Packing for your destination wedding? Then you’ve probably discovered that between the dress, favors, welcome bag items, honeymoon clothes, and decorations it looks like you’re relocating out of the country instead of going off to tie the knot. Not properly done, packing for your destination wedding can turn into a nightmare of not enough space, excess baggage fees, lost luggage, and run-ins with customs officers. Here are some tips to make sure your journey to “I do” starts off without a hitch.
15 Things to Do Before Packing For Your Destination Wedding
- Start a checklist of everything that needs to be packed a few weeks before, add to it every time you think of something, and double-check it the night before you leave. You’ll be so overwhelmed with last-minute details on the days before the wedding, that it will be very easy to forget something important back home. Get our complete destination wedding packing checklist.
- Don’t check-in your wedding gown, veil, shoes, groom’s attire, or anything else that you’ll need on your wedding day. Carry it on so that if your luggage gets lost, at least you’ll have your ceremony attire.
- Ask your dress retailer for advice on how to pack your gown. They will usually give you a garment or wally bag which you can store in the airplane’s overhead compartment. Otherwise, fold it up nicely in a small carry-on suitcase. Ask your resort if they can press it to smooth out any wrinkles it encounters along the way. More Tips For Traveling With Your Wedding Dress
- Don’t ship anything important to your destination – there have been many horror stories where welcome bag items, decorations, favors, or event the dress get held up in customs or lost in transit and never make it in time for the wedding day.
- Put your clothes in vacuum seal storage bags to free up more room in your luggage.
- Visit your destination’s customs website to find out which items can be included in your personal luggage exempt from duty. They might tell you that your items cannot exceed a certain dollar value. Armed with this info you can divide favors and welcome bags among family and friends so that no one person’s luggage exceeds that value.
- If you’re traveling with favors or items that can break, use your clothes or towels to wrap them up and stuff them in the center of your suitcase so that they’re padded on the top and bottom.
- When you’re packing for your destination wedding make sure you take all receipts for your favors, welcome bag items, and decorations. The customs officer at your destination might request them if he suspects that the value of your items exceeds their limit and you’re going to sell those items.
- Put your socks and underwear inside your shoes to make extra room.
- Roll up your clothes instead of folding and put them in every nook and cranny of your luggage. Maximize your space and make use of every inch.
- Once your luggage seems full, zip it up and sit or stand on it (make sure there are no liquids or items that can break). This will make just a little more room to add some more clothes.
- Put all liquids (i.e. shampoo, gels) inside zip lock bags and place them on top so that if they burst open in transit they won’t dirty all your clothes.
- You won’t need as much luggage on your way back home so avoid paying excess luggage fees by packing your decorations and favors in an old cheap suitcase that you can leave behind at your destination.
- Your hotel room might have a blow dryer, alarm, or/and iron. Call them ahead of time so that you don’t have to pack bulky items unnecessarily.
- Bags are inspected so use a TSA approved lock.
Do you have any more destination wedding travel tips or ideas you used when packing for your destination wedding? Or do you have questions about the tips on this post? Let me know in the comment box below!
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I am touring around Australia (flying in and out of Sydney from the UK before getting married in Cairns) although I’m pretty sure the international flights will carry my dress, I’m concerned about internal flights. Any advice? What should I do to protect my dress when touring around? Thanks for your help.
I am a big believer that you should never leave your dress out of your sight. If the airline only allows one carry on item – your dress should be that item. Have you called the airline for the internal flights to ask their policy? They should be able to tell you if they will allow you to carry on your dress. You might not be able to stow in the flight attendant’s closet but you should be able to put it in the overhead or maybe hold it on your lap if it’s packed in a garment bag. When I was traveling with my dress, I called the airline to ask ahead of time and they were very helpful. Good Luck!
Thanks for the advice. Worried internal flights maybe even more of a problem than the international ones.
My dad flies A Lot for work. He reminded me to ask the flight attendants to help me stow my luggage (ie DRESS). He’s seen it a few times where brides ask for help and often, the flight attendants are so excited for the bride that the go to extra lengths to make sure the brides dress and other items are carefully stored and taken care of during the flight. It’s worth it to ask for their help.
Your dad is absolutely right! I felt like a rock star when I was traveling with my wedding gown lol. Many people will go out of their way to help you including the flight attendants so it’s always a good idea to ask for their assistance.
That being said, you should always have a plan B. When I got married, the flight attendants were extremely accommodating and helpful but their closet was too small for my gown so they weren’t able to stow it, as much as they wanted to. But they did make sure there was enough room in one of the overhead compartments so that I could lay it flat on top of other passengers’ luggage. They also made sure no one else placed anything on top of it.
That’s why I always suggest carrying your dress in a garment bag, and politely asking the flight crew if/how they can accommodate you.
You mentioned not to ship anything important to your destination. Would you recommend putting it all in a checked bag instead?
I will obviously carry on my wedding gown and the absolute essentials, but for decor items and welcome bags and things like the guest book table supplies, I can’t fit it all in my carry-on. Any tips? Thank you!
If you’re getting married within the US, you can always ship those items and get a tracking number or return receipt. Just make sure you send it at least 2 weeks before the wedding in case there are shipping delays.
If your destination wedding is outside of the U.S., I highly suggest you pack welcome bags, favors and decorations, in a suitcase that you will be checking-in. You can buy a really cheap, large, ultra lightweight suitcase that will fit everything in it.
For my destination wedding, I bought a very cheap foldable bag (less than $30), just for those items you mention. Since I wouldn’t need the suitcase on the way back home, I just left it in the hotel room and hoped that one of the employees would make good use of it:)
There was no sense in carrying back an empty suitcase and I avoided the extra baggage fees at the airline. You can even buy a second hand suitcase just for those items to cut back on cost.
Another smart idea is to divide those items among other people traveling with you. Have your fiance, family members and friends each pack a few things in their check-in luggage.
Thank you so much
I’ll look for a foldable bag because I love that idea. 🙂