Destination Weddings

What to pack for a destination wedding: The ultimate checklist

Are you getting married abroad? If so, a huge congratulations on your forthcoming overseas wedding! Planning a destination wedding can be incredibly exciting, as you anticipate saying “I do” in a far-flung location. However, packing for such a trip can be a bit overwhelming. But fear not, with my ultimate packing list designed specifically for weddings abroad, you can relax and enjoy the wedding knowing that everything you need will be close at hand.

Bride and groom posing on the Pont Alexandre III bridge in Paris with the Eiffel tower in the background

From outfits for the trip’s events to necessary documents and toiletries, I have covered you with this ultimate list! So go ahead and check off each item at your leisure, weeks before the big day, and allow yourself to relax and fully enjoy the experience. You deserve it!

Packing a suitcase on the bed

Destination Wedding Packing List 1: Carry-On Bag

Let’s start with your hand luggage. In all honesty, nobody wants to think about losing their luggage when traveling abroad, and this prospect is even more terrifying to think about when you are flying abroad for a destination wedding. However, when it comes to your carry-on luggage, you really have to think about the essentials you would need to have in case your checked bag is delayed or lost. As such, it’s advisable for each partner to travel with the biggest size of carry-on bag your airline allows – most air carriers will state the weight and dimensions for this on their website. These will almost always need to be stored in the compartment above your head while traveling on the aircraft, so I would advise having a small handbag, purse, or rucksack with your essentials (phone, earbuds, book, kindle etc.) for during the plane trip.

Hand luggage ready to go to the airport with mobile phone and passport on the top

So what items should you pack in your hand luggage? In your carry-on bag, it’s a good idea to pack your wedding attire (e.g., dress & suit, etc.) and your important documents (e.g. marriage license, passport, ID etc.). I also recommend packing some snacks, a reusable water bottle, and any medication you need.

Contents on hand luggage including a passport, sunglasses, camera, lip gloss, headphones and note book

Here is a checklist of items for your destination wedding hand luggage:

  • Cell Phone/Mobile phone
  • Cell Phone Charger
  • Credit Cards/Debits Cards
  • Cash in both your home currency & the currency of the country you are flying to
  • Passports
  • Driver’s License (if renting a car)
  • Paper Boarding Passes (in case your phone goes haywire)
  • Visas (if required)
  • Copies of Birth Certificates
  • Copy of Marriage License
  • Important Documents, including proof of payment with vendors, vendor contracts, travel insurance, hotel information, and other important paperwork like a CNI if applicable
  • Camera
  • Wedding Rings
  • Wedding Vows
  • Wedding Dress
  • Veil, Tiara, or other
  • Garter
  • Wedding Tuxedo or Suit
  • Tie or bowtie
  • Cufflinks
  • Dress Shoes
  • Support Wear
  • Bridal Lingerie
  • Fashion Tape
  • Bobby Pins
  • Hair Tools
  • Safety Pins
  • Sewing Kit
  • Jewelry in Travel Case
  • Makeup Kit Sunglasses
  • Extra Pair of Contact Lenses & glasses if you have them
  • Perfume & Aftershave
  • Prescription medication
  • Lint Roller
  • Travel-size toiletries, plus nail clippers, tweezers, razors, nail file, nail polish
  • Travel Adapter
  • Emergency Kits or First Aid Kit
  • Change of Clothing
  • Something old, borrowed, and blue
Hand luggage packed and ready for the airport with iPad, earbud headphones and notepad

As long as your garment bag fits the weight and size limits set by the airline, you can use it as your carry-on. And if you ask the flight attendants, they may even allow you to hang your bags in a closet to avoid trying to squeeze them into an overhead bin.
There are garment bags specifically designed for carry-on purposes, using the same luggage space as other types of baggage. Remember to wrap your wedding gown and tuxedo in a protective bag. Tape your toiletry bottles closed & bag them to avoid spills.

A lace wedding dress laying on the bed

As there’s a lot of paperwork on this must-have list, you may want to order a document holder to keep everything in one place and in order. Document holders come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, so it might be fun to tie this into your wedding theme! It’s a good idea to make double copies of your documents and keep them as a second set in a separate bag or with a wedding guest.

Paperwork for getting married in Paris

Destination Wedding Packing List 2: Checked bags

Now that you’ve covered the must-haves for your wedding abroad, you can relax a little and start thinking about your other wedding details and items for the rest of the trip.

A rack of vacation clothes

Bearing in mind that you will also likely be holding a rehearsal dinner and maybe a day after the pool party, here is a checklist of items for your hold luggage:

  • Welcome Bags
  • Guest Book
  • Wedding Favors
  • Cocktail Dress / Suit
  • Evening Bag
  • Stylish Shoes
  • Light Jacket
  • Portable Steamer
  • Beach Bag
  • Swimsuit
  • Swimsuit Cover-Up
  • Sun Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Aloe Vera
  • Lip Gloss
  • Flat Sandals

Things to Consider

Planning a wedding AND packing for a trip is equally fun while requiring quite a bit of preparation for each endeavor. So remember to consider the following while you’re getting ready for both your big day & vacation.

Flatlay of a sunhat, pad & pen and sunglasses

Temperature Change

Consider the time of year and the associated temperature of the destination. Most likely, you’ve picked a location in a warm climate. Often, seaside locations grow cooler in the evenings with a sea breeze, so bring extra layers for the evening.

Pack for your entire trip

Check with the venue to learn if there’s a dress code for the other nights of your trip, and bring comfortable clothes for travel and downtime.

Evening outfit for holiday with a crisp white tee, pink tulle skirt and hair clip

Launch a Wedding Website

While preparing to pack, share advice & tips with your wedding guests through a couple’s wedding website. Also, remember to check with your wedding venue on the availability of laundry services. Then, you and your guests don’t need an outfit for every day of your stay.

Cell Phone Service

Confirm with your mobile phone service provider ahead of time what type of cell phone reception you will have at your destination and what roaming options they have. Your provider will know the best approach if you need an international plan.

A mobile phone in hand on vacation in front of a swimming pool

Leave a Copy at Home

Make copies of your passports, credit cards, and other essential documents to leave at home with a neighbor or co-worker. Or better still, upload copies digitally to a location like Google Drive, OneDrive, or iCloud.

iMac computer on desk

Tying It All Together

It’s a good idea to outsource as much of the packing as possible. In other words, if you want specific wedding decorations, have them delivered to your destination rather than bringing them along with you. Also, remember that if you’re hiring people to do your hair and makeup, you won’t need to bring as many cosmetics & supplies.

Flat lay of cosmetics and si fragrance

In Summary

Now that you have my complete list of items to bring and tips for planning a destination wedding, you have all the tools to make your big day a truly special and memorable one.

His and hers wooden sunbeds with an umbrella parasol on the beach looing out to sea

As you take the time and invest in your checklist, don’t forget to add your own personal touches along the way, too. Whether it’s a thoughtful gift for your bridal party or a unique dress code for your guests – putting in the extra effort will guarantee that they have an experience worthy of the occasion. So, every guest has lasting memories they can cherish forever. Get creative and enjoy!

Are you looking for a destination wedding photographer to capture your wedding abroad?

As you prepare for your special day overseas, you’ll want a skilled photographer who can capture the magic and beauty of your wedding in stunning detail. That’s where I come in! I’m Victoria Amrose, an experienced photographer based in Europe. Whether you’re getting married on a sunny terrace in Positano, a sandy beach in the South of France, or a majestic castle in Scotland, I’ve got you covered. I’m familiar with the unique nuances associated with destination weddings, and I have the skills and expertise needed to capture every precious moment of your special day.

From intimate elopements to lavish celebrations, I’m passionate about bringing your vision to life through my lens. Let’s work together to create unforgettable memories you’ll cherish forever! Contact me HERE or check out my WEDDING SERVICES for more information.

Headshot of destination wedding photographer Victoria Amrose

If you enjoyed this article, you may also like:

Planning a destination wedding or elopement in Paris

How to plan a Destination Wedding or Elopement in Paris – CLICK HERE

Read all about having a destination wedding on the Amalfi Coast in Italy

Having a destination wedding on Italy’s Amalfi Coast – CLICK HERE

Read all about having a destination wedding venue on Lake Como

Destination weddings on Lake Como in Italy – CLICK HERE

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