After jet-setting all over North America overseeing (and attending!) weddings, every so often I come back thinking: "That item would have been very useful at that given moment on my trip." And given that we are going to be heading to Malibu, Mexico and hopefully many other places in the future to do more celebrations, I figure it is a fitting time to list out some of my favourite must-have items to bring -- as a bride, groom, or even as a guest!
1. Several pieces of identification - not just your passport!
When you're applying for marriage licenses in a place that is not your native city, it's probably a good idea to have some extra pieces of ID for verification purposes, just to make sure things are legal. Also a bonus? Having a list of your parents names (maiden and married) and where they were born. You'd be surprised how much information legal offices need sometimes!
2. Fancy, but comfortable outfits
As a couple of the hour, you will be expected to go to several events, like rehearsal dinner, welcome events, a last single jaunt out with the boys or the girls. But sometimes the weather doesn't call for anything super clingy and sequin-studded. So shop around for some light pieces (linens and cottons), that are also more classy for the occasions. As for shoes, several resorts in the Caribbean are not heel friendly; a dressed up pair of flats or flip flops will also do. And nobody will judge you!
3. Waterproof makeup
This goes without saying for any wedding, really. But more so if you are visiting a hot destination and you really, REALLY, don't want your makeup to run while you are saying your nuptials. A lightweight, yet stay put liquid foundation should be good. Avoid anything powdery as it will cake with all the sweating. BB creams and tinted moisturizers are also amazing for hot weather - and even wet weather, if you are choosing the mountains vs. the beach!
4. A local SIM card and an unlocked phone
Sure, you hope that nobody will call you with an emergency while you are away. But let's face it - it's a large event, and your planners will probably need to get a hold of you in case they need any big decisions made. To avoid hefty phone bills and text charges, look into roam-like-home plans, or try a service like Roam Mobility (our favourite!) - a service that caters specifically to Canadians traveling in the US or Mexico. If all else fails, invest in a weeklong wifi plan with your resort.
5. Several pieces of luggage of different sizes
As the bride and groom, you can avoid hefty local costs for decor if you bring most of your stuff from home. But this means bringing extra baggage! Talk to your family and friends about possibly putting some stuff into their luggage too so you won't have to check a second bag. Things like your stationery (table cards, menu cards, programs), votive candles, small centrepieces, sashes for chairs, favours, welcome bag items and other little things are great personal accents for the event, and things that can easily be brought from home.
Hopefully, your coordinator (like yours truly) would be bringing all this stuff with them. But, in case you want to be super prepared, pack yourself a small bag of tools that you otherwise would not be able to get while away. Scissors, bandages, all sorts of tape, a sewing kit, blister bandages, and medications are all great items to pack - and if for nothing else, it's just sensible to have it.
7. Travel insurance
This isn't something you are necessarily packing, but I thought I'd throw it in there anyway. Especially for Caribbean resorts, you definitely want to invest in a good travel insurance plan in the event of any emergency. Speaking by experience, when that one terrifying moment actually does happen, you want to be prepared to call home and ask for the assistance of your local insurance provider. Good ones will bend over backwards to make sure you get home safe and healthy. We love Blue Cross, PC Insurance, and Manulife!
8. Print outs of any email communication with your resort (in the event you can't get wifi)
Sometimes miscommunications happen. Not only should you have copies of any confirmations from your resort, you should also have some pertinent email threads printed out between yourself and the wedding department of the resort as well. Things can get lost in translation, and you likely wouldn't have visited the resort months prior to the wedding, so you certainly want to be sure that you are getting everything you paid for. On that note, copies of the floor plan of your hall, as well as finalized menus, guest lists, rooming lists and confirmations of travel for your guests are also very helpful.
9. Your cheque book
In case any last minute payments need to be made, having cheques (travelers cheques also work) would be useful. If you don't have cheques or you are going to a location that will not accept cheques, then extra US cash specifically for last minute wedding payments is beneficial.
Happy travels, and here's to a BEAUTIFUL destination wedding!