Hugh Sitton

10 Things To Consider Before Attending Your First Destination Wedding

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It's the start of wedding season, people. That means you're either gleefully planning your nuptials, crying over the status of your nonexistent relationship or worse, saving up pennies for all the gifts you'll have to buy for the happy couples.

Weddings are the best. I mean, who doesn't love a big, fat, happy wedding? I personally believe all weddings are awesome, unless they're dry. Those weddings suck majorly, and shame on those people for not footing the bill for alcohol in exchange of their attendees' forced joy and gifting abilities.

Some people may beg to differ, but my favorite types of weddings are those that are in a destination I've never been to. If vacation days and money allow it, hell yes, I'll go to Thailand to witness you make the biggest mistake of your life. Just kidding. Love is awesome. 

In all seriousness though, the likelihood of your friends are marrying off in Dubai or Bora Bora is nil, as most of us are not blessed with the budgets of Kim Kardashian or Chrissy Teigen. That said, if the couple gives you the customary six months to plan for their bash somewhere less than 1,000 miles from your city of residence, you should totally go for it and celebrate. 

If you're considering the idea of attending a destination wedding, here are 10 things you should probably know:

1. It's OK to say no.

Before I tell you all the reasons why you should enjoy yourself in Los Cabos with a cabana boy, it's important you partake in celebrations because you want to. No one is forcing you to do anything. The couple really wants you to be there at your own will. Whether it's because you don't have any vacation days left or you really hate sand up your ass, there's no reason to put yourself through all that stress and financial strain.

2. RSVP on time and mean it.

 This is a no-brainer when it comes to all weddings, but it's extra important when being invited to a destination wedding. Don't be a douche and tell the couple you're thinking about going over text, then decline the invitation two weeks before the soirée.

Take a couple of days to think about it, and then make a hard decision. If the couple is reasonable and cherishes your friendship, they will be understanding if you cannot make it. They won't, however, be as agreeable when you call to say you can't come after they've already paid for your plate.

3. Whether or not you attend, you will have to buy a gift.

Some people automatically think if they're spending $1,000 or more in order to attend a wedding, they're somehow absolved from the obligation of buying the couple something fabulous. That is so not the case, honey. The couple would love your presence and will be delighted to see you, but if you show up empty-handed, they will remember. That wedding will definitely be the last time you're ever invited to football Sunday.

4. You don't have to go broke in the process.

If you've already decided you want to attend, it doesn't have to be something that leaves you without enough money to pay rent for the next two months. The most substantial part of your wedding budget should go toward your flight. After that, you have to figure out the rest of the logistics.

Hotel, cab fare, drinking money and extracurricular activities all come into play when planning a foray into destination wedding land. Think of it as a forced vacation that includes you buying presents and clapping a lot. Split your hotel with single girlfriends if you don't have a beau. If you do, inquire about hotel blocks the couple may have booked that will you save you money and headaches.

5. There will be awkwardness.

As if being single wasn't atrocious enough during a wedding, the couple does not want to be bothered with seating arrangements more than they have to. Bank on sitting next to that 40-year-old cousin who picks his teeth with a knife or that girl you absolutely cannot stand from high school.

You can ask in advance where you will be sitting, but expect to get your face bitten off zombie style by bridezilla and her army of bridesmaids if you ask for any type of change. My suggestion? Drink.

6. Don't sleep with anyone you don't know.

I know. I'm being a buzzkill. But just imagine the awkward scenarios you'll be in when you see the bride's uncle at her baby shower and know you've danced the horizontal mambo with him after too many shots of Patrón. More so, be considerate of your friends, and don't put them in situations where they'll have to choose between you and someone else when throwing a house party. Be mindful of your wedding shenanigans and the consequences they'll have.

7. Drink in moderation.

On a related note, I know it's a celebration and everything, but pace yourself when it comes to the drinking. It's going to be at least three days of piña coladas and frozen daiquiris. You don't have to drink the entire bottle of Grey Goose you bought at the duty-free shop for breakfast. Pace yourself, young chicken. The party will last three days, and you should last until the end.

8. Make your own itinerary.

I personally prefer a destination wedding weekend in which things are planned out for me, but not all couples have the time to worry about their guests to such an extent. Whether or not I am paying for my outings isn't the issue, but I'd much rather be doing things in a group than walking around a foreign place by myself.

If you have no idea what you'll be doing or where your presence is required, have a back-up plan for your own entertainment. Learn about the city you're visiting, and outline a few places you'd love to check out.

9. Credit cards are your friends.

I can only assume that if you're planning to leave town, you're financially equipped to pay your own way and then some. With that in mind, the possibility someone will steal $600 from your Gucci clutch (totally happened to me in Vegas) or losing your wallet exists. Stick a credit card in the hotel safe for emergencies, and don't touch it unless you absolutely have to. Popping bottles at LIV is not an emergency, in case you were wondering.

10. It ain't about you, homie.

Sometimes, the couple will decide to have their wedding in a church that's 50 miles from your hotel. This might mean you'll have to cross a Brazilian favela and die of a heart attack in the process. You should probably find out all the details of the nuptials before agreeing to go.

Because once you're there, it's all fair game. Whatever the couple wants, the couple gets, and (sadly) this celebration isn't about you. Come with an open mind and a rested liver. Let the good times roll, and cheers to the happy couple.