Sep 24, 2020

Ultimate Wedding Packing List Part 1: Details Pics, Ceremony & Reception Lists

Y’all, the night of my wedding I had to go back to my parents’ house to pack the bag for our honeymoon. I totally fell into the common pitfall of saving too much to do the week of my wedding. I remember my friends flying in and trying to spend time with them, but feeling torn because I needed to pack and tie up loose ends. Then when I finally came home to pack, I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I just could not put the pieces together to finish packing.

So there I was, still in my dress, putting the final items in my bag to head out to our wedding night hotel. In the end, I honestly had the sweetest moment with my parents, and I got to thank them one on one for the night. But if I can pass any advice on to couples from my own experience as a bride, its to put together some thorough packing lists and finish packing BEFORE the week of your wedding.

Imagine waking up wedding morning and everything you’ll need is neatly placed in just the right spot, no one is asking where is this or that and you have nothing to worry about, but instead, you are 100% present.

We begin with what you need pack for those detail pictures and what you’ll need packed for the ceremony and reception.

Detail Photos List

Designate a box for your detail photos. This is for those styled pictures, those take a good bit of forethought, and creating this box is the exact process you need. If you’ll have your fiancé getting ready with a second photographer, make sure you both have a details box.

Here’s what to include:

  • A full wedding invitation suite along with an addressed invitation envelope with stamps

  • Garter

  • Perfume

  • Jewelry

  • Family heirlooms

  • Bow tie

  • Cuff links

  • Ring box

  • Ribbon spool

  • Spare lace from your wedding dress

  • Shoes

  • Pocket square

  • Fresh floral stems

  • Styling board

Styling your detail pictures may be really fun for you. Enjoy this process, it’s your finalized vision, and people love having these pictures as part of their wedding story. You don’t absolutely need the styling board itself, your photographer can find a surface at the venue or may bring a styling board.

On your box, include a checklist of any last-minute items you need to add, like your wedding rings, your dress, veil, shoes, or a special heirloom that you maybe don’t have yet.

Also, a reminder that if you’d like some loose floral stems to include, you do need to request that from your florist now. They’ll have to include that in their order and it’s reasonable to expect an additional charge for these.

Ceremony Check List

For your ceremony, get a larger box, like a Tupperware container.

  • Ceremony programs

  • Signage

  • Aisle markers

  • Pew bows

  • A copy of your marriage vows (and give yourself a deadline to finish those at least 7 days before you tie the knot.

  • Marriage license, many officiants want this on the night of the rehearsal, if you are not sure keep it in this box and take the box with you on rehearsal night.

  • Second-line umbrellas

  • Second-line hankies

  • Tips for the officiant, musicians, church coordinator, second-line band.

  • Items that will be needed for ceremony rituals like a unity candle, Ketubah, Mazel Tov glasses and bag, ropes, etc.

  • Extra copies of special readings.

Reception Check List

Have a separate box for your reception, even if the two are in the same location. Organization is your best friend when emotions are running high. Try not to rely on your normal routine or memory, those are unreliable on the wedding day! This box can go to your getting ready location and be picked up by your planner or coordinator on the wedding day OR you may be able to drop it off at your venue a day or two before the wedding. Label it with your first and last name.


  • Champagne flutes

  • Cake topper

  • Table numbers

  • Escort cards/display, menu, signage, etc.

  • Any Photos to be displayed

  • Guestbook and whatever goes with it like polaroid cameras, film, pens, markers)

  • Card box

  • Personalized items like napkins, signature cocktail signs

  • Favors, koozie, cups, etc.

  • A checklist of all the items you want back.

If you have décor items like tea lights, chargers, linen napkins, the person setting up needs to know whether you want those back. Don’t assume they know. I have had couples look at me like I’m crazy when I ask if they want their linen napkins back ½ of them are shocked I would NOT just trash them, the other ½ are shocked I would NOT know to keep them! Everyone is different, and no two couples want the same thing! Be as clear as possible!

  • Special liquor

  • Items for the getaway car

The next blog will share what to pack in your getting ready bag and your overnight bag. Thank you for reading, and happy wedding planning!




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