Out-of-Town Weddings 101

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Photo Credits:
Wedding -- Starwood Hotels and Resorts
Tropical Sunset -- Ron Dalhquist
Beach Run -- Julie Dreelin
Italian Bride and Groom -- Wolfgang Freithoff
Bride and Bridesmaids -- Amity Mason

destination weddings

Out-of-Town Weddings 101

Find everything you need to know about traveling for a wedding right here.

Photo: Elizabeth Lloyd Photography

Going to a wedding out of town? If so, your head may already be spinning. Do you have the time? Are you up to traveling to an unfamiliar place -- possibly by yourself -- for just a weekend? Relax. You are the weekend wedding guest, and we're here to help take the pressure off.

Making The Best Of It
You're in, you're out and you're exhausted when Monday rolls around. There's no time to linger for a long weekend, the spreadsheets are calling. Relax. Here is some advice on how to make the most of your time.

Before You Leave

  • Turn it into a mini-vacation. It's a matter of mindset. Instead of asking, "How am I going to do this?" say, "I'm going to have fun." Then get started.
  • Plan ahead. Planning can help you make the most of your time. If old friends will be attending the wedding, call them beforehand and make plans to hook up. Make any rental car or other reservations in advance.
  • Call ahead for a hotel brochure and a local events calendar. The more you know about your destination, the more time you'll be able to spend enjoying yourself once you get there.
  • Send wedding gifts ahead of time. That way, you won't have to lug packages onto the plane with you.
  • Make plans to hook up with friends. If old friends will be attending the wedding, call them beforehand and make plans to get together.

On The Plane

  • Don't take a night flight before a morning wedding. You'll be exhausted. Also, to make your flight more enjoyable, try to travel with friends who are also going to the wedding. Time will zip by.
  • Don't check essentials. You'd hate to show up at the reception in your Ungaro gown and your Reeboks!
  • Request an exit row on the plane. Extra legroom means more comfort.
  • Don't bring your work. Unless absolutely necessary, don't bring your laptop and files. Instead, enjoy the in-flight movie. Remember, you're on a mini-vacation.

On Location

  • Don't live out of your bags. As soon as you arrive at your destination, unpack your bags. You'll feel much more at home if you aren't constantly yanking things out of your suitcase.
  • Hit the spa. If the local activities don't appeal to you, make your weekend into a spa-like retreat. Use all the hotel facilities, starting with room service. Many larger hotels offer a massage service, as well as a gym, sauna and pool. Take advantage.
  • Take a catnap. If it's an evening wedding, it will give you just the pick-me-up you need for later.
  • Live it up. Make up your mind to dance, indulge and have a great time.
  • Sleep in. The morning after the wedding, sleep as late as possible, and then order room service.

Plan your trip home so that you arrive in plenty of time to have a good night's sleep. If you head home too late, chances are you'll spend those last precious hours worrying.

Traveling To An Unfamiliar Place
Going somewhere you've never been before? How will you fill the time when you aren't celebrating with the happy couple? Every city has many unique things to offer its visitors -- even the smallest of small towns. Take advantage.

  • Do some research online. Conduct a search on the city and state you will be visiting. What is it famous for? There may be a museum, festival, park or other location that you'll want to visit.
  • A regional directory is available here at WeddingChannel.com. If you're looking for historic restaurants and hotels to visit during your stay, you may very well find them through our Local Vendors Directory
  • Check with the local Chamber of Commerce. They may be your best source of information on what to do and see.
  • Pick up a travel book. There are several outstanding series of city guides, including those by Frommer's, Fodor's, and the Automobile Club of America. If you're an Auto Club member, you'll probably find they have a wealth of free information for you.
  • Get a map. You don't want to get lost in a city you don't know well. There are some great websites that specialize in maps, so go online!
  • Get a local to show you around. This may be a great chance to meet up with an old friend who's local. Just offer to return the favor when they visit your city.
  • Ask the bride and groom. They probably have personal recommendations about activities and things to do in the area. If they've created an Out-Of-Town Guest Information page, you may find suggestions there. (If they don't have one, email the couple now and invite them to create their personal wedding web page -- it's free and fun!)
  • Check out the local newspaper. When you arrive at your destination, this is a great way to find out about events.
  • Ask the concierge. If you've forgotten to make plans in advance, don't worry -- they can help with recommendations.
  • Offer to help the wedding couple and their families. If you don't feel like sightseeing, they are sure to appreciate any assistance. This is also a nice way for you to spend extra time with the people you've traveled so far to see.
    Remember, the few days before the wedding are the busiest time for the bride and groom. This is not the time to ask them to play chauffeur or tour guide. One of the best gifts you can give the couple is to take responsibility for entertaining yourself during your stay.

Feel better? You have everything you need to help make a weekend wedding fun and fruitful. Have a blast!

See More: Destination Weddings , Guests