Destination weddings: picture sweeping coastlines, crystal clear waters, scenic venues, diverse cuisine scenes, and the opportunity to witness the joining of two lives. Sounds exciting, right?
Not to dampen your excitement, but the rules for attending a wedding change quite a lot when you are driving out of town or traveling out of the country. Moreover, there are more considerations and preparations for far-flung weddings than local ceremonies.
The guide below provides insights and tips to ensure a smooth journey and a good time at a destination wedding. From planning your travel and accommodation to the do’s and don’ts of attending destination weddings, we explore everything you need to know as a guest at a destination wedding.
As a guest at a destination wedding, you are required to plan your travel arrangements. Below, we provide you with information on when and how to book flights and accommodation, what to do if the hotel the couple chooses is out of your budget, and how long destination weddings last.
When it comes to booking your flight for a destination wedding, time is of the essence. It would be best to start looking into flights when you receive the wedding invitation or the save-the-date. Destination wedding locations can become busy quickly, especially during peak seasons. Therefore, booking your flight as early as possible can help you find the most competitive fares and ensure availability.
Have the couple chosen a hotel, but no accommodation is booked for you? For this case, you may consider booking. However, if the hotel is beyond your budget and you can’t afford the accommodation, you can explore other options and look for accommodations nearby, such as bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals, or resorts. You can also share a vacation rental with a fellow attendee to cut costs.
Destination weddings usually last several days. The exact duration varies, but you can expect to spend three nights and four days at a destination wedding. Here is a quick breakdown:
- Day one — rehearsal welcome party
- Day two — wedding day
- Day three — Farewell brunch (the couple has brunch with the guests and says goodbye to some of the guests)
- Day four — Goodbye (you can fly out on the night of day three or the morning of day four).
Before attending a destination wedding, you need to know what to wear and what not to wear. The section below provides information on proper wedding attire and attire you should avoid at a wedding.
Wear light fabrics like linen and tulle or breathable fabrics like cotton and lace. If you are a female guest, you can opt for a swing or airy maxi dress in floral patterns or warm colors. If you are a male guest, you can opt for a lightweight suit in pastel shades of blue, purple, or yellow or pair a dress shirt with linen trousers. Remember to accessorize with sunglasses, stylish hats, and comfortable beach footwear.
You can wear a flowy sundress or a lightweight jumpsuit in soft prints or subtle patterns if you are a female guest. You can wear a relaxed suit or pair linen pants with a lightweight button-down shirt if you are a male guest. Remember to wear sand-friendly footwear like wedges and sandals for women and loafers and canvas for men.
As a guest at a destination wedding, you should avoid certain attire choices. Avoid potential faux pas by steering clear of white attire since white is traditionally reserved for the bride. Avoid wearing casual or revealing outfits, as these can attract negative attention or take attention away from the bride and groom. Additionally, steer clear of overly flashy accessories. A wedding is not the place to make a bold fashion statement!
Before leaving your home and driving or flying to a destination wedding, you should go over your packing list to ensure you have all the items you need during your trip and your stay at the hotel.
When packing for a destination wedding, ensure the following items are on your packing list:
- Identification Documents: Carry your driver’s license, national ID, passport, and other identification documents you may need for travel.
- Plane Tickets and Boarding Passes: Carry a separate bag where you can keep and easily access your plane ticket and boarding pass.
- Credit Cards: Carry your credit card(s) because credit cards are accepted in more places overseas than debit cards and cash.
- Prescription Medicines: Pack prescription medication in carry-on luggage, and don’t forget a copy of the prescriptions.
- Wedding Day Clothes: Do not forget to pack the clothes you plan to wear for the wedding ceremony.
- Change of Clothing: Pack casual attire like shirts, jeans, shorts, sneakers, and flip-flops when you relax by the beach or tour the destination.
- Personal Essentials: Make sure to pack toiletries, such as toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, and soap. Also, pack hygiene items like hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes.
- Sun Protection: Remember to pack quality sunscreen, sunglasses with polarized lenses, and a hat, cap, or fedora to stay safe from UVA and UVB sunlight.
- Wedding Gift: If you are bringing the couple a gift, wrap it well to prevent damage or breakage during travel.
Try to pack as light as you can to avoid excess baggage costs.
Before traveling for a destination wedding, consider the following factors:
Before you leave on your journey to the country or state where the destination wedding will be held, find out what kind of ID they require, so you can meet all the identification requirements for the destination and avoid run-ins with the law.
You cannot predict the weather, but you can prepare for it. Check the weather forecast to find out the expected weather conditions in the wedding location to pack appropriate clothing.
Destination wedding celebrations usually last for around three to four days. But the group may decide to stay longer. This is why you need to know how long you will stay. This helps you pack accordingly and determine how much money you will need.
If you are attending any special events apart from the wedding, ensure to plan for them.
Contact your mobile carrier to learn about their international coverage if you want to use your phone abroad. If these charges are too high, think about getting a local SIM card or purchasing an international data plan.
To ensure a respectful experience for yourself and the couple, follow these etiquette tips.
After receiving the wedding invitation, RSVP promptly because the couple needs to notify the wedding planner, wedding venue, and caterer about the final headcount, which they need for planning purposes.
If your wedding invitation does not include a plus-one, you should, under no circumstances, invite anyone without permission or show up with an uninvited guest. It is important to respect the couple’s guest list and who they choose to share this intimate moment with.
Comply with all the requirements and follow the couple’s guidelines regarding itineraries or dress codes. By respecting the couple’s requirements, you demonstrate respect and support for their big day.
It is essential to be punctual when attending a destination wedding. Arrive on time or a few minutes earlier for receptions, ceremonies, or other activities included in the wedding festivities. This way, you won’t miss any critical moments or interrupt important proceedings.
You are here to enjoy the wedding celebration but remember to do so responsibly. Control your alcohol intake, as this allows you to remain respectful of the couple and other guests even when you are having fun. If you start feeling buzzed, switch to water, grab food, and lie on a sun lounger.
If you cannot attend the wedding due to an unavoidable circumstance, sending a gift from the registry is customary. Doing so shows that you acknowledge their big day and you wish them well in their new chapter.
Destination Wedding Guide For Guests
Destination weddings offer a memorable and fun experience, not only for the couple but also for the guests. However, the fun starts with ensuring you get a smooth journey, a comfortable stay in the accommodation of your choice, and an enjoyable time at the wedding. Now that you know what to do, make new memories, and enjoy extraordinary places and moments! Cheers to celebrating love in far-flung locations.
The article originally appeared Wander With Alex. Photo Credit: [@Rawpixel/DepositPhotos]
Isabelle is an associate editor and content writer. She is a lifelong learner who is always eager to try new things. Isabelle combines her skills and experience to transform lifestyle, fashion, and travel ideals into practical reality and relevant information.