What to Pack for Your Destination Wedding or Elopement

October 24, 2023


First off, congratulations on choosing to have a destination wedding! No matter where you decide to get married will be amazing, and I am so excited that you want me to help you make it perfect! Obviously, planning any wedding somewhere new is exciting, but it also requires some extra thought and preparation when it comes to packing!! As a destination wedding photographer, I’ve had the privilege of capturing countless destination weddings, and I’ve seen firsthand what couples should (and shouldn’t) pack for their special day!! To help you prepare for your destination wedding, here’s a comprehensive packing list with descriptions for you to save and use for your own wedding!!

I’ve laid out the list into multiple categories to make packing easier and more organized (type A girly over here): essential items, wedding day essentials, wedding photo needs, clothing and accessories, wedding decor (if necessary), and important reminders & things to note!

At the end of this page, you will also find a completely FREE PACKING CHECKLIST for you and your fiancé to print and use in addition to this page!!

I offer this packing list, and many other resources, to all of my couples who hire me as their own wedding photographer! So, if you are still looking for someone not only to capture your day in the rawest and true-to-life way, but also have someone to give you the resources to make everything perfect, feel free to inquire with me by CLICKING HERE (chat soon!!).

Destination Wedding & Elopement Packing List

Essential Items to Pack (things every couple needs for their wedding/elopement)

01. Wedding Attire – wedding gown, veil, shoes, jewelry, suit & any other matching accessories! When packing these, try as hard as possible not to check this bag when taking flights. I would recommend taking your attire on the plane as a carry-on or under-the-seat item!

02. Travel Documents – depending on where you are going (domestic or international travel), you will need forms of identification: passports, driver’s licenses, visas, etc. I would recommend also printing out your flights, lodging, and any other reservations beforehand in case of an emergency (a form of backup)!

03. Rings – don’t forget your wedding bands or engagement ring!!

04. Wedding License – make sure to research when and where to get your marriage license before your wedding day! Every destination has different requirements, and I suggest looking this up beforehand!

05. Wedding Vows – every wedding and elopement is different, but I highly suggest to all my couples to write their vows before traveling to their destination. This will relieve the extra stress of finishing the perfect vows, and you can take more time together with your fiancĂ© before the big day!

06. Essential Medications – if anyone has prescription medications, make sure to pack multiples (and backups) to, again, avoid the stress of picking up medicine at a pharmacy (even some international countries might not have your proper prescription).

Wedding Day Essentials

01. Bridal Emergency Kit – if you are going to pick anything from this list, I HIGHLY suggest making yourself a personalized “emergency” kit to help your future self! Things to include in this can be a mini sewing kit, stain removers, extra bobby pins, and makeup for touch-ups!

02. Comfortable Shoes – in addition to your wedding/elopement shoes, I recommend packing any sort of shoes that you feel comfortable in (cute or not) to use as backups if your feet get sore at any point.

03. Phone Chargers and Power Banks – unless you decide to stay off your phones on your day, I would recommend getting at least one (and charging it fully) portable charger to ensure your phone does not die at any point!!

04. Tissues – even if you don’t think you will get emotional at your wedding, I suggest bringing at least one small pack of tissues to help with makeup touch-ups, tears, or allergies!!

05. Timeline & Plan – similar to the travel documents in the first list, I would print off any types of timelines, vendor contacts, or schedules (make multiples) to stay on track as much as possible!!

Clothing & Accessories (to wear before, after, or during your wedding!!)

01. Casual Clothes – so many couples get caught up in the chaos of planning and packing their wedding day attire that they forget normal clothes! Don’t forget to pack comfy clothes depending on where you are getting married!!

02. Toiletries – toothbrushes & toothpaste, deodorant, brushes, face wash, blemish patches, UV protection, razors, makeup, feminine products, and condoms (self-explanatory)!!

03. Rehearsal Dinner and/or Reception Outfit – one of the cutest & fun trends for weddings is to wear something cute and different for your rehearsal dinner and/or wedding reception! If you are into fashion, I highly recommend thinking about this for your day!

Wedding Decor (things to bring if you are prepping decor beforehand + traveling with it!!)

01. Table Centerpieces or Decor – if you prepping florals, table settings, candlesticks, or other centerpieces, don’t forget to pack them! Otherwise, I suggest shipping them in a large box to your destination address – domestic travel – such as your Airbnb or venue!

02. Wedding Favors or Gifts – don’t forget to pack gifts if you made them before, or I recommend getting something in the place you are getting married to give guests/family something even more sentimental!

03. Guest Book, Phone, Decor – one of my favorite things to see at any wedding are guest books!! Whether you choose a traditional book, record messages on a phone, or have people sign a custom plaque, any of them are important to remember for your day!

Important Reminders & Things to Note

  • Check the Weather Beforehand – a lot of things you pack depend on the weather of your trip! Things like rain and snow can adjust a sunny day dramatically! I suggest looking at least a week before to prepare for any circumstance!
  • Research the Local Currency – for all the couples looking to get married somewhere international, make sure to get some local currency (+ always have cash on you – even in your luggage – in case of an emergency)!!
  • Work with a Travel Agent – if you are way too overwhelmed with the idea of even planning your travel for your wedding, I suggest working with a travel agent! I am actually certified to plan travel for weddings and honeymoons, so if you are interested, feel free to CLICK HERE for more details!
  • Keep Vendor Contacts Handy – as I suggested earlier, it is very important to have vendor contacts ready and easily accessible to check in the day before, the day of, and afterward!
  • Pack Early – if you are like me, it is always helpful to pack early to avoid the stress of day-before or same-day packing! Use this entire guide or my FREE downloadable checklist below to help you out!

Overall, your destination wedding is bound to be an unforgettable experience, and by packing with this guide, you can ensure that everything runs smoothly on your special day!! I seriously put everything my past brides have suggested so you don’t have to worry about a thing!

For all those who are still here, I am gifting you my fully curated checklist for you to download and use for your wedding or elopement! All you have to do is click the link HERE to get the FREE PACKING CHECKLIST for yourself (you won’t regret it)!!

Have the best wedding or elopement – wherever it may be – and get excited to finally get married!!