About 25 percent of couples choose to have a destination wedding. Most destination weddings have an average of 48 guests in attendance due to the distance that they have to travel—the five most popular wedding destinations are Las Vegas, Hawaii, the Virgin Islands, Jamaica, and the Bahamas, thanks to the pleasant weather they offer year-round. Whether you want a destination wedding as an excuse to travel, plan to honeymoon there anyway, or want the incredible backdrop of somewhere outside of your hometown, it’s something you won’t ever forget.
Despite how incredible a destination wedding can be, it comes with a lot of stress too. From booking travel and lodging to arranging a venue, officiator (if you aren’t bringing your own), catering, etc. all through the Internet or over the phone, it can be hard to relax and get everything in order. Even after everything is in place, packing and traveling can be a whole ordeal in and of themselves—you have to pack your wedding dress the right way, remember everything you need for the days leading up to and after the ceremony, and so on.
Don’t get too stressed, though. Here are some tips to help you travel to your wedding destination and keep everything running smoothly:
Purchase Your Tickets Well in Advance
If you’re going to be traveling to your wedding destination by plane, you’ll want to purchase your tickets well in advance. When you buy your tickets early, it’s easier to find great deals on flights. Not only could it help you save some money, but having them taken care of takes a huge load of stress off your shoulders. You won’t have to worry about booking a last-minute flight or going over budget on travel expenses if you plan and book in advance.
Make a List
Between the wedding planning and preparation, travel arrangements, and everything you have to pack, it’s easy to leave out important items like toothpaste and toothbrushes, deodorant, socks, shoes, or all of the above. Before things start to get too crazy, sit down and make a list of everything you need to bring with you to your wedding and subsequent honeymoon. Write down every toiletry you’ll need, how many pairs of socks, underwear, outfits, swimming suits, etc. Don’t forget medications, accessories, the dress, the tux, and so on.
The list will get long, but that’s okay. If you write down every single item, you can check it off the list as you pack, helping you ensure that you don’t leave anything you need behind.
Start Packing Well in Advance
After you have your packing list made, start packing. Even if you’re weeks or a couple of months out, pack anything you possibly can into the suitcases you’ll be taking. If you like to use travel toiletries instead of your full-sized containers, get those packed up. If you have enough socks to pack what you need and still have what you need at home, pack them.
Anything you can pack in advance, do—it will save you time, stress, and hassle when it gets down to crunch time.
Don’t Forget a Portable Steamer
If you don’t have room for one, make room. Otherwise, call ahead to your hotel and see if they have one that guests can use. Whatever you do, make sure you have a steamer available once you arrive at your destination. When you travel, clothes always end up bunched up and wrinkled, and your wedding dress and tux will end up that way, too—a steamer will give you the chance to make sure everything looks perfect for the big day.
Have the Wedding Dress Travel with You
While you could ship your dress via a courier service or have it fly to the destination separately, you don’t want to chance it getting lost or damaged. Even on your flight, you don’t want to check it in case it somehow gets redirected to the wrong destination. Consider packing the dress into a carryon bag. If you’re worried about it getting too bunched up, see if there are any open seats that you can set it in, or, if you’re concerned about it, purchase an extra seat next to yours to transport the dress safely.
Arrive at the Airport (or Hit the Road) Early
When it’s time to go, give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the airport or be sure to hit the road a few hours early. Flights get delayed, and things go wrong, so it’s always good to allow yourself some leeway. If all goes well and you end up with a little extra waiting time or get to your destination early, you can try to relax and unwind before things get hectic again.
Unpack Everything When You Arrive
After you arrive at your destination and have had a chance to rest, go through your bags and unpack everything you brought. You can put it into the closet and dressers, or pack it back up into your suitcase if you’d like. The reason you should unpack it all is to make sure that you brought everything you needed. Once there, you may realize you left something at home or don’t have enough of what you need—once you know, you can have a relative or friend bring it when they come down, or you can go out and buy what you’re missing.
How are you traveling to your destination wedding? What’s your biggest concern?