WEDDING ADVENTURES WEDNESDAYS: 10 helpful tips when you’re traveling long distances during wedding season

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Image via outerbanks.com

Wedding season is upon us, ladies and gentlemen!  Let me tell you–I absolutely adore weddings.  I love the laughter, the socializing, the love in the air, and most importantly (haha) I LOOOOOOVVVEEE the dancing.  It is mid-june and Jeff and I have been honored to have been to four weddings so far, three of which we were participating as members of the wedding party!  Weddings can be such a joyous event, and, especially as our friend Dave kept joking the weekend of his nuptials, the rehearsal dinner and wedding dinner is delicious and totally on the Bride and Groom’s tab. Seriously, Dave kept saying “Hey guys, tonight and tomorrow night, let dinner be on me” and then he would have this laugh that sounded kind of endearing and yet evil at the same time. That’s why we love our friends.  You never know if they want to hug you or poison you.  We appreciate the mystery.

We’ll take their hugs any day.

If you are like we have been this year, you may have had or are going to have to travel long distances to be at the weddings this summer.  In the month of May alone Jeff and I went to three weddings: two in Wisconsin, one in the upper peninsula of Michigan in the city of Marquette.  That can be a lot of money you’re dishing out if you’re not careful or plan well. Fortunately, being the travel junkie and organizer that I am I have come up with 10 tips to follow when you are having to travel long distances.

BEFORE THE WEDDING PREPARATIONS:

1. START PLANNING EARLY.

You hear a lot of people use this tip when they’re actually PLANNING their wedding.  But I think this is very useful for guests as well, especially wedding party members.  If you start early, you may have extra choices on how you’re going to travel to the festivities.  I think now, more than ever because of social media, people getting engaged rarely remains a secret. Depending on the couple, Save-the-Dates are sometimes sent out as early as eight months before a wedding (I’ve seen it done!).  As soon as you find out you’re invited/are in the wedding party, start shopping around.  Would it be cheaper to fly or drive.  For Jeff and I, all weddings were cheaper to drive.  Also, you can get great car rental deals, hotel packages,etc.  If you wait until the last minute, costs can seriously go up!

2. IF DRIVING, CHECK OUT THE ROUTE ON THE MAP.

Are you going through a lot of construction?  See if there is a more scenic route!  yes, it may take a little bit longer for you to drive but you have a better chance of gas mileage improving! Are you going to run into tolls?  Look into purchasing an I-PASS so you don’t have to drag out change every fifteen minutes.  Also, Jeff and I drive through the I-PASS even though we don’t have a membership, Illinois Tollway allows you up to seven days to pay for your tolls before you run into fees.

3. NOT IN THE WEDDING PARTY, EH?  MAKE THE BEST OUT OF THE SURROUNDINGS!

When my cousin came to Milwaukee for our wedding (which was held on a monday for sentimental reasons),  She and my uncle made the best of the long weekend and explored a lot of the city.  So if you’re going somewhere you’ve never been or have not gotten to explore the city in its entirety then get together with your trip mate(s) and plan some site-seeing!

IF YOU’RE IN THE WEDDING PARTY, HERE’S IDEAS DURING THE WEDDING PLANNING PROCESS:

4. KEEP COMMUNICATION OPEN WITH THE BRIDE/GROOM.

Jesus GOD almighty is this important.  Communication is so important during this time because you want to be present while the couple has a lot going on.  Even if you’re hundreds of miles away, I think that it is comforting to make frequent phone calls (NOT TEXT OR EMAIL MESSAGES).  You want to be present while they’re still calm and keep an honest conversation going.  If you’re having a little bit of a tight budget, discuss it with your bride or groom and let them know that you’re on a budget.  If they’re familiar with the area they may be able to help you with hotel rates.  BUT DO THIS AT LEAST THREE WEEKS BEFORE THE WEDDING.  Don’t wait until the last minute to inform them of your financial woes.  When it’s close then tensions are high and someone is going to have a meltdown soon. don’t be the meltdown.  be the comfort.  but with that said, most couples are going to be helpful.  All of our friends were paying for their own weddings by themselves so they can relate to being on a strict budget.  And trust me, unless they’re evil bridezillas or groomzillas, they’re going to be so happy that you’re making an effort to make it to the wedding and be apart of their big day.

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Megan and I having fun in a photo booth. Probably intoxicated and 
sweating balls from all the dancing at Tierney and Jordan's wedding.

5. KEEP AN OPEN COMMUNICATION WITH OTHER WEDDING PARTY MEMBERS.

This is a great time to socialize and get to know the other members of the parties if you don’t already.  Open the communication.  See what expenses you can share at bachelor/bachelorette parties, wedding gifts, and if you’re comfortable maybe sharing a hotel room with someone.

IT’S WEDDING TRIP TIME!

6. PACK YOUR MEALS FOR TRAVELING TO AND FROM DESTINATIONS.

I know, I know.  This sounds boring.  BUT it saved Jeff and I so much money! Whether you’re flying or driving (especially if you’re flying because airport food is SO expensive. Like, really? you want fifteen dollars for a bottle of water!?!) you’re going to give yourself extra moolah to spend later on down the road.

7. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER WHILE YOU’RE ON THE TRIP.

This is truly what kept us from being super exhausted during travel.  Plus I am a curvy girl, spending a lot of time sitting makes my ankles swell like tires on a hot freeway.  You just honestly feel better!  Don’t make the water police come after you!

8. TREAT THE LONG TRIP, IF YOU’RE DRIVING, LIKE IT’S A FUN ROAD TRIP

Any of my friends will tell you that I’m OBSESSED with road trips.  I think they’re so fun!  Maybe that makes me wierd and nerdy, but I love it.  So when Jeff and I drove through the entire state of Illinois (hello! a bunch of flat farm land.  We even played spot the tractor a couple of times) six times round trip for all the weddings in May, we had the mind set that we were on a road trip and made the most of it.  By the time we got to northern Wisconsin and close to the UP of Michigan, I took pictures of trees and grass and abandoned barns and shouted “That’s adoooorrrraaabbbble”.  We stopped at interesting restaurants on the way.  And of course, you always have to stop at a Denny’s.

9. KEEP UP WITH YOUR NORMAL ROUTINE.

When you travel for vacation or any long distance in general it can definitely throw off your schedule.  My suggestion, even though it’s your vacation and it sounds crazy, stick to your normal routine as close as possible. Used to getting up early?  Then still get up early on your trip. You don’t have to do anything or get going as soon as you’re up!  But you can definitely keep up your sleep pattern and have some freakin’ you time before you’re on the go!  Also, Jeff and I exercise size a lot!  So, we got up early still so that we can fit in a workout.  Even if you only go for a short brisk walk or do push ups and ab workouts in the floor of your hotel room, you’re still going to feel a lot more energetic and not so bad when you eat all that cake at the reception. Because NOONE should ever limit themselves from delicious food. EVER.  Plan a routine before you actually go on your trip so that you are guaranteed to stick with it!

10.  FINALLY…ENJOY THE LAUGHTER, THE LOVE IN THE AIR, AND THE DANCING!

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Image provided by Sur La Lune Photography

Embrace the atmosphere! Dance like a baller!  dance til’ your feet hurt.  Laugh a lot! nuff’ said.

Do you have any wedding travel tips?  Feel free to post a comment!

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