Spoil Your Friends: Hold Them Hostage

You know when I was in Portugal and I had that pre-wedding-ceremony fubar?

Yeah, well, cool fun fact about that bride and groom:

beautiful couple

The beautiful and illustrious bride and groom.  Aren’t they the best?!

They have the same birthday!   Isn’t that neat?!

Oh, but wait.   They were born not just the same day, but in the same year.


And in the same town.

And  in the same hospital.

And  in the same room.

Swear on my life.

Beat that!

Great Things

Of course such an inconceivable pair could do no less than host an epic destination wedding.

In fact, the entire series of wedding events turned me into a full supporter of the destination wedding concept.   Here’s why:

  • Captive Audience: bringing everyone to an isolated location thousands of miles from home is a steroids-version of banning smartphones from the dinner table.   Both situations leave you no choice but to engage with your surroundings.

    green van and other vehicles

    The entire wedding party traveled to destination activities in a caravan of vans, etc.  Everyone joined in the awesomeness.

  • Full Participation: People show up on time and stay for the whole she-bang.   It’s easy to arrive late and leave early when home is just a stone’s throw away.   Not so when far-flung corners of the planet are involved.   Hardly anyone is going to pop for that plane ticket and not take full advantage.
  • Defacto Bonding: being in a significantly different place heightens the senses — fertile ground for forging strong new connections and making lasting memories.
  • Effortless Vacay: an international trip is fun, especially when you don’t have to plan it.  Wedding guests have the time of their life when they show up and get  entertainment delivered  on a silver platter.
  • The Cool Kids:  It takes an adventurous soul to host and plan  a destination wedding.   Like attracts like, which basically means destination-wedding crowds are bound to be the cream of the crop”¦ assuming you like adventure!

Effortless Exploits.  Kind of…

So what are these unbelievably fun destination wedding events I speak of?

Well, first, let’s set the scene — the exotic Algarve of Portugal.   The venues all centered around a sun-scorched village.  Fresh horse droppings on the stone footpaths  hinted at  the speed of life in this quiet place.   A few miles down out of the hills, the Mediterranean glittered in the sun.   Against this backdrop, we accomplished:

  • A beach hike and swim: an impressive caravan shuttled dozens of attendees  to the seaside. We became acquainted in pairs as we ambled along the cliffs over the water.   I spent a good part of the afternoon philosophizing about prostitution with Philip and Lindsay — who are the bomb.com!   The hike terminated at a beach café where beer flowed and swimmers soaked in the sea.
algarve portugal beach cliffs

Not a bad place to kick off an automated vacation.

  • Come-all rehearsal dinner: every wedding guest turned up to enjoy local cuisine and listen to the bridge and groom get roasted and toasted. The speeches, songs, and performances warmed hearts and repeatedly filled the room with laughter.   I did get burnt by proximity during one of the roasts, but thankfully I’d only introduced myself to about half the wedding guests.   I choose to believe that a majority didn’t know the story’s second victim was sitting in the room.
  • Fun Run & Yoga: groom and bridge shared their respective fitness fandom with guests.   Groom’s buddies — supposedly highly experienced in organizing races — managed to lose all but one race participant who, it should be said, was “the leader of an elite Marine Corps reconnaissance team.”    The ascending sun burned into my shoulders as the unnecessary vertical ascent burned into my quads.   I started laughing at the ridiculousness of it all.  The race director would later claim the confusion allowed everyone to avoid an aggressive guard dog on the intended course.   #surethingjoe     Getting lost in the Portugese countryside became a bonding focal point for most guests.   Aside from starting later (read: hotter) than intended, the yoga session 1denigrated by the groom as “organized napping was smoothly executed and enjoyed by all.
race selfie

My memento from being semi-lost and fully roasted  by the Atlantic sun.

  • Wedding ceremony: it’s wonderful to be trusted with witnessing a couple’s vulnerability and also to see proof of their love. Watching two people stand in front of their nearest and dearest and put their hearts on the table for each other is pretty awesome.
  • The Feast: I joined the personalities around my assigned seat in breaking the fun-o-meter in a competition of awesomeness against another spirited group.   And thank heavens the final speech started a groove session that segued out to the dance floor, or I never would have stopped. eating. olive. oil.
wedding dinner portugal by pool

Half of my esteemed dining companions. Notice the presence of far more olive oil than I should ever be trusted with in a single sitting.

  • Boot scootin, booty shakin: Never have you ever seen so many people dance so enthusiastically for so long.   Proof every song was more fun than the last: I realized near the end of the night I hadn’t been to the open bar since the waiters absconded with the glassware just after dinner.   My face hurt from smiling, and my feet were numb.
  • Skinny dipping: Not an organized event, but clearly no after-party is complete without this brand of wildness.   I forgot to wow the other participants with the fun fact that I’m part of the current world record.   #fail
  • Late Brekkie: the morning-after-wedding-brunch is the best nuptial concept ever invented. It brings those with raging hangovers back to life, and the rest of us get to come down gently from the high of all the destination wedding festivities.

Those lingering locally cobbled together an impromptu afternoon at the beach capped with seaside dinner.  This introvert, running on fumes and close to socially catatonic from the non-stop group fun, bowed out as gracefully as possible.   Also, I may or may not have been recovering from a post-after-party adventure extending deep into the wee hours of the morning.   But that’s another story.  â™£


1 denigrated by the groom as “organized napping

1 comment

  • October 24, 2015 at 12:26 am

    Great read, Jema, thanks for sharing xo

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