Still on the fence about that destination wedding? Go! Raise your glass, roast your friends, and celebrate eternal love on the beach—or in the mountains—or a glamorous new city. Destination wedding etiquette is generally laid-back, so it is definitely more “awesome group vacay” than “long, expensive obligation.”
“Couples put a lot of thought into their guests’ personalities, so trust what they have planned,” says Opihi Love‘s Melissa Padilla, who has planned close to 100 destination weddings from Honolulu to the Amalfi Coast. “It’s a vacation with your favorite people. It doesn’t get much better!”
With a few wedding-friendly travel hacks, you can save money, pack smart, see the sights, dance the reception away, and join the happy couple for the best weekend of their lives.
Make It Affordable
With destination weddings, you miss some of the tried-and-true hacks for affordable travel because times and places are set. Get there on the cheap with alternative tweaks:
You can score high-demand plane tickets (or at least make a major dent in them) with a good frequent flyer membership. For instance, JetBlue flies all over the wedding-happy Caribbean, and their TrueBlue program has no blackout dates.
One of the perks of destination wedding etiquette is that the bride and groom negotiate a low hotel rate for you. Work your points and see if you get travel perks from your credit card.
Buddying up can bring sweet digs within your reach, too. If your friends split a suite in the bride’s chosen hotel, you could save up to hundreds of dollars with the wedding rate.
“Sharing a luxury pad with friends adds so much to the occasion! Small dinner parties, cocktails, and coffee on the veranda all add to the bonding,” says Padilla.
Stash cash fast without feeling deprived. Reallocate everyday overspending for your destination wedding. Drink an inexpensive, yet rich coffee at home, like Dunkin’ Donuts, and bring it to work in a travel mug. Replace department-store makeup with alternatives from Walgreens. Walk instead of hailing a car.
Make a game of saving. Put away every 10-dollar bill. If you’re a card addict, every time you spend $50, pay your wedding fund $10.
Make It Easy
It’s not just the money, though. If you’re using paid time, a destination wedding is your vacation, too—and that means packing for a wedding and a vacation.
Wedding looks can be heavy-duty: stay fresh at a seaside ceremony or travel landmark with double-dip items.
Stick to wrinkle-free pieces in cashmere or silky blends, especially when it comes to your dress for the wedding (you simply can’t go wrong with this Sleeveless Belted Ruffled-Hem Dress from Co). Pack everything else to coordinate. That way, you can wear a bralette top under a cardigan for the rehearsal dinner but rock it alone on a night out. Hip slides, like the iSlide Tropical Floral Slide, are just right for the pool—or the inevitable moment when your high heels are abandoned at the edge of the dance floor.
Bring versatile cosmetics, too. “Grab a waterproof cream color as your cheek and lip stain, ” advises Cynthia Rose, the bridal-beauty maven behind Kipona Aloha in Maui. “Also, dry texturizing sprays with some hold.” These replace dry shampoo and hairspray for tousled, soft-hold hair, perfect for both weddings and vacations.
Keep everything organized with Ultralight Packing Cubes. Take it from the pros: “When I travel, I deck out my hotel with the same small organizers I use in my kit to keep it orderly,” admits Rose.
Stay relaxed, even when the celebratory buzz gets hectic, and remember: a destination wedding is amazing for you, but it’s your friend’s big event. Go with the flow and share the love.
“If there is something [else] you’d like to do,” advises Padilla, “add on a couple days after the wedding.” Now go and have fun!