Even the most experienced travelers will tell you that packing for a vacation can be stressful. You don't want to forget something you might need, but you also don't want to cram your suitcase full of items you'll never use. That's why guests traveling for a destination wedding—especially those guests who are part of the bridal party—should plan ahead before packing their luggage. In addition to the everyday essentials you'll need for a vacation, bridesmaids and groomsmen also need to pack the items necessary to fulfill their wedding party duties.
To understand just what these items are—and to hear which must-haves so many bridesmaids and groomsmen accidentally leave behind—we asked two destination wedding coordinators to help us create the ultimate bridal party packing list for a far-flung event.
All necessary travel documents.
"Always prioritize the most obvious pieces when you start the packing process," says Marlena Rylska of Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa in the Cayman Islands. "This includes passports, tickets, and travel visas." Rylska adds that just having a passport isn't enough. Make sure it meets the validity requirements of your destination, and check to see if there are any visas you need for entry. "We have experienced guests calling us in a panic from the airport because they have been denied entry due to a lack of visa," she adds. "That stress is definitely worth avoiding through good pre-planning."
Your entire wedding-day look.
It should go without saying, but you'll need to pack everything you'll need to wear on the wedding day, and since these items are so important, Chantal Outerbridge of Rosewood Bermuda suggests packing them first. And it's not just the actual attire—like your dress or suit—that you need: Check to make sure you have all of your accessories, like shoes, socks, and jewelry, and any shapewear. "It's typically those crucial elements that can get overlooked in the frenzy of packing," Outerbridge stresses.
Any additional wedding-day essentials.
A copy of their speech, any extra wedding décor or favors they're helping to transport, ring boxes, and an emergency kit with stain remover, hairspray, mouthwash, deodorant, extra hair pins, hair ties, and a sewing kit are all musts for the wedding party's luggage, says Outerbridge. Another smart item to back, at least for the bridesmaids? A change of shoes, which you'll be so grateful for should you need something more comfortable to dance in.
Your everyday beauty and grooming products.
"Bridesmaids should all pack their own beauty products in case the makeup artist doesn't have their shade or a product that works for them," says Rylska. Waterproof mascara and double-sided tape are two more must-haves she recommends women add to their suitcases. For the guys, she says it's a good idea to bring along your own shave kit.
Typical vacation essentials.
"We always remind our wedding parties to bring swimsuits, activewear, and beach attire so they can truly enjoy their time with us once the festivities are over," says Outerbridge. Of course, that means sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen, too.