One of the most wonderful things about getting married is gathering all of your favorite people together in one place. What’s even better about having a destination wedding is your guests will likely be joining you for more than just a day. Take advantage of the opportunity by planning extra activities–for the bridal party, your families, or even the whole guest list.
There’s no etiquette when it comes to who pays for these additional activities. While it’s nice to treat your guests to something fun, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask them to pay for their kayak rental or their afternoon of zip lining.
Tip: if you want guests to pay for themselves, post pricing or links to activity outfitters on your website so they can budget accordingly.
Whether you’re getting married in the mountains, by a lake, or on the coast, bring your guests together with a few of these fun pre or post-wedding events. These adventurous activities are rated from mild to wild (1-5), so pick one (or more!) that suits your guests best.
Outdoor Welcome Bonfire
Adventure Level: 1
A bonfire is the perfect way to kick off a destination wedding weekend. Your guests will love the chance to roast marshmallows, make s’mores, and relax by the fire with some live guitar playing.
If you have enough daylight, you can also plan some lawn games (corn toss, croquet, flag football, etc.) When the sun goes down, take the opportunity to turn your eyes upward–most popular destination wedding locations are also perfect for stargazing.
Don’t forget to contact local jurisdiction beforehand to cover any legal bases. Some areas require a fire permit, and other areas have fire bans at certain times of the year (i.e. dry summer season in the West).
Daytime Catamaran Trip or Sunset Cruise
Adventure Level: 1
If you’re planning your destination wedding in a coastal area, consider booking a daytime catamaran trip or a sunset cruise! Enjoy food, beverages, and the benefit of personal service while taking in the sea air and sunshine. Some cruises feature live music and other entertainment, so search around for one that suits your group.
A Guided Hike
Adventure Level: 2
Sure, you can guide a hike yourself if you know the route– but a guided hike with a local expert is a fantastic way to explore a new area and learn about its vegetation and wildlife. You’ll want to ask your guests to RSVP so you can plan for their fitness level. (If Grandma wants to join, you might need to choose something easier than if it’s just going to be your usual adventure pals.) No matter who is joining you, remember to bring a first aid kit and plenty of water!
Adventure Level: 2
A fly fishing lesson is a perfect bonding activity for your fiance and his groomsmen. If you want to break the gender stereotype, go ahead and bring the ladies, too! Little known fact: women are usually more natural at fly fishing than men.
Adventure Level: 3
Kayaking is a viable option in many different destination wedding areas: lake, bay, sound, or any type of flat water. If you can find a rental outfitter that has a dock for launching, you won’t have to worry about shuttling. (The fewer logistics on a wedding weekend, the better!) Depending on your group’s experience level, you can choose to set off with or without a guide.
Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga
Adventure Level: 4
Have you heard of Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Yoga? Instead of using a mat, you’ll enjoy all your favorite poses atop the water on a standup paddleboard. This fun activity has been getting plenty of positive press lately, thanks to the extra balancing challenge and the synergy of being outdoors.
Consider hiring a local yoga studio for a private class with your ‘maids. SUP yoga is the perfect way to calm your wedding planning stress and bond with your girlfriends.
White Water Rafting
Adventure Level: 3-5
White water rafting is a fairly flexible activity, since the intensity and adventure factor vary depending on the level of rapids you choose to conquer. A local outfitter can tell you the best place to go for your group and connect you with an experienced guide.
Adventure Level: 5
See your destination from a different vantage point (and at a different speed!) with a zip lining excursion. Even though this is one of the most adventurous activities on this list, it’s also perfect for the brave kids in your group. They’ll be talking about it for years to come!
A Day Trip to Explore the Area
Adventure Level: up to you!
Every destination wedding location has its share of unique hidden gems. Check with the local tourism office or website for a range of location-specific ideas to choose from. You might discover ancient ruins, historic landmarks, exotic wildlife, majestic waterfalls, or culinary experiences that you would have otherwise missed!
Your guests will love the chance to participate in a few pre-wedding events! Help them plan their trip accordingly by including an itinerary on your wedding website or invitation suite–and don’t forget to include tips about any special gear or supplies, too! (Think swimsuits, special clothing, water, snacks, sunscreen, bug spray, etc.)
Spending time with those you love? Check.
Having an incredible time? Check.
Making unforgettable memories? Check.
Are you planning an amazing pre-wedding adventure for your destination wedding? Tell me about it in the comments!