I recently had the privilege of attending a destination wedding at Mnarani Resort, in Kenya. I may not be even nearly, slightly or almost married, but this wedding changed my opinion and perception of destination weddings completely. I always assumed couples that opted for destination weddings were… well, I am going, to be honest now… selfish. How can they possibly expect their guests to fork out so much money for one event??!
But when my work #bestie asked me if I wanted to attend her wedding in Kenya during December, I thought why the hell not! It’s a holiday and an event in one go. And wow, am I glad I attended. It revolutionised my idea of weddings and here is why…
#1 Exclusivity and Intimacy
One drawback many will argue is that “only a quarter of your guest list will be able to attend the big day” if you opt for a destination wedding; because “not everyone can afford to travel etc.”. Sad – yes, maybe. But it really sets up your wedding to be intimate and gives the guests attending a sense of exclusivity.
Ask any couple if they would change anything about their wedding day; and the majority will say they wish they had a smaller wedding, with fewer guests in attendance.
So, in that way destination weddings are a clear winner – not everyone can attend and therefore you have an exclusive, intimate and beautiful affair without offending people.
#2 Special Pre-Events
When your entire guest list is at the same place a few days before your big day (and after), you have an opportunity to have special “build-up” proceedings and events, making you (the bridal couple) feel extra excited; there is also more hype, in general, surrounding the wedding and naturally, the guests feel super amped for the big “I do’s”.
In the case of my #bestie colleague, the “boys” (well, men) all had an awesome bonfire on the beach the night before the wedding… sharing advice and stories, and the ladies had an awesome champagne breakfast the morning of the wedding. At this breakfast, everyone said something nice about the bride and made a toast. There wasn’t a dry eye in sight and really made the day a whole lot more special and intimate.
#3 Inclusivity and Bonds
The fact that there are pre-events, dinners, lunches, cocktails, water-aerobics, very serious volleyball tournaments, sunset cruises and “collective” swimming involved, make guests feel like they are part of the bridal party or family, not just the “plebs” in attendance. You may think okay, but these activities are only available at Mnarani… but each destination wedding venue will have activities and opportunities for shared experiences.
Let’s face it; weddings, unless you have climbed in a few bottles of bubbly (pre-drinking – not advisable), are super awkward. Simply because there are always a whole lot of people, dynamics and personalities and hardly any time to get acquainted with these individuals before the night is over. Whereas with destination weddings, you have ample opportunity to get to know everyone.
By the time the bride waltzed down the aisle, I was boomeranging the whole family and telling one of the cousins, we should get matching tattoos (and I won’t say where). PS. For the people who think a boomerang is an Australian stick… I have included an example of the boomerangs I did, below. It’s basically a looped video/picture thing. h
The point is – all the guests bonded by the time the wedding reception began.
#4 Fun and Then Some
With all the bonding and the awkwardness out of the way – the wedding is sure to be fun and then some.
Firstly, usually, the “bridal car” at normal weddings is there to serve a practical function. But at a destination wedding – everyone is already there – so practicality can be ditched for novelty. And in my #bestie colleague’s case, she arrived in a decorated tuk-tuk with a trail of cans. Funbox – checked! Whether the destination has a horse-drawn carriage, a rickshaw, a tractor or even a golf cart – the first fun box is checked.
Then there is the dance floor. Like previously established and mentioned, there is no awkwardness anymore. So, you can really pull out the moves – the floss, the sprinkler, the cowgirl loop, the shuffle, the wobbling walrus, walloping wallaby, the hop, the ballerina, and the whatever. All the moves that usually only come out when the whole wedding party have had too much champagne (or tequila). Funbox checked again.
And then of course with a destination wedding, the killer after party is a real thing. Once most of the distinguished and honourable guests have retired for the night, there are always a few very cool, very awesome stragglers that hang back and out with the bridal couple. This is great for the bridal couple because it extends their big day (that they have spent so many expenses, hours planning and stress, blood and tears on). And then to end off the night, the guests can all go swimming in the Creek with their clothes on, enjoy the sunrise together or something similarly awesome.
#5 Memories for a Lifetime
The memories you make at a destination wedding are truly exceptional.
This I experienced first-hand at my #bestie colleague’s destination wedding. It was incredible for all the above reasons and more! It turned me, an absolute sceptic (even hater) of destination weddings into a convert. I know that it is not just the fact that it is a destination wedding that made it awesome – it took an awesome bridal couple, a very dedicated team at Mnarani Resort, a kickass D.J. and the moms of the now newlyweds to elevate this wedding from a good one to a truly exceptional one. But I cannot deny the major part the destination played in making this wedding a smashing success.
I flew back to South Africa with joy in my heart, a bucket load of memories, many more friendships that would never have started if it wasn’t for this trip and a true feeling of satisfaction knowing that every single cent, or Kenyan Shilling spent was worth it!
And that is how I was converted into believing and outright knowing a destination wedding is the absolute best.
Disclaimer: Dear Bridal-Couples-To-Be/Newly Weds/Bridezillas/MomZillas and the Like. Please don’t spam me with hate mail on why you think destination weddings suck or why your, or your daughter’s non-destination wedding was/will be the best and you have no regrets. This is my opinion – obviously, in my opinion, it is the right opinion. The point of the blog isn’t to slate other types of weddings, receptions and ceremonies – it is merely a little observation and my conversion from being against to being pro-destination weddings. Mazel tov!