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!

Nov 102016
 
Caribbean Honeymoon Deals

Photo: Getty Images

Looking for an affordable honeymoon idea? BRIDES teamed up with some of our favorite Caribbean island resorts to help you and your man (or girlfriends!) escape winter in search of sun, sand, and relaxation. These exclusive honeymoon hotels and bachelorette party ideas all come with amazing extras and a 20% discount off regular room rates! So whether you're looking to chill out on a stunning swath of deserted sand in the Dominican Republic, eat your way through Anguilla's hottest food scene, get fit in the Cayman Islands, or cruise off into the sunset near Curaçao, there's a honeymoon travel deal here for you.

But don't wait around forever! Each of these exclusive offers is valid for a full year of travel (from November 1, 2016, to November 30, 2017*), but only if you book by January 31, 2017. To do so, just head to the hotel's website and use the exclusive online booking code at checkout. No go get a tan!

Malliouhana, an Auberge Resort
WHERE: Anguilla
GO FOR: Meads Bay, the setting for this whitewashed resort, one of the best beaches in the Caribbean
INCLUDED IN YOUR RATE:
- Evening cocktails and canapés for two at the picturesque Sunset Bar
- One couples massage at Auberge Spa at Malliouhana
- Daily continental breakfast
BRIDES SPECIAL: $765 per night in an Ocean View Premium room (four-night minimum)
BOOKING CODE: BRIDES

Zemi Beach House
WHERE: Anguilla
GO FOR: Two stunning infinity pools and complimentary beachside breakfast each day
INCLUDED IN YOUR RATE:
- Couples massage in a private spa villa
- Three-course dinner on the beach with wine pairings
- Horseback riding on the beach
- Daily Zemi Buffet breakfast
- Complimentary amenity bag with organic skin care products from St Maarten and access to the Hammam at the Zemi Thai House Spa
BRIDES SPECIAL: From $523 per night in a Superior Ocean View room (three-night minimum)
BOOKING CODE: BRIDES (contact the resort directly at [email protected] or 1-264-584-0110)

Le Soleil d'Or
WHERE: Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
GO FOR A: secluded vibe and insanely fresh food at the farm-to-table restaurant
INCLUDED IN YOUR RATE:
- Sunset champagne beach dinner with a private chef
- One 60-minute body treatment per person at the organic spa
- Private farm-to-table cooking class and tour of the resort's 20-acre organic garden
- Private nature tour of the island
- All-inclusive daily meal plan (excluding alcoholic beverages)
- Airport transfers and shuttle service on-property
- Access to tennis courts and basketball court
BRIDES SPECIAL: From $960 per night in a Beach Studio (five-night minimum)
BOOKING CODE: BRIDES17

Santa Barbara Beach and Golf Resort
WHERE: Curaçao
GO FOR A: perfect his-hers combo of golf and spa
INCLUDED IN YOUR RATE:
- Private helicopter arrival (from Hato International Airport to the resort)
- Two-hour romantic sunset cruise
- $250 spa credit (try the lemongrass-bamboo body scrub)
- All-inclusive daily meal plan, plus one dinner at Shore, the resort's fine-dining restaurant
BRIDES SPECIAL: From $698 per night in a Resort View King (five-night minimum)
BOOKING CODE: SBMOON

AlSol Hotels & Resorts
WHERE: Dominican Republic
GO FOR: AlSol's four all-inclusive resorts (one adults-only, called Sanctuary Cap Cana), on Punta Cana's pristine beaches
INCLUDED IN YOUR RATE:
- A romantic breakfast in bed, complete with blueberry pancakes and mimosa mixers (plus guava and cranberry juices, depending on your preference)
- 10 percent off all spa treatments (we recommend the hydrotherapy circuit)
- Bottle of sparkling wine in your room on arrival
BRIDES SPECIAL: From $131 per person per night (two-night minimum)
BOOKING CODE: Brides Mag

Laluna Resort
WHERE: Grenada
GO FOR: The private-island feeling at this 16-villa gem
INCLUDED IN YOUR RATE:
- Guided hike through the rain forest to a waterfall
- One Balinese massage per person
- Daily American-style breakfast and à la carte dinner. (There's an entire menu devoted to pasta!)
- Daily yoga classes
- Special Laluna gift
- Round-trip airport transfers
BRIDES SPECIAL: $668 per night in a Cottage Suite, with a private terrace and plunge pool (three-night minimum)
BOOKING CODE: Bride2017

Meliá Braco Village
WHERE: Jamaica
GO FOR: Six restaurants and colonial-style villas at this brand-new luxury all-inclusive
INCLUDED IN YOUR RATE:
- A romantic candlelit dinner on the beach or your balcony, with the option to serve a specially designed menu
- Sparkling wine and a mini cake or marshmallow pops in your room on arrival
- Special turndown service with Meliá chocolates each night of your stay
BRIDES SPECIAL: From $125 per person per night (two-night minimum)
BOOKING CODE: MBVBM

See More: Can We Set Up a Honeymoon Fund Instead of a Traditional Registry?

Paradise Beach Resort
WHERE: Nevis
GO FOR A: YOLO girls' getaway (think multibedroom villas and butler service)
INCLUDED IN YOUR RATE:
- Round of cocktails at the adorable tiki-inspired beach bar
- Bottle of prosecco
BRIDES SPECIAL: From $1,080 per night in a three- or four-bedroom Garden or Beach Villa (three-night minimum)
BOOKING CODE: BRIDE16

Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort
WHERE: St. Lucia
GO FOR: Your private villa fantasy come true, complete with a private terrace, plunge pool, and gorgeous four-poster bed
INCLUDED IN YOUR RATE:
- Complimentary bottle of champagne on arrival
- Gift of gourmet chocolates and macaroons made by the in-house pastry chef
BRIDES SPECIAL: From $704 per night in a Superior Luxury Cottage (four-night minimum)
BOOKING CODE: Bride16

Oil Nut Bay
WHERE: Virgin Gorda, B.V.I.
GO FOR: Cliffside suites with private plunge pools
INCLUDED IN YOUR RATE:
- Two-hour snorkeling excursion
- Bottle of sparkling wine
BRIDES SPECIAL: From $600 per night in a Cliff Suite or Penthouse Suite (three-night minimum)
BOOKING CODE: ONB20BRIDES (to book, contact Oil Nut Bay's Reservations Department at 1-800-761-0377 or email [email protected])

*Blackout dates apply.

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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.

How to Have A Magical Honeymoon in Cuba

 Honeymoons, Honeymoons & Destination Weddings, Planning Tips, Travel  Comments Off on How to Have A Magical Honeymoon in Cuba
Nov 082016
 
Have A Magical Cuban Honeymoon

Photo: Getty Images

There hasn't been a Caribbean spot as hot as Cuba in recent memory. Not that the other islands aren't gorgeous—they are. But Cuba, just now being opened up to Americans for the first time since the diplomatic break in 1961, is en fuego. It's also, of course, literally quite steamy. These factors and many others make it a buzzy, memorable and ideal beach honeymoon destination.

An ever-growing list of tour operators offer chic and stylish Cuban getaways, but it's also a good idea—especially if going it alone, as in just the two of you—to have an idea of the must-sees and must-dos around the capital and beyond. With direct and affordable America-to-Cuba flights has come greater exploration of the island, but because internet connections are still extremely rare, it's not as if you can run a Google search for a restaurant to visit that night, nor read Yelp reviews of it. Once you land, it's as if you've gone back in time—talking to locals will take you far — they're extremely friendly and love visitors.

One can't-miss is a place natives consider the hottest ticket in town, where VIPs go. La Guarida is in fact the most buzzed-about restaurant in Havana, and arguably the most delicious and romantic, too. If you need proof it's that Beyonce and Jay Z dined there while celebrating their anniversary this April. (Also, Usher is rumored to have gotten married there.) It's a paladar, meaning a privately owned restaurant, perched at the top of a crumbling yet impressive marble-clad home. It's hard to go wrong ordering from the eclectic menu—think suckling pig, filet mignon and duck (none of which you'll find on offer at government-owned eateries). Afterward, daiquiris under the stars on the elegant rooftop bar are a must.

See More: How to Honeymoon in Cuba

Also in Havana, visit El Del Frente for dinner or, at the very least, finely prepared cocktails. The bartenders use tweezers to put together the vivid libations that are as refreshing as they are tasty. Rio del Mar is another private spot in the tony neighborhood of Miramar with excellent food and pineapple mojitos, served all day long. Those who love to dance can indulge in a sweaty salsa session accompanied by a live band at Casa de Musica, but beware the show doesn't usually start until around 1 a.m.

In between mojitos and piña coladas, a trip to the cigar factory allows a fun look into the making of those legendary smokes, and a wander down the Malecón—the pathway along the ocean, where waves crash dramatically at all hours—after nightfall gives you a sense of real Cuban life. A drive in one of Havana's famous '50s classic American convertibles should be a non-negotiable. Pick out your colorful ride after strolling on the Prado, where artists sell their wares, and enjoy the feeling of the wind in your hair as you cruise, cuddling in the backseat, past the city's highlights.

To get off the beaten path a bit, consider also checking out another area such as Santiago (the second capital of Cuba has colonial architecture, lots of music, some beautiful beaches and a huge Carnaval celebration every July) or Trinidad. The latter is quaint and very walkable, full of pastel-hued facades, small museums and a lively set of cobblestone steps where locals and tourists gather with canchanchara cocktails (rum, honey, lime) to watch live bands play every night and, of course, dance along. Sandy beaches lined with Royal palms—the national symbol of Cuba—are also close at hand. And in Viñales, a couple-hour drive from the capital, it's possible to ride horses through farms, learn to roll a cigar and eat incredibly fresh organic cuisine. When it comes to Cuba "love at first sight" definitely applies.

Nov 032016
 
Road Trip Idea Through Napa For Eco-Friendly Bride

Photo: Getty Images

Just because you want to be eco-friendly doesn't mean you can't have an amazing bachelorette road trip with your best ladies to celebrate the end of singledom — Especially in Napa Valley. From the latest electric cars that make it possible to drive long distances without recharging, to a growing eco-friendly wine movement, restaurants supporting local organic farmers, and no shortage of top notch spas boasting eco-friendly products, Napa Valley is the perfect place to enjoy a bit of luxury and make some wine filled memories with your best friends — all while leaving the smallest environmental footprint.

1. The Vehicle
If you want to go on a road trip the most important part of being eco-friendly is finding an electric car that can go long distances without having to be recharged. Of course, you can always rent the very stylish Tesla, which can go 340 miles per charge, if you want to go big. But the safest bet for a longer road trip is to get a car that has a generator that creates more energy as it drives. While the Toyota Prius definitely has made a name for itself in that respect, the Chevy Volt's latest model is the best bet for a long road trip because of its gas-powered generator giving it a range of 420 miles. So you won't ever have to worry about running out of electricity. Plus its got a pretty rockin' sound system, which is more than necessary for any great road trip.

2. The Hotel
Napa has no shortage of great hotels to stay at. But if living the eco-friendly lifestyle is important to you on this trip, look no further than Calistoga Ranch. This luxury resort in Calistoga is equal parts chic and rustic with acres of forest for hiking, a picturesque lake, and cabins that merge the environment with architecture. Enjoy organic spa treatments or spend the day lounging at the pool, either way it's entirely guilt-free and 100% luxury. Besides Calistoga Ranch, on the Sonoma side of the valley, you'll find the brand new Single Thread Farms — a small farm and luxury inn with a focus on sustainable farming and ethically sourced ingredients.

See More: This Couple Canceled Their Big Wedding for a 50-Person Party in Napa Valley

3. What Wineries to Visit
Not all wines are created equal, but thanks to a new generation of wine makers, Napa Valley is now making a name for itself in the world of eco-conscious wines. One such winery is CADE, a beautiful winery that sits on the slopes of Howell Mountain. Not only is the view breathtaking but CADE was also the first organically farmed LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certified estate winery in Napa Valley. Closer to the heart of St. Helena you'll find the incomparable HALL wines. Producers of unparalleled cabernets (often reaching 98-100 points) that perfectly fuses art with sustainable design for a winery as gorgeous as it is conscious. Odette, an organic sister winery to CADE has also led the way with promoting a more sustainable and limited use of water for wineries in the face of California's massive drought—which just so happens to result in some pretty amazing cabernet. A win, win situation if we've ever heard of one.

4. Where to Eat
Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch is a must visit for the eco-friendly foodie. A Napa favorite serving farm to table food from the ranch's "full-circle" farm. Enjoy wine made on site alongside expertly prepared organic dishes served family style on communal tables for one of the tastiest, and most sustainable, menus in Napa. If you want to celebrate with some aged wines and one of the best steaks you'll ever eat in your life, look no further than PRESS. Napa's top of the line steak house serving ethically chosen, delicious cuts of beef from famed butcher, Brian Flannery. But if you really want to go all out, we suggest heading over to 3 Michelin starred Meadowood for a once-in-a-lifetime tasting menu by award winning chef Chris Kostow. With a combination of sustainably farmed ingredients from their own farm and eco-conscious purveyors, there's arguably no better place to eat in Napa.

Real Brides Share: The Best Time to Depart on Your Honeymoon

 Honeymoons, Honeymoons & Destination Weddings, Planning Tips  Comments Off on Real Brides Share: The Best Time to Depart on Your Honeymoon
Nov 022016
 
Best Time To Depart For Your Honeymoon

Photo: Getty Images

Can you imagine just a few decades ago it was the norm for brides and grooms to leave their wedding reception early and head straight for their honeymoon? Thankfully, that's no longer what most couples do. In fact, many opt to head on their honeymoons days, weeks, or even months after they've said "I do." Check out what these real brides believe was the best time to head on their post-wedding adventures.

"My husband and I went to Italy. We got married on a Friday and flew out Sunday evening. I liked going the same weekend of our wedding so we could be in "celebration mode" and there's something so special and traditional about going right after your wedding. Leaving on Sunday gave us just enough time to settle down from the whirlwind of getting married, spending a day having ear to ear smiles with my new husband, finish up laundry and pack before leaving for 2 weeks. Our flight was an overnight one, so we were super tired and jet lagged the first day but because we were both so excited to be in Italy for the first time we plowed through!" —Pam, Sept. 2015 Wedding

"We got married in South Carolina which was a destination wedding for us from NJ, so we decided to do our honeymoon travels a few months later, in November. We also bought a house the December before our wedding, so we wanted to spread out the milestones. It was the best decision ever. We still had something to look forward to and a special time ahead. It also helped with the post- bridal blues, which I definitely had. We went to Tulum for a week and it was incredible" —Christine, May 2015 Wedding

See More: 12 Foolproof Steps to Planning the Best Honeymoon Ever

"We are planning on taking a hint from our already-wed friends and doing a mini-moon directly after the wedding and then a honeymoon about 5 months after the wedding! We plan on doing an all inclusive in an easy-to-get-to destination for 3-4 days (maybe Bahamas?) followed by something a little more exotic for the real deal. Right now the front-runners are South Africa and Bali!" —Meredith, Fall 2018 Wedding

"We left the Monday after our Saturday wedding. We wouldn't change a thing. After all the planning and stress of a wedding, a tropical vacation is just what we needed. I used to joke that what I was really looking forward to was boarding that plane. The wedding was simply a formality!! Also, Aruba was PERFECT for a fall honeymoon." —Jennifer, October 2010 Wedding

"We left the Monday following a Saturday wedding and it worked out FANTASTIC! (Sans the unusual hurricane, of course. We asked some locals on where to buy provisions and walked back to the hotel with a case of Bud Lite, Doritos, and some candles. — We made the most of it!) In the end, we only would have wanted better weather, but you can't really plan for that!" —Cara, October 2010 Wedding

Oct 312016
 
Travel-Themed Wedding Gifts

Photo: Getty Images

When it comes to shopping for a wedding gift, four words will help ensure a gift the bride and groom will love. The four words: Stick to the registry. However, if the couple hasn't registered or if you want to get them an additional gift that's a bit more personal than bathroom towels or nonstick pans, it's wise to pick something that reflects the couple's personality and passions. If one of those passions is travel, you're in luck because options are as varied as the countries and cultures that span the globe. Here, the perfect gifts for travel-loving couples.

Travel Wedding Gifts for Home

Photo: Courtesy of Retailers

For Their Home
A love of travel and a fascination with maps often go hand in hand, and most travel lovers will appreciate items that represent their wanderlust in cartographic form, such as a globe, a scratch-off map to mark their travels, an artfully framed map of their favorite place, or this print, with two hearts that show the maps of two different places. Airport code coffee mugs and posters are another fun way to bring some international flair to their home decor. (Scratch-off world map, $22.99, available on Maps International Amazon; Heart map print, $88.54, BOMBUS available at Not on the High Street; Airport mugs and posters, starting at $19.90, Airportag)

Travel Wedding Gifts for Memories

Photo: Courtesy of GoPro

For Creating Memories
Give a travel-loving couple the tools they need to document their future trips. A high quality leather journal is always useful for jotting down experiences and memories while traveling. If you know the couple's been relying on their phone for photos, they might appreciate a better quality travel-friendly camera or a GoPro, if they're more active. And a gift card to a photo printing service like Shutterfly will ensure that their photos make it off the digital screen and into a frame or coffee table book. ("HERO Session" waterproof camera, $199.99, GoPro)

Travel Tech Gifts

Photo: Getty Images

For All Their Travel Tech Needs
Where travelers go, so go their devices, so kit your couple out with portable technology that will enhance their trip: a universal plug converter to stay powered up, a waterproof phone case so spills don't ruin their trip, noise-canceling headphones to ensure a quiet night's sleep on the plane, and a selfie stick for the perfect photos of the happy couple on all their adventures.

Stylish Travel Wedding Gifts

Photo: Courtesy of Mark and Graham

For Traveling in Style
Long gone are the days when traveling was a glamorous — or even comfortable — affair. Help make the couple's travel a little less unpleasant with comforts like an ultra-luxe travel blanket and pillow or a soft sleep mask. Or bring a little style to their travel with monogrammed leather luggage tags or passport holders. (Leather luggage tags, $65, Mark and Graham)

See More: Do We Have to Get a Gift for a Couple Having an (Expensive) Destination Wedding?

Monetary Travel Wedding Gifts

Photo: Getty Images

For the Honeymoon or Other Future Travel
The gift that travelers can always put to use is the gift of more travel. Chip in on the cost of future flights with an airline gift card (most major airlines offer them) or go for a hotel gift card for a particular chain or for a booking site like Hotels.com so they can splurge on a luxurious room. Or contribute cash towards experiences with a gift card to a site like Viator.com, which sells tours and activities around the world. If the bride and groom love cruising, you can even opt for a gift card to their favorite cruise line.

5 Questions You NEED To Ask Your Honeymoon Travel Agent

 Honeymoons, Honeymoons & Destination Weddings  Comments Off on 5 Questions You NEED To Ask Your Honeymoon Travel Agent
Oct 302016
 
Questions for Honeymoon Travel Agents

Photo: Getty Images

The time has come to finally start planning your honeymoon! With everything you have on your plate — they never said wedding planning was stress-free — you may want to seek out the help of a professional and hire a travel agent to help put together the trip of your dreams. Before you pick a destination, and even a date to head there, there may be some important things you want to know about ahead of time. But where to start? Here, 5 important questions to ask your travel agent before you pay for those plane tickets.

1. What Deals Can You Get on Travel?
Destinations and resorts have travel deals going on throughout the year. Ask your agent about any packages that are on-sale. You may be able to head somewhere more exotic and expensive when there's a sale or a deal going on.

2. When's the Best Time to Go?
You may be in a rush to jet off right after your wedding, but some destinations are more enjoyable during different times of the year. Ask your agent when the destination isn't too crowded and the weather isn't too bad.

3. What's the Cancelation Policy?
Be sure to look into what the cancelation policy is before you book your honeymoon. See if you can add on trip insurance in case there's a reason you need to reschedule or cancel the trip all together.

See More: 5 Honeymoons You Can Put on Layaway

4. Is There Anything I Should Know About the Destination?
Ask your travel agent to fill you in on anything important you should know about your chosen honeymoon destination. Perhaps it's information on whether it's easy or hard to get around or if it's a spot that you need to know the native language in order to be able to communicate.

5. Where Have Other Couples Gone and Loved?
If you're unsure of where to go for your honeymoon, ask the expert. See if they can suggest other locations that couples went to in the past and enjoyed.

Jen Glantz is a "Professional Bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates.

BRIDES Florida: Miami’s Best Boutiques for Chic Honeymoon Essentials

 Florida, Honeymoons, Honeymoons & Destination Weddings, Local, Miami  Comments Off on BRIDES Florida: Miami’s Best Boutiques for Chic Honeymoon Essentials
Oct 292016
 
Miami Honeymoon Stores

Photo: Getty Images

Honeymoon planning is just as fun as prepping for the big day itself — or even more so, since it's all about one-on-one relaxing with your other half in some dreamy destination. Touch down looking just as good as you feel whiledecked out in super stylish finds from around town. Hit these Miami boutiques stocked with the chicest bikinis, shades and sexy little numbers snagging everything you need to pack in your honeymoon suitcase (and even a gift or two for the hubby).

The Webster
The three-level flagship boutique on South Beach has a floor devoted just to designer resort wear, from Lisa Marie Fernandez bikinis to Lanvin wide-brim straw hats, for a style that would feel right at home anywhere from Saint Lucia to the South of France.

Alchemist
When it comes to best location, the Alchemist shop set on level 5 of the Herzog & de Meuron-designed parking garage wins, hands down. The glass box-encased boutique has an eagle's eye view over the Miami skyline and showcases a collection of pieces that are just as stunning. Here's where you'll find that to-die-for bag by Céline or a sexy little black dress that's made for romantic nights out strolling the streets of Paris, while the downstairs location on Lincoln Road is stocked with streetwear for him and beautiful little daytime looks for you.

Wynwood Shades
Whether you're jetting off somewhere tropical or heading on safari, you'll definitely want to snag a pair of stand-out sunnies for your trip. The Wynwood concept shop and art gallery is the perfect place to get outfitted with just the style you have in mind, from classic Ray-Ban aviators to more out-of-the-box looks by Balenciaga.

Wanderlista
Stepping inside this intimate boutique is sure to get your wanderlust flowing as you peruse the carefully curated collection of trinkets from design newcomers around the globe. Think bold beach cover-ups, neoprene bikinis, and Grecian bags sporting hand-painted cobra that are sure to make a statement. And if you want something to spice things up in the hotel room, throw in a pair of lace bondage lingerie by New York-based line Fleur du Mal.

See More: Don't Forget the Thank-You Notes! These Local Wedding Stationers Have Got You Covered

Atrium
The New York boutique brings its street style cool to Collins Avenue on Miami Beach with a collection that's perfect for his-and-hers honeymoon shopping. It wouldn't be hard to source your entire honeymoon suitcase here with Instagram-worthy Mara Hoffman one-pieces and the cutest cut-out booties by Alexandre Birman, plus clutches that can easily transition from day to night.

Agent Provocateur
The haute lingerie line has homes in two of Miami's most exclusive shopping centers: Bal Harbour and the Village of Merrick Park. Here you'll find everything you need to look and feel sexy from your wedding night on, with a collection of bridal nightwear from kimonos to corsets — and even boudoir satin heels to complete the look — that will definitely turn up the heat on your honeymoon.

Be sure to check out these other Miami boutiques for all your wedding day must-haves!

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Oct 282016
 
Overnight Bags to Register For

Photo: Getty Images

When it comes to your wedding registry, one of the most useful things to register for is luggage, hands-down. But aside from the usual hard / soft case carry-on's and larger suitcases, we think overnight bags are just as (if not more) useful to register for. Just think about all the short trips you'll be making as a married couple — a quick jaunt to the beach, visiting friends out of town for the weekend, Thanksgiving — the list goes on and on! So here's a round up of the chicest, sturdiest, and all around best overnight bags to add to your wedding registry.

Ectula Hudson Weekend Bag

Photo: Courtesy of Ectula

Not only is this bag's design modern and streamlined, you can tell just by a quick glance that it's going to wear like a dream (uh, Italian calkskin leather YES PLEASE). Better yet, get a pair of them since they're easily interchangeable as his or hers. ("Hudson" calfskin leather bag, $750, Ectula)

Cuyana Weekender Bag

Photo: Courtesy of Cuyana

It's hard to find anyone who DOESN'T have something from Guyana — that's how good quality all of their pieces are. This weekender is a fan favorite in the BRIDES offices — it's classic, sturdy and easily monogrammed! (Canvas and leather weekender bag, $175, Cuyana)

Mark and Graham Monogrammed Overnight Bag

Photo: Courtesy of Mark and Graham

At a great price for being full leather (+ free monogramming!) this beautiful weekender is the stuff luggage dreams are made of. We especially love the stone and blush colors! (Daily leather overnighter, $375, Mark and Graham)

Fleabags Rummage Duffle Bag

Photo: Courtesy of Fleabags

Fleabags is another favorite around here, and this overnight bag is no exception — we love how worn in it feels, and the signature waxed cotton canvas (it's water repellant!) means getting caught in a downpour in transit it's NBD. ("Rummage" duffle bag, $270, Fleabags)

See More: How to Make Registering for Wedding Gifts Fun

Forestbound Escape Traveler Bag

Photo: Courtesy of Forestbound

For those who want something a little more playful, this canvas and leather bag with ESCAPE printed on it is perfect. Better yet, it's made in the USA and of course is available for monogramming. ("Escape" traveler bag, $299, Forestbound)

Etsy Awl Snap Overnight Bag

Photo: Courtesy of Awl Snap

Last but not least, we love the unexpected shape of this denim and leather bag and how you can roll it up depending on how much you pack in it. Plus, it can be worn as a backpack or carried by it's top handle, making it versatile and easy to transport — as long as you aren't too heavy of a packer! (Leather and waxed denim backpack, $420, Awl Snap)

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