Destination weddings are becoming increasingly popular as couples seek to make their special day even more memorable by combining it with a unique travel experience.
However, planning a destination wedding weekend can be daunting, especially when you’re trying to create an unforgettable experience for your guests.
It’s not just about choosing the perfect location and coordinating activities and excursions. There are many details to consider when curating a destination wedding weekend experience.
In this post, we’ll explore new ways to create a one-of-a-kind wedding weekend and leave a lasting impression on you and your guests.
Let’s get started!
Shake Up the Template
Destination weekends are meant to be enjoyed. So although it’s tempting to pack it to the max with fun activities, try not to overschedule your guests. Leave plenty of time for them to hang out, have fun, and enjoy the weekend.
How to Make it Happen: Break up your ceremony and reception into two days. This gives your guests a chance to rest and recover between events. And it gives you a chance to have two different parties with two different vibes – versus one day with two events that blur together.
For example, one of our couples had a midday ceremony in the Aspen mountains. Afterward, guests had lunch, toasts, day-partied, then recharged. The following day, people hung out, played pickleball, and explored Aspen before coming together that night for the rodeo disco reception party.
Another destination couple we planned for left a recovery day between the ceremony and the reception.
Both of these cases allowed the couples to have the formalities in a sweet setting, and in a way they could be more mindful of the whole experience. And the guests absolutely LOVED having the recharge period before the big party.
Expand the Timeline
Newsflash: your wedding doesn’t have to be on a Saturday!
If all of your guests are traveling anyway, and they’re game for taking the week off and spending some extra time with you, consider getting married smack dab in the middle of the week. Because why not?!
Let’s forget the typical everyone arrives on Friday, rushes to do dinner, ceremony, reception, then rushes out timeline. Instead…
How to Make it Happen: Have your rehearsal dinner on a Tuesday, then a big welcome party on Wednesday. Get married on Thursday, take a day off, have another party, do whatever you want to do!
It’s all about shaking up the timeline and expanding it to get the most out of your destination weekend.
Be an Exceptional Host
This is one of the more formal events you’ll host, so think about the guest experience. Especially as loved ones arrive from out of town or even overseas. Not to be a bummer, but the real real is that traveling in 2023 means that there’s a high likely hood that one of your guests will have a delayed flight, a canceled flight, missing luggage, etc.
What can you do to anticipate their needs? How can you be a good host when they arrive?
How to Make it Happen: Rather than scheduling your biggest event on the first day, welcome everyone with something a bit more relaxed. This could be something as simple as cocktails by the pool.
Or have a one or two-day buffer period that still allows you to host everyone but in a more relaxed setting. Think a casual welcome event where guests can mingle, a “cocktail party” day with lunch and toasts, and your ceremony the following day.
The buffer period is a great way to ramp up to your main event and gives people time to recharge from an often exhausting and unreliable travel experience.
Nix the Welcome Bag
Welcome bags aren’t always delivered correctly by hotel staff. And for the most part, they’re often filled with items guests leave behind. So we recommend spending your money elsewhere.
How to Make it Happen: Send a welcome note instead, and handoff fun treats or cute cookies at your event – people love anything they can eat. We also like the idea of curated gifts, like a cheese board, a bottle of rosé, and a custom cocktail napkin that says, “Have a toast on us.”
Start a WhatsApp Channel
We create WhatsApp groups to act as guest announcement channels, and it’s a game changer! It makes things so much easier for everyone, allowing us and the couple to chat with the guests and remind/notify them of things.
How to Make it Happen: Create a WhatsApp group and add guests to send directions, notify of changes, answer questions, etc.
When we were in Italy, we sent out a photo of the guide and where he was, so guests knew what he looked like and exactly where to go to get where they needed to be. Everyone got all of the information simultaneously, which is also excellent when you have to make sudden changes (i.e., the weather doesn’t cooperate).
You don’t have to use WhatsApp, of course. There are several chat apps to choose from, including Skype, Telegram, and Viber. If you’re planning your wedding on your own, pick one that you’re familiar with and that your guests can easily navigate.
Our big takeaway for curating your destination wedding weekend? Do it your way! Step outside of the template and shake up the timeline. You’re already going big by having a destination wedding, so why not expand a little more?
It’s your day and your weekend, and we would love to help you create it into something that is super memorable and amazing. Let’s make it happen!
[…] first. Forget what you think should happen with your timeline. We explored this in our post about Curating Your Destination Weekend, and we’d like to bring it up again because it’s such a hidden-in-plain-sight […]