Travelling to an exotic location to attend the wedding of a friend or relative is what dreams are made of. Adding to the excitement of the marriage and the ensuing celebrations, visiting an alternative location makes for an amazing experience for the guests and the couple. Here are five of my best tips for attending a wedding abroad, and making the most out of the experience!
Once you get over the initial excitement of attending a destination wedding, you quickly realise that it requires a lot of planning and organisation. From transporting your wedding clothes to booking reasonably priced flights and accommodation, it can be a daunting task. I can only imagine what the bride and groom have to go through! Although there are plenty of guides for planning a wedding abroad, there is very little information out there to advise guests on making the most of the trip.
I planned two wedding ceremonies abroad, one in my hometown Rome where I celebrated with my Italian side of the family and the other in Mumbai, India where my husband and I got married in a religious Hindu ceremony. I have also attended weddings of friends abroad so I feel like I have plenty of experience on this subject, and tips that I can share with you.
Organise your gift in advance
Gifts for newlyweds can be difficult, even when the wedding is local. If a couple is travelling abroad for their big day, you should consider organising your gift in advance.
Send or deliver your gift ahead of the wedding if you or the couple are planning to extend your stay abroad. Otherwise, you have a grace period of around three months to present your gift.
For several of the weddings that I’ve attended recently, the couple has had an Amazon Wedding Registry. This makes the process very easy and is particularly suited to those who are getting married abroad.
Choose your accommodation wisely
It’s important to be strategic when organising where to stay. Research the area and ensure that your hotel or lodgings are easily accessible to and from the wedding venue. If there are activities or parties planned around the wedding day, it’s beneficial to be staying close by.
Alternatively, if you’re planning on seeing sites and travelling within the region, you could consider staying somewhere that best serves your travel plans. Weigh up your options and cover all bases.
Extend your stay
If you have to travel far, you should think about extending your stay and using it as a vacation. This will help make the trip even more special, particularly if you’re with family and friends.
Contact the couple and plan your travelling around the wedding schedule. It’s important to be respectful. Give yourself a day or two either side of the wedding in case there are additional plans.
A few years ago, we travelled from London to Hyderabad to attend a wedding there. We planned to spend four days in the city, two of which were spent attending wedding ceremonies (which are a multiple day affair in India!) like the sangeet, mehendi, and reception. On the last day, we booked a food tour of Old Town Hyderabad organised by ITC Kakatiya Hotel and guided by one of their Head Chefs. It was the perfect way to fully experience the city and learn more about its history and culture!
Packing your wedding outfit
Packing your clothes for a wedding abroad is one of the more tricky parts of the trip. Fancy dresses and suits don’t work well with suitcases. Carefully fold your wedding outfit and cover it to protect it from potential damage.
It’s very easy to forget jewellery or accessories. If you have ear piercings, ensure that you pack your wedding day earrings along with any other jewellery in a safe and secure place. Create a checklist and cross off all items before you travel.
When I travelled to Mumbai for my own wedding, I didn’t pack any clothes. Instead, I bought everything I needed directly in Mumbai, and so did all my friends who attended the ceremony. It is cheaper and better to buy Indian clothes in India, and your friends who live there can advise you on the best styles to buy. Finally, it is convenient and you have the benefit of not having to carry a packed suitcase both ways!
Research other travel destinations
If you’re planning to extend your stay, research other travel destinations that are close by. If the wedding destination is on the other side of the world, you may never have a better opportunity to visit countries in that region.
If you are travelling to India to attend a destination wedding, then you could plan to spend an extra week touring around Rajasthan or visiting the Taj Mahal in Agra.
From India, you can also easily travel to nearby countries like the Maldives or Sri Lanka. Both are fantastic holiday destinations, especially if you are a beach lover, that you will certainly fall in love with!
Make the most of your trip, take lots of photos, and see as much of this beautiful planet as you can.
Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post.