The Closet

Destination Weddings: How to Choose an Outfit and Keep it Wedding-Ready

While there may not be a one-size-fits-all rule for occasion dressing, destination weddings call for some additional considerations. Here's your guide for selecting and caring for your next destination wedding attire.

What to Wear: The garden wedding

Think fairy lights and champagne over freshly cut grass—there's nothing quite like a garden wedding during the warmer months.

Keep it romantic yet practical. Pair floaty dresses with flat sandals or wedges; try a dress with texture so you won't be fussed about keeping it wrinkle-free. If floral motifs are too literal for you, opt for neutral lightweight fabrics with interesting details such as a lace overlay or an embroidered collar (but be careful not to encroach on the bride's exclusive color palette). The discerning gentleman looks for a slim-cut suit with well-ironed details. Pants should be slightly tapered but still comfortable; same goes for the suit jacket.

What to Wear: The beach wedding

Whether you're in Bali or St. Bart's for the summer, a beach wedding makes for a memorable trip. Pull together a look that's both laid-back yet polished for a great seaside ensemble.

If you've been eyeing that bohemian dress for months, here's the time to scoop it up. Play with longer hemlines and go for midi or maxi lengths; they're ultra chic and highly beach appropriate. Don't be afraid to try something new—beach weddings are easy (and fun) to dress up for. For the men, lighter options such as cotton, linen or seersucker are your go-tos for the ceremony.

What to Wear: The city wedding

Your best friend just booked her dream wedding at the Met—attending a reception against a backdrop of Rembrandt paintings requires flawless attire that's on par with the artwork.

The art of mastering black tie dressing is simplicity: less is more. When in doubt, opt for black or muted tones. Look for a gown or suit with a simple silhouette: off-the-shoulder or side drapings are particularly striking for this occasion. If your hemline is too long, take it to a tailor for a custom fit, or invest in some heels. And ladies—it's time to bring out the heirloom jewelry (only a few carefully chosen pieces, of course). Dressier options such as a tux or three piece suit are classic choices for gentlemen.

How to Keep Your Outfit Wedding-Ready

Traveling with formal wear can be challenging, but following these storage tips can help reduce the chance of wrinkles or stains on your carefully selected new outfit.


  • Keep dresses pristine by rolling them up and tucking them away in a garment bag
  • Purchase a packing envelope for suits
  • Pack heavier items on the bottom of your suitcase to help avoid wrinkling
  • Roll ties around your finger (starting with the narrow end) and slip them into a sock before packing
  • Use hard case luggage if possible to avoid damage from outside pressure
  • Keep finer fabrics such as silk and chiffon in a separate compartment—and away from liquids—during travel
  • Pack all liquids in separate plastic bags to contain any possible spills
  • Pack rolled clothes tightly so they don't unravel

On arrival

  • Hang your clothes immediately upon arrival
  • Place your clothes on the back of the bathroom door and run a hot shower for a quick steam clean
  • Consider purchasing a portable steam cleaner
  • Look into the services available at your hotel, such as suit pressing

Heading home

Destination weddings are exciting, but they're also a big investment; from the plane ticket, to the hotel, to the outfit. But by packing and caring for your clothes correctly, you can make sure that at least one of those investments outlasts the journey.

Made a mess out of your cocktail dress? Head over to our cheat sheet for stain treatments on-the-go for an instant remedy.


Photos: Nick Karvounis, Haystaak Sweet Ice Cream Photography, Scott Webb