Put the Wedding Party to Work!
Back in Chapter 7, you read about choosing attendants for the bridal party. Much of the focus there was on choosing well, because your attendants have actual, real-live duties to perform, and you and your fiancé should be able to call on any one of these people for assistance without a moment's hesitation. When you arrive at your destination and realize that there's a lot to be done in the coming week, you'll be relieved if you've surrounded yourself with dependable attendants.
Same Titles, Big Differences
A bride who has planned a one-day wedding in her hometown may not need a whole lot of help, really, beyond the basics: She'll want her maid of honor to help her choose a dress for herself and the bridal party; she'll ask the bridesmaids to help address envelopes; the female attendants will also be responsible for hosting a bridal shower. On the day of the wedding, the bride may send an attendant or two on a last-minute errand, and the maid of honor is expected to step up and help the bride at any moment, whether that means straightening the bride's veil, fixing her train during the ceremony, holding her flowers at crucial moments (like the ring exchange) or holding on to a secret stash of tissues for the bride to wipe her tears of joy.
While attendants for a destination wedding will perform the same tasks as their counterparts at an in-town wedding, they should be up to doing
The very act of taking a wedding on the road opens up potential areas of difficulty. For example, if the groom's tux doesn't fit, how will you track down appropriate formalwear for him on a small island — when you're booked solid with activities with your guests? Enter the best man! Send him along with the groom to track down some decent formalwear.
What if — heaven forbid — you shipped your wedding dress, but it doesn't arrive at your destination? Who's going to hold your hand, tell you everything is going to be all right, and help narrow down your dress-shopping options for you? One of your bridesmaids, of course!
Your attendants should also be able to step in and be incredibly sociable with your guests. If you're running late to the barbecue that you've invited everyone to, send your maid of honor ahead as your stand-in. When you're feeling worn out from a week's worth of fun, make your apologies early one evening and leave your attendants to entertain the guests. This is why you chose these particular people to be in your wedding party, so let them show you what they're capable of. They want to help;
During the week before your wedding, let go of any tendencies you may have to be in control of everything
Destination weddings are so different from in-town weddings because the guests really get to know each other fairly well over the course of the week. You might be surprised to realize that you're becoming part of the wedding crowd — that your guests would just as soon spend time with your maid of honor as with you. Don't feel badly, as though you've somehow not been charming enough. You want this kind of bonding to happen!
When your guests are as comfortable with your attendants as they are with you, then you don't have to feel bad for not spending every single second with the people you've invited to share the week with you. The bridal party becomes an extension of you, and everyone starts to feel as though they're family.