Executing A Destination Wedding With 130 Guests

Thursday, July 20, 2017

If I were to write a movie about going to a destination wedding, the dialogue on pages 1-100 would look like this,

"So when did you guys get in?"

"Yesterday, what about you?"

"Just this morning."

"Oh nice."

(Turns to next person)

"So when did you guys get in?"

Over and over and over. It would be similar to my lake movie, which goes like this,

"Seems a lot quieter out here than usual, don't you think?"

Which on the next page would be followed by, "seems a lot busier out here than usual, don't you think?" Again, this would go on for rougly 90 pages.

So Tina, thank you for commenting on my last post asking about how one goes about planning/executing a destination wedding with 130 close friends and family. You've given me just one more topic so I can keep this wedding train going. Toot toot.

First things first, plan activities. Lots of them. People want to be included on everything. Having been a guest at several destination weddings, I've seen instances where people plan a lot of activities, and some where they plan none at all. Guess which goes over better? Activities. And if you're reading this and shaking your head no, we'll you're WRONG. Jk. Just hear me out on this one.

A weird phenomenon happens at destination weddings where grown adults suddenly want to be told what to do and where to go, every single day. Take Chris and I for example; we travel quite a bit, are very independent, and yet when we get to a destination wedding we suddenly find ourselves saying things like, "so what's the plan today?" "What's everybody up to?"  We act like we've never been on a vacation before and have no idea what to do.

I'm telling you, it happens every time.

So in my opinion, when people have traveled to be with you, they kind of expect you to be their travel planners for the entire weekend, as well. Which I don't think is too much to ask given the amount of time/money they've just spent on you.

And so we planned a lot of fun stuff. Oh my heart flutters just thinking about the day we had a group of fifty people tubing down the beautiful Yampa river. Obviously everyone doesn't have to come to your activities, but in my experience most will. And most will show up late. Which is fine, it's vacay time.

Which brings me to my next point. Plan for a window of time, not an exact time. We had plans, but did our best to be loose about it so we didn't have to keep an entire group waiting for 2 or 3 people to show up.

One day we planned for a "pool day." But really it was just to let people know, hey we'll be at the pool from 1-3, stop by if you want! Don't want to do pool? There's also a golf outing. Choose your own adventure! 

Steamboat is an amazing town, here's a list of a bunch of other fun stuff to do if you want.....

And guess where all of our guests could access this info? WELCOME BAGS! I love welcome bags. Yes, they're a pain because they always get messed up somehow. But in my opinion, they're necessary for telling people what's going on.

The hardest part to plan was probably the dinners. I get stressed just writing this because it was such an ordeal. An ordeal only because we wanted to include everyone and felt bad when things got in the way. For example, it's hard for restaurants to accommodate so many people, then seating gets hard because people want to sit by certain people, or not by certain people, it's just a lot. We kept it nonchalant by letting people know where we were eating and what time; they were welcome to join or go somewhere else, but most of the time we filled the restaurants and someone was always short a seat.

I don't know, I have no solutions for the dinner thing so my best advice is skip dinner and go straight to the bar. We had a lot of fun bar nights. Our style is cozy hole-in-the-walls, which Steamboat was not short of right next to the river. Several nights we'd fill the small river bars and I'd look around and think, man, this is cool. All of our favorite people are right here, in this tiny bar in Steamboat, Colorado. It was just awesome.

Lastly, I also highly suggest doing a welcome party the night before the reception. I didn't feel so much pressure to greet every single guest at our wedding because I was able to talk so many the night before. We had ours right after our rehearsal dinner and it was a great time for relatives to meet, families to mix, and friends to drink more than they probably should have.

In the end, it all worked out pretty well I think.

*Don't take that last line as an indication wedding posts are done for the week. They are not. I still have one. more. day.*

To see 100 more wedding photos click here.


  1. How do you even have 130 close relatives/friends? That's a lot, haha! Maybe my family's just small?

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  2. OMG ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE AM I RIGHT?! I'M THE TINA OF WHICH YOU SPEAK. :) Also... I'm so glad you talked about planning activities. I'm the one that genuinely would show up to her own wedding Mexico and be like so, what now? So stuff to do. Noted. Thank you!

    1. haha yes thank you Tina for giving me a reason to keep writing about my wedding :P where in mexico are you thinking?!

    2. Cancun/Riviera Maya... to be honest I dont know the difference :D I hear Secrets Maroma Beach is the place to be. Maybe I'll contact the spell casters to see if they can help me out.

  3. Haha yes this is wonderful. I would have loved to have dragged all of my favorite people somewhere! If I could do things over...


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  5. People want planned activities because of FOMO! If there's a possibility of chatting with my cousin that I never see or playing with my nephew, it doesn't matter what activity I planned to do myself that day. When your people are about, you flock to them! Sounds like you did a great job planning your wedding, I say go for it with the wedding week posts.

  6. I always said if I had a destination wedding it would be small. I think I had minor panic attacks reading this lol I can imagine the anxiety Id feel wondering if eevryone was ok and had something to do. But I do love seeing and hearing about destination weddings though lol

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