While destination weddings may not be everyone’s cup of tea, they are right up my alley. I get to celebrate the love two people share, while also discovering a brand new place. Of course, there can be complications and inconveniences, but even with all of the expenses and planning along the way, I have found that being a part of someone’s special day is worth putting aside worries and booking my ticket to be a part of the celebration.
After my experiences with two weddings in Europe and once across the country, I would say I have it down to a science. This June, I’ll be headed to Rhode Island for the wedding of a friend, and even though this trip doesn’t involve flying, I plan on implementing the same strategies that have worked for the past three. These are my tips for surviving a destination wedding.
Chances are that you’ll know about the wedding relatively far in advance, so be on the look out for deals. For the wedding in Italy, my family found flights to Milan for around $500 and booked them immediately because we knew the deal wouldn’t last for long. We had to take another flight to Brindisi, but all costs worked out cheaper than they would have if we had waited. You can also look for airports to fly into that may be cheaper. For the wedding in London, I flew through Dublin to save money, and I got to spend time with family while I was at it. If you’re creative, you can save on flights, especially by planning ahead.
Turn it into a vacation
Planning ahead and being creative can also work in your favor if you plan on turning the wedding into an excuse for a little getaway. I’d suggest extending your trip by a week or two before or after the wedding. You can stay in the same country or find somewhere else to explore nearby. Since I didn’t have extra time with the weddings in Italy or England, I made due with layovers and some short stop over time in Milan and Dublin. Those little side adventures made the trip feel longer than it actually was, and I was a able to see a new place and spend time with family. Figure out what works for you, and extend your stay a bit, you won’t regret this decision as others attending the wedding are likely to do the same.
Rent a dress
Over the past year, Rent the Runway has become my go-to, especially for travel. I rented my first two dresses for the wedding in Italy, and it made my life so much easier. The dresses arrived on my doorstep the day before I left, and after I wore them and returned home, I popped them into their UPS bag and sent them on their way. A plane ticket, hotel, and activities can be expensive enough, and adding an outfit on top of it can just continue to drive up costs. With dresses that range from $35 to $400, it’s easy to find something that works for the occasion and fits in your budget. Plus, it’s always fun to play dress up in a new city.
I know that these are not the words people like to hear, but with an important event on your trip, it’s crucial not to lose anything. I strongly suggest carrying on your luggage for a destination wedding, this way you can be sure you have all of your important belongings. If you must check your luggage, keep anything you need for the wedding in your carry-on bag. While shopping at a new destination can be fun, it may also add to the stress of an important event if you suddenly have to find something to wear for the wedding.
Rest when you can
Destination weddings usually involve multiple activities, which means you probably won’t have a lot of time to sleep. My advice is to get as much sleep as you can while traveling, and any chance there’s a time to rest up, take it. Chances are that no matter how much sleep you get, you’ll be exhausted the following week. But, that’s to be expected. If it comes down to going out and celebrating or sleeping in, take the celebrations and sleep on the plane ride home.
Enjoy the moment
Wedding weekends are often so busy that they tend to fly by and are over before we know it. All the planning and preparation seems to quickly become a distant memory as we say our good-byes and board the planes back home. Sure, it can be stressful at times, but my advice is to stay in the present moment and enjoy it while you can. The memories I have had when traveling for a wedding have been among my favorites, and ones I know that I will always have.
At the end of the day, no matter how expensive it may be or how difficult it is to get there, my advice is to go. To be able to share in someone’s special day is worth any cost or sacrifice that may need to be made. There are no do-overs in life and no second chances, which is why if you get invited to a destination wedding, no matter where in the world it happens to be, you need to book that flight and go.