I love going on holidays. What I don't love, however, is packing for that trip.
Previously, I'd get all flustered and stressed weeks before my flight. It doesn't matter if I'm going for a short weekend trip to Kuala Lumpur or an epic 21-day trip across the United States (ok, packing for this one almost gave me a heart attack). I. Hate. Packing.
But after years of doing this, I've gotten quite pro at working out what I need to bring and what I can live without. Well, sort of.
You see, in my previous life (ok, it was only a couple of years ago), I was a fashion reporter for the national broadsheet and I was fortunate enough to be given the chance to go on press trips hosted by fashion labels. Those trips often happen around the same time as .. Fashion Week! It doesn't matter how much check-in allowance I'm given, I will still go over the limit.
Look, you can't blame me for that, can you? I mean, if you're going to an event where almost every one will try their hardest at a "peacock-ing" attempt, you'd be packing everything but the kitchen sink as well.
"Should I bring my Chanel chain belt that I use as a bracelet, or shall I leave it at home and pack the Givenchy cuff instead? Shall I leave my Boy Chanel and not carry a clutch to the shows?' These are some real tough (albeit #firstworldproblems) questions that go through my mind each time I start thinking about what to pack. And yes, if you have yet to realise, I'm all about the accessories.
So, I've clearly digressed....
But, truth be told, these questions still plague my mind each time I'm packing for a trip. Any trip.
This time, I am flying across the oceans to attend the wedding of a good friend. In India. Oh, the horror!
Destination weddings are fun, no doubt. After all, how does one turn down a wedding invitation in an exotic locale that one has never been before? And an Indian wedding at that! As a travel enthusiast, the opportunity to celebrate the union of your friends, while satisfying some wanderlust of your own is simply too hard to resist.
1. Hang your outfits and cover them with plastic
Ok, so here goes. The first thing you've got to sort out is official wedding attire (in my case, attires). You need to make sure that the outfits you bring don't end up all creased and wrinkled and looking like you've just pulled them out of recycling bin somewhere.
To prevent your evening gowns or, in my case, suits and traditional Indian costumes, from wrinkling, always place them on hangers and throw one of those dry-cleaning plastic wraps over them. Fold them in half or in thirds and put them aside. These should be placed at the top of your luggage or in a separate compartment. Garment bags work well, too.
But if you don't want to bring hangers, here's what you do:
Lay the outfit facedown on a large surface (maybe your bed or the floor) and smooth the fabric with your hands. Then, place a plastic dry cleaner’s bag on the back of the outfit. The plastic serves as a barrier that will prevent folds from embedding in the fabric. After which, you fold it to a size that is appropriate for your suitcase, smoothing wrinkles with your hand as you go. Again, always place these outfits on top of everything else in your luggage.
2. Overpacking is Okay
See the thing about destination weddings is that it is almost like attending fashion week. I mean, every one will be dressed in their ultimate best, no? So, show up to impress. Overpacking is always a good idea. You don't want to end up not having the right outfit. So, options, options, options!
Much like most destination weddings, mine will be close to the coastline of Marina Beach in Chennai (the wedding will be held in a Villa). Also, it will be 39 deg C this week. So, much as I want to be walking around in flip flops and shorts all day, I'd have to always be mindful of the events that are happening throughout the week.
So, it is always best to go through the itinerary and make sure that you have everything you need for each event.
3. Mini-emergency kit
Nothing gets me more riled up than a missing button on my jacket or an undone hemline. I always bring a pouch of essentials, which I call my mini-emergency kit. Here are some essential things I'll always have inside:
1. Mini lint-roller - You need to run the roller over your outfit before stepping out of the room. Not only will this pick up unnecessary lints and dirt, it will also smoothen your outfit.
2. Safety pins - self-explanatory. In case a button pops-out at the last minute.
3. Blotting paper - this should be in your make-up pouch but there's no harm in keeping an extra in this kit.
4. Small tube of moisturiser - this is for that last minute "glow" on your skin. Yes, your friends may be the ones getting married but no one said you can't have some of the spotlight.
For the girls, I recommend heading to Sephora and getting the Pinch Provisions pouch. It has 17 different travel-sized items (from breath mints to tampons) that you would need for those "just in case" situations.
4. Pack your formal shoes in, and bring at least two
Here's the thing, it doesn't matter if you're attending a beach wedding in Bali and the bride and groom will be walking down the aisle and taking their vows bare feet. You need to be wearing shoes (unless it's specifically instructed that you not wear shoes, that is).
It's ok to be over-dressed. What's the worst that can happen anyway? That you'll be the best dressed at the event? Go for it! Your wedding couple will understand. I hope.
5. Read up
Before heading off to the destination, always read up on the local customs. You don't want to be that person who offended a nation at a wedding.
Also, be aware of any details concerning the wedding that have been provided to them ahead of time. These details may appear on the invitation or on a wedding website, or in my case, a wedding app. This is where you'll find the itinerary, whether or not your attendance is mandatory and what sort of outfits you need to be wearing.