Packing Tips for Honeymoons & Special Celebrations

A couple enjoys a picnic overlooking windsurfers, Lower Paia. Tor Johnson/The Hawaii Tourism Authority
By Kara Murphy

Whether you're headed to a destination wedding or jetting off on your long-awaited honeymoon, you'll want to look and feel your best.

Simplify your to-do list with these packing tips for special trips like destination weddings, milestone birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, or girlfriend getaways.

Do you have the perfect packing tip for formal occasions or special celebrations? Share your best packing tips on the Packing Forum.

Photo Caption: A couple enjoys a picnic overlooking windsurfers at Lower Paia, Maui
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Deluxe Wheeled Baseline Compact Garment Bag by Briggs & Riley, $549.00. <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. Briggs & Riley
Don't let your most important outfit get trapped inside of a checked bag that could get lost or delayed. Pack your dress or suit, shoes, and any accessories, such as a tie, purse, or jewelry, in your carry-on. Try to keep the entire outfit together so you'll know exactly where everything is at all times.

Consider using a garment bag to transport suits and dresses. Place clothes wrapped in plastic (like the bags you get from the dry cleaner) on a hanger. Then loop accessories around the hanger. Stash your dressy footwear (in shoe bags if you have them) and any additional accessories at the bottom of the garment bag.

If you're traveling by plane, ask the flight attendant if there is a closet where your garment bag can be stowed. If there isn't one, wait until the last minute to place your garment bag in the overhead compartment to make sure nothing is placed on top of it. Also, remember that a garment bag does count as one of your two allowed carry-ons. If you're traveling by car, hang the garment bag or lay it out flat.

Photo Caption: Deluxe Wheeled Baseline Compact Garment Bag by Briggs & Riley, $549,
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21-inch Vapor International Carry-On bag by Tumi, $445. <a href=" " target="_blank"></a>. Tumi
Unless you will be hiking or camping, leave your backpack at home. If you'll be staying at a luxury hotel for a milestone birthday, an anniversary, or a destination wedding, this is the time to upgrade your luggage.

If you're newlyweds, "it's a time for new beginnings, so you may want to invest in new, coordinated pieces of luggage," says Karen Klopp, founder of What2WearWhere (

Since you're splurging, do your research, and choose a set of luggage you love and that suits your needs as a couple. Tumi ( and Bric's ( make extremely durable and lightweight bags that are ultra-stylish and come in sleek colors, materials, and patterns. Investing in just one piece of luggage? Go for a carry-on.

Photo Caption: 21-inch Vapor International Carry-On bag by Tumi, $445,
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Magellan's StowAway jewelry pouch, $16. <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. Magellan's Travel Supplies
"For jewelry, use a roll-up organizer and keep it with you in your carry-on luggage or purse," says Karen Klopp of What2WearWhere. A soft-sided organizer is easy to pack and will protect your jewelry from being damaged, lost, or stolen. Pop men's jewelry, tie bars, and cuff links in the case as well.

Place delicate lingerie in protective bags to prevent rips and snags. Consider investing in cotton bags that zip closed (they're reusable and can be thrown in the washing machine), or just pop them in a Ziploc bag.

It's best to pack evening purses and shoes in individual bags as well. Cotton bags are great, but Ziploc bags or recycled plastic grocery bags also work.

Photo Caption: Magellan's StowAway jewelry pouch, $16,
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Air Bacara Ballet leather flats by Cole Haan, $148. <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. Cole Haan
No matter if you're headed to a formal event or a casual one, it's important to bring a pair of comfortable (yet stylish!) shoes as well. Especially if you're wearing heels or uncomfortable dress shoes to the event, you'll want a pair of comfortable flats to change into afterward. Choose a simple pair that you can wear with all of your outfits. Make sure they're stylish enough to wear to activities surrounding the event, such as lunch or drinks with fellow guests.

Basic black ballet flats are versatile options for women. Brands like Footzy Rolls ( make comfy styles that roll up to fit in an evening bag. Men should consider bringing "loafers, oxfords pair, boat shoes, or stylish sneakers," says Kirshan Murphy, style advisor and founder of The Professional Gent style blog (

Also, bring the proper footwear for any other planned activities, such as hikes or water sports.

Photo Caption: Air Bacara Ballet leather flats by Cole Haan, $148,
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At left, Michael Kors Shimmer Solids Basic Hipster Bottom, $56. <a href=" " target="_blank"></a> and Michael Kors Shimmer Solids Ballet Bra Top, $76.00. <a href=" " target="_blank"></a>. At right,  Karla Colletto Lace-Up One Piece Tank $232.00. <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.
If you plan to be near a beach, lake, or pool, bring at least two bathing suits with you. Ideally you'll pack one for sunbathing and one for more active adventures.

Pick a swimsuit for relaxing in the pool or sauna, and one that you don't mind wearing to spa treatments where it might get mud or salt on it.

Photo Caption: Michael Kors Shimmer Solids Basic Hipster Bottom (left), $56,; Michael Kors Shimmer Solids Ballet Bra Top, $76,; Karla Colletto Lace-Up One Piece Tank (right), $232,
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Nikon D3100, $649.95, which includes the 18-55mm lens. <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. Nikon Inc.
Now is the time to bring along your top-notch SLR camera or HD camcorder, so don't stress over whether or not to devote space in your suitcase to photography gear and accessories. If it comes down to an extra lens that might make an OK picture amazing, or yet another pair of pants that you probably won't wear, keep the lens and ditch the pants! If you do bring an SLR, you may also want to bring a small point-and-shoot camera that can fit into a purse or pocket.

Along with a camera, camcorder, and tripod, it's a great idea to bring the necessary cord or laptop that will allow you to download and share pictures and videos at your destination. Don't forget to pack extra memory cards or a spare battery.

Photo Caption: Nikon D3100, $649.95 with the 18-55mm lens,
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JOBY's GorillaPod Hybrid, from $39.95.  <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. JOBY
From honeymoons to family reunions, consider bringing along a lightweight tripod. It will allow you to take pictures even when no one is around to help. JOBY's GorillaPod ( is a great option for self-portraits.

Photo Caption: JOBY's GorillaPod Hybrid, from $39.95,
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Scout by Bungalow's Weekender travel bag, $45. <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. SCOUT by Bungalow
"One thing that people always forget is a tote to carry items from their room to whatever activity they're going to be doing," says Susie Ellis, president of SpaFinder, Inc. (

For most activities, a canvas or nylon tote will suffice, but if you will be doing any hiking (especially if it's extensive), you might want to bring a backpack. Either bag can double as your personal bag on the plane. In addition to your tote or backpack, rolling duffels and soft-sided suitcases are both great options.

Photo Caption: Scout by Bungalow's Weekender travel bag, $45,
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Suitcase. Zach Davis
For destination weddings, graduations, and other special celebrations, consider shipping any gifts ahead of time -- either to your destination or to the recipient's home.

If you prefer to travel with your gift, it's best to put it in a secure place that will stay with you at all times. When traveling by plane, pack it in your carry-on unwrapped -- TSA rules allow for officers to unwrap gifts at security checkpoints if deemed necessary. You can always bring a gift bag or wrapping paper with you (folded and placed flat inside your suitcase) to use once you've reached your destination.

If you must pack the gift in your checked luggage, it can be wrapped. Just make sure it is packed properly in a bag with a TSA-approved lock.

Photo Caption: Leave gifts unwrapped in your carry-on.
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