About one in five couples decides to throw a destination wedding, according to The Knot 2016 Real Weddings Study, so chances are you’ve had (or will have) more than one invitation to a far-flung celebration cross your path. Although the destination might not be your first choice, by RSVP’ing yes, you can not only mark the occasion but also travel somewhere you may not have considered visiting. (Good news: Some of the most popular spots for destination weddings are Mexico, Hawaii and the Caribbean.)
Here are five tips to help you make the holiday your own while still joining the fun.
1. Be independent
Give yourself the freedom to travel around by booking a rental car and arranging your own accommodation. Having your own space will let you explore more freely while still participating in the festivities.
2. Stretch your visit
While the happy couple usually spends a week at their wedding destination, most guests stay an average of four days. Consider stretching your visit to a full week and staggering the dates so you arrive before the day of the event, or stay after. This will free up more time to spend on your own schedule.
3. Follow the rule of three threes
Do your homework and find activities you can enjoy over the course of your stay. Plan three adventures, three dinners and three must-visit places of natural beauty.
For extra credit, find out three things about the destination you didn’t know before you go. Learning about a new place and coming up with experiences to look forward to can help turn a destination you have to visit into one you’re excited about.
4. Pick and choose
Destination weddings rarely consist of just the ceremony and reception; usually, there’s a full schedule. Give yourself permission to pick and choose from the events on offer. Maybe skip the make-your-own-coconut-cocktail class but join the sunset catamaran cruise. By being selective, you’ll be able to do more of the activities you want, which is most likely what the couple wants too.
Share your experiences or what you’ve learned about the destination with other guests, or invite them to come along on your explorations. Buddying up can be more fun and help you save costs on group adventures and transportation.
- NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.
- Published: June 2017