Depending on the season, your packing list will vary quite a bit
Even within any particular season your bag will need to contain a variety of items so you’ll be prepared: weather in the mountains can change quickly and dramatically. A warm summer day can change with the sudden clap of thunder and become chilly and rainy, and 25 minutes later be warm and sunny again. Winter days can be sunny and (relatively) warm, then overcast as a snowstorm approaches accompanied by a drop in the temperature.
Besides all of the items you’ll need for the wedding, be sure to bring a variety of clothing and toiletry items so you’ll be prepared for whatever weather mother nature sends your way. Consider the suggestions below.
What to pack for a mountain wedding
- Warm coats. Yes, coats, plural. If you have them, consider bringing a heavier snow coat and a lighter jacket. Oftentimes, at least in the Rocky Mountains, there will be snow on the ground but the shining sun will be warm enough to render a snow coat too hot, especially in the spring. You’ll want to have the snow coat incase the temperature does drop, which it is likely to do even on sunny days, but for the warmer sunny days usually a light jacket over a sweatshirt is more than enough and you’ll be glad not to have the extra bulk of your snow coat to lug around. Consider a windbreaker if the wedding is in the spring – it’s windy in the Rockies in the spring and it’ll cut right through you!
- Knit hat, gloves, scarf/neck warmer. Having these items will save you on the coldest days and be helpful on the warmer days too. Pair them with your sweatshirt and lightweight jacket and you’ll really have no need for that snow coat.
- Snow boots. Cold and/or wet feet can make your day uncomfortable so bring boots along with your normal shoes. You’ll have plenty of traction and warm feet when walking through the snow, which makes all the difference.
- Clothing layers. As mentioned above, the weather will go from warm to cold quickly so wear layers you can easily take off or put back on as the weather changes. Nothing is worse than being too cold or too warm all day, or having to wear a big, bulky snow coat all day because you’re too cold in your lightweight shirt.
- Chapstick and lotion. It is very dry in the Rocky Mountains and you’re going to feel dry very soon after you’re arrival. These items are nice to have on hand instead of having to wait until you’re in town to buy them.
- Warm coats. Yes, this item belongs in this list too. Days and nights can be chilly in the mountains, but especially the nights, and especially if you’re from a warmer climate. You’ll want a lightweight jacket for the evenings and nighttime.
- Clothing layers. Same as above here…weather changes so quickly in the mountains!
- Pants. It can be cooler than you’d expect during the day if it is overcast or rainy, and you may want them in the evenings when it will certainly be cooler.
- Rain coat. Summers, at least in the Rocky Mountains, are rainy season. Most afternoons there will be rain showers. Although they’ll only last for a short time, maybe 15 – 25 minutes at a time, it’s good to have one in case you’re out in it or they last longer.
- Closed-toed shoes. You’ll appreciate having the option to wear them in the evenings and if it rains. Slip-slidding around in flip-flops can get old in wet weather and having cold toes is so distracting!
- Hiking boots and loose fitting pants. Just in case you decide to take a quick hike!
- Sunscreen/insect repellent/lotion/chapstick. All nice-to-have items on hand in case you need them. You don’t want to be sunburned/bitten/dry for the wedding photos!
- Hat and sunglasses. You’ll be at high elevation and the sun shines brightly up here. Even if you don’t usually use them or don’t like them, it’s nice to have just in case if you’re not used to being in the mountains.
Check the weather a few days before you leave to get an idea of what it will be like while you’re at the wedding, but try to include the listed items anyway. The mountains don’t like to play by the weather-forecast rules!
- Your rehearsal dinner outfit.
- Your outfit for the wedding and any accessories – shoes, jewelry/cufflinks, pantyhose/socks, etc. Make a list of all accessories you’ll need ahead of time.
- Something warm/waterproof, depending on the season, that matches with your rehearsal dinner and wedding outfits. You might need it and you want to look nice.
- If you’re the one getting married:
- Your marriage license!
- Seating arrangements, guest book, decorations you’ve made or purchased, wedding guest favors. Or, pre-arrange who is bringing what in case you don’t have room for everything.
- The rings!
- Your passport, if you plan on traveling out of the county for your honeymoon.
What to leave at home
- Illegal substances
- Alcohol, if your venue has a liquor license. Many state’s liquor laws prohibit outside liquor on the premises if the facility has a liquor license. Check with the facility to find out whether you are allowed to bring alcohol onsite.
- Food items that you were planning to leave in your car. High country is bear country! Bears know how to open car doors, and can break into them if they smell food inside; even mostly empty packaging can be enough to tempt bears to break in and have a look. Under no circumstances leave food in your vehicle, and beware of leaving empty food packaging inside. Lock your car doors at all times – bears have been known to open them up and crawl around in the off-chance food was left inside, even if they can’t smell anything. It’s a little eerie to walk up to your car in the morning and find the doors open and dusty paw prints throughout the interior.