Monday, May 3, 2010 activities

If you're asking the majority of your guests to travel for your wedding, it's a thoughtful gesture to offer ideas for how to spend down time. Even better than a list of local sights or hot spots is a prearranged outing or activity -- this way, guests can get to know each other before the big day. Here are 10 fun ideas for groups at a destination wedding.

Get sporty. In the months leading up to your wedding, let everyone know you'll be arranging a softball game, tennis round-robin, golf tournament or bowling competition and invite all to play. Find out in advance who plans to participate so you can arrange the matches. Increase team spirit by having T-shirts made and announcing a prize for the winners.

Paint the town. If your locale has a great art museum or historical site, arrange for your crowd to take a private tour led by a docent. Stir up some fun. Plan a cooking lesson for your group that's inspired by your setting: Think seafood for a beach wedding, fresh pasta in Italy, or organic greenmarket cuisine in California. For a festive extra touch, include monogrammed aprons in guests' welcome bags.

Stretch in sync. If you have a friend or relative who's a trained pro in Pilates or yoga, ask if she can lead your group in a morning workout session. Reward everyone's efforts with a healthy breakfast station featuring fruit, yogurt, whole-grain waffles and other good-for-you favorites.

Get fired up. Welcome guests with a midday barbecue featuring foods that are typical of your wedding destination -- and hand out color-coded "wedding genealogy charts" ( to show how everyone is related to the bride and groom. Spice things up with entertainment by a local musician, magician or street performer.

Go for grape expectations. If there are vineyards in the area where you're marrying, turn everyone into oenophiles with a wine-tasting event that introduces them to a range of varietals. Consider giving a split of one of the favorite vinos as your wedding favor.

Eat, play, polish. Let female guests know you have reserved space at a local spa for anyone who would like to book manicures, hair appointments or spa treatments the day of the wedding. Make the getting-ready time extra special by providing champagne and light hors d'oeuvres.

Arrange an active endeavor. Challenge your crowd to a high-octane adventure that's popular in your wedding locale, such as parasailing in the Caribbean or skiing a black-diamond slope in Colorado. Consider hiring a photographer to come along so you can include an action shot of the guest in his or her thank-you note after the wedding.

Explore the countryside. Get your group together for a scenic bicycle ride or horseback excursion, followed by a picnic lunch.

Create a sweet memory. Plan an old-fashioned ice-cream social at a well-known spot in town or offer a tour (and tasting!) at a local chocolate factory or doughnut bakery.

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