How to Be the Best Bridesmaid or Maid-of-Honor at your next Destination Wedding

Side by Side hug bride and bridesmaids facing window glowing sunlight with curtains
April 20th, 2019. Side by side the beautiful bride and the bridesmaid pose in preparation for the wedding ceremony. 

So you’re going to your first destination wedding and you’re a part of the wedding party. You’re probably thinking, “Sweet! I get to party with friends while on vacation!” I am here to tell you that it’s not going to be the case, this will not be like any getaway that you may be used to… and that's okay! In April 2019, I was in the same boat. I attended a childhood friend’s destination wedding in Playa-del-Carmen, Mexico. The wedding and accommodations were held at the Occidental Xcaret All-Inclusive Resort. To many, all-inclusive resorts paint the image of what vacations are. It’s not unlikely that you may soon find yourself participating in a destination wedding!

Outdoor wedding ceremony overlooking the ocean. Helicopter in the air.
The Outdoor Wedding Ceremony in Occidental Xcaret in Playa Del Carmen. Overlooking the Ocean. Right across from Cozumel Island.

The present-day dictates that a bridesmaid is obligated to participate in all wedding-related events. Throughout history, they are required to assist the bride on the wedding day. In our case, our bride did not appoint a maid-of-honor, but that did not stop me from taking the initiative to act as one. With this in mind, I will share with you my tips for balancing a fun vacation, while being the best bridesmaid/maid-of-honor that you can be.

1. Communication - Be Accessible

Whether it entails purchasing a sim-card, providing extra accommodation details, or sharing your itinerary, be sure that the bride will have easy access to you while you are on vacation. You need to be “in-the-loop” for the wedding, at all times. Any major changes need to be easily communicated in order to avoid disasters or unnecessary conflicts. In our case, the resort charges for Wi-Fi access. I spent approximately $50 CAD for it. Make sure you're easily accessible to reduce any stress or conflict. Ensure that you are available for the bride and groom!

Here is a video of myself having fun in the lobby. All while the bride and groom attempt to set up their wifi connection for the week:

2. Be Flexible

You're there for the wedding, not just to be on vacation. 
So I will say it again, be there for the bride and groom! The bride and groom are counting on you. Your help could involve accompanying the engaged couple to their meetings with vendors or last-minute rehearsals. It’s helpful to have extra time to prepare for the wedding. After all, you are a part of the show! At the semi-last minute, I was asked to attend the bride and groom’s meeting with their wedding coordinator. I was lucky to have a travel companion (my fiancé at the time-now husband) who was patient and understanding. It’s important to have your own time on vacation as well, so make sure to prepare and communicate this to everybody ahead of time.

3. Get Ready for the Waterworks!

Your waterworks or the bride's. Carry some facial tissues and your ‘shoulder to cry on’ with you at all times. It is arguable that the bride is the most stressed person at a wedding. You can bet that she feels overwhelmed and concerned about the outcome of her day. Be ready to comfort the bride during an emotional breakdown. If you’re lucky- you might only need to give out tissues for tears of joy.

4. Enthusiasm is everything

Be a ‘Hype-man’ at their wedding. What I mean is to be enthusiastic! You might find yourself at a very ‘tame’ wedding. The bride and groom are most likely focused on ensuring that guests are having a good time. Help them out by influencing the energy in the room. Cheer and express joy whenever it is appropriate. The wedding in Playa Del Carmen was for 50 guests. Half of the guests were conservative and over the age of 50. So you can bet that the wedding was naturally calm, but bringing on the energy (and the tequila), made a noticeable difference.

So props to you for being a reliable and prepared bridesmaid/maid-of-honor! Most importantly, congratulations to you! For being a great friend and a reliable partner.

Group Hug Bridesmaids with my face showing closed eyes and smiling
Here is a group hug with my face showing. It was after we received the bride's gifts and beautiful "Thank You" card. The bride will appreciate your effort and empathy. 

Your bride-friend (or groom) will cherish and acknowledge the effort you put in to support them. These are some of the lessons I learned during my only destination-wedding vacation. I hope that they will help you in planning yours!

Have you participated in a destination wedding before?
If so, where?
Tell us about your experience and share your tips in the comments below

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