Everything you need for her big day—plus a printable PDF with all the details.
Pro Tip: Stash a small duffel or large shoulder bag into your luggage to use the day of the wedding. You won’t want to drag your entire suitcase to the bridal suite, so having a smaller bag for everything you need the day of the wedding will come in handy.
- Your dress
Pro Tip: If you’re flying, carry your dress on the plane in a garment bag. Planes have small coat closets that the flight attendants generally use to stash the jackets of businessmen in first class. As you enter the plane, tell the flight attendant that you’re going to a wedding and ask if he or she could hang your dress in the closet. They should be happy to oblige. The last thing you want is some kind of luggage mix-up ending with you minus your dress.
- The shoes you’ll wear with the dress
Pro Tip: Never wear new shoes to a wedding! Make sure to break them in by wearing at least three times before the big day. You’re going to be doing a lot of standing and your feet will thank you.
- A pair of comfortable sandals to change into at the reception
- The right bra and underwear to wear under your dress
Pro Tip: Pre-plan the undergarments you’ll wear under your dress! Make sure to try it on with the bra and underwear you want to wear. Make sure no lines show on the bottom and that the straps are hidden on top. You may need a thong or to go braless. There are lots of crazy bra options for weird backless dresses—or those insane sticky things that hold up your boobs. Make sure you know before the day of the wedding which option you’ll need.
- Your wedding gift or a card (can be mailed ahead)
- A button-up shirt or loose tank to wear while having your hair and makeup done (or while doing your own)
- Comfortable pants or shorts to wear while getting ready
Pro Tip: When choosing the outfit you’ll wear for getting ready, remember that there’s a good chance a photographer will be on hand to take pictures during this time. If you want to rock your comfiest oversized sweats, more power to you. But if you don’t want to be photographed in your gym clothes, pack something neutral and comfortable that you won’t mind taking a few snaps in. Nothing fancy, just maybe something without holes.
- Makeup. If you’re doing your own makeup, you’ll need your full makeup bag. If you’re having your makeup professionally done, pack mascara and lip gloss for touch-ups.
- Drugs. Chances are butterflies, jitters or heavy drinking from the rehearsal dinner the night before will leave you, the bride or other maids not feeling your best. Pack stomach medicine like Tums, a painkiller like Advil, and allergy medication like Claratin, just to be safe. If you have prescriptions, be sure you include them as well.
- Band-aids. Not only for injuries, band-aids can also help with uncomfortable shoes.
- Double-stick tape. Savior of strapless dresses that won’t stay up. Can also be used to fix a hem that’s falling out!
- Bobby pins
- Hair styling tools or a picture of the hair style you want. If you’re doing your own hair, make sure to pack all the tools you’ll need, be it curling iron, rollers, dryer, straightener, hair spray, bobby pins, ties, clips, etc.
Pro Tip: Telling a hair stylist to give you an up-do is like telling a chef to make you some food. What kind of up-do do you want? Print out a couple options (or have them saved on your phone).
- Jewelry (if you’re wearing it)
- Breath mints. No gum. Leads to potential chewing in pictures.
- Heel inserts
- Shout wipes
- Small sewing kit
- A camera. It’s hard to take time to snap pictures when you’re in the wedding, but sometimes it’s nice to have on hand, especially if the bride doesn’t plan to have a photographer present while you’re getting ready.
- Your cell phone charger (Thanks to reader Karen for the callout!)
- A small umbrella (As savvy reader Darby put it, rain on the wedding day may be good luck, but you don’t want to be caught without cover!)
For Maids of Honor:
- A copy of your speech
- Contact information for all the other bridesmaids, so you can track down latecomers or call for backup if the bride needs anything
- A copy of the day’s schedule from the bride so you can help keep everyone on task
Coordinate with the other bridesmaids to make sure someone brings:
- Music and speakers. You and the girls are going to want to jam while you’re getting ready, right? Make sure that you or one of the other maids brings portable speakers or some other setup to allow you to pump some tunes while you’re getting ready.
- Snacks. Choose high energy but low mess snacks, like fruits and veggies or dark chocolate. You don’t want anything that could drip and leave stains or get crumbs all over your dress.
- Bottled water
- Drinks like mimosas or champagne if you plan to have a few while getting ready
Pro Tip: Keep drinking before the wedding to a minimum, maybe one or two glasses each. Even if you are normally a pro drinker, emotions run high and you are at the start of a loooong day. You don’t want to risk getting sloppy or feeling tired or sick during the ceremony or photographs from a combination of alcohol, nerves, heat or stress. There will be tons of drinking later, I promise. For now, keep it light.
- Any special gifts you plan to give the bride the day of the wedding
And here’s a link to a PDF you can download and print for the day: Bridesmaid Wedding Day Packing List.