If you’re gearing up to attend a wedding, there are a lot of logistics to think about. From planning your outfits to booking accommodations, you’ll need to cross many tasks off of your to-do list prior to the big day. One task you’re probably putting off until the last minute? Packing your bag. And, we totally get it—packing can be a daunting endeavor. That’s why we’re here to help.
If you’re stressed about what to include in your weekender bag, add these essentials to your packing list. Besides the obvious items, such as your wedding guest dress, there are a few necessities you’ll want to have on hand during the ceremony and reception. With these items, you’ll be prepared for anything, from wardrobe malfunctions to weather changes.
“As guests are thoughtful in preparing for the wedding weekend, they can ensure that they have the best guest experience, can focus on their love for the bride and groom, and being present for all the moments that matter most,” Heather Balliet of Amorology notes. Whether it’s a travel-size pack of tissues or a box of safety pins, you can easily throw these objects into your handbag and use them as needed. Ahead, a list of 10 items every wedding guest needs to pack with them.
Meet the Expert
- Heather Balliet is the lead planner, owner, and designer of Amorology, a full-service wedding planning company based in San Diego. She has 19 years of experience in the wedding space.
An Extra Pair of Shoes
There’s nothing like a pair of show-stopping heels to enhance your look—and kill your feet. Yes, sky-high stilettos might match your dress, but after wearing them all night on the dance floor, you’ll probably regret your decision. “While ladies will want to wear a fun pair of heels for the ceremony, it is important to bring another pair of shoes a bit more comfy to dance the night away in,” Balliet advises.
To keep unwanted aches and pains at bay, throw a backup pair of shoes in your bag, so you can change into them during the reception. For warm-weather weddings, consider ballet flats, flip-flops, or sandals. Attending fall or winter nuptials? Grab a pair of sneakers or booties. Note that opting for comfort doesn’t mean you have to skimp on style. There are so many fashionable options on the market, so you’ll be able to make a statement and enjoy the moment without destroying your feet.
Since you just bought a new dress, you probably want to show it off, not cover it up. But, if the soon-to-be newlyweds are tying the knot in chilly temperatures, you’ll need a safeguard to brave the cold. By packing an additional layer, such as a coat, sweater, shawl, or wrap, you’ll have the option to swaddle yourself in warmth during the reception without totally concealing your attire all day.
Bringing an extra layer isn’t only a necessity for the fall or winter season, though. When the temperature drops in the evening at outdoor nuptials, the last thing you want is to spend it shivering. A cozy wrap will come in handy. For summer soirées in an air-conditioned room, a light jacket will also go a long way.
From shedding a tear at the ceremony to gliding across the dance floor, your hair and makeup probably won’t last all night. To keep your glam intact, fill your clutch with beauty necessities, such as oil-blotting sheets, concealer, eyeliner, lipstick, bobby pins, or a mini hairbrush. With these items on hand, you can easily make touch-ups throughout the day. Consider packing a small mirror, so you won’t need to make a bathroom run every time you swipe on another coat of gloss or pin back a strand of hair. Also, remember to make sure your mascara is waterproof in case of a tear or two at the ceremony.
A Handwritten Card
You’ll likely order a wedding gift for the couple through an online registry, but if you want to go the extra mile, bring a handwritten note for the newlyweds. “While most gifts are sent directly to the couples’ homes these days, it is always nice to bring a small gift or card on hand to celebrate the couple,” Balliet says. Instead of showing up empty-handed, arriving with a congratulatory card is a thoughtful gesture that acknowledges the occasion and shows your appreciation for the invitation. In the card, jot down meaningful memories you share with the couple and any well wishes for their new chapter together.
After an evening of dining and drinking, your breath won’t have the same minty-fresh scent it might have had at the beginning of the big day. Avoid a case of bad breath by stashing mints, gum, breath strips, or even a travel-sized bottle of mouthwash in your clutch or bag. With these items nearby, you’ll be able to freshen up your breath in an instant, so you won’t have to be self-conscious about talking too close to fellow guests.
Between blasting music and boisterous conversations, weddings might make your head pound, especially if they’re large affairs with hundreds of guests and you’re sensitive to loud noises. The solution? A trusty bottle of Advil. These pain-relieving pills are also the perfect treatment for a post-wedding hangover.
Even if you do bring a change of shoes, sometimes blisters are just bound to happen, especially if you’re breaking in a new pair. Throw a few bandages in your purse to protect the wound and help the pain subside. You’ll also be prepared for any other unexpected injuries that you or other guests might get, such as a cut from a shattered glass of Champagne.
Whether your bra strap snaps or your dress tears, wardrobe emergencies can happen at any wedding. To patch up any fashion malfunction, safety pins are a saving grace. Load your handbag with a range of sizes to prepare for any impromptu outfit emergency. Stick with a gold or silver hue, so it doesn’t draw attention or clash with your attire.
Watching the couple exchange personalized vows during the ceremony or listening to a moving father-of-the-bride speech at the reception is enough to bring on the waterworks. “For the meaningful moments that ignite happy tears and emotion, make sure you have a few tissues on hand,” Balliet recommends. With a pack of tissues, you’ll wipe away the tears and prevent your makeup from streaming down your face.
Of course, weddings are brimming with delicious appetizers, entrées, and desserts. But, you’ll need extra fuel to dance the night away, so it’s always smart to bring a snack. Whether your stomach starts to growl before dinner or you get hit with late-night munchies, a granola bar or a pack of nuts will stave off hunger without taking up too much room in your purse. Loading up on snacks is especially important if you have dietary restrictions or if you’re spending the night in a hotel room.