By Dino Londis
So you've chosen a destination wedding? Well done. You're starting your new life by eliminating the hassle of a traditional wedding. Once you're buying ukuleles as groomsmen gifts or planning your romantic ski weddingmoon, you'll realize what a brilliant decision you've made. But there are some nuances to such nuptials that must be considered.
On your destination wedding, you'll be eloping with your bridal party, family, and closest friends... This could be Fiji, Niagara Falls, Disneyland, anyplace that involves travel. For this we know your friends will thank you too. In fact we figure that by choosing a destination wedding you're likely to have more leverage in getting your guy friends excited about your big day than you'd ever have with a traditional wedding. Have we mentioned plane tickets make the best groomsmen gifts?
Seriously though, your destination wedding decision may be the best groomsmen gifts of all for your friends. If we're honest, pretty much the only thing for them to get excited about at a traditional wedding is the bachelor party. Really, watch your friend doze off when you discuss your fianc's gown and veil, but watch them light up when you offer skiing in Vail, Colorado, or diving in the Turks and Caicos, or hiking in the Costa Rican rainforest, or kayaking in Maui. But how do you get them to spend their time, money, and travel on your big event? Involve them in the process.
Sure, you have a destination already in mind, and so may your fiance, but open it up for discussion. Along with your wedding announcement, add a line that asks for five recommendations for your destination. Include your email and ask them send you websites that promote particular destinations. Make it fun by offering primo groomsmen gifts as prizes for the top suggestions. When they get the concept that they get to see you hitched and they get to go yachting in St. Croix (for example) they'll find it much harder to turn you down. You might even get suggestions you hadn't even thought of.
Another way to get those men to your wedding is selling the sizzle. Focus on the destination more than the wedding. The wedding is only one day; the destination aspect begins as soon as the plane lands. Because you are in an exotic location, the formality of the traditional wedding was left back in your hometown. This is a vacation after all. A pub crawl bachelor party or surfing lessons as groomsmen gifts is a great way to get the guys pumped for your Big Day.
If they're hedging even with your offer of great groomsmen gifts, tell them that this destination wedding is the last chance to get all the guys together as bachelors one last time, and that this must not be missed. This could begin a tradition of destination weddings as each guy marries.
If they're still reticent, this one always works. Explain that as a member of the wedding party, they will get all the perks of a wedding and honeymoon without having to get married - just call them bonus groomsmen gifts. How? Nothing puts a girlfriend/wife more in an amorous mood, than attending a wedding in paradise. This is every man's dream. It becomes a weeklong bachelor party, but with their girlfriend or wife.
Like any successful event, planning and anticipation are critical, and since this is the only time you'll do this (hopefully you're marrying only once in this lifetime), planning takes on even greater importance. Planning far in advance and knowing how many guests will be attending, will give you greater leverage when securing discounts for group rates from the vendors you're using (check for group discounts when you buy groomsmen gifts, too) and this will help with your turnout. A packing list helps prevent leaving behind engagement rings or groomsmen gifts, which would definitely put a damper on the festivities. Prepare, prepare, prepare.
Find the common ground that unites your friends: an extreme sport, deep-sea fishing, golf, or it may be something that none of you have done, like auto racing, or fantasy football camp, and then see that your groomsmen gifts and activities lean that way.
Since you're combining your honeymoon and the wedding, you may (and we emphasize may) be saving enough money to pay for part or all of your guests' expenses. Trust us, this will almost ensure a full turnout, and you can get away with smaller groomsmen gifts. If expenses are tight, you may want to provide the minimum for your guests, allowing them to add the perks they desire, like bumping up from coach to first class, a single to a suite, a shuttle to a limo, etc.
By allowing your friends to have a hand in choosing the destination, highlighting the destination and the romance, including amazing groomsmen gifts, and offering to pay for part of their trip will almost ensure that your buds will witness your first step in your journey into marriage.