Ahhhh, destination weddings. Our personal favorite around here! As a team of DC and NYC wedding planners, Simply Breathe Events has had the luxury of planning destination weddings from Puerto Vallarta to Rhode Island and beyond. No matter where your love takes you, we are here to help! Today, we are sharing a list of EVERYTHING you need to add to your destination wedding packing list in 2023, and a few helpful destination wedding packing tips! After all, it may be your first time but it definitely is not ours. We’ve got you covered! You can also head to our Amazon store for all of our favorite recommendations!
Still looking for your destination wedding planner? We’d love to learn more! Reach out here.
Your Destination Wedding Packing List: The Carry-On!
When you are traveling for your destination wedding, we know you want to put EVERYTHING in your carry-on luggage (and if it were up to us – we’d let you!). However, the absolute MOST important things to include in your carry-on luggage or bag are:
- Wedding attire for both parties (your wedding gown, tuxedo, bridal jumpsuit, etc). Ideally, you’ll want to purchase a garment bag for these!
- Veil (this can often be stored in your dress bag!)
- Wedding day shoes
- Wedding rings and other wedding day jewelry
- ELECTRONICS: You probably don’t need a reminder to keep your phone close but the same should apply to your charger (we highly recommend an extra long charger like this one), camera and memory card, camera charger, iPad or Kindle, drone, etc. Jet setting somewhere farther? Double check if you need to pack an adapter. Consider checking to see if your airline also has an app to download ahead of time!
- Any personalized items or irreplaceable keepsakes! If you’ve decided to get vow books, for example, that should be in there!
We also HIGHLY recommend these stay in your carry-on or personal item too (and fortunately – they don’t take up much room!)
- Travel documents (Your passports, any required visas, flight tickets/boarding passes, hotel booking confirmation, transfers paperwork, etc).
- Copies of your birth certificates
- Insurance paperwork (for your travel AND for the wedding! We will always recommend wedding insurance)
- Any marriage or legal documents required for the wedding (including your Certificate of No Impediment (CNI)
- Your emergency contact list
- A credit card and cash (keep reading for our destination wedding credit card tips!)
We highly recommend you treat yourself to a cute passport holder to help keep everything essential at your fingertips. This is one of our favorites on Amazon!
The rest of this list? Well, we believe as much of it as possible should go in your carry-on too! But because we know that might not be possible, we strongly recommend AirTags for anything that’s going to leave your side before the wedding day! These are worth their weight in gold for the peace of mind ALONE.
Now, here is everything else you might need for your complete destination wedding packing list.
For the bride:
- Wedding dress (with a hanger – if you’ve decided to purchase a special one!)
- Wedding day shoes
- Bridal Jewelry (we love something like this to stay organized and tangle-free)
- Wedding day purse/clutch
- Underwear (including any support wear!)
- A Wedding Garter
- Wedding day hair accessories (headband/headpiece, special pins or combs)
- Getting ready robe or attire
- Makeup and hair products
- Wedding night underwear
For the groom:
- Wedding day attire and suit
- Tie or bow tie
- Wedding day shoes and socks
- Razor and shaving cream
- Hair styling products
Depending on where you are traveling, you may also want to consider a portable steamer (we have this one and take it on EVERY trip, work or play) for your attire. We also highly recommend packing a travel sewing kit and some safety pins in case of emergency!
Your Beach Destination Wedding Packing List
Whether you are getting married on the beach or not, here are a few things to include on your destination wedding packing list:
- Sunscreen (we personally LOVE the Supergoop! and Shiseido brands)
- Aftersun care
- Insect repellent
- Lip balm
- Sweater, light jacket, or wrap
- Beach towel
- Reading glasses or Contact lenses
- Sun hat (we are in LOVE with this wide rimmed visor for those of you that love keeping your hair up!)
- Beach bag (permission granted to splurge on something cute like this)
- Sandals and Flip Flops (pack for the beach AND the beachside restaurant!)
Destination Wedding Related Things to Pack
While each wedding is different, there are a few wedding-related things that haven’t made it on the above lists yet! While you may not have all of these, don’t forget to consider:
- Wedding party gifts
- Wedding favors
- An extra wedding suite invitation for your photographer’s flat lays
- Your guest book
- Card box
- Additional personalized decor
General Packing List for Your Destination Wedding
Finally, here’s a catch-all list of toiletries and other things you don’t want to forget when packing for your destination wedding!
- Toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, whitening strips (if you are using them!)
- Shaving cream
- Nail filer/Emory board
- Nail polish and remover
- Snacks and water bottles
- Skincare, Hair care, and Makeup (don’t forget to bottle these in travel-size containers! Consider investing in something like this toiletry organizer as well)
- Feminine hygiene products
- Contact lenses or glasses
- Allergy medication + Pain relief medication (just in case!)
- Prescription medicine(s)
- Champagne (kidding!)
Destination Wedding Packing List + Traveling Tips
As you pack for your destination wedding, we wanted to leave you with just a few tips we’ve picked up on over the last (many) years of destination wedding planning.
- When it comes to transporting your wedding dress, it’s important to check in with your airline. While carry-on bags are typically stored in overhead compartments, some airplanes may offer additional closet space in the first-class cabin, which can be perfect for bridal gown storage. Closet space is not guaranteed, though, so it’s best to check with flight attendants once onboard to see if they can accommodate your dress or speak with customer service reps or flight attendants at the airport for help.
- Be mindful of your luggage and overweight bags! Try to consolidate when you can and check your airline for more details and any fees. Don’t feel guilty if you need to add on an extra bag (but do it in advance – because you can often save money!)
- Keep those credit card points in mind! Wedding purchases are the perfect opportunity to rack up those much-desired travel points for your destination wedding and beyond! You’re spending the money anyway – it makes sense to make sure you are being rewarded as much as possible for it!
Packing for your Destination Wedding or Honeymoon
As you start packing for your destination wedding (or honeymoon!), take a deep breath and GET EXCITED. After all, at the end of the day, you are MARRIED. Lean on the people you’ve hired to make your dreams a reality, and don’t be afraid to reach out with questions. Congratulations!