Guests at a destination wedding will have lots of free time in between your rehearsal, reception, and other wedding related events so plan on arranging for activities to keep them busy (and hopefully entertained).
If you don’t arrange anything, wedding guests will go about doing their own things, leaving little chance for them bond with anyone else at the wedding.
Part of the fun of having guests is that they have fun together. By arranging group activities, you are creating an opportunity for them to have some shared experiences that they will remember for years to come.
In this article, we are going to go over the kinds of group activities that are most common for a destination wedding, and how to go about arranging them for guests. Let’s start by talking about the kinds of activities you can organize.
What kinds of activities work best?
There are two things that determine the kinds of activities you should plan for at a destination wedding. These are the destination, and the mix of people attending your wedding. Take both into consideration before you finalize any activity.
Your wedding destination will determine the kinds of activities that you can arrange for wedding guests. For example, you can offer scuba diving in the Bahamas, or Skiing in Aspen. But not vice versa.
When selecting activities, take into consideration what is unique about your destination wedding location and select an activity that will showcase it. For example, offer hot air balloon rides if you are getting married in New Mexico.
The mix of wedding guests
Do you have a lot of families with kids attending your destination wedding? Or do you have a lot of couples? Or are the majority of your friends single? Knowing the mix of guests will certainly help in deciding the kinds of group activities you should arrange for.
For example, if you have a lot of single friends, you should plan for more rigorous activities like snorkeling, windsurfing, and maybe even paintball. If you have a lot of kids coming then add some tyke friendly activities like face painting, children’s museums, or magic shows.
In addition, you can also consider planning activities just for men or just for women. I know most women would love to have a few hours to get a facial, or massage at the resorts spa.
Here are some activities that are most popular for destination wedding guests:
- Beach bonfire
- Balloon Rides (Albuquerque is famous for this)
- Private Guides (to vineyards in Napa Valley)
- Chauffeured tours
- Cheese and wine tasting (If you’re having a destination wedding in france)
- Cooking Classes (for a destination wedding in Italy)
- Dance Classes
- Horseback Excursions (Destination wedding in Colorado)
- Cigar Tasting
- Beach volleyball games
- Team events
- Scavenger hunts
- Group kayaking trips
- Tours of a local vineyard
- Hiking (Have a list of nearby hikes)
- Snorkeling, golf, tennis
- Zip lining
- Cooking classes
The activities above are meant to get you to think about the kinds of activities you should be planning. But how can you find out what activities are offered at your destination?
What is there to do at my destination?
You could buy a local guide by lonely planet or Fodors but that is really not that necessary for your needs. Simply do some online research on the following sites and you will have more activities to choose from than you can handle.
- Tripadvisor.com (they don’t just have reviews of hotels. They have millions of reviews of all kinds of activities at each location too)
- Viator and Kujubi – You can search for activities by location and buy right from these websites
- Try the website of the local visitors bureau. For example, take a look at the one for Aspen, Colorado http://www.aspenchamber.org/
And if you are still short on ideas, call the hotel where you reserved a block of rooms and see what the group sales manager has to say.
With the information above, you should be able to get a list of activities to plan for the group. Now comes the difficult question. Who pays for the activities?
Who pays for group activities?
Many brides are hesitant to arrange group activities because they feel a bit of pressure to pay for them. What they don’t realize is that they are not expected to pay for any of the activities. What guests do expect is some sort of information about what to do at the destination itself.
Do the research into what activates are popular and suitable for your guests. Once you have narrowed down the choices, consider calling the location to get group rates so everyone can save some money. In many cases, a vendor may offer you significant savings so it is worth it to call.
But shouldn’t I ask my guests what activities they would be interested in?
In a word, no. If you ask, then you will get dozens of answers, preventing you from making a decision out of fear that you are disappointing someone. Better to do what you think is best. Your guests will appreciate it more.
Once you have selected activities for wedding guests, it’s time to send out details via email. Make sure to include the name of the activity, address, directions from hotel, telephone number, website, and rate per person (preferably group rate). Also, include whether they will need transportation.
Lastly, encourage wedding guests to book ahead. Many activities get booked fast, especially during peak season so it’s best to encourage everyone to make their reservations well ahead of the wedding itself.
Planning activities for wedding guests involves some research and a few phone calls to get group rates. The time you spend in arranging things will be well worth it as guests will be pleased that you did most of the thinking for them. With the advice above, you now have a great road map to selecting, finding, and booking group activities for wedding guests.
What should you do next?
Take a look at some of the most popular destination wedding locations.