Travel & Packing

Packing for a Wedding: Part 1

More Adventures in a Suitcase: New Jersey

Happy day, reader dearest!

Are you an overpacker? An underpacker? A just right packer?

I asked this question on social media a while ago and received a variety of answers, with most people admitting to being overpackers.

Which begs a very personal question, How much is just right?

I know many of us haven’t taken ANY trips for quite a while, but what’s your packing history?

Do you even remember?

If you don’t, ask your travel companion(s). I bet they know!

What do you need to know to pack well?

Let’s talk that through today AND in another post. (I’m trying AGAIN to shorten my posts.)

From where does my packing know-how come? I’ll give you the condensed version.

If you only want the steps, read this!

Long, Long Ago…

When our boys were young (9, 5 and 3 years old), we lived in Spain. Sunny Andalucia to be precise! My father passed unexpectedly and I spent the next year flying back and forth with our three lads in tow to help my mother with the logistics of the loss–and the lawyers, accountants, etc. The boys and I made 6 international round trip flights in that year after Daddy’s passing. Oh, did I mention that we were flying Unaccompanied Space-A? (That’s like flying standby for your non-military types.) We were always at the bottom of the list, but managed to get on every flight we needed. Talk about providence!

The first trip for the funeral was a packing disaster. That wasn’t my fault. The call came and I packed all the dirty clothes (Because we didn’t know how long we would be gone.) and the basics for a funeral. No one went naked, so it wasn’t THAT much of a disaster.

By the third trip, we had it down. One large suitcase for everyone’s clothes. A small carryon for each boy with snacks and entertainment. By trip three, even our two older boys could pull their own clothes. They knew packing for a week meant 6 Pair of Underwear, 6 Socks, Pajamas, One Church Outfit, Four Shirts, Two Bottoms, Light Jacket, Sweater, Play Shoes, Church Shoes. Done. I think the youngest learned to count by counting clothes for the suitcase… (Why only a week? Because we were staying with family and laundry was available. To this day, if you tell our boys (now men) there’s a trip, they’ll ask, Weekend? Long Weekend? or Week? And they pack.

So much for a shorter post…

Let’s get packing! (We’ll tackle the first four steps.)

1: Check the Weather

In these interweb times, there’s no excuse NOT to do this! When I was young, you called the library and they would research weather averages for you, but now a click of the button reveals all you need to know. I’ve checked, AccuWeather and Weather Underground. they all look about the same with a little precipitation variation.

This tells me that YAY!, the weather won’t be nearly as cold as I was fearing. What a blessing! I WILL need my winter coat because nights will be cold and this girl’s blood has gotten thin living here in the South. I’ll make sure to pack a hat, gloves and cozy scarf, too! Chilly mornings mean add a warm sweater or two and cozy socks to the list.

2: Activities/Locations

This one runs the gamut, friends. I will need everything from workout clothes to my gown for the wedding. Want to know more about that? Read about my options, here. You name the Level of Refinement, we’ve got it going on this trip!

Itinerary Includes: Hanging out with friends and family. Errands as needed for the MOG. Airport runs. Exercise. Aufruf and meal at the synogogue. Wedding guest/family Meet & Greet at lovely hotel. Afternoon/Evening weddding and reception at a beatiful venue.

Whew. It’s going to be busy. I’d been hoping for a trip into the city to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but I don’t think that will be happening. Sigh. Just looking at that last paragraph is making me tired!

3: Shoes

Why do I start with shoes? Because: If your feet aren’t happy, you will have a miserable trip. Full stop.

I’m taking easy on/off boots or booties for travel days and casual wear. Easy on/off is mandatory for airport security!

Dressy shoes for the wedding— mandatory. Got those. I may also wear them for the Meet & Greet Saturday night with whatever else I cobble together? (Get it? Cobble? Shoes? I kill me…)

My dress boots would be great for the Aufruf and for whenever I manage to squeeze in Mass that weekend. (Dress boots are likely to take a back seat to something more packable.)

Sneakers for exercise. Slippers or Flip Flops for around the room.

Yes, that IS a LOT of shoes for one short trip.

4: Travel Clothes

On my ALWAYS Pack List… Not ALL of them, but certainly one of each!

You’ll find me traveling in jeans, boots/booties (as mentioned above) and some layers. I’ll bring a wooly pashmina style scarf to wear for the cold and as a shawl on the plane as needed (Because a shawl or large scarf is on my Always Pack list.) and my winter coat will top it off. (Because weather as noted above.) I’d like a blazer/jacket, but I’m not sure that will be happening. Maybe I’ll trade my jeans for trousers for more polish. I’m still hoping for that surprise upgrade…

How About You?

Are you an overpacker? An underpacker? A just right packer? With what do you start? What is your biggest packing challenge? Do tell… I love to hear from you!

Stylishly yours,



    Oh, my gravy, bless your heart. All of those trips with the boys in tow. What a nightmarish year. I remember my days/years of flying on military hops. Got stuck in Charleston, South Carolina once for days with my 18 month and 3 year old. Thought we would never get to Panama. Had to wind up flying to Miami and taking commercial from there. Ugh. It is a wonder you and I are still sane!!

    I tend to pack all the wrong things…generally, too dressy for just sitting around my MIL’s house and my mom’s retirement community. But they never see me, and I want to look nice for them. I wind up packing too many color combinations, instead of using one or two neutrals.

    Love those kitten heels you shared. And great idea to pack a couple of scarves to create different looks (and have the variety of color I like). Will remember that tip.

    • Liz K

      Nighmarish. That really is the perfect descriptor for that year. We muddled through and came out better travelers for it. I can think of worse places to get stuck than Charleston, Leslie, but stuck is never what you want when traveling with children. We did an overnight in Maine on prom night once during our adventures. The fire alarm at 1 in the morning was not my idea of a fun prank with three littles in tow… Next time you have a pack to do, we should chat!

  • Jules

    Love these tips. I also put undies, pjs and a fresh top in my carryon in case luggage gets lost/delayed. And one more recent trick I learned—crosspacking. I put one outfit of my husband’s in my suitcase; he does the same. Enjoy the wedding. I look forward to vacation traveling soon myself.

    • Liz K

      Crosspacking is a fabulous strategy, Jules! I usually pack underwear (and possible a bathing suit–depending on my destination) in my carryon, just in case. For this trip, I packed hubby’s suit for the wedding since he wasn’t traveling until Friday. I figured if my suitcase was lost, we had time for it to make it back to us! (And I could borrow clothes from my friend. We’re about the same size.)

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