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Packing pointers for destination weddings

In a 2012 study of destination weddings conducted by The Knot Market Intelligence, researchers found that 350,000 destination weddings occur each year. That figure means nearly one in four couples had a destination wedding in 2011, a roughly five percent increase from 2009.

Destination weddings have grown in popularity for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the appeal of getting married in an exotic or unique locale. In addition, 65 percent of respondents said they chose a destination wedding to have an intimate event with fewer guests.

Whatever the reasons, there are things couples must consider that others who chose a local ceremony can afford to overlook or place a smaller emphasis upon. Packing is one aspect of a wedding that's more important to couples having a destination wedding than those getting married closer to home. Once a couple boards a plane to head off to their destination wedding, any items left behind will stay behind. So it's important for couples getting married far away from their homes to develop a plan so they don't forget or damage any important elements of the wedding.


1. Start with a checklist. Couples should develop of checklist of items they will need to bring with them. Include everything that will have to be packed, such as clothing, toiletries, jewelry, reservation information, and anything else you expect to need on your trip. Check off items on this list as you pack them away, and check the night before you embark to make sure you have everything.

2. Carry on especially important items. Some items are simply too important to pack. A bride's wedding gown and the groom's tuxedo fall into this category. Unfortunately, checked bags can get lost, and no bride or groom wants to arrive at their destination without their gown or tux. The gown and tux can likely be hung in the plane's closet without fear of other passengers putting items on top of them. In addition to the wedding day attire, don't store items like the wedding rings or family heirlooms in a checked bag. Carry these items in a purse or securely store them in a carry-on bag.

3. Consider mailing welcome packages after you return home. Welcome packages are nice gestures that show your guests just how much you appreciate them. However, when having a destination wedding, couples may discover that their premade welcome packages are too bulky or too numerous to fit into luggage. Mail them to your guests after you return home instead. The packages might not be there to welcome guests, but the sentiment is the same and guests will appreciate the gesture. Talk to the hotel in advance to see if they can help you make a smaller package so guests are still welcomed to the destination.

4. Be wary of shipping items ahead of you. Some couples ship some important items to their hotel ahead of time. This might seem like an easy solution to packing welcome packages or other special items like decorations, but these items can get lost in the mail or stranded at customs. Shipping items ahead seems like a great idea, but couples must weigh the potential risks before placing important items in someone else's hands.