a photographer (consider Flytographer)
  • Consider welcome bags for your guests
  • Work with an online system to create your itinerary and suggestions to send to your guests in advance
  • Consider an event coordinator for the occasion
  • Make sure your wishes are conveyed to that event coordinator
  • Do your research regarding marriage license rules, regulations, and requirements
  • Consider an emergency toiletries kit for your guests and yourselves
  • Plan ahead, book accordingly then go with the flow
  • Consider how gifts will be brought home
  • If traveling for your wedding, consider a honeymoon gift registry to eliminate shipping costs
  • Work with guest list regarding allergies, dietary restrictions, and travel concerns

TL;DR

The destination matters. Warm or cold, winter or summer, domestic or international – plan for the big stuff and embrace the little. Whether you’re donning flip flops or UGGS, a light shawl or a fuzzy lined muff, the wedding of your dreams is awaiting your arrival.

When packing those one of a kind, custom-made, hard to replace, definitely must have for the wedding day attire and stuff … CARRY THEM ON THE PLANE in your Outbreaker backpack!

  •  Pack light, repurpose clothing, remember accessories
  • Do a bit of research about the destination
  • Check TSA for any restrictions, CDC/WHO for healthcare warnings & state departments for visa needs
  • If traveling outside of the US for a destination wedding – purchase travel insurance
  • Bring your party dress, dancing shoes, and your holiday attitude