Nov 102016
 
Reasons To Take A Pre-Wedding Vacation With Your Fiance

Photo: Getty Images

Taking a honeymoon has been a common part of getting married for hundreds of years. But, the idea of vacationing as a couple before the wedding is a relatively new trend. "Some call it a mini-moon and some just call it a vacation, but either way, we are in favor of this retreat before the big day for many reasons," says Jennifer Stuart of Explorateur Travel. Here are six good excuses to take time as a twosome before you dive into the fanfare surrounding the big day.

1. To hit the reset button on romance
It's no surprise that the ginormous task of wedding planning can take a toll on your romantic life as a couple. Nights and weekends that were once spent enjoying candlelit dinners or frolicking around your neighborhood are now taken up with appointments and endless decision-making. "It can be easy to temporarily forget about romance while deciding between crudités and passed hors d'oeuvres or buffet vs. plated dinners," Stuart says. So use this as the best excuse to take yourselves back to the frame of mind where it all began — simply enjoying each other's company.

2. To cool off
While you might want to rev your engines for one another, it's also important to chill out and kick back while getting some time away from your bridesmaids, groomsmen, families, work, and so on, says Stuart. Forget the frustrations you've been dealing with up until this point. De-stressing and escaping any family drama is key, says custom luxury travel and lifestyle experience expert Chloe Johnston. So sip a glass of wine or step into the spa and cool off for a minute.

3. As practice for the honeymoon
Whether or not you've already traveled far and wide with your soon-to-be-spouse, a short trip before the wedding will help you determine your individual or joint preferences when it comes to jet-setting. Think of it as practice or a dry run for the honeymoon, Stuart says. Do you like to plan every meal and tour ahead of time, or leave space for being spontaneous? Sleep in or get up early to beat the crowds? Figuring this out on a pre-trip will help you plan your perfect itinerary for the honeymoon itself.

See More: Deciding if a Mini-Moon Right for You? Consider These Factors

4. For some rare one-on-one time close to saying "I do"
This is especially true for couples who aren't planning to get away immediately following their wedding, or for those who have a destination wedding and find themselves surrounded by family and friends 24/7 the week before or after the event. "You have your wedding somewhere lovely that not everyone lives, so once they're all together they want to stick around!" jokes Rachel Jo Silver of Love Stories TV. And it happened to her. "Since all my nearest and dearest were in town I didn't want to leave them all to jet off on a honeymoon. It would have been smart for my husband and I to take a little mini vacay, just the two of us, a week or two before the event to catch up, slow down, and gear up for the big event."

5. To discuss last-minute details
Chatting about guest favors and RSVPs at the end of a long day at the office isn't all that appealing. But talking last-minute details over poolside cocktails or during a relaxing stroll on the beach is an entirely different experience. Getting away from it all will help you focus, so you can nail down any pending items and then get back to enjoying yourselves, says Stuart.

6. To soak up the final moments of being engaged
Whether you're engaged for a few months or a couple of years, the time you get to call each other fiancé will go by in the blink of an eye. "It can all happen so, so quickly. The proposal, the engagement, the ceremony. Take a minute to enjoy being engaged! That shiny, bright, and new feeling is so precious and important to creating a foundation for a hopeful marriage," Stuart says. Taking a mini vacation is a chance to revel in the engagement and also get excited for all that's to come — especially the wedding!

This Is Why You Should Consider Nevis as a Wedding Destination

 Destination Weddings, Honeymoons, Honeymoons & Destination Weddings  Comments Off on This Is Why You Should Consider Nevis as a Wedding Destination
Nov 092016
 
Nevis Island Traveling Tips

Photo: Getty Images

Nevis is a tiny, 32-square mile Caribbean island southeast of Puerto Rico — and it's one of the most romantic undiscovered wedding destinations. Considered one of the most romantic islands in the world, it's got white sand beaches, aquamarine waters, a tropical rain forest, incredible native flowers, monkeys on the golf greens, and donkeys in the road. It also has about 50 historic landmarks that would make fabulous destination wedding venues, in addition to exquisite beaches.

Nevis Island, in the West Indies, is where Princess Diana vacationed with her little princes, and a bodyguard, many years ago, at the Montpelier Plantation — an historic plantation that was converted into a hotel after the sugar cane industry disappeared from the island in the 1950s. Locals say that Princess Di's visit is one of the major events that put Nevis on the map as a tourist destination.

At Montpelier Plantation, couples may host their guests for a welcome cocktail inside a perfectly preserved sugar mill, or have their own romantic fine dining experience on their honeymoon, while staying where royalty has been before them — quite literally.

In 2016, our friends at Condé Nast Traveler named Nevis one of "the most romantic islands" in the world. But it isn't just beaches and beautiful views that make a place famously romantic, so we set out to explore.

A former part of the United Kingdom, Nevis, and its sister-island of St. Kitts (two miles across the turquoise water), are an independent, two-island country. They are extremely visitor-friendly, and they accept US currency as readily as their own Eastern Caribbean dollars. The island has a rich history — in fact, it is the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton — yes, THAT Hamilton. The island community, with a population of approximately 13,000 people, is working to preserve and restore a number of significant landmarks, some of which are very popular for weddings.

Nevis Island Travel Tips

Photo: Getty Images

The Cottle Church
Despite an earthquake and hurricanes, the foundation of the Cottle Church has stood. Many brides and grooms choose this location because of its beauty, views, and history. It's not difficult to get a permit for your wedding, and the proceeds go to the preservation of the church. In fact, getting your marriage license in Nevis isn't difficult either, because the island enthusiastically welcomes destination weddings. The paperwork costs $100.

Touring the island feels like traveling through time. In tiny Bath Village, the Bath Hotel was once a playground for the rich and famous. The Bath Stream that runs by it is reputed to have healing, medicinal properties. Interestingly, this is considered the first spa in the Caribbean, although it's fallen apart over the years. There's an effort to restore it to its former glory, but right now it makes for an interesting 10 minute pit stop on your tour of the island. There's a little gift shop with local honey and coconut oil, and a charming woman named Ella handing out clean washcloths for visitors who'd like a splash in the restorative waters.

Nevis Island Four Seasons Resort

Photo: Courtesy of Four Seasons

After seeing the historic spa, it seems as if a visit to the luxury Caribbean Spa at the Four Seasons Resort Nevis is more than appropriate. Located on famous Pinney's Beach, the five-diamond hotel is the biggest resort on the island, and has 196 posh rooms, and another 80 private villas, most of which are available as wedding venues and guest accommodations. Hopping on the Broadway craze stateside, the Four Seasons offers a creative "Hamilton's Perfect Union" romance package for couples.

See More: 2016 BRIDES Best Honeymoons: The Top 10 All-Inclusive Resorts

A sunset stroll down Pinney's Beach, with Nevis Peak on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other, is enough to confirm all the hype about the island's romantic setting. It has a certain energy — a feeling that settles in your chest once you've spent some time there. The kind of thing that makes you dread leaving the place almost as soon as you've arrived. Experiencing it with the one you love — or all of your family and friends for your wedding — definitely puts it on our list of must-see honeymoon and wedding spots.

Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events and author of How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show Wedding Island, about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques.

Jet to Riviera Maya for This Texas Couple’s Sweet Ceremony in the Sand

 Destination Weddings, Mexico, Real Weddings  Comments Off on Jet to Riviera Maya for This Texas Couple’s Sweet Ceremony in the Sand
Nov 082016
 

It's no surprise that Brittney Magee's wedding to Chase Stone was totally stylish. After all, the bride is a PR Manager for Watters! But back in August of 2012, she was just a junior at Texas A&M who needed a new computer. "Chase was working behind the counter, and helped me with my purchase," she remembers. "He mentioned he was new in town, so I left him my number." While Brittney says she was just trying to be nice, later that afternoon Chase asked her out on their first date. Two years later, after she begged him to join her family in Indiana for Thanksgiving, Brittney finally accepted that Chase wouldn't be joining her and headed home alone. The night before Thanksgiving, her family headed to a local farm-to-table restaurant for dinner. "When we walked inside, there was Chase waiting with a bouquet of roses!" she remembers. She thought he was just surprising her for Thanksgiving with her family, but then he got down on one knee.

With family all over the country, the couple decided a destination wedding would be their best bet. "We knew we'd have a hard time getting everyone in the same place," Brittney explains. She grew up spending vacations in Mexico, so the pair decided that Riviera Maya would be the perfect place for an escape with friends and family — and their wedding! In the end, 55 guests headed south to El Dorado Royale Resort, where the highlight of the trip was an elegant blush-and-gold wedding ceremony in the sand, the perfect balance between formal and beachy. Brittney and her mom planned the whole bash — with a little help from their loved ones — and, on September 5, 2015, she and Chase finally made it official. Just wait until you see the photos by Kayla Barker Fine Art Photography: You'll be ready to book a flight to Mexico!

The elegant blush and gold invitation suite featured soft, sandy hues balanced by formal details, like the classic script and the shimmering bellyband.

Of course, Brittney wore a Watters wedding dress for her big day. The blush hand-beaded corset was fun and sparkly, while the soft net skirt was just the thing to catch an ocean breeze.

Since she isn't a heel girl, Brittney splurged on stunning Rene Caovilla gladiator sandals instead. "They were so comfortable, I didn't want to take them off!" But the bride's favorite accessory was her "something borrowed," a bracelet that belongs to her mom. "It's one of my favorite pieces of hers, and it meant so much to wear it on my big day," she says. She opted for a soft updo, accented with white blooms, and a bouquet of blush roses that perfectly matched her gown.

We can see why guests were eager to join the couple on the beach in Mexico! Before the festivities began, they spent their days relaxing in a palm tree grove strung with hammocks.

The ceremony took place beneath a dark wooden altar draped in white fabric and tied with pomanders of pink and ivory flowers. The sandy ground was perfect for barefoot guests and the ocean served as an unbeatable backdrop!

"Before I walked down the aisle, our officiant had Chase turn to look at him. Then, once I'd come around the corner and was walking down the aisle, he had Chase turn back toward me," Brittney says. "I'll never forget the look on his face when he saw me!"

The two exchange vows they'd written themselves, then recessed to "Make You Mine" by Us the Duo.

Brittney's bridesmaids also wore Watters, all donning floor-length lace dresses in a soft blush hue. Says the bride, "Even though it was a beach wedding, we wanted elements like our attire to be somewhat formal." Chase and his groomsmen looked both formal and beach-appropriate in light gray suits from Jos. A. Bank.

"Most importantly, we wanted our wedding to be a huge celebration with our family and friends all together," says Brittney. "We wanted it to be a memorable trip that we'd all cherish for years to come. I think we succeeded!"

While planning from afar was tough (especially because Brittney and her mom live in different states — hello, FaceTime!), she loved how supportive Chase was. "He never got impatient with my countless questions, and helped with whatever was needed."

The couple's biggest undertaking was the miniature champagne bottles escort cards. "We had multiple people transporting them in their suitcases. Then each one had to be assembled and tied once we got to Mexico," says Brittney. We'd say the DIY project was totally worth it.

She and Chase were seated at a sweetheart table covered in blush sequins. Centerpieces combined blush and white roses, glowing in candlelight. The reception space was strung with paper lanterns, and each guest received a menu outlining the buffet spread of local cuisine.

Once dinner was underway, Brittney swapped her floor-length net skirt for a short blush tulle one. "It made dancing easier! The skirt was a custom Watters piece designed to match my corset and my shoes," says the bride.

Instead of a full cake, the newlyweds cut into a miniature vanilla cake and served cake pops to their guests. "I met a bride who'd been married at the same resort, and she advised against a full-sized cake because it would melt in the Mexico heat before it was time to serve," says Brittney. "I hesitantly took her advice and I'm so glad I did!"

To get the party started, a wise guest kicked off the dancing with a Conga line. "It was a great icebreaker to really get everyone excited!" says Brittney. "The dancing was my favorite part of the day — everyone was on the dance floor for hours!"

Venue, Catering & Florist: El Dorado Royale Resort || Bride's Wedding Dress & Bridesmaids' Dresses: Watters || Shoes: Rene Caovilla || Groom's & Groomsmen's Attire: Jos. A. Bank || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Reis-Nichols || Invitations & Paper Goods: Oliver's Twist; Wedding Paper Divas || Rentals: La Tavola Fine Linen || Videographer: Jordan Bellamy || Photographer: Kayla Barker Fine Art Photography

Find Local Vendors Wedding Wire

Want more destination wedding ideas? Then check out another couple's stunning celebration in the video below.

Oct 312016
 

I want you to imagine you've spent months, or years, planning your wedding day. Everybody you love most in the world is going to be there. You might be excited, and nervous, as you pack for the trip to your wedding destination, the romantic spot you researched and saved up for. The big day is just around the bend. And so is a hurricane. Or a blizzard. Ultimately, the consequences may be the same.

Natural disasters are an unfortunate fact of life. And you don't have to be planning a destination wedding someplace exotic for Mother Nature to seriously mess up your wedding plans. Plenty of hometown floods, storms, and other natural emergencies can create serious problems for brides, grooms, and all of their guests.

Sometimes, the disaster that is impacting your wedding weekend might not even be happening where you're actually getting married. But it can still wreak havoc on your big day.

Unfortunately, I've got real life examples for you.

When Hurricane Matthew Threw Off a Vow Renewal
Just recently, Mother Nature was unkind to my clients who planned for years to renew their vows on their 10th wedding anniversary in Puerto Rico. Their anniversary was on Friday, October 7, 2016, the exact same day that Hurricane Matthew whomped Florida and Georgia.

The brides and their children arrived on Tuesday, before the storm's path had been confirmed. And they never worried a bit about their big day, because the storm was already north of Puerto Rico, and there was nothing else threatening the Caribbean.

On Wednesday, as their guests prepared for bed, luggage packed for the destination wedding, and ready for their early morning flights out of the mid-Atlantic region, all hell broke loose. One after the other, they began receiving notifications that their flights to Puerto Rico had been cancelled. On a variety of different airlines.

The problem was that the vast majority of flights to the Caribbean had to go through Atlanta, Miami or Fort Lauderdale. Anybody who didn't have a direct flight was really stuck. And most of them spent all night long on the telephone, pleading for mercy, trying to be re-routed through anyplace that would get them safely to Vieques Island before the wedding ceremony on Friday afternoon. About half were not successful.

Fortunately, their out-of-town photographer was able to rebook on a direct flight, saving them from losing a ton of money they'd spent to get her to their destination, and the cost of paying another photographer to step in. But as a wedding professional, she'd been watching things carefully, and she was one step ahead of the rest of the guests.

Ultimately, they had a beautiful ceremony and fun wedding reception, but some of their favorite people in the world weren't there to celebrate with them. And quite a bit of money was lost in the process.

See More: How to Create a Travel Contingency Plan for Wedding Guests

When Two Different Storms Grounded the Guests
A similar situation occurred for my own Caribbean destination wedding, on Labor Day weekend of 2004. The weather in Puerto Rico was beautiful, and there were no storms threatening the wedding destination. Everybody arrived without incident. However, our wedding date fell smack dab in the middle of Hurricanes Ivan and Jack. And Hurricane Ivan was one of those weird storms that did loopty-loops, and made landfall in several places, devastating numerous cities and their associated airports.

My guests had a worry-free vacation for the week of my wedding, but when those guests who were tech-savvy enough to have registered for email alerts (remember, this was 2004) started getting flight cancellations for their trips home — in the middle of my wedding reception — it would be safe to say the mood was shot.

At least half of my wedding guests got stuck in San Juan for at least a night. A few who could not miss work bit the bullet and rebooked on other airlines that could get them home sooner, at considerable additional expense. Everybody had to pay for hotels for which they had not budgeted. My bridesmaids all bunked in together, due to a room shortage caused by all the cancelled flights off the island.

I try not to focus on the return trip disaster when I remember my wedding, but my client's experience with Hurricane Matthew's flight cancellations brought it all back. My hope is that they'll concentrate on the celebration they had, and not the number of people who missed it. Because it really was a beautiful day in paradise for their 10th wedding anniversary.

Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events and author of How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show Wedding Island, about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques.

Oct 292016
 

As we know, wedding makeup is not one-size-fits-all. Everyone has a different idea of beauty. It's the same with the climate of the place you're getting married. A tropical Hawaiian "I do" requires a different approach than nuptials in the desert of Palm Springs or the mountains of upstate New York or Aspen. As celebrity makeup artist Kirin Bhatty (who works with Freida Pinto and Rosario Dawson) says, "When having an outdoor wedding many times it can feel like your makeup is at war with the elements, but with the right products it doesn't have to be that way." Issues include direct sun, which can blow out your makeup, making it appear you're not wearing any, and can also turn you bright red. According to Jenny Slate's beauty guru, "The key to successful destination wedding makeup is to embrace the environment you are in and let it reflect where you are. If it's hot, embrace the glow; if it's cold, embrace a rosy cheek and matte lip."

If you've planned your vows on an island or a beach, it's critical you take sun care into account. (Supergoop's setting spray provides protection and is mattifying.) "Even if it's overcast you're still vulnerable to the sun's effects," says Bhatty. "Because of the beach, skin and hair will be extra dewy because of the moisture in the air. If you are someone whose makeup tends to run, be on extra alert because it's very hard to maintain in this climate if you have oily skin." To combat that, prep properly. Start with a mattifying moisturizer by Kate Somerville, she says, then Smashbox Primer Light to control shine and force makeup to stay in place. Try a lid primer by NARS to keep shadow from budging, too. Waterproof eyeliners and cream-based shadows (set with a powder) are key — she likes Make Up For Ever's. With those, "You cold jump into the ocean after and your makeup should be just fine," says Bhatty. Seal everything in with Urban Decay All Nighter. Ultimately, she says, "Embrace the glow and don't fight it."

Good news for desert brides: "As far as destination weddings go, dry heat is the easiest to handle," says Bhatty. "Though you can't stop sweating with makeup, you can ensure it looks soft and is long-lasting." In this climate highly moisturized skin is key, since you can easily wind up feeling-and looking-parched. (Make sure you're drinking plenty of fluids leading up to the big day, too.) Bhatty's prep go-to is La Prairie SPF 50, which will protect and also keep the complexion supple, bright and hydrated. Next, use Smashbox's hydrating primer on the cheeks and orbital bones for glow, and primer light on the T-zone to reduce shine. Cream blushes, highlighters and waterproof liners and mascaras "will be your best friend," and will ensure a "beautiful, healthy desert glow."

See More: The Surprising Perks of a Destination Wedding

For a wooded, rustic wedding, sun care is also important (try Kate Somerville SPF 20, which protects sans white cast and is hydrating yet non-greasy) and primer is always critical. "Anytime you're in the elements your makeup is fighting against them to stay on," says Bhatty. Particularly if it's cold, skin can chap, so she advises lots and lots of hydration. (And if it's buggy where you are, remember to pack a natural bug spray that doesn't smell too terrible.) Before any makeup goes on, she likes to use Cle de Peau's sheet masks: "They are really helpful and give you an instant hydration starting point." Afterward, apply creamy products and set them with a powder-based product in the same hue, which will give a one-two punch that should last through the big day. At the end, Bhatty recommends, seal and set the look with rose water and a dusting of Cle de Peau translucent powder in the T-zone. Ultimately, says the makeup artist, it's all about "making your environment work with you, not against you, because the last thing you want is to be touching up every five minutes."


You’ll Love This Ultra-Chic Destination Wedding in Paris

 Destination Weddings, Real Weddings  Comments Off on You’ll Love This Ultra-Chic Destination Wedding in Paris
Oct 202016
 
Destination Wedding in Paris, Bride and Groom Photo

Photo: Dan Petrovice

Krystal Tate knew of Kevin Hulten before they started dating, but she was better acquainted with his brother, Kyle, who she knew from work. "I remember seeing Kevin's Facebook profile on Kyle's computer once, and being completely taken with his looks," Krystal admits, and she was delighted when Kevin popped by an office party and the pair finally met in person. Her opening line? "I suavely said, 'I know who you are — I've seen your Facebook!' Fortunately he didn't automatically assume I was a stalker." They became friends on Facebook, she says, and the rest was history.

After Kevin popped the question on a trip to Lake Tahoe, the pair began to plan an epic but intimate September 16, 2015, affair in Paris. The couple has an affinity for the City of Lights and the movie Midnight in Paris, so they dreamed up a wedding that would take their 20 guests back to the roaring '20s. "Paris is the perfect city for such time travel — it wears every era so flawlessly," the bride says. The ceremony was held at 6 Mandel, the same boutique hotel where Christian Dior once lived. Later, guests had a chance to enjoy the city by yacht during the couple's dinner cruise reception. "There were quite a few people in our group who had never been to Paris before," says Krystal, "and the Seine is truly the heart of the city since many of the landmarks are right off its banks."

With these flawless images from Dan Petrovice, you'll feel like you visited Paris with this happy couple, too. Just read on.

Destination Wedding in Paris, Bride in Strapless Lace Eve of Milady Wedding Dress Destination Wedding in Paris, Romantic Bouquet

Photo: Dan Petrovice

Krystal chose a fit-and-flare lace wedding dress by Eve of Milady, complete with a sheer bodice. "I must have tried on 75 dresses," the bride says of finding the one. "I knew exactly what I wanted, but I couldn't find a single dress that incorporated all those ideas and was still in my budget."

With that stunning gown, the bride wore crystal-embellished Badgley Mischka pumps, chandelier earrings, and an Art Deco-inspired hair pin, and carried a bouquet of pink and cream blooms created by the mother of the groom.

Of her dress shopping experience, Krystal has this advice for soon-to-be brides: "Don't be afraid to tell your seamstress what you need to make your dress fit perfectly," she says, admitting she wishes she had asked for a tighter-fitting alteration. "When I needed to use the bathroom, it was so easy to just hike it up over my hips to go. That might sound like a good thing, but I wanted a ton of va-va-voom in the shape, and I think I gave up some of that by listening to the seamstress instead of my instincts."

Destination Wedding in Paris, Groom in Black Tuxedo and Bow Tie Destination Wedding in Paris, Bride and Groom Photo Destination Wedding in Paris, Wedding Party

Photo: Dan Petrovice

Kevin looked dapper in a classic black-and-white tuxedo and bow tie. But instead of a traditional boutonniere, Kevin and his two groomsmen wore vintage French lapel pins. "Kevin's was sort of spear-shaped, so it was barely allowed back on the plane because it did look somewhat dangerous," Krystal says, "but we managed to talk our way into getting it home."

Krystal's sister and sister-in-law served as her bridesmaids. "I wanted both of them to feel fabulous and to choose something sequined and metallic that they loved," says Krystal, so the women ended up in mismatched rose gold gowns with sequins. "They were different enough to show their personalities and similar enough that they totally complemented the overall scheme," says the bride. The couple's flower girl also wore a rose-gold dress, and carried the rings down the aisle.

Destination Wedding in Paris, Wedding Ceremony Destination Wedding in Paris, First iss

Photo: Dan Petrovice

Krystal and Kevin were supposed to tie the knot outside, but rain derailed their plans. "This turned out to be for the best because we were having all sorts of problems trying to figure out how to decorate the garden, how to make all the chairs fit, and how to get my fluffy dress through the shrubbery," the bride says. "The rain made it simple, and we got to stand in front of a giant fireplace, which was amazing for me because I'm always chilly." After the couple exchanged vows they wrote themselves, they recessed to John Legend's "All of Me."

Destination Wedding in Paris, Reception Decorations Destination Wedding in Paris, Dinner Menu

Photo: Dan Petrovice

Before guests boarded the yacht, the couple whisked them off on buses (where they could drink champagne) and took them to see the Eiffel Tower and the Thinker at the Rodin Museum. On the yacht, guests were asked to sit at a single oval table, "so that everyone could sit together and be one family," explains Krystal. That table was decorated with floral arrangements the bride and groom made themselves the day before, and topped with a sequin champagne made by the mother of the groom.

Destination Wedding in Paris, Poems for Guests

Photo: Dan Petrovice

"Even though I'm an attorney now, my true passion is for poetry," says Krystal, "so for each guest, I found the perfect love poem to place inside a tiny vintage frame with their name and the date of our wedding." The bride chose poems by Rumi, e.e. cummings, Neruda, Walt Whitman, and more. "I think it worked out beautifully and was meaningful to the guests," she says.

Destination Wedding in Paris, Croquembouche

Photo: Dan Petrovice

The couple skipped a traditional cake and opted for a French croquembouche as a sweet treat, after a dinner that included other French specialties, such as foie gras and beef confit.

Destination Wedding in Paris, Couple Portraits

Photo: Dan Petrovice

Following the wedding, the newlyweds enjoyed a honeymoon in Italy, Greece, Czechoslovakia, and the United Kingdom.

Ceremony Venue: 6 Mandel || Reception Venue: Yachts de Paris || Bride's Wedding Dress: Eve of Milady || Shoes: Badgley Mischka || Hair & Makeup: Allison Depriestre || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Alice and Olivia; Badgley Mischka || Groom's & Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tux || Wedding Bands: T. Anthony Jewelers || Invitations: Minted || Music: Tess and Alex || Catering & Cake: Lenotre || Transportation: Rent a Bus France || Photographer: Dan Petrovice

Find Local Vendors Wedding Wire

Can't get enough of this beautiful wedding? Then check out another couple's Parisian wedding in the video below.

11 Airbnb Estates That Will Make You Reconsider Your Wedding Venue

 Destination Weddings, Honeymoons & Destination Weddings, Planning Tips  Comments Off on 11 Airbnb Estates That Will Make You Reconsider Your Wedding Venue
Oct 152016
 


Cha??teau a Me??rienne


Photo: Courtesy of Airbnb


You might have always dreamt of a destination wedding or a beautiful countryside ceremony. Something romantic, intimate and picturesque. But it can get expensive trying to achieve that storybook-like vision you had for your big day, especially having to pay an arm and a leg for a gorgeous wedding venue. In reality, it may seem like something that only exists in fairytales. A venue like that would be too out of reach, right? Wrong!

Your fairytale wedding may be more attainable than you imagined. Impressive estates around the world are available for rent via Airbnb at a nightly rate — many for under $1500 for the entire property.

When starting your search, just make sure to note Suitable for events in "Amenities" and the number of guests the space accommodates.

Here, 11 fabulous Airbnb properties that will make you reconsider your wedding venue!

Château la Mérienne (Above)
Le Lavandou, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
$1985

Château La Mérienne is located in the South of France just outside of Saint Tropez. Accommodating 16 living-in guests, this restored château boasts beautiful secluded gardens and sea views.

hillside tuscan villa

Photo: Courtesy of Airbnb

Hillside Tuscan Villa
Montepulciano, Tuscany, Italy
$695

Situated in the lush rolling hills of Tuscany, this villa offers antique Italian flair for your romantic occasion. You'll even find a basement wine cellar in this historic winemaker's abode.

Dairsie Castle

Photo: Courtesy of Airbnb

Dairsie Castle
Fife, United Kingdom
$668

Dairsie Castle is a unique property with a history dating back to the 12th Century. Since, the estate has been restored maintaining its medieval charm. With the beautiful countryside backdrop and garden, it will make for a beautiful ceremony.

Beachfront villa

Photo: Courtesy of Airbnb

Villa Shalimar
Pantai Seseh, Bali, Indonesia
$1303

Villa Shalimar sits on Seseh Beach with a gorgeous view over the surrounding rice fields and the ocean. Shalimar is a complex of houses (each with 2-4 bedrooms) making up the villa.

Phuket Villa

Photo: Courtesy of Airbnb

Himmaphan Luxury Villa
Thalang, Phuket, Thailand
$823

The Himmaphan Luxury Villa is located just off the Bang Tao beach on the the west coast of Phuket. The grounds are also enclosed by lush tropical gardens, adding serenity to its beauty.

VILLA RIAD PALMERAIE

Photo: Courtesy of Airbnb

Dar Iman Villa Riad Palmeraie
Marrakech, Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, Morocco
$1158

Dar Iman boasts a prime location outside of Marrakesh overlooking the Atlas Mountains and the Palm Forest. This tranquil Moroccan oasis reflects Kasbah-style architecture with classic characteristics of Arabic villas in its courtyard, terraces, columns, archways, and patios decorated with fountains. Dar Iman also offers a wedding planner, if needed.

Villa Roccaverano

Photo: Courtesy of Airbnb

Villa Roccaverano
Asti, Piedmont, Italy
$579

This hilltop estate overlooks the Bormida valley and the charming nearby Roccaverano village, offering a 360° combined view from the various terraces on the property. It features state-of-the-art amenities and a modern yet rustic design reminiscent of a stone cabin.

See More: BRIDES New York: The Best Museum Wedding Venues in NYC

El Centro Villa

Photo: Courtesy of Airbnb

El Centro Villa
San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico
$309

El Centro, also known as Casa Hechicera (meaning Beguiling or Bewitching House), reflects a contemporary take on the 18th century Spanish colonial character of it's surrounding town. The estate is modern yet charming with a stunning fountain within its lush gardens and a high-rise overview of San Miguel de Allende.

16th Century House

Photo: Courtesy of Airbnb

Park Farm House
Cannington, United Kingdom
$1671

Park Farm House, formerly a manor house, is a beautiful historic mansion in the English countryside. Located outside the village of Cannington, the property reflects a 16th century charm surrounded by acreage that was previously used for farming. It has a rural, old town essence with a tranquil, natural beauty.

Manoir Equivocal

Photo: Courtesy of Airbnb

Manoir Equivocal Le "Pétit Moux"
Corgoloin, Burgandy, France
$301

The Manoir Equivocal is a large Romanesque-style cottage with a 15th century French Heritage. You'll find the barn, flowery medieval garden, and manor courtyard perfect for a wedding ceremony and reception. Additionally, the surrounding village is home to some of the finest wine estates of the region.

VILLA PIANCIANI

Photo: Courtesy of Airbnb

Villa Pianciani
Spoleto, Umbria, Italy
$1158

Villa Pianciani was designed by architect G. Valadier in late 16th century. This hilltop estate on the Umbrian countryside has a 360° view from Assisi to Spoleto. The villa also has a private chapel on the grounds and a secret garden.

Why This Is LEGIT the Coolest Destination Wedding Locale in the U.S.

 Destination Weddings, Honeymoons & Destination Weddings, Wedding Venues  Comments Off on Why This Is LEGIT the Coolest Destination Wedding Locale in the U.S.
Oct 052016
 
Hyatt Regency Tamaya

Photo: Courtesy of Hyatt Regency Tamaya

Nestled at the foot of the beautiful Sandia Mountains, about halfway between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico, there is a spectacular wedding destination located on the sacred lands of the Santa Ana Pueblo.

The only Hyatt property owned entirely by a Native American tribe, the Hyatt Regency Tamaya is a luxury resort and spa that has recently come into its own as a destination wedding venue in the Southwest. As threats of Zika and concerns over international terrorism grow, more couples are considering wedding destinations in the continental United States. While New Mexico might not top most couples' lists of dream destination wedding locales, this resort (which I recently visited) is a mecca for brides and grooms looking for a spot to host their whirlwind wedding weekends, as it offers many of the same spectacular features found in the world's most popular wedding destinations.

Activities for Guests
While the New Mexico property obviously doesn't have traditional beaches, the Rio Grande winds its way across the property, and features just as many water sports and activities as anything along a coast in warm weather. Skiing is just a hop, skip and a jump away in the winter.

For those who would rather sit by a pool, the resort offers three swimming pool options to suit every taste and style. The longest tram ride in the world is nearby for guests who would rather observe than participate. And there's a good golf course on the property, and a spectacular Conde Nast Traveler-ranked spa that incorporates a number of local ingredients.

Hyatt Regency Tamaya Wedding

Photo: Courtesy of Hyatt Regency Tamaya

Hyatt Regency Tamaya Couple

Photo: Courtesy of Hyatt Regency Tamaya

The Food Is a Bride and Groom's Dream
The adobe hotel complements its desert surroundings. The Pueblo Tribe has left its stamp all over the property, not just in the architecture, but also in the sculptures, art, cedar-burning lobby fireplace, and menu in its critically-acclaimed restaurant, Corn Maiden. Interestingly, unlike most hotel properties, each restaurant within the hotel has its own chef and kitchen team, allowing brides and grooms to identify who will be supervising their wedding menu, and to work with them directly to create a menu that wows their guests. Many of the ingredients come from the property's own gardens and the honey found in so many dishes comes from the resort's own bee hives.

You Feel Like You're in a "Destination"
In this time of heightened social awareness about the plight of the Native American legacy, Hyatt Tamaya is a resort that offers a southwestern feel with as much, or as little, Native American influence as a couple likes. If you wish to highlight the region's history, you might have your guests greeted by Native Americans in traditional dress, with a locally-crafted blue corn necklace. Or book a performance of an authentic celebratory dance performed by locals for your welcome party.

Hyatt Regency Tamaya Ceremony

Photo: Courtesy of Hyatt Regency Tamaya

Tons of Stunning Spots to Say "I Do"
Each of the resort's three wedding venues has a completely different feel: The House of Hummingbird's ceremony spot provides a backdrop of the Tuyuna Mesa, the most sacred spot on the Pueblo. It's so special to the tribe that you cannot visit it, but you can get married right in front of the breathtaking mesa. In the Sunrise Amphitheater, your backdrop is the Sandia Mountains, which turn pink on top at sunset. There are several indoor and outdoor reception venues located across the property, mostly isolated so that your event won't be interrupted by other hotel guests.

See More: 5 Things All Instagram-Worthy Wedding Venues Have in Common

Your Wedding Will Be Totally Unique
Greet your guests with honeycomb snacks and little bottles of honey from the hotel's hives, and thank them with a locally-made dreamcatcher or hot air balloon ornament. After a farewell breakfast with a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar (called the "Bloody Married Brunch"), invite your guests to see you off on your honeymoon in a hot air balloon. There's nothing typical about this wedding destination. The only question is will you have enough time to do everything you want to do while you're visiting New Mexico.

Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events and author of How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show Wedding Island, about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques.

Hot Air Balloon Weddings Are a Real Thing — Here’s What You Need to Know

 Destination Weddings, Honeymoons & Destination Weddings  Comments Off on Hot Air Balloon Weddings Are a Real Thing — Here’s What You Need to Know
Oct 032016
 
Hot Air Balloon at Hyatt Regency Tamaya

Photo: Courtesy of Hyatt Regency Tamaya

One thing is certain: Brides and grooms want their weddings to be different from all the other weddings they've attended — and hot air balloon weddings are a surefire way to accomplish this. There are a handful of different options for couples interested in saying "I do" to a hot air balloon.

Inside the Actual Balloon
Yes, I said INSIDE a hot air balloon. Once the balloon is inflated with the cool air, before they heat the air to make it rise, the inside of a partially-inflated balloon is absolutely gorgeous. The entire backdrop is the colorful whirl — and yes, with many hot air balloon companies, you do have some choices about the color or design on your balloon for something as special as a wedding. Imagine your wedding photos — they'd be stunning on the group and in the air.

hot air balloon weddings

Photo: Courtesy of Rainbow Ryders

I recently visited the Hyatt Regency Tamaya, located on the sacred Native American lands of the Santa Ana Pueblo in New Mexico, about halfway between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico. In my quest to identify the best activities to plan for a destination wedding on their property, I couldn't skip a trip 3,000 feet above the ground (already 5,000 feet above sea level) in a colorful hot air balloon. It's wildly popular with wedding guests. Albuquerque is home to the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, and internationally recognized as one of the most amazing places to try hot air ballooning in the United States.

At 3,000 Feet
You can also get married up in the air, in the basket of the hot air balloon, according to Troy Bradley, our balloon pilot from Rainbow Ryders, and the holder of 64 international balloon records (he's crossed the Atlantic and Pacific in a balloon, twice!). You'll need to bring your own minister along to do the actual ceremony, and there's room for a few wedding guests in the balloon, too. Some baskets are bigger than others, but most can easily accommodate your witnesses. Some balloon baskets are big enough for your entire immediate family.

See More: What Activities Should We Plan for Our Guests if Our Wedding is Earlier in the Day?

Make It Part of Your Weekend
If you're fascinated by the prospect of ballooning during your destination wedding weekend, but not into actually getting married in the sky, a fabulous early morning trip with your wedding party or family may be the most exciting wedding guest activity ever. It definitely beats the heck out of the traditional golfing for the gentlemen on the wedding day. And for the ladies, most commercial trips are done early in the day while the winds are still gentle, so you'll have plenty of time to return to your hotel and nap before you turn yourself over to the skilled hands of the stylists tackling your wedding hair and makeup.

Despite the fact I was scared when we first got into the balloon's basket, I couldn't even feel a change when we left the ground. The trip is so smooth that you really can have a ceremony while floating high above your destination. But you may want to wait to begin things until the balloon has reached the maximum height desired for the trip so that your wedding ceremony won't be interrupted by the sound of the burner flame heating the air to make the balloon rise. Just a tip from me to you!

Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events and author of How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show Wedding Island, about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques.

Hot Air Balloon Weddings Are a Real Thing — Here’s What You Need to Know

 Destination Weddings, Honeymoons & Destination Weddings  Comments Off on Hot Air Balloon Weddings Are a Real Thing — Here’s What You Need to Know
Oct 032016
 
Hot Air Balloon at Hyatt Regency Tamaya

Photo: Courtesy of Hyatt Regency Tamaya

One thing is certain: Brides and grooms want their weddings to be different from all the other weddings they've attended — and hot air balloon weddings are a surefire way to accomplish this. There are a handful of different options for couples interested in saying "I do" to a hot air balloon.

Inside the Actual Balloon
Yes, I said INSIDE a hot air balloon. Once the balloon is inflated with the cool air, before they heat the air to make it rise, the inside of a partially-inflated balloon is absolutely gorgeous. The entire backdrop is the colorful whirl — and yes, with many hot air balloon companies, you do have some choices about the color or design on your balloon for something as special as a wedding. Imagine your wedding photos — they'd be stunning on the group and in the air.

hot air balloon weddings

Photo: Courtesy of Rainbow Ryders

I recently visited the Hyatt Regency Tamaya, located on the sacred Native American lands of the Santa Ana Pueblo in New Mexico, about halfway between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico. In my quest to identify the best activities to plan for a destination wedding on their property, I couldn't skip a trip 3,000 feet above the ground (already 5,000 feet above sea level) in a colorful hot air balloon. It's wildly popular with wedding guests. Albuquerque is home to the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, and internationally recognized as one of the most amazing places to try hot air ballooning in the United States.

At 3,000 Feet
You can also get married up in the air, in the basket of the hot air balloon, according to Troy Bradley, our balloon pilot from Rainbow Ryders, and the holder of 64 international balloon records (he's crossed the Atlantic and Pacific in a balloon, twice!). You'll need to bring your own minister along to do the actual ceremony, and there's room for a few wedding guests in the balloon, too. Some baskets are bigger than others, but most can easily accommodate your witnesses. Some balloon baskets are big enough for your entire immediate family.

See More: What Activities Should We Plan for Our Guests if Our Wedding is Earlier in the Day?

Make It Part of Your Weekend
If you're fascinated by the prospect of ballooning during your destination wedding weekend, but not into actually getting married in the sky, a fabulous early morning trip with your wedding party or family may be the most exciting wedding guest activity ever. It definitely beats the heck out of the traditional golfing for the gentlemen on the wedding day. And for the ladies, most commercial trips are done early in the day while the winds are still gentle, so you'll have plenty of time to return to your hotel and nap before you turn yourself over to the skilled hands of the stylists tackling your wedding hair and makeup.

Despite the fact I was scared when we first got into the balloon's basket, I couldn't even feel a change when we left the ground. The trip is so smooth that you really can have a ceremony while floating high above your destination. But you may want to wait to begin things until the balloon has reached the maximum height desired for the trip so that your wedding ceremony won't be interrupted by the sound of the burner flame heating the air to make the balloon rise. Just a tip from me to you!

Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events and author of How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show Wedding Island, about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques.

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