Post # 1
We are having a destination wedding in Punta Cana this February and 85 people are attending.
Other than the first night (optional) welcome party and the wedding day, I don’t have any events planned. My thought is that it is everyone’s vacation! They spent their money and time off and I don’t want to schedule them to death. Even if you say things are optional I find sometimes people are guilted into them.
However, EVERYONE has been telling me to plan events. They have gone to other destie weddings where this was done and love it… things like volleyball tournaments, euchre tournaments, dress up days, etc…
So tell me… which would you prefer? AND if you prefer events/activities… tell me about what kinds of things we should include!
Post # 3
- Wedding: July 2014 - Prague
How can “optional” be wrong? 😀
Post # 4
Hmm, if I were in Punta Cana for your wedding, I would want to take the “downtime” as my own vacation like you said. Maybe you can compromise by making a list of some recommended activities but not actually organize anything yourself? You have enough to plan and worry about, and I’d think your guests can enjoy Punta Cana just fine on their own. 😉
Post # 5
- Wedding: April 2014 - Italian Villa
@mu_t: If there are any touristy activities that people will likely want to do or anything that is fun to go see, I would plan one or two of those. We are doing a Destination Wedding in Italy, so we are having some tours of the Vatican and Coliseum since those are things we know many from our group would want to see. I don’t know about the non-touristy events though. If someone planned a tournament (sport or card game), I probably wouldn’t attend, so unless those things are really big amongst your group, I’d skip those.
Post # 6
- Wedding: October 2014 - Kukahiko Estate
We are havign a Destination Wedding and will probably schedule 1 optional event (luau, booze cruise, or soemthing else) for the day after the wedding. After, that you are on your own.
Post # 7
@mu_t: include a listing of a wide array of events from water sports, ziplining, horseback riding to exploring the city. You might not want to set a physical schedule, that way people can have their time to explore but providing a listing of resources would likely be appreciated. that way if they want to participate and mingle with guests they can but they also dont feel obligated to stick to the plan and take some time to explore their own interests.
I personally as a guest would just like a nice listing, maybe include some times if the places have a certain time of day that they go on excursions and one PLANNED event for everyone throughout the stay. (however see if the listing is provided by the hotel)
Post # 8
Optional is fine, it’s optional after all. People can come or not. You don’t need to schedule something every day, but maybe do a couple things depending on how long you’re there.
Post # 9
We had a Destination Wedding in St. Thomas and we had a welcome dinner, wedding rehearsal & the wedding. The rest of the time we let everyone enjoy themselves as it was their vacation too. We did all have dinner together a few nights during the trip, but it wasn’t planned and sort of just happened. As a guest at a Destination Wedding, I wouldn’t want to spend too much of my time doing planned events, especially since it’s also my vacation.
Post # 10
@mu_t: I wouldn’t plan any extra events.
My FI’s brother had a Destination Wedding two summers ago in Myrtle Beach.
They had a welcome dinner at Medival Times (so not our thing), their bachelor(ette) parties scheduled Friday night, golf outing for the guys Saturday, and got married Sunday.
We didn’t go to the dinner at Medival Times because we arrived that afteroon and it just wasn’t our thing. Everyone attended the bachelor(ette) parties. The guys, including my fiance, golfed Saturday, and Sunday was spent on the wedding and reception dinner. I barely got to see Fiance the whole time we were there, save for Saturday night when just the two of us went to dinner.
Honestly, the trip was a waste of close to $2000, except for seeing FI’s brother get married. The ceremony lasted 5 minutes, and they had a reception at home a few months later.
We are not beach people, so assuming that a trip to MB was a “vacation” for us was totally ignorant on FI’s brother’s (but mostly his wifes) part. Please don’t assume that your Destination Wedding will be a vacation for guests. We had to go because it was FI’s brother and he was best man. We spent a lot of time and money, and lost a lot of money due to not having vacation time provided by our jobs, on a vacation we didn’t even want to go on. The trip could have been more fun if we had the option to spend whole trip doing whatever we wanted and attending the wedding Sunday, than attending bride and groom events the whole trip. I suppose the events were optional, but when you’re the best man, you’re more obligated to attend- as was I.
Sorry if my post came off a little bitchy. It just rubs me the wrong way when people assume that their Destination Wedding is a vacation for those attending.
Post # 11
@mu_t: Since a little less than half of the peoplewho voted in the poll said ‘no’ to extra events, I think you should schedule some but be very clear that nobody has to attend them if they don’t want to. I am one of those people who’d be guilted into going to the extra events, and I would feel better about not attending if the bride stressed that the extra events were not a part of the wedding festivities. If you make sure that people don’t feel like they are skipping out on a part of the wedding by attending then everything should be fine.
Also make sure that you only schedule a couple of events. Don’t put multiple things on every day, an event every couple of days should be fine. Your guests probably don’t want that and you should be taking time to enjoy yourself!
I’ve never been to a Destination Wedding that was more than days but I personally would prefer things like a group breakfast or a barbeque on the beach, something everyone will enjoy like scuba diving, and maybe one silly activity. I don’t really knw wat kinds of activities you had in mind and these migh be too expensive.
ETA: After reading a pps reply I’m leaning the other way now. Op, if you do have activities then I still think this is the way they should be done.
Post # 12
I’d make a list of suggested activities. Maybe you could reach out ahead of time to your guests to see if they’d like you to organize a group trip somewhere, but I wouldn’t want to be scheduled on my vacation!
Post # 13
@MichiganGirl24: sorry your brother’s wedding wasn’t ideal for you. my mentality is that no one is being forced to go. in fact none of my sister’s or my brother are going. my fiance’s brother, who is a groomsmen, is also not attending. if people can’t afford it or don’t want to attend, we have made it very clear throughout that it is completely not necessary or expected. so for those who are attending, it IS their vacation. and from what i’ve heard, everyone is really pumped about it.
Thanks for all the input. I definitely agree with most of you. I was planning on including some off resort/on resort activity information in their guest bags, just in case they wanted to do their own thing. Everytime I go on vacation I do a booze cruise & I really wanted to look into paying for one for all the guests as a final thank you but it wasn’t cost effective. This thread gave me the idea to have an optional booze cruise one of the final days perhaps and people can pay their way if they want to come. I’ll probably tell them “the bride & groom are going on this booze cruise on this day… it costs this much. if you’d like to join them, sign up here.” I’ll word it better… but does that sound okay? and then anything that goes down like euchre (our friends/families are HUGE euchre fans) or volleyball tournies can be spontaneous.
Post # 14
@MichiganGirl24: I just posted a response to the OP that was disagreed with you, but I think you are so right. If it is a Destination Wedding where the wedding lasts multiple days then people come expecting to attend wedding events, so it’s pretty hard to seperate those events from the type of casual hang out the OP described. I mean it’s your wedding, I doubt many people would say ‘don’t feel like it’ if you asked them to do an activity, since this entire trip is about your wedding then you’re sort of obligated to attend.
OP, I think it’s important to remember that DWs are like work vacations – they’re not really vacations. Your guests are there attending a wedding and so for the most part group meet-ups with other guests will be thought of as non optional. A Destination Wedding isn’t a group vacation so there isn’t really the right context for casual, optional events.
If you really want to schedule group events then go for it. Every bride forces her guests or bridal party to do/pay for something they don’t want at some point. People will feel pressured to attend your events but they will go and be happy for you and most of them will have a good time.
Post # 15
I don’t think you need to plan anything. Maybe just have a list of things that your guests could do if they wanted (tours, horseback riding, sailing…).
I’ve only been to one destination wedding and the couple printed out a little list of things to do in the area and put it in little welcome bags. It was nice because we were able to do whatever we wanted on our own schedules.
Post # 16
I chose no extra events. People who don’t want to go may feel obligated to go.