Try These 7 Fun Excursions for Welcome Dinner Alternatives

For your destination wedding, welcome guests with an adventure instead of just a meal.
by carrie anton
Sailboat
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Planning a destination wedding? If so, it's safe to assume your wedding weekend activities look a bit different than an event closer to home. Since just about everyone will be arriving from out-of-town, it's become common for the to-be-weds and their families to host a welcome dinner, kicking off the celebration and giving guests the opportunity to meet or catch up with one another.

"The style of the meal is generally in contrast to the wedding itself," says Megan Velez, Vice President of Product at Destination Weddings Travel Group. "If you're having a more formal wedding, for example, then something more low-key may be a refreshing change."

And while a welcome dinner is a great way to greet guests, it's not the only option. You're in a location likely offering things to do you can't find back home, so take advantage. Whether you and your fiance are thrill-seekers on the search for adventure, or you just want to treat your guests to an activity they'll never forget, excursions are an amazing alternative.

"On the first night, your focus should be on guest interaction so friends and family can reconnect as well as get to know one another—and get excited for the days ahead," says Velez, who recommends the following ideas.

Catamaran Cruises

Paired with cocktails and appetizers, sail the open sea while mixing and mingling on the first day or night of the trip. The breathtaking sunsets don't hurt, either!

Horseback Riding

Saddle up for a different kind of stroll along the beach. This fun activity is great for groups seeking a bit of adventure but still want to relax and explore the area.

ATV Tours

Got a group of adrenaline junkies? Speed up the area tour, riding around as a group exploring and finding new places—bonus points if you bring a picnic to go!

Culinary and Beverage Tastings

Experience the local culture through the tastes and smells of the cuisines. For a more boozy excursion, visit rum distilleries in Jamaica or take in tequila tastings in Mexico.

Better on a Boat

If you're looking for more family friendly excursions, anything on a boat is ideal so that kids can swim, scuba dive or parasail alongside the adults.

Historical Tours

Follow a guide for a historical look at the region. Want something more off the beaten path? Try Cancun's underwater museum that's entertaining for the whole family.

Zip Lining

A perennial favorite for thrill seekers eager to experience their beautiful surroundings, nothing says "get excited" quite like zipping through the jungle!


And when planning your welcome-dinner alternative activities, Velez says the best thing you can do is to know your group. "Keep in mind their ages, general interests and the type of activities they may enjoy." Book the excursions prior to the trip, as it not only secures your plans but also typically comes with cost savings. Once booked, "Give your guests time to prepare and pack accordingly," says Velez, who encourages communicating activities to all guests through your wedding save-the-dates, invitations and/or website.

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