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Everything You Need to Pack for Your Destination Wedding

A full list of everything you'll need for your destination wedding, with insider tips and advice.

Man and woman with suitcase wrap arms around each other while walking down a city street.
Destination Brides |

Packing for a vacation can be stressful. Packing for a wedding can be stressful. But packing for both at the same time? It’s hard to know where to begin. Luckily, we’ve compiled some of our best packing tips from destination brides everywhere. And at the end of the article, we’ll give you our ultimate destination wedding packing lists for brides and grooms.

Person with tattoos packs clothes into a suitcase.

Space-Saving Packing Tips

If you’re flying to your destination wedding, there will only be so many packages you’re allowed to bring on the plane. To make sure you have enough space for everything you’ll need, here are some tips:

Ask Friends and Family for Help

See if any of your friends or family have extra space in their luggage where they might be able to carry decorations, items for your welcome bags, wedding favors, etc. Just make sure to keep track of who’s bringing which items and have your helpers include a letter for customs in their bags.

Plan a Capsule Wardrobe

To minimize the number of clothing items you’ll need to pack, choose pieces in the same color category that you can mix and match. It will help you save space and you can coordinate your capsule wardrobe with your wedding colors.

Use Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are an amazing invention meant to help you delegate space in your suitcase. They allow you to separate your belongings based on category so you’ll stay organized and know how much room you have left in your suitcase.

Wear Your Largest Items on the Plane

It may be tempting to wear shorts and sandals on the plane so you’re ready for the beach as soon as you land. But remember that items like jackets and close-toed shoes will probably take up the most space in your luggage. Wearing these on the plane can free up more room for other items, plus they’ll keep you warm on the plane.

Photo of Hanged White Embroidered Cami Dress

How to Pack Your Wedding Dress

Your wedding dress is one of the most important items you’ll be packing, and it’s essential to keep it safe during the trip. Here are some things to note when packing your dress:

Do NOT Check Your Wedding Dress

Once you check your luggage, you have no idea where it will go, who will be handling it, and how careful they will be. You don’t want to risk your dress getting damaged, lost, or stolen, so make sure you take it on the plane with you.

Use a Garment Bag

Avoid packing your dress in a regular suitcase if you can — it could lead to wrinkles and the dress losing its shape. Instead, get a garment bag to take with you. Many brides recommend the Wally Bag as it accommodates for a variety of lengths and has exterior pockets for accessories.

Have the Bridal Shop Pack for You

To make sure your dress is wrinkle-free, go to the shop where you bought it and ask their stylists to pack it for you. They’ll be familiar with the right way to fold and place a dress so it holds its shape. Just make sure not to take it out until you’ve arrived at your destination.

Ask for Help from Your Flight Attendants

When boarding your flight, let your flight attendants know you have a wedding dress with you. They may have a space to hang it up at the front of the plane so you won’t need to stow it in the overhead space. If you do need to use the overhead compartment, wait until everyone else has stowed their items and lay your dress flat on top.

Consider Booking an Extra Seat

This may sound odd, but if you have a very large dress, like a ballgown, consider getting a seat for it. Not only does this ensure you’ll have enough space for your dress, but you can get extra luggage allowances with the extra seat.

Woman sits on the floor and writes in a journal next to a laptop and open suitcase.

Making Sure Nothing Gets Lost

With the amount of items you’ll be bringing to your wedding, it’s important to stay organized so you don’t lose track of anything. Here are a couple things to make sure you bring to help you organize your belongings:

Luggage Tag/Contact Card

In addition to a traditional luggage tag, include a card with all of your contact information inside of your suitcase in case the outer tag gets lost.

Photos of Luggage Contents

Keep photos of what’s inside your luggage on you in case something gets lost and you need to describe it at the baggage claim office.

Master List

Keep a master list of which items are in which bags so you know where to find everything once you get to your destination. This will be especially helpful if you have friends and family helping you take supplies to the wedding.

A large and small suitcase in a living room.

What to Put in Your Checked Bag vs. Your Carry-On

Luggage Size and Weight Restrictions

Before you begin packing, make sure your bags are the right size for the airline. Then when packing, weigh each of your bags to ensure they’re under maximum weight restrictions for the airline. If your bag is too heavy, you may be subject to fees or have to consolidate your bags, wasting time you could spend getting to your gate.

Be sure to check your airline’s size and weight restrictions since rules can vary, but here’s a general guide to use:


Bag Type Size Weight
Checked Bag 27″ x 21″ x 14” 50 lbs. to avoid fees
Carry-On 9” x 14” x 22” 22 lbs. for many international flights
Personal Item Must fit under seat in front of you See airline restrictions


A tip for weighing luggage: stand on a regular bathroom scale with your bag, write down the weight, then stand on the scale without the bag and write the weight. Subtract the second weight from the first so you won’t be left guessing when you get to bag drop.

What to Pack in Your Carry-On

Rule of thumb: pack what you’ll need when you get there. It may take awhile for checked bags to arrive at your resort, so bring a change of clothes so you can head to the beach and lounge while you wait. 

If you plan on bringing liquids, such as toiletries, in your carry-on, be sure that the volume of the container is less than 3.4 oz or 100 mL. Place these items in a quart-sized bag (use your packing cubes or a plastic Ziploc bag) and put that bag in your luggage to bring through TSA.

What to Pack in Your Checked Bag

Your checked bag should be for larger items which you might not need immediately when you get to the hotel. This is a good spot for décor, favors, and wedding day accessories. Just make sure if bringing any bulk items, you include an itemized list with the number and cost of each item to save you time and a hassle at customs.

Person approaches security checkpoint at an airport

What NOT to Bring to Your Destination Wedding

There are some things that you should avoid bringing to your wedding regardless. Several airlines have restrictions on what’s allowed on their flight, and some countries won’t allow you to bring certain items through customs. Here are some things you shouldn’t bring to be safe:

  • Flammables (like fireworks and sparklers)
  • Flowers/fruit
  • Cuban cigars
  • Liquids over 3.4oz (100 mL) in a carry-on

If you have any questions about what can and can’t be brought on an aircraft, check with the TSA for more information.

Destination Wedding Packing Checklists for Bride and Groom (Printable PDFs)

If you’re wondering which exact items you should bring, we’ve put together some handy checklists for you and your fiancé(e) so nothing gets left behind. Click the links below to download these packing lists so you can print and use them.

Bon voyage!

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