By Stephanie Flores

Wedding season has arrived! If you are attending a destination wedding this year, I hope you have already started planning. If not, let me help you with some tips!

My husband and I recently travelled to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico (near Cancun) for my sorority sister’s wedding. It was our first time at a destination wedding so we planned it as a vacation as well. Luckily my sister and her fiancé provided a very detailed wedding website and welcome bag with weekly events and tips for travelers. It helps having friends who plan well for their guests!

1st tip: Research the location of your destination!

Since most destination weddings are on beaches, keep the weather and outfit in mind. My sister’s wedding was on the beach so I brought an extra pair of flats with me for dancing! When you attend a local wedding it’s easy to keep a sweater or extra pair of shoes in the car. This isn’t as easy when you’re travelling!

A short dress or skirt may cause problems in the wind, so wear something that won’t take attention away from the bride!

Since the weather was humid I made sure to wear a trusted makeup primer (Smashbox) and extra hairspray!

2nd tip: Make it a vacation!

If you are saving money and taking time away from work for a wedding, might as well make it a vacation! The wedding we attended was on a Friday evening so my husband and I spent the week before exploring, relaxing and hanging out with other wedding guests. Since there were so many fun events taking place we didn’t want to be wiped out before the big event. We booked a separate trip by ourselves to nearby Cozumel to unwind and have some “alone time.” By the time of the wedding we were very relaxed and could devote our attention to the bride and groom!

I wouldn’t advise in arriving to your destination the day before or the day of the wedding. Many of our friends had airport delays or lost luggage and needed a full day to adjust to the time change and catch up on sleep!

3rd tip: Pack a smart carry-on!

Ask yourself, “What items would I need if I am stuck at this airport?” I always carry my makeup, essential toiletries (toothbrush and paste, deodorant, lotion), PHONE CHARGER, medications, protein bars and extra undergarments.

For this trip I packed a bikini and flip flops in my carry-on just in case my luggage didn’t arrive. It’s easier to find a slip-on dress in a pinch than a bikini!

What DIDN’T I pack in my carry-on? Pepto-Bismol. Epic Fail! I didn’t intend on having an upset tummy on the plane! Luckily I toughed it out and grabbed some when I landed in Cancun!


A few other tips that helped us:

  • Bring plastic Ziploc bags for your phones and/or wallets while you are near the pool or ocean. One friend even ordered a special waterproof bag that protected her phone while taking pictures in the pool!
  • If you don’t need your passport during excursions or while on the water, don’t bring it. Most hotels have a safe in their room. Use it!
  • Break down your cash into smaller bills or exchange your currency beforehand.
  • I bought an international travel plan through my phone carrier so my text messages and pictures were free to send/receive.
  • The wedding party used the WhatsApp application on their phones to send free messages and pictures to all the wedding guests. This was a genius idea. We were able to find out what everyone was doing without texting each person individually (which could cost a lot without a travel plan). Guests were able to share pictures of their excursions as well!

Traveling can cause stress just by itself. International travel can cause even more headaches. If you are traveling for a joyous event, whether domestic or international, you might as well plan smart! And most importantly, plan to have FUN!!!


  1. Patty Morales

    May 27, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Great tips! It’s interesting to see these tips from the eyes of a wedding guest. If I could, I’d like to add one more: If you have a connecting flight in another country (i.e. your flight is from LA to Cancun and your connection is in Guadalajara), you actually have to go through customs at the point of your connection! You also have to collect your bags from the baggage claim, and check them in at the airline all over again! I had no idea this was the case, so allow yourself extra, extra time for that connection, or spring for a direct flight.
    How fun, I love weddings!

  2. Maria Morales

    May 28, 2015 at 1:47 am

    Great write up & wedding was super fun. People are still talking about it. Glad you had a good time. I did pack Pepto Bismal tablets along with Tums. My sewing kit came in very handing too.

  3. justine santaniello

    June 1, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Happy you enjoyed!



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