It’s the one you’ve been waiting for – an invite to a far-flung wedding, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. For those who are lucky enough to get an invite to a wedding abroad, there’s the opportunity to tag on a few extra days to make a holiday of it. In the world of business travel, they call this ‘bleisure travel’ – it really is a thing.

Tips to Combine A Destination Wedding With A Vacation

But if you’re wondering how to combine the two in style (and affordability), here’s what you need to know.

Know your budget and schedule

First thing’s first, you’ll need to know how much time you can take off work, followed by how much budget you can allocate to it. This will likely determine if you’re extending your trip by a week or a day.

Do your research

Now to the fun bit – researching! As your first point of call, check out the itinerary sent by the bride and groom, or their website if applicable. This will likely include lots of useful details for getting about, as well as any optional extras for those extending their stay.

It’s quite normal for destination weddings to have parties that stay longer than a day, so there may already be activities planned, destination weddings tend to have a pre evening party the night before and then the after party the day after before guest depart home.

Prioritise the wedding

It goes without saying that the wedding should take priority. By that, we mean give yourself ample days either side for getting ready and recovering! Don’t plan big excursions or adventure travel prior to the wedding – try to do all of this afterwards, and preserve your energy.

Going it alone or inviting friends?

If you’ve decided to extend your stay down route, have a think about whether it’s something you want to do alone, or with friends.

It’s a rare indulgence to be able to have a holiday on your own – so why not take advantage of it.

On the other hand, you might have good friends, or even family attending, making it the perfect excuse for a fun get-together. Perhaps consider inviting them to stay on a few days with you, and make the most of that special time together.

It’s rare to be able to have loved ones in the same location for a period of time – don’t lose the opportunity to make the most of it.

Hotel benefits

Keep those budgets on track and see if there’s any discounts to extend your stay in the wedding hotel. This is more likely if you’re travelling with a group. On that note, be sure to take advantage of the hotel facilities while you’re there. This might include spa treatments, free bicycle hire, sunrise yoga or local culture events. Add it to your research check-list.

Look at stopover options

It’s not all about the destination either. For those travelling long-haul, there’s the option to enjoy a stop-over and see another destination. For instance Sydney via Dubai, Hawaii via Los Angeles, Thailand via Paris. A wedding in Greece could lead to visiting the different islands.

The world is quite literally your oyster, and best of all – you can try out a different destination on each leg of the route. What’s more, this is often a much cheaper way to fly to, so don’t rule out connecting flights.

Quality time with guests

If you’re planning excursions, treatments, activities or day trips – you may want to reach out to the wider wedding party to see if they’d like to join you. This is a lovely way of making new friends, and extending your social circle. What’s more, it can also help you save costs with shared transportation and group entry fees.

Also, it’s often nice to have someone to share an experience with. As a final thought, you may decide to club together and treat the newlyweds to join you for a few days, if they haven’t already started their honeymoon celebrations.

Look at nearby attractions

When looking for inspiration, take a look at nearby attractions. For instance, Italy is well connected by land, sea and air, allowing you to get around with ease and affordability.

Other popular destinations like Cyprus and Spain also have plenty of local connections, tourist attractions and sights to see and enjoy.

When in doubt, your local hotel and wedding venue can often make suggestions and offer local packages. This is often a great way to get under the skin of the city and learn more about its local history, food, produce and culture. This is especially appealing if it’s a destination you’ve never been to before.

Do something you wouldn’t usually do

On that note, why not use the opportunity to do something you usually wouldn’t. After all, an international wedding is one of the rare times in life where you get to travel to a destination that you might not otherwise chose to visit. So go ahead and visit that vineyard, swim with sharks, go off-roading – try something new.

Plan your itinerary

And finally, when you’re planning a busy schedule that involves careful attention to detail and plenty of forward planning, put a schedule/itinerary/call sheet together for you.

This should include all the important details of your trip, including; booking numbers, flight times, hotel reservation details and address, local contact numbers, car hire and more. This should also include all your reservations and bookings, travel insurance and vouchers for trips.

Having this printed in one easy-to-locate destination will ensure your trip runs smoothly and you can optimise your time doing what you came for – having a good time! We’ll drink to that.