As the wedding To Do list boxes get checked off one by one, it is now time to plan for the traveling portion for your epic destination wedding in Ireland. Here’s a list of the absolute Must Pack These Things, based on my personal experience when I renewed my vows with my husband 2 years ago and the wisdom of our planners Michelle and Sile. Some of these you’ve already thought of, some of them you may be surprised to hear. Trust us, you need them…
Aside from the obvious things like your wedding dress, suit, something blue, etc. you’ll have some other items that you may not think of to bring or forget to pack for your wedding day. Ireland is beautiful, and that beauty is created in large part by the weather, who will not necessarily be respectful of your wedding day. Chances are you’ll be fine, and even if it’s raining that morning it will stop enough for you to hold your ceremony. But, there’s a chance it might not. And with other elements like fog and terrain, you’re best off if you come prepared.
1. Comfortable Shoes To Walk In On Your Wedding Day
Absolutely number one on the list, especially if you are planning an outdoor ceremony in the elements. A level, manicured garden with freshly cut grass is one thing; pebble stoned paths in the countryside or soggy inclined grassland by the cliffs is quite another. You will never forgive yourself wearing those gorgeous heels you bought for your wedding day as they start to sink in to the muddy ground, or your wedding photos of you walking up to your betrothed being held up by two people to navigate the terrain, or even worse, doing the Stumble Dance in front of all of your guests. If you need to have height because of your dress’s length, go for a sturdy wedge. They can take most terrains and still give you that elegance and height for your overall look. If you can go for a good flat, then go that route. Or, if terrain permits a pair of heels with a nice, thick sturdy heel, like I did. The bottom line here is the stiletto is the devil for your outdoor wedding.
There are many beautiful wedges and flats to suit most dress styles. If you have a pair and want to dress them up, a simple shoe clip can get the job done to dress up an otherwise boring wedge or flat. Or, just go for a fabulous pair of flats. Anything from colorful ballet flats to opulent, crystal encrusted bespoke ballet flats to match your dress can take you from wedding ceremony and late night dancing. Whatever your choice, definitely plan on realistic option for footwear, and save the gorgeous Jimmy Choos for the reception!
What We Love:
Tieks: As the brand name hails, these clever little shoes are “the ballet flat, reinvented.” For the stylish visitor to Ireland who insists on wearing heels or wedges anyway (raises hand in corner), you can swap your wedges or heels for a pair of Tieks when the terrain gets a little rough, then slip them back into your purse when it’s time for dinner. They’re versatile and the best part is they fit in any bag, from backpack to purse. And you don’t have to sacrifice style or comfort either. Brides and bridesmaids — this is a GREAT IDEA for you — especially if you are doing an outdoor wedding or plan on dancing the night away. You can even coordinate colors to all match or better yet, each bridesmaid can have her own signature look under their dress. You can find a collection of various colors and styles here.
Shoe Clips: A variety of textures and colors in a clip can transform a simple dependable flat or wedge into a fun unexpected accessory for your wedding day. From vintage style crystals and gold details, to dramatic feathers, to adorable bows and flower details, you can customize your shoes to suit your dress and theme. Etsy has a wide variety of shoe clips to choose from.
2. Wellies aka Rain Boots
This one may surprise you, but it’s absolutely a must if you plan on taking pictures outdoors for your wedding day. I don’t care if you’re in the middle of the bustling city or in the middle of nowhere, if you plan on taking pictures outdoors for any part of your day, you need the correct footwear. And truly no other shoe suits Ireland’s landscape and weather than the noble Wellie.
When I renewed my vows with my husband in Kenmare, we held our ceremony at the gorgeous incomparable Uragh stone circle. The mystery and transformative presence of the space was in large part due to its remote location and small difficulty in getting there: no paved streets, tiny roads, all rocks, grass, and pebbles among the rolling hills (read: incline and decline). I mastered the walk up to the circle fine in a pair of sturdy thick-heeled Steve Maddens, but when it came time for pictures my Maddens could only go so far. There were incredible pictures to be hand using the landscape, but it involved hopping barbed wire fences, climbing rocks near waterfalls, traversing amongst the sheep (i.e. a carpet of sheep poopies), and all within 2 hours of it having stopped raining (equals Mud with a capital “m”). My photographer, Shane, looked with horror at my 5 inch heels, but I convinced him I was up for the challenge, for I am also unnervingly insane when it comes to getting the perfect shots and will literally risk my life hanging over castle walls and leaning over clearly marked safety barriers. He thougth a moment, then his face lit up and said he’d be right back. Andrew and I stood among the sheep poops, contemplating a plan of action when Shane came back with a pair of sparkly pink wellies (his wife’s) he happened to have in his car trunk. Brilliant! We walked about the hills, climbing here and there, taking shots under giant trees and frolicking along the hills which would have taken forever had I not had the rain boots.
What We Love
Hunter: This brand remains our favorite. The tried and true boots have taken a beating and still go on ticking; they won’t rip or get destroyed and remain comfortable on miles of walking in the rain. I speak from personal experience. Check out the variety of colors and styles here.
A simple, functional slightly-heavy-but-not-super-thick shawl is a must have for Ireland for two reasons. First, being an island Ireland is susceptible to cooler winds. In particular if your wedding is on the coast, you’ll want something to throw over your shoulders. Second, now this is the part many people will not anticipate, you can cover your hair. If you’re wearing an up-do or long, luscious locks, the wind can wreak havoc on your hairstyle. A little mist in the air, especially near the ocean or a waterfall, and around the cliffs can be enough to send it into a frizz. A lovely shawl to keep lightly over your head if you need it between pictures or throw off right before the ceremony will keep you both warm and your hair in place.
What We Love
Blarney Woollen Mills: If you’re having an Irish wedding, then who better knows the Irish elements and how to protect against them than the Irish! We love the capes, shawls, and tartans offered through Blarney Woollen Mills. From a delicate pashmina in trendy ombre to shawls with Celtic detail, these are perfect for your late spring through summer Irish wedding. We love how they add a little colorful Irish detail to the day as well. For fall and winter, we adore these tartan inspired shawls. Not only are they cozy, they are just perfect to add a rustic and classic Irish detail for your wedding day. The extra bonus? These make a great keepsake for your wedding day and you can wear them for many years to come. Check out the variety of knit shawls, elegant pashminas, and tartans here.
4. Wedding Jewelry
You’d be surprised how many people forget to pack their wedding jewelry. Further, you’d be shocked (or maybe not) how many of them are the guys! Double check your dress shirts to see if they require cufflinks! If they do, when you’re packing for your trip attach the cufflinks right to the shirt so you make sure you don’t forget them or they don’t get lost!
Try on your wedding jewelry with your dress on for your final fitting. Make sure it’s the right look you’re going for. If you’re not wearing earrings on a regular basis, make sure you pop a pair in your ear holes before the wedding day! “So many brides buy their bridal earrings and try them on with the dress 6 – 8 month before the wedding and then forget all about them,” Sile, one of our premier wedding planners says. “I have been there many times on the morning of the wedding when the bride is dressed and ready and when they try to put in the earring, they realize their ear has closed or the hole has become too narrow for their new earrings. Sisters, mums and bridesmaid begin stabbing the bride with the earring – not pleasant at all! Not to mention the risk of droplets of blood on the dress – A nightmare, which can be easily avoided!”
Once you’ve picked your jewelry there is the question of how to transport it. The last thing you need is your wedding jewelry clanking together or getting lost among the pockets or folds of your packed things. And assuming you are bringing other jewelry for the trip as well, it gets more complicated. The answer? A travel jewelry organizer to keep safely all of your things.
What We Love
Jewelry Travel Cases: It is truly the best way to go for your wedding day and all travels. Keep your things in one place, set properly to avoid tangles and lost rings, mates to stud earrings and most importantly, those family heirlooms you want to wear on your wedding day. These travel cases really are worth the investment and fit perfectly into any carryon. You will use this for your travels over and over again. We really love the travel case by Clos-ette. Check it out here.
5. Fashion Tape
As the product tag line says, it’s “Hollywood’s best kept secret.” Little strips of double-sided tape go on your skin or undergarment and attach to your article of clothing. If your wedding dress is backless or strapless, has a lace bodice, you may want to invest in these. They will keep the dress (comfortably) to your body so you don’t have to worry about the lace falling down or a sleeve coming off the shoulder during your ceremony and pictures.
What We Love:
Hollywood brand: Hollywood makes a variety of fabulous products to help you look your best on your wedding day (and every day). From fashion tape to nipple covers for strapless tops and dresses, to shoe pads to make your shoes more comfortable, it’s a great idea in preparation for your upcoming wedding to check out their products here. Easy to pack and great to have on hand for your wedding day and every day, we highly recommend at least the fashion tape to help take care of any dress emergencies. Especially for outdoor weddings when a little surprise breeze can turn your elegant day into a different kind of party.
6. Personalized Mending Kit
The proverbial “If It Can Go Wrong, It Will” rule may rear its ugly head at any wedding, your dream destination wedding in Ireland being of no exception. Adding to that the complications of travel, checked bags, and nervous fingers and you can end up with a potential disaster on your hands not just on your vacation days but on your wedding day. Put together your own mending kit. Make sure it includes small scissors, various kinds of thread the same color as your wedding dress (and other outfits you plan to wear during your trip to Ireland), needles, couple of extra buttons, clear nail polish, super glue, etc. If your wedding day shoes have crystal detail bring a couple of extra crystals in case something breaks off during travel. Many of these shoes come with replacement crystals and heel ends. The super glue can take care of any broken off shoe details or jewelry that’s been broken. Thread can fix anything from clothing to broken hair pieces and combs, veils, and even string together a bracelet or necklace if need be.
What We Love
Invisible Thread: “A needle and thread is an absolute must,” says Michelle, our premier wedding planner. “Invisible threat ideally! EVERY bride needs it on the day for something!!”
7. Convertible Outlet
If this is your first time going to Ireland (or Europe) you may not be aware that they use totally different electrical outlets than we do in America. In Ireland they use the “UK plug” which is a 3 prong socket. You may look at your hair dryer, for example, and say “lovely, I have 3 prongs it will work.” No, it won’t. These are 3 totally differently sized and shaped prongs. Further, the voltage is often different in Ireland. In Ireland it runs 220-240 volts, in the US and Canada around 110-120 volts. This means in Ireland your appliance will run hotter and faster than it does in America and will probably burn out.
Don’t despair, you can still shave your face with an electric razer and not have frizzy hair and charge your phones.
You need to get a plug adapter (aka “converter.”) This is a little miracle that receives your American plug (i.e. two prong or three prong plug) and then itself plugs into the European socket. It’s a bridge between America and Ireland, poetic and useful and full of analogies and irony. Now, the important thing to remember here is even though you’ve solved the problem on the adapter, you still may have an issue with voltage. Most modern hotels are equipped to handle higher voltage volume, so you won’t notice a different and your adapter will work just fine. If you plan on staying in an older establishment or bed and breakfast, you may encounter the lower voltage issue. To solve this issue you can do one of two things: (1) invest in a plug adapter and voltage converter (you can find both on amazon or travel stores) OR invest in a European hair dryer (amazon or when you arrive in Ireland).
Most converter-only situations are fine for lower voltage appliances like electric shavers, phone chargers, laptop charges. Appliance that require a longer sustained voltage like hair dryers and curling irons might not depending on the venue’s voltage capacity. You can call your hotels and venue ahead of time to ask so you are properly prepared. Some even have built in American plugs now as well.
If you’re worried about your wedding day then to avoid any of it, hire a professional hair stylist for your day. They do wonderful work and are skilled at all of the latest bridal styles. Treat yourself and enjoy a glass of champagne while getting pampered instead of fretting with voltage and curling irons.
8. Document Organizer
You will need some official documents for your destination wedding in Ireland. First, your passport of course. You’ll need a couple of credit cards for expenses, your driver’s license and insurance card if you plan on renting a car during your stay. Some cash and converted currency, coins, and a place to keep track of your hotel key cards. With the focus being on your wedding, the last thing you want is to worry about these important items getting lost. And you don’t need to bring the bulky wallet with grocery store and pet store discount cards.
Yes something exists to organize these things too.
What We Love
Travel Organizer: We love this travel organizer by MochiThings. Comes in a variety of colors and sizes to suit your travel needs, it contains all of your essentials and fits compactly in your purse and travel bags. Check out the variety of products and travel wallets here.
AND NOT TO BRING
1. Wedding Favors. Wedding favors, especially little ones, will take up a considerable amount of space in your luggage and be something else for you (and your guests) to lose and forget. If you want to provide your guests with favors, try choosing something in Ireland already. Something authentically Irish made in Ireland would be a perfect keepsake from your wedding and souvenir from your guests’ travels. Waterlily Weddings is happy to suggest a variety of items that would be suitable and can work with you on securing the perfect favors.
2. Too Many Personalized Details. With all of the DIY details inspiring weddings, you may want in and flex your craft muscles. Choose the details carefully and remember these need to be transported to Ireland. Pick details you can incorporate easily, that will travel lightly and not take up too much space. Pictures, paper details, hand-written notes are easy to carry. Big framed pictures from childhood to engagement may prove a bit more challenging to bring with you. If you want to add personalized elements, consider boxing them up together and shipping them to your venue. They are more than happy to hold your items for you until you arrive, and will ship them back for you as well. We did this for our vow renewal to great effect.
3. Umbrellas. Yes it rains in Ireland. Yes it’s misty. No you don’t need to pack an umbrella. First, it’s one more thing to lose. Second, unless it’s a collapsible little one it won’t fit in your suitcase. Third, Ireland has plenty of umbrellas throughout the island if you really need to purchase one while there for a reasonable cost. But fourth and most importantly, it really doesn’t rain that much and that hard for that long to warrant the packing of one more thing to worry about losing. At most the rain will pour for less than half an hour then pass; you’ll have opportunity to duck into a café and enjoy a hot cup of tea or antique store while it passes. For your wedding day proper, you will be indoors until the weather passes or you’ll be executing your Plan B Indoor option if the weather refuses to cooperate.
4. A Full Glam Arsenal. Given the electric issues go for the venue’s salon or hire a professional stylist. They are quite reasonable and well versed in all of the latest bridal trends. Waterlily Weddings has a variety of excellent vendors we’ve worked with who are talented and ready to give you the perfect hair for your day.
5. A Suitcase of Medical Supplies. Some people panic at the thought of being in a foreign country and not having access to medical emergency supplies. Ireland is civilized and up to date with all of the latest medical procedures, technology, and medications. Barring your planning to get married atop Carrountoohil (Ireland highest peek), should the unthinkable happen, you will be close to emergency aid. A variety of drugstores dot every major city street and village square, so you’ll be able to find aid for the headache or common cold. If you’re traveling with children and would prefer to have items on hand, then pack a little emergency kit. But there is truly no need for a big bag of American brand medicines and items. It would be great to have a small First Aid kit with you if you plan on hiking about on your trip, but for your wedding day proper and weekend you will be fine with just packing personal medications.
Now that you are prepared for your dream destination wedding in Ireland, we welcome you and remind you to ENJOY and HAVE FUN!