Wedding season is well and truly upon us. For the next few months, our calendars are chock-a-block with hen parties, stag dos and nuptials. If you’re lucky enough to be attending or having – congrats! – a destination wedding, you’re probably looking forward to a laidback day in the sunshine. Part of the appeal of getting married abroad is that the big day itself is often fairly informal and less stressful. But throw in a flight and some baggage restrictions, and the logistics can get a little complicated.
There’s no need to panic, though. Packing for a destination wedding can be simple and stress-free if you follow these top tips.
Take your wedding outfit on the plane
It doesn’t matter whether you’re the groom or a guest – you should always pack your wedding outfit into your hand luggage. Mistakes can happen, and you don’t want your outfit for Barbados (BGI) ending up in Bergen (BGO). If you’re the bride, take your wedding dress box as your carry-on luggage, and ask someone else to put your hand luggage essentials in their bag.
Consider the dress code
Just because it’s a destination wedding, doesn’t mean it’ll be casual. Before you pack, double check the dress code. If the ceremony is on a beach, it’ll probably be fairly relaxed – but if they’re getting married in a chapel or religious building, you may need to cover your shoulders. If in doubt, pack a jacket or cardigan – one that matches your outfit, of course.
Check the shoe situation
Again, if it’s a beach wedding, don’t assume you can go barefoot. Speak to someone in the wedding party to check whether it’s a straight-laced or sandy toes kinda day.
Pack emergency supplies
Packing for a destination wedding isn’t like packing for a holiday. You’ll need to be prepared for wardrobe malfunctions – think spares, and more spares. Safety pins, a mini sewing kit and extra buttons are all must-haves. A lint roller is a good idea, too. And ladies – make sure you pack enough hair grips to style Rapunzel.
Take a back-up outfit
If you’re getting ready at home and your zip breaks, or you accidentally spill coffee down yourself (it’s more likely to be Prosecco, let’s be honest), it’s no biggie – because you’ve got an entire wardrobe of alternatives. At a destination wedding, you don’t have that option. To be on the safe side, always pack a back-up outfit – just in case those safety pins don’t quite do the trick.
Prepare for the weather
A big reason why people choose to have a destination wedding is the weather. Sunny ceremonies are lovely, but you need to be prepared. Sun cream and shades are a must, and insect repellent is also a good idea if you’re heading somewhere exotic. If the ceremony’s outside, try to find out whether there’ll be any shade – if not, consider taking a sun hat. Needless to say, tropical sun and make-up don’t get along very well, so make sure you pack waterproof mascara, powder and blotting papers.
Presents or your presence?
If a couple choose to get married abroad, they may say that you don’t need to bring a gift – especially if you’re paying for your own flights and accommodation. Or, they might not. Unless you’re explicitly told that there’s a no-gift policy, it’s best to buy a present. But that doesn’t mean you have to take it away with you. Check whether the couple are happy to receive their gift at home, either before or after the wedding.
Check, and check again
Before you leave for the airport, double check you have all the essentials – and by that, we mean things that can’t be replaced. If you forget your sunglasses, it’s not the end of the world. But there are some things you simply must remember, especially if it’s your wedding. Like the rings. And your speech. In all the excitement, it can also be easy to forget the usual holiday items – so read our packing check list to make sure you’ve covered everything.