When planning your wedding near to where you live, it’s not bad to forget something: usually, someone nearby has an extra hairbrush if it comes down to it, and if you want your special travel pillow, someone can swing by your home and get it for you. Not so with out of town weddings! I got married a full six hour drive away from where I lived, so I did the math and realized it was worthwhile to be organized about what I brought with me.
Here are a few tips for making a packing list that will get you on your way on time, with everything you need, and ready to have a beautiful wedding far, far away.
Start Early by Putting Notes on Your Schedule
My best strategy was to print out a draft of my schedule for the weekend and put extra notes in all the margins, showing what things I needed when. That will allow you to make themed sections for your list: décor for the rehearsal dinner, party supplies for girl time with the bride the night before, ceremony items, reception favors, etc.
Have Local Guests? Send Them a Box!
By prepping this list ahead of time, you can send a couple boxes of supplies down ahead of time and keep more space open in your own vehicle. This is especially true if guests are driving and you are flying, but even a car gets rather full if you put a suit and a puffy dress in the back seat. We sent our pre-purchased wedding wine down with a guest and it helped clear space in our car for all the things that needed to go down right before the event.
Clean Your Space and Gather Wedding Items at the Same Time
A few days before you leave, set aside a bit of time to really clean your home; it will make you feel less stressed, and in the process, you may find new things to add to the list. While it is a great idea to write down anything you think of that needs to go with you, it can also help to physically make a pile of everything that needs to get out to the car on the travel day.
Notice Weather Differences
If the weather will be different where you are headed, make sure you pack clothes that are comfortable for the wedding events, in-between times, and honeymoon, if you are taking one. The old suggestion of packing layers is a great idea. If you want to dress up certain outfits, a white or lacy cardigan can be really helpful both for staying warm and looking classy at different wedding-related events.
Collaborate with the Home Team
Enlist whoever is living closest to the wedding site to be a liaison with you, especially if you happen to be staying with them. See what they already have on hand before you put it on your packing list. The locals will also know what the most recent weather developments are (see above!).
Make a List
Finally, make sure that the following list, at the very least, is accounted for and ready to go:
- Wedding outfits
- Rehearsal Dinner outfits
- Any needed outfits for post-wedding brunch or honeymoon travel
- Comfortable shoes that work with your clothes
- Décor items that are needed for adding to the venue
- Checks and envelopes for vendors
- Wedding survival kit bag for yourself
- Notes or gifts for bridal party and other important guests
- Add your own essentials to the list!
If you are traveling by car, one thing to think about is also how you will exchange space in your vehicle for the space you need to transport gifts after the wedding. Unless you’ve arranged for all gifts to be sent straight to your home address, a car is probably the easiest way to carry presents back to your home. If you are bringing any of the food or drinks in your car, you can expect that space to free up for present transport. You could also ask someone local to hold on to your décor items for the time between the wedding and the next visit you’ll be making to that area. Another great option is to arrange ahead of time to donate or sell your décor items locally rather than having to deal with them afterwards.
With these tips and the basic reminder list, you are prepared to make your out-of-town wedding successful by having everything you need at your fingertips. Doing an ounce of preparation before the wedding will save you so much time and make your big day that much more meaningful and fun.