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5 Things You Can’t Forget If You’re In a Destination Wedding

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OMG is it just us, or are airlines totalllllly killing it in the wedding rescue category these days?!?!! Just six months ago, we were praising JetBlue for coming to the aid of a bridesmaid who had just been “fired” from her friend’s wedding, and today we’ll be talking about Southwest Air, for single-handedly saving a bridesmaid from ending up on her own bride’s 💩 list.

Here’s what went down late last week. Abbreviated, of course, because we have advice to get into.

  • A bridesmaid ended up en route to Costa Rica for her friend’s wedding weekend sans her bridesmaid gown.

  • One of her obviously socially-savvy friends Tweeted @SouthwestAir with a plea to help get her left-behind dress on another flight (including the hopefully-helpful hashtag #BestCustomerService at the end).

  • The airline replied that they were “in,” essentially, and asked for more details via DM. From there, arrangements were made for the friend to drop off aforementioned dress at the Houston airport and have it flown to Costa Rica before the wedding happened on Saturday.

  • The whole #RescuetheDress operation was handled 💯💯💯, and followers even got to see updates on the dress’s whereabouts thru a tracker.

  • The bridesmaid got her dress in time and Southwest came through as the hero.

Check out the full Twitter back and forth

twitter post

The good news is it is not just airline companies that pull off the miraculous – private air charters do it too. These companies show exceptional customer service and give the best start to the wedding imaginable.

Now, this particular case worked out splendidly, but pretty sure magical airlines aren’t always ‘waiting in the wings’ for every destination wedding disaster. So, we decided everyone should have a list of things they shouldn’t forget if they’re flying out for a friend/sibling/parent’s nuptials:

5 Things You Can’t Forget If You’re In a Destination Wedding Photo Credit:

The Ensems. 

I nearly left my bridesmaid dress at home for my cousin’s wedding in January, and I would have only been 20 minutes away from home if I had to go back. Not great, but doable. But if you’re in a destination wedding, you HAVE to make sure you have all the wedding wear you’ll be weekending in for however many days you plan to be there. That includes your dress for the day of, your outfit for the rehearsal dinner, your wedding morning robe/pjs/whatever you’ll be getting ready with the rest of the girls in, after-party ensems (if you have them), any specific clothes in color palettes requested by the couple (some brides and grooms want to have an all white, red, black, blue, etc. welcome party), and ALL of the finishing touches you need to complete your looks - shoes, jewelry, hair/headpieces, etc.

Oh! And remember, some resorts will have dedicated dress codes - which are enforceable - so you’ll want to remember a variety of attire options (pants, close-toed shoes, a cardigan), even if you’ll be heading somewhere tropical.

Then you have things you have to pack, even though you might not want to or think would come in handy, like a raincoat or umbrella. Remember that just because you expect clear skies doesn't mean you are going to get that. Check the weather forecast for the time you'll be there.

The location might be known for hot weather, but if the wedding planner got the dates wrong, you could end up visiting in their wintertime. So, don’t take anything for granted.

The gifts.

Okay, okay, we’ve definitely gone over reasons why you shouldn’t bring a gift to the wedding, but here’s the thing about a destination wedding: it’s usually an even bigger commitment than a domestic/local wedding (taking off work, arranging childcare accommodations for your kids - if you need to, traveling longer than 40 minutes to an hour to the ceremony+reception). Of the few destination weddings I’ve gone to, I don’t even think I saw the couple again until 4 or 5 months after the wedding. So! Before you end up forgetting about a present altogether (which, I mean, you might, since expectations for destination weddings are much different; guests just being there can serve as gifts enough), make sure you grab a card and cash or a single check and stow it away somewhere safely in your luggage. Monetary gifts are a lot less bulky for you AND the couple - you’ll just need to be careful that you don’t misplace it anywhere along the way. For destination weddings, we actually LOVE the idea of looking into something fun for the couple to do - on-site leading up to or following the wedding - be it a really nice couples spa treatment, a special dinner, an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime activity that they’ll talk about for years to come. This can be planned while you’re at home or even after you touch down, once you make it to the resort.

Of course, you can also bring a bulky gift if it really means that much to you and/or the couple. If you have hand-crafted a present, or are bringing something symbolic you think would make the couple well-up when you present it to them at the reception, don't feel shy about bringing it along.

You probably should be prepared to take it back with you though, if it would be too difficult for the bride and groom to ship back themselves.

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The speeches.

I’ll be the first to say that if I’m delivering any kind of speech, I usually have it saved on my phone. But in the case of a destination wedding, you have nooo way of knowing whether you’ll encounter any technology glitches; who knows, maybe you’ll even make a vow of your own to put the effing phone down for the weekend. It’s a good idea, we recommend it!

Other people might have their speech on their laptops, to be finalized the day of the wedding, because they are trying to sneak in a few tales from the hen-night. However, you might then end up in a rush trying to print it on the day, which rarely goes according to plan.

As such, you’ll want to be sure that any words of wisdom you’ll be sharing with the newlyweds is printed and preserved in a hard copy (copies, actually) that you can bring along with you. You also don’t want to get to the hotel, assuming you can just ask the hospitality staff for a printer/internet cafe, and then find out that there’s a crazy communication barrier. Having your speech on your person is the best way to go. Plus, if you have a physical copy of it, you can make sure you give the bride or groom their own memento of the moment. I don’t have a copy of my sister’s MOH speech, and she doesn’t have one of mine for her wedding, and I know we both would have liked it!!

The stuff she might need.

Your sister, bestie, cousin, whoever the bride to be is, she’s going to have a TON of stuff to think about leading up to her destination wedding. She’s got to bring all the money for her vendors, any favors for the guests, welcome bag stuff for the hotel, her marriage certificate (this is always a necessity for weddings both near AND far), her rings, all her wedding day wear/something old, new, borrowed, and blue. So, if you’re part of the wedding party, do you best to ask the couple if they need you to handle any of the hauling. A lot of things can be shipped ahead of time, so you’ll look like a superstar if you take care of things in advance. But if you’re trusted to bring important elements for the bridal suite, ceremony, reception, make it a priority not to forget them.

If you have shipped things in advance, don't take it for granted that they have arrived, or they arrived in the condition you sent it. As soon as you get to the location, go through the box to make sure everything is still in place. Valuable items have been known to get broken or missing in transit. So, always check and triple check.

The Stuff you might need.

First and foremost, don't forget to bring the right currency. Depending on your location, you might not be able to use your credit or debit card. Even if you can pay for things over the till you might not be able to withdraw any cash from the ATM. And when you can, the charges can be pretty outrageous.

To prevent any embarrassment, therefore, get your forex before you leave home, with more than enough to cover all the essentials – taxi fares, meals, souvenirs, entry fees for location attractions.
Something else you might need is snacks. Most countries have great food, but it might not be your cup of tea. If that is the case, you would wish you had brought a packet of crisps or your favorite chocolate along. Local stores might not have what you like, or you might not have the time to visit and then end up starving the whole time.

Don’t forget other necessities likes visas, vaccines, travel insurance, and driver’s license. The last one is particularly helpful if you plan on hiring a car at your destination. The further away you travel, the more likely you would need an International Driving Permit.

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And the thing(s) that no one remembers.

Please, please, please remember that if you’ll be traveling outside of the country, you’ll need your passport. That should be permanently ingrained in your brain. But also know that sun and bugs will be around during your trip. I have porcelain skin, and I get wrecked by the sun, no matter how much sunscreen I pack and use on vacation; but apparently I’m also suuuuuper sweet for bugs to snack on. They love me, I hateeee them. And I’ve definitely been burned and bitten all over my body before, AT a destination wedding. I wasn’t in the wedding, TG, because the photos would have looked awful (me lobster red, scratching all of the welts all over my body), but if you ARE, you won’t want to be miserable on your bride’s best day ever. So, bring the sunscreen - don’t discount everyone’s urging that “the sun is different down there,” it may verrrry well be, and don’t forget some bug spray. Yes, it’s a PIA to have to add to your luggage, yes, but you’ll be charged crazy amounts at the resort, so do yourself a favor and stock up before you head down.

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