January 6, 2011
I love going to destination weddings. My own wedding happened to be a destination wedding! Most of the guests that were not family had never been to Salt Lake City, Utah, before, and the more adventurourous ones joined in the celebration. Those who have met us after our wedding are always surprised by the choice of location.
We are lucky to have been invited to many destination weddings, ones that are set slightly apart from major urban centers. My two brothers got married in Lausanne and in Rhode Island, which made for long and fun days for family and friends to be on vacation together, in a relaxed and beautiful setting. What special occasions those were!
I recently attended a wedding in Istanbul and another one in the Maldives. These were perfect pretexts for my husband and I to drop the kids at their grandparents house and depart on a well deserved honeymoon, which always consists of parties and dancing.
The two most memorable destination weddings I have been to so far, were when I was still unmarried and attended with my own family. For each of them, a real trip was made out of the event. The first took us to Hanghzou, near Shanghai in 1994. You can see what a tempting opportunity that was to visit China in a period of transformation! I connected with my brother in the US, and took a flight from Hong Kong to the middle of nowhere! Our parents and siblings were expecting us at the hotel. What a culture shock to arrive in a town where bicycles are the main means of transport! The wedding in itself was something we expected, well versed as we were with Chinese family dynamics for having grown up with the host family, the Wongs. After the wedding, we visited the lake and the temples and got well acquainted with a section of China's hinterland. We also got to visit Shanghai.
A few years after, the next destination wedding was as exotic, if not more. My brother and sister and I decided to attend one of my university friend's wedding, in a small village at the tip of the Tamil Nadu province in India. We stopped for one night in Madras, which in itself is a remote town for a tourist, then drove further south. We were greeted by admirable hosts, who dined us and took us around. There, in a little village called Kelakarai, we attended a traditional Indian Muslim wedding. My sister and I were even given saris to wear, and my brother was taken to eat with the men. The food was delicious, the hospitality was superb and we had a memorable time, touring the province, from the coast into the more lush mountains. We swam in waterfalls and gazed at the stars at night! The trip ended with a visit to New Delhi and Agra, and it was the wedding that provided us with the impetus to visit beautiful India.
I truly enjoy attending destination weddings. The couple's personalities often come through more sharply, and the level of organization is always meticulous because the family is dealing with guests who are coming from afar. Destination weddings are a wonderful way to discover a new country or city, a celebratory way to seek adventure,all in good company.