At a certain age it happens to everyone. One day you’re scrolling through your social media to see the latest #squad photos of girls in miniskirts and stilettos, and suddenly all of your drinking companions are getting wasted, dressed in all white on their wedding days. As both an obligation and a priority, weddings are an event you have to attend even if many of your friends and family are spread across the country or globe. With wedding season under way, here are some tips for packing and coping with wedding-travel stress, so you can enjoy yourself during these hectic yet turnt times.
For the more religious & conservative
Make sure to pack something a bit more conservative than you would usually wear to ceremonies that take place in a church or a temple. You might want to cover up those sexy shoulder blades (at least for the vows) to be respectful. Feel free to rip off your cardigan or shawl when the real fun begins at the reception, but in case there’s a cash bar or if it’s a dry wedding, make sure you come prepared with a flask. There are several ways to discreetly smuggle this lifesaver into the party. My personal favorite is a garter belt so I can still look like a fancy lady and be hands-free. Or you can bring a small purse that coordinates with a killer LBD but is large enough to carry mouthwash or mints and a cell phone. But try not to be “that guy,” and drink responsibly to avoid being the drunk person at a sober wedding.
When you’re the date of a member of the bridal party
It’s a joyous affair to attend a best friend’s wedding—even if it’s not your best friend. A few years back I was #blessed with witnessing the nuptials of my husband’s best friend. My husband was a groomsman, and as his date I wanted to make sure we were both prepared for the busy weekend ahead of us. If you’re anything like me, weddings can make you frantic anyway, and you will end up managing everything and being prepared for both you and your date as a way to cope with the stress. Or, if you’re nothing like me, you can just go with the flow, following your partner around from dress-rehearsal dinner to photo sessions. Protip: it might be easier to rent a suit or dress from a location close to the wedding destination rather than travel with the item. We were able to pick up my husband’s tuxedo at a nearby Men’s Wearhouse when we arrived at the city where his best friend was getting married, as opposed to traveling with his rented suit, which saved us both major headaches.
Since you’re not in the wedding, you will get some downtime while your date is stuck posing for hours of wedding photos, and you can use your solo time to check out some local sights. As an extended member of the bridal party, you should be privy to inside intel such as details on the rehearsal dinner and after-wedding brunch, so pack appropriate ensembles for these events too.
Hometown wedding aka unofficial high school/college reunion
This is the wedding where you’ll see all of the friends you partied with from high school and college. Or it could be the place where you see all the people from the town you grew up in who you don’t particularly care to see, including frenemies and exes. Make sure to do your homework on social media to find out who’ll be there and what everyone is up to so there are no surprises when you arrive. Regardless of who’s there, long-lost friend or frenemy, this is an occasion when you will want to outshine both of these parties. The most difficult task in getting your shine on is ensuring there’s enough room in your carry-on for all of the essentials. You can check a bag, but then you’d be putting all the important things you’ll need to slay at risk of getting lost in transit. You can “rent” a designer dress for cheap when you Rent the Runway and have it shipped to wherever you are staying in town if you need luggage space and still want to dress to impress.
Girls’ trip: the bachelorette weekend
This may not be a destination wedding, but it’s just as important: it could be a destination bachelorette party in Cabo or your bridesmaid brunch in Manhattan. Every girls’ trip has its own set of requirements to make it a proper celebration—such as the right destination, activities, and accommodations. As part of my wedding planning and preparation, I made my bachelorette weekend and bridal shower a destination event to be closer to my bridal party, who would have to fly across the country for my wedding. When you’re the bride-to-be, start searching early for the perfect white dress to pack for the party so you can be the main attraction. Other than worrying about wardrobe, bridesmaids plan most of the logistics. Try lesser-known discount travel sites like Amoma.com to get to the nitty-gritty of affordable group-package deals. Or rent a house for an entire week using apps like Innclusive that guarantee a house-sharing experience free of any discrimination that could put a damper on your adventures with your girls.
Whether you’re traveling for a conservative wedding or a wild bachelorette weekend, remember to leave the stress at home and pack an extra pair of comfortable shoes to wear after long nights of dancing. It’s a party and celebration after all, and it only takes a little bit of preparation to deal with the stress of holy matrimony.