A destination wedding has endless pros as it is; a few being a lower cost, a gorgeous venue, an intimate experience with guests, and the luxury of working with a knowledgeable specialist who can keep the planning process stress-free. There are endless options for unique locations, such as Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and even Costa Rica. But one of the greatest things of all is the opportunity to turn your destination wedding trip into a multi-day celebration with everyone you love! To do this, you will need a destination wedding weekend itinerary.
One of the biggest complaints couples have about an at-home wedding reception is that they didn’t get enough time with their guests. A destination wedding weekend solves this. Instead of having all of your guests arrive the day before and have it be rushed before the ceremony, you can plan a full wedding weekend itinerary to get even more quality time with each other! A destination wedding weekend is a perfect way to turn your trip into an experience that your guests will want to repeat annually.
The ideal destination wedding weekend itinerary is:
- Day 1: Guests’ Arrival & Welcome Party
- Day 2: Relaxation & Fun
- Day 3: The Big Day!
- Day 4: Farewell Event
Read this guide to plan the perfect weekend itinerary that will make your destination wedding the best experience possible.
DAY 1: Guests’ Arrival & Welcome Party
Depending on your group party size, your guests may arrive at the resort at various times throughout the day. We recommend the couple gets there a day or two before the majority of guests, so there’s time to get acclimated to the resort, put together your wedding welcome bags and spend some quality time together in your luxurious suite.
To ensure that your guests are not stressed while traveling, book your first event for the evening. This will give them a larger window to arrive and allows them to unpack and unwind as well.
Of course, the first event should be a lively welcome party! This event can have a fun theme, or simply be a cocktail hour on the beach, atop a sky terrace, or you could set sail on a sunset catamaran cruise. This will give everyone a chance to catch up, and have some fun. It is the perfect way to kick off your destination wedding weekend!
DAY 2: Relaxation & Fun
The day after the welcome party, people may want to take it easy in order to be rested for the big day tomorrow. This is the perfect opportunity to lounge by the beach or the pool. It still allows for your guests to spend time with each other, and you do not have to focus on entertaining them. Check with your resort to see if you can block off a private cabana space, where a butler will be at your service all day.
Some luxury all-inclusive resorts, such as El Dorado Casitas Royale, can accommodate small groups in a private enclave, where you and your group will enjoy a private swimming pool with swim-up bar and much more.
After a few hours spent by the water chatting, dining, and soaking up the sunrays, it is time to head to the spa. Our Preferred Partner Resorts have some of the most amazing spas that you could ever imagine. Hilton Playa del Carmen even has a Himalayan salt room with heated chairs!
The day before the wedding should be low-key and focused on relaxation. Many resorts offer unlimited spa treatments or generous discounts when you book a group room block, so you and your guests can enjoy massages, facials, and other services that will leave you feeling refreshed and ready for the events ahead.
While you and your bridal squad are doing this, your guests can adventure off and enjoy some exciting excursions that will allow them to really take in the culture of your special destination.
A wedding weekend staple is, of course, the rehearsal dinner. This is an excellent chance to spend even more intimate time with your guests over a beautiful meal. Most resorts have destination wedding packages that include a 2-4 hour semi-private or fully-private event which can be used for the rehearsal dinner. A rehearsal dinner is a lovely event that consists of champagne toasts, speeches and time to reflect on your love with your future spouse. This event will certainly be one of the most memorable of the wedding weekend. Typically for a destination wedding, all guests are invited to the rehearsal dinner, rather than just a select few. Depending on your group size, this is completely up to you.
DAY 3: The Big One!
Finally, you have arrived at the big day! Your Destination Wedding Specialist and onsite wedding coordinator will have planned a fully-customized timeline for you on this day, so the only thing you have to worry about is if you’re smiling too hard – (which there’s no such thing!).
This day is set to be magical and will live on to be one of the greatest experiences of your life. Whether you’re walking down the aisle to a garden gazebo, on a rooftop terrace overlooking the surrounding scenery, or you have sand underneath your feet and waves crashing just a few feet away…wow, it will be unforgettable!
After the I do’s it is time to celebrate! Depending on if you decided to do a “first look,” not much will be standing in between you and your new spouse dancing the night away! Destination wedding reception venues are always breathtaking and can be decorated to match your exact taste and wedding theme. Whether you have an eye for elegance, or looking for the boho beach vibe, or anything else in between, it will look even better than you had imagined.
By having so many events already during your destination wedding weekend, you don’t have to worry about connecting with everyone individually at the reception, because you probably already have at this point! This makes your wedding night even more enjoyable, so you can just focus on being married and having fun!
Our expert advice? Tell your photographer to capture everything, and proceed to dance the night away!
DAY 4: Farwell Brunch
There is no better way to end the wedding weekend than by sharing one more fun meal with your guests. This will give you a chance to spend time with anyone you had missed (if that’s possible!) and really thank everyone for making the journey to celebrate with you. It will be so fun to reflect on the night before and the other memories that had already been made throughout the prior days. It will also give you and your guests the opportunity to discuss coming back next year for your anniversary trip!
After all of the farewells are over, things will feel quiet, but exciting! Knowing you will not want to leave, it is a great idea to book the honeymoon suite and extend your stay for 2-3 more days. This will give you time to relax, pamper in the sun and enjoy some romantic time as newlyweds! Our resorts have such romantic honeymoon options that will have you feeling like you’re in heaven.
The Ideal Destination Wedding Weekend Itinerary should go as follows:
- Welcome Party
- Spa Day
- Rehearsal Dinner
- Ceremony and Reception
- Farewell Brunch
- Honeymoon stay!
A multi-day destination wedding celebration may seem intimidating to plan. We hope this guide has helped to show the ideal timeline of events when turning your nuptials into a whole wedding weekend extravaganza.
Our Specialists are experts in creating an unforgettable experience, so create a profile today to get started with your destination wedding plans!