In a 2013 study of destination weddings conducted by The Knot Market Intelligence, a research wing of TheKnot.com, researchers found that 350,000 destination weddings occur each year. That figure means nearly one in four couples who tied the knot in 2012 had a destination wedding, a roughly five percent increase from 2010.
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 survey respondents said they chose a destination wedding because they wanted a more intimate affair with fewer guests.
Whatever the reason behind a couple's decision to have a destination wedding, there are things such 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 with respect to packing so they don't forget or damage any important elements of the wedding.
- Start with a checklist. Couples should develop of checklist of items they will need to bring with them. Make this list as extensive as possible, including 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 list the night before you embark to make sure you have everything.
- Carry on especially important items. Some items are simply to 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. An airline may provide brides with a garment bag to store the wedding gown, and 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.
- Consider mailing welcome packages after you return home. Welcome packages are nice gestures that show your guests just how much you appreciate their being there for your big day. However, when having a destination wedding, couples may discover that their premade welcome packages are too bulky or just too numerous to easily fit into luggage. Instead of taking these to your destination, mail them to your guests after you return home. The packages might not be there to welcome guests, but the sentiment is still the same and guests will appreciate the gesture just the same. If you plan to go this route, talk to the hotel in advance to see if they can help you put together a smaller package so guests are still welcomed to the destination.
- Be wary of shipping items ahead of you. Some couples ship some important items to their hotel ahead of time. While this might seem like an easy solution to packing welcome packages or other special items such as decorations, these items can easily get lost in the mail or stranded at customs. Shipping items ahead might seem like a great idea, but couples must weigh the potential risks before placing important items in someone else's hands.