10 Travel Tips for Destination Wedding Guests

Perfete / Tuesday July 30, 2019
Ene Afufu is the severely wanderlust owner of The Travel Custodian and an aspiring travel writer. She is happiest when she is creating unique and memorable travel experiences for herself and others.

Santorini wedding location

10 Travel Tips for Destination Wedding Guests | by: The Travel Custodian

If you’re anything like me, travel tips for destination wedding guests is so necessary right now. Like, we’ve all probably arrived at the life segment where everyone we know is getting hitched. And, with destination weddings becoming an increasingly popular option, there is likely going to be some traveling to attend all of those weddings in your future. It may seem like a big undertaking right now. But, a good way to look at it is as a vacation for yourself and not just attending a wedding celebration abroad. With some planning and the right attitude, you can end up having a fantastic time at any destination wedding, whether it’s overseas or just a few hours away. Here are 10 Travel Tips for Destination Wedding Guests that will help you party your heart out in style:

1.) Make plans in good time

First things first, visa requirements! If you don’t require a visa, great. However, if you do, you need to find out what the visa process and turnaround time looks like. Start the process in good time to avoid getting stuck in bureaucracy hell at embassies. When checking for flight options, the earlier the better. Does the cost make sense to you or is it way over budget? Decide on your attendance with all these parameters in mind as soon as you can. Whether you choose to attend or not, relay your decision to the couple as soon as you know. This is especially helpful, because it allows them to get an accurate head count and firm up their wedding plans.

2.) Get a destination twofer

Is the destination wedding close to somewhere you’ve been curious about visiting? Now is a good opportunity to go for it! Try building an itinerary that allows you to swing multiple destinations for around the same cost. For instance, last year I had to be in Portugal for my friend’s wedding. I decided to visit Morocco in the same trip since the two countries are so close to each other. I came up with a multi city itinerary and after I fulfilled my bridesmaid duties at the wedding, I hopped on a flight to Marrakech. It cost me less than $100 and took just an hour and a half to fly from Lisbon to Marrakech. I was able to fit two amazing trips into my time off for just a little over the price of one.

young black woman exploring streets of lisbon portugal

3.) Stay up to date on the wedding activities

Many couples now use wedding websites as a one stop shop for all things related to the wedding. The wedding website is your friend, people! You can find all kinds of information and resources on there. For example: what airport to fly in to, where to stay, what to do, travel and neighborhood guides. You name it. Most well-done wedding websites pretty much do a lot of the work of figuring out logistics for you. A couple may also organize group tours and activity packages for guests attending their wedding, often at discounted rates. Tap into that! It’s a good idea because you get to mingle and network with other guests before the actual wedding day, all while exploring the destination.

4.) Research points of interests and activities at the destination

Maybe you want to do your own thing away from the wedding group. That’s great too. Make sure you’re checking out what attractions are available at the wedding destination. Each city is unique and will probably have something that is right up your alley. Make the most of your time by getting advance reservations or tickets to attractions and events you may be interested in.

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5.) Pack smart

Plan your outfits early! Select your outfits for both sightseeing and the wedding ceremony well in advance. When you plan the slay well ahead of time, you’re less likely to run into the problem of over packing. Options are great but stick to 2 outfit choices at most. At the end of the day, the goal is to look nice. In short, don’t overthink it. The focus and attention will be on the couple anyway.


6.) Carry on your main outfits

Lost or delayed baggage can be a very stressful situation. You want to make sure that in the event of this happening, you’re not stuck having to look for a wedding guest outfit at the very last minute. I always suggest packing at least two change of clothes in your carry on. When you’re traveling to attend a wedding, at least have your outfit for the ceremony on board the flight with you.


Aruba Marriott outdoor wedding ceremony - beach wedding theme - perfête wedding destination
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7.) Be clear on financial obligations

Check with the couple if there are any costs you might incur while you’re attending their wedding. If there are, make sure it is an undertaking you’re prepared for. The last thing you want is to get there and be blindsided by a cost you had no clue you’d be responsible for. If you’ve been invited to pre-wedding festivities like going to a club or dinner as a group, are you required to pay a cover or a portion of the check? These are thing to know and prepare for.

8.) Check if you’re allowed to bring a guest

It should go without saying that the first rule of traveling for a destination wedding is making sure you ARE invited to the destination wedding. Couples often opt for destination weddings as a crowd control and cost reduction measure. If you’ve been invited to their wedding, it’s because they want to share their special day with you. If you think you may want to invite an additional guest, the courteous thing to do is ask the couple first. Don’t be the person who shows up with unannounced and uninvited guests. It will save everyone a lot of awkwardness and discomfort.

destination wedding couple
Image Courtesy of TayoJr from Seun and Toye’s French Chateau Wedding

9.) Make room for unplanned costs

You can plan to operate strictly within your travel budget. But, unplanned costs can (and may!) pop up here and there. Prepare for this and always have an emergency stash. 

10.) Be patient, relax and have fun

The last item on our Travel Tips for Destination Wedding Guests list (it has a ring to it, don’t ya think?) is the most important. And, it is: manage your expectations. The bride/groom may be your good friend or your favorite cousin. Yet, the truth is they may not have a lot of time to spend with you. Nor, may they have a lot of attention to give you. Weddings are very busy. Yes, you’ve made the trip for them. However, try not to take it personally when they aren’t super available or accessible. Their wedding is all about them for that one special time. So, extend as much grace as you can. Go with the flow. Get out and explore. And, enjoy yourself. Love is a beautiful thing. And, celebrating it should be fun, whether at home or abroad! 

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