5 Resorts You Might Not Have Considered For A Destination Wedding.

July 19, 2018

You can never have too many ideas in mind for a destination wedding. Naturally all kinds of things come into play when you actually choose your spot. You’ll need to consider budget, travel distance, guest lists, the length of your stay, and much more. But if anything this is all the more reason to start with a big list of possible destinations that you can narrow down over time! To help with the process, we’re highlighting a few wonderful resorts around the world that you may not have thought of yet as possibilities for your destination wedding.

1. Mission Inn Hotel & Spa – California, United States 

As you might guess, California has a number of resorts that would make for a beautiful wedding. It’s a huge state with a great deal of coastline as well as innumerable vineyards and golf courses. But Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, in the town of Riverside, is a little bit different. The town itself is in the valley a short distance inland and east of Los Angeles. And the resort is a thing of beauty, something like a gigantic Spanish villa divided into luxurious rooms and top-notch amenities. It’s a breathtaking resort, and one that has specific packages for weddings.

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2. The Venetian Macau – Macau, China 

Casinos are not unpopular options for destinations weddings. They tend to be oozing luxury, they pack plenty of entertainment for guests, and while they’re always somewhat over-the-top, they’re often quite beautiful as well. Rather than going the traditional route however and looking to Las Vegas, the Caribbean, or Singapore however, consider the Venetian Macau. It’s a casino and a region that can really rival Vegas, and has been rated as one of the most incredible casino resorts in the world. It’s got all you could possibly want in terms of facilities and entertainment, and it just so happens that the surrounding area of Macau is surprisingly lovely for a short vacation as well.

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3. Cap Rocat – Mallorca, Spain 

Cap Rocat is somewhat more understated than the Venetian Macau or the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa. You won’t find as much built-in entertainment, and the resort is more remote as well, situated on the famously beautiful Spanish island of Mallorca. That said, if you’re looking for a more intimate destination wedding – perhaps with a smaller crowd – you can’t find much more of a personal paradise. Rooms are comfortable, open-air pools and dining areas are perched on the small cliffs overlooking the sea, and the spa offerings are unique and carry a certain old world charm. And if that’s not enough, some might like to know that the resort was chosen by Michelle Obama for a personal vacation!  

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4. Alila Diwa Goa – Goa, India 

Goa, a western India region up against the Arabian Sea, is becoming more recognized as a beautiful and exotic getaway, and Alila Diwa Goa may just be the best resort there for a wedding. It’s built to combine luxurious accommodations with the rich, lush natural surroundings, such that it appears at once to be a sort of super upscale camp and a world-class resort. It’s a highly rated resort that should have everything you could want or imagine from a perks and amenities standpoint. 

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5. Hotel Antumalal – Lake Villarica, Chile 

Hotel Antumalal sounds about as charming as it gets once you start reading about it. An article that listed it as one of the best South American destination wedding spots delved into it, comparing it to a combination between a 1950s summer camp and a natural getaway at the ends of the Earth. It’s perched on a wooded cliff-top overlooking the beautiful Lake Villarica, and while it’s still owned by the original family that built it (via a design by a Frank Lloyd Wright disciple), various amenities, like an on-site spa, have been added over the years. Like Cap Rocat, it’s a little more remote, but it’s perfect for an intimate destination wedding.

 

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A LEGEND ON LAKE COMO, AND AN OPPORTUNITY TO INDULGE IN THE DOLCE VITA LIFESTYLE.

June 30, 2018

After spending 3 days in Lake Como, situated in the foothills of the Italian Alps, I quickly learned why JFK said “It is the most beautiful lake of the world.”

Forming an upside-down Y, Lake Como is an hour’s drive north of Milan.

I had the privilege to stay at the elegant Villa D’Este in Cernobbio, designated one of the best hotels in the world by Travel & Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler and Forbes Traveler.

It is truly challenging to describe how beautiful this resort is.  Upon checking in at the Cardinal Building, I was told I would be staying in the Queen’s Pavilion, both together offering a total 152 rooms and suites.

The villa was originally built in 1568 as the summer residence for Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio and was the playground of an Empress, an English Queen and aristocrats. In 1873, it was transformed into a luxury hotel and all rooms were individually decorated and furnished with antiques, silk brocade drapes, oil paintings and Como silk furnishings.

 

While being escorted to my room, I quickly became in awe of my surroundings.  To the left, 25 acres of luxuriously landscaped gardens complete with 16th-century mosaic monuments with the lower part of the gardens from the Renaissance period. To the right, the lakeside terrace and unique floating swimming pool facing the picturesque mountains.

My room overlooking the lake was classic elegance.  No two rooms in either building are alike in size or décor and are furnished with every comfort.

This hotel is the definition of sophistication; no wonder why the romances of Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner, The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles began here.

This hotel is more than just a villa, it is a destination.  Upon reaching your room, you might not want to leave.  However, there are an abundance of water sports to choose from as well as the Sporting Club.  Located in the Cardinal Building this club is connected by a secret passageway offering a fitness center, sauna, squash court and much more.  Outdoors, there are hiking trails, a tennis center and trademark floating pool to choose from.  One can also enjoy playing a round of golf at the beautiful Golf Club Villa Deste, considered to be one of the most challenging par 69’s in Europe.

 

 

Have a Bellini lakeside as the sun sets before moving to the Veranda for world-class dining.

I am still dreaming of my early morning wake up calls.   Doorbell rings, and the waiter rolls in a gorgeous white linen table bearing silver pot of coffee and fresh flowers, as I glance at the morning newspaper, the windows open, in a room with the ultimate view.

For more information on weddings and honeymoons at Villa D’Este please contact Nancy Barkley, Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways.  215-793-4808.
All images courtesy of Villa D’Este.

 

 

EXCEPTIONAL, EXCLUSIVE, AND TRANQUILITY WRAPPED IN BLUE. – ANQUILLA, BWI.

June 24, 2018

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Something Borrowed, Something Blue?  Your luxury destination wedding can be wrapped in blue, gorgeous Caribbean blue.

I love Anguilla, a secret gem in the Caribbean. This British Caribbean Island is only 35 square miles in size but offers 33 of the most beautiful beaches in the world. All of these picture perfect beaches are public, unspoiled and uncrowded.  The white sand is like walking on powder and the tranquil waters vary in their different shades of vibrant blue.  It is no wonder why Travel Channel ranks Anguilla’s beaches among the best around the world.  These beaches are wonderful options for a destination wedding as Anguilla’s dramatic sunsets will provide the most impeccable backdrop and flawless photographs.

This eastern Caribbean island is ideal for couples looking for a high style, low- key  wedding, desiring privacy and exclusivity.  While Anguilla is a chic luxury destination that is frequented by celebrities, pretentious it is not.  Luxury villas and resorts, culinary paradise, live music scene, are a few of the reasons A-listers visit here and hide in plain sight.

Arrive Anguilla via a 20 minute Ferry ride from Margot, St. Martin, where Ferries operate daily.  Ferries are also available directly from the St. Martin airport.  Flying is an option into Anguilla, however there are no direct flights as this charming Caribbean Island airport runway is not long enough to accommodate larger aircrafts.  Most connections are via San Juan, St. Martin, St. Thomas, helicopter, or private jet.  Of course you can charter your own yacht or (byob) bring your own boat.

Your wedding in Anguilla will be captivating and one that guests will be talking about for years to come.

Villa or Resort?

The Zemi Beach House Resort & Spa,  is located on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches?  Shoal Bay.

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The Zemi Thai House Spa is exceptional, boasting the only Hamman on the island housed in a 300 year old Thai House.  This luxurious retreat offers private spa suites, yoga, and a meditation garden along with ancient rituals to heal you.  Spa day here is a must for your guests.

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After a day of pampering and relaxation, return to your exquisite Caribbean Style ocean view room with soft woods and premium European linens.  If 24 hour room service is not your desire, you can dine casually at 20 Knots, or formally at Stone enjoying seasonal cuisine and freshly caught seafood.

There are many activities your guests can partake in before the big day.  Rum tasting at the luxurious rum bar, stand up paddle boarding, snorkeling, tennis, or kayaking is worth the experience.

The Zemi Beach Resort is for the couple wanting to marry on one of the most beautiful, intimate beaches in the world.  You can choose from an elegant poolside reception or formal dining, overlooking the ocean, in 20Knots before dancing the night away.

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If modern ultra-luxury villa is more your style, I present The Beach House to you.  The Beach House sits on 1.5 acres of unspoiled beach, Meads Bay.

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Serviced with a full complement of staff, including private chefs, butler services, personal concierge, housekeeping and more, The Beach House offers the best of the good life. With its combination of world-class accommodation, breathtaking location, and impeccable bespoke service, all who stay at The Beach House agree that it has earned its reputation for being the Caribbean’s finest private luxury beach villa. For the beach lover, this is paradise found.

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The Beach House offers luxurious Caribbean living and every imaginable amenity. Indoor and outdoor rain showers, 12-seat cinema room, tennis courts, and extra master suite apartment, fully equipped gym, bar, lounge, library, and   infinity pool and office.

The Beach Houses stunning architecture was designed for indoor/outdoor living offering spectacular views of the ocean and sunsets.  This is the perfect venue for the distinctive wedding where a bride can make a splendid entrance arriving by boat.

Anguilla exudes delightful old charm. The unspoiled beaches and pristine waters of this dream island make it a hot-spot for celebrities and those seeking an ultra-chic, wedding.

To plan your dream honeymoon, destination wedding, or romantic getaway to Anquilla, contact Nancy Barkley at Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways

Photo Credits:  Zemi Beach House and The Beach House.

MAGICAL PLACES TO VISIT IN PRAGUE.

June 21, 2018

 

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Prague is one of the most beautiful, enchanting, and romantic cities in Central Europe.  This capital city of Czech Republic seems straight out of a children’s storybook, like the setting of a fairy tale.  Legend has it that the turrets and spires of  Tyn Church Towers in Old Town gave Walt Disney the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castle. It is one of the wonderful magical places in the Europe.

This is the perfect place to simply stroll and explore. You may stumble across a hidden alley, courtyard, or a lovely garden tucked away behind an apartment block.  Even locals get lost wandering the cobblestone streets discovering this architectural jewel.

You should begin your enchanted walking adventure at the Powder Tower, the first point of the Coronation or Royal Route, and follow in the steps of Czech kings.  This will lead you on a historical path which medieval Bohemian monarchs paraded on their way to being crowned in St. Vitus Cathedral.

This will put you at Prague Castle, which takes center stage in Czech history. It sits majestically on a hill high above Prague. Rising above the castle is the 600-year-old St. Vitus Cathedral.

Arch your back and you will see the beautiful spires on top of the cathedral. It is the largest and most important church in the Czech Republic. The cathedral is one of the best examples of Gothic architecture where saints, kings, and emperors of Bohemia are buried.  The coronations of kings were held here until 1836.

Duck your head to visit the nearby houses of Golden Lane, originally the laneway of goldsmiths that served Prague Castle, dating back to the 15th century. It is one of the finest collections of traditional medieval buildings.

Climb the 287 steps of the South Tower for breathtaking views.

Here, you will also see Zikmund, the largest bell in the country, weighing in at approximately 15 tons.  Six bell ringers are required to swing the bell into motion, 4 to swing and 2 to manipulate the clapper.

Presidential guards secure the main entrances to the castle.  They are members of a special army division and services directly to the president.  The exchanging of the guards occurs every hour, with a ceremonious changing at noon that features a parade and music.  They also walk the grounds of the Castle looking over the security of visitors and reluctantly giving directions to lost travelers.

The iconic Charles Bridge, that crosses the Vltava River, is a destination in its own right. Construction started in 1357 under King Charles IV and finished in 1402.  This land connection made Prague significant as the trade route between Eastern and Western Europe. Crossing this bridge with 16th arches and 30 baroque statues, you will be treated to very talented street musicians, souvenir shopping, custom portraits drawn by local artists and Instagram-worthy photo opportunities.

Prague’s Old Town, dating back to 1328, is a plaza surrounded by former palaces.  Here you can wander in any direction and discover picturesque buildings, winding alleyways as well as galleries showcasing Prague’s Modern Artists.

The Medieval Astronomical Clock, dating to 1410, is the 3rd oldest astronomical clock in the world.  Sometime in 1490, a calendar dial was added and the entire structure was decorated with Gothic sculptures. The figures at the top and bottom had significant meaning in medieval times, while the skeleton pulling the bell cord is Death and the fourth represents lust and earthly possessions.

Join the crowds from around the world lining up on the hour to watch the procession of the Twelve Apostles appear from a small trap door.

After experiencing first hand, it’s easy to see why travelers say Prague is one of the most magical and beautiful historical cities in the world.

For more information contact Nancy @ Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways 

Header image courtesy Nancy Barkley.  All other images courtesy The Official Tourist Website for Prague.

YOUR DREAM DESTINATION WEDDING STARTS HERE.

June 4, 2018

Your tropical fairy-tale wedding awaits at Belmond Maroma Resort and Spa

MAR-WED-09A luxurious seaside hideaway located along the Riviera Maya. Belmond believes there is nothing more important than location when it comes to planning the best day of your life, and Maroma delivers.  The magic begins as you enter this romantic hideaway, winding your way through the jungle and being greeted with genuine warm Mexican hospitably.    Understated elegance is the style at this enchanted estate, hidden by lush foliage and coconut trees.  The resort is located on a white sandy beach, recognized as the “World’s Best” by the Travel Channel.  While discretion and privacy are dominant, this intimate 63-room resort makes it perfect for buyouts, affording exclusivity for your entire stay.

Your guests will stay in luxurious authentic Mexican style handcrafted rooms, feeling more like a home than resort, all within close proximity to the exclusive beach, truly a little piece of paradise.

 

Activities to choose from are onsite jungle bike tours, tennis, cooking and tequila classes and yoga.  The world’s second largest barrier reef just offshore, provides world-class snorkeling and diving.   Private tours of the rich Mayan culture as well as golfing at nearby premier golf courses. Golf classes can be arranged by the concierge.

Spend an entire day at KINAN Spa, voted # 1 best spa in Mexico and Latin America by Conde Nast Traveler.   Pronounced keynan, is Mayan for “the source of life”, this spa offers a full range of spa services in unique environment combining Zen and Maya concepts.  In addition to steam bath and saunas, the traditional Temazcal (spiritual Maya sweat lodge) is offered.  Beautiful caftans are worn in spa.

Savor sensational genuine Mexican cuisines at El Restaurante or El Sol where Mexican taste sensations await.

This resort exudes romance, and with the Caribbean Sea as your backdrop, make for the perfect destination wedding.  The hardest decision you will make is which magnificent location to choose from. Beach, main pool, courtyard, garden, terrace?

Rest assured from the moment we are involved, we will start working tirelessly and behind the scenes sprinkling metaphorical stardust to ensure your day is pure magic!   “And they lived Happily Ever After”

Please contact Nancy Barkley at Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways for your Happily Ever After at Belmond Maramo.

All pictures are courtesy of Belmond.

SOPHISTICATION AND LUXURY GEM IN THE CARIBBEAN

March 29, 2018
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Paradisus Palma Real  is where you want to get away if you desire the crystal blue sea, pristine white sandy beaches, stylish accommodations and exceptional dining.

This luxury all-inclusive resort is located on one of the most legendary beaches in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, the remarkable Bavaro Beach.

First impressions are everything, and this resort does not disappoint.  It is love at first sight upon arrival where you are met with a jaw dropping dramatic lobby offering stunning views of the Caribbean.

This exclusive paradise offers extravagant options and experiences for everyone, the possibilities are truly endless.  You will be treated like Royalty while staying in the adult only Royal Service, the personification of elegance offering discreet butler service during your entire stay.  You can roll out of your bed and onto the beach Bali bed reserved and waiting for you.  While you are sipping cocktails you can contemplate which fine dining restaurant you want reservations for that evening.  Private check in/check out, regal amenities, and pillow, yes pillow menus are a glimpse into your pampering.

Families can also experience this VIP treatment in Family Concierge. Children can wear their child size robes and slippers while enjoying such amenities as a Play Station before starting the multitude of children’s activities available to them.  Or you may want to stay in “The Reserve” a hotel within a hotel offering residential concierge suites.

Paradisus Palma Real is where you go to be gastronomically content.   Gourmet restaurants offer contemporary world class cuisine including Passion, by Martin Berasateui, winner of 8 Michelin stars, and well know Spanish chef.

Guests are provided endless options to relax and reduce stress. Yhi Spa specializes in Asian treatments and is a sanctuary of positive energy.  Therapists hailing from the Philippines and Indonesia specialize in treatments based on the arts of Thai Chi and Muay Thai.

Those who choose to stay active can choose from beach volleyball, tennis kayak and numerous water sports.  The Yhi Moves Fitness Center offers state of the art equipment as well as an on-site personal trainer.  However runners might want to strap on their running shoes, relish the natural backdrop of the Caribbean, and run on the miles of white sandy beaches.

Golfers will delight in the unlimited green fees included at the World Class 27 hole champion golf course designed by Jose Pepe Gancedo.

For those desiring different activities, the resort offers life enriching experiences which include sushi making, wine tasting, painting and salsa classes and more.

You will rediscover the romance of travel at this romantic haven.  This is the perfect destination to say I do or celebrate each other.

Honeymooners and anniversary couples celebrate romance “Under the Star” private dinner, rose petals bed and bath couples massages creating memories to last a lifetime.

Brides and Grooms who choose to have their wedding at this paradise are assured a postcard perfect ceremony and can choose from many glamorous locations.

This is where you want to go if you want a dreamlike location, superior service, extraordinary food, luxurious accommodations and countless activities. So what are you waiting for?  Contact Nancy Barkley at Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways to plan your once in a lifetime memory.

All pictures courtesy of Paradisus Palma Real.

Your Get-A-Way to Cortina d’Ampezzo

November 6, 2017

Imagine hitting the slopes and having one of the world’s most beautiful backdrops, The Italian Dolomites. I invite you to experience Cortina d’Ampezzo., surrounded by the most stunning scenery in the world. The Dolomite mountains are majestic, with some serious jaw dropping cliffs and peaks rising up from beautiful valley.

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Located a couple hours’ drive from Venice, Cortina ( as the locals call it) is a several hours drive from Venice and a true paradise for ski enthusiasts. Powerful, sleek, and majestic, these gorgeous mountains have been named a World Heritage site.
The 1956 Winter Olympics put this area on the maps and in the living room homes around the world. Film buffs will recognize a genra of films shot at this location, from war and romantic movies to Italian comedies. The Pink Panther was filmed here in 1962 and you can channel your inner James Bond as Roger Moore hurtled down the slopes on skis while being chased by the bad guys on spike wheeled motorbikes. Brilliant.
Fashionistas will love Cortina, as it on the cutting edge of fashion and trends. You can check out next season’s fashion’s by walking along Corso Italia, the pedestrian street and the place to shop. Choose from the most exclusive brands from around the world, antique shops, art galleries, a true shopper’s paradise.
Skiing can work up quite the appetite and skiers will not be disappointed by the fine offerings of restaurants while on the slope. Once off the slope there are several high-end restaurants for the discerning tastes of the gourmands.
As a border territory, the food in influenced by both the Veneto and Tyrolean regions.

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For more information regarding luxury getaways to The Dolomite Mountains, contact Nancy Barkley at Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways.

Photo credit: Cortina d’Ampezzo website.

I INVITE YOU TO INDULGE IN THE DOLCE VITA LIFESTYLE.

June 22, 2017

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After spending 3 days in Lake Como, located in the foothills of the Italian Alps, I quickly learned why JFK said “It is the most beautiful lake of the world”

Forming an upside-down Y, Lake Como is an hour’s drive north of Milan.

I had the privilege to stay at the elegant  Villa D’este in Cernobbio, named one of the best hotels in the world by Travel & Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler and Forbes Traveler.

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It is truly challenging to describe how beautiful this resort is.  Upon checking in at the Cardinal Building, I was told I would be staying in the Queen’s Pavilion, together offering 152 rooms and suites.

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While being escorted to my room, I quickly became in awe of my surroundings.  To the left, 25 acres of luxuriously landscaped gardens complete with 16th-century mosaic monuments with the lower part of the gardens from the Renaissance period.   To the right, the lakeside terrace and unique floating swimming pool facing the picturesque mountains.

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My room overlooking the lake was classic elegance.  No two rooms in either building are alike in size or décor and are furnished with every comfort.

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This hotel is the definition of sophistication, no wonder why the romances of Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner, The Duke & Duchess of Windsor and Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles began here.

To be married here would be the event of a lifetime.

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This hotel is more than just a Villa, it is a destination.  Once you reach your room you might not want to leave.  However there are an abundance of water sports to choose from as well as the Sporting Club.  Located in the Cardinal Building this club is connected by a secret passageway offering a fitness center, sauna, squash court and much more.  Outdoors, there are hiking trails, a tennis center and trademark floating pool to choose from.   One can also enjoy playing a round of golf at the beautiful Golf Club Villa Deste, considered to be one of the most challenging par 69’s in Europe.

If you really want to let loose, definitely test drive the latest Ferrari’s to zip around Lake Como!

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Pictures courtesy of Villa’Deste.   For more information, contact Nancy Barkley

215-793-4808 / Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways

Yachting about Italy and Croatia!

October 4, 2016

Lying back in a wooden rowboat together and entering the magical Blue Grotto in Capri Italy.

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Romantic sunset gondola ride on the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy.

 

Wine pairing at a family run winery in Sicily.

 

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Exploring Montenegro with its twisting byways, Byzantine architecture, and pitched mountains plummeting straight into the Adriatic Sea.

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Walking the medieval walls that surround Dubrovnik and then exploring what lies within the white old city.

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Visiting Split Croatia with its bustling harbor lined with cafes and Diocletians’ Palace in the center of town.

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Strolling through the streets of Rovinj, Croatia where hints of Italy are everywhere, in the signs, in the language, in the cuisine, thanks to having spent more than 500 years under Venetian rule. Romantic, quaint, and captivating, it’s Istria’s most beloved town.

 

Trip of a lifetime, you bet!  Memories that will last forever, indeed!  Can you experience this?  Absolutely, call Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways today!  215-793-4808

www.honeymoonsandgetaways.com

 

How to set your own trend for your Destination Wedding!

August 8, 2016

Brand your destination wedding:

Create your own logo.

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Not a logo person? Personalize your wedding as you would like to reflect your personality. Starting with the save the dates, invites, table settings, welcome letters to guests, daily activity list to guests, timeline, menus… Add a personal touch that reflects your particular style.

Have a Theme.

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Themed weddings have become very popular.  If you decide on a themed wedding, you can move beyond popular ones such as Great Gatsby and choose one reflecting what you both like.

Favorite book?  Favorite Movie? TV show?  Or where he proposed. If the proposal was in Paris, and your guests can not travel that far, have a Paris theme wedding at home, using decorations, invites, food that reflect France.

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I attended an event in Italy that had a different theme in the 5 different rooms that showcased the bride and grooms talents and hobbies.   One room was music based, the Hors ’doeuvre were served out of guitar cases.

In another room, drinks were “magic” themed (inspired by the groom’s love of magic). Drinks were served with dry ice on the trays with the glasses to make them appear like magic.  The picture taking room was set up to reflect their love of horseback riding with equestrian theme.  The reception had classical piano and then jazz band, one bride liked and one groom liked.

Your family background/ heritage:

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Couples choosing an interfaith wedding can combine and personalize the ceremony by bride and groom wearing each other’s traditional clothing.  You can also use heritage and your own personal traditions throughout wedding and reception.

Writing / singing your own vows:

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Fun Activities:

Do an activity you would like to do during your wedding weekend with your guests depending on where your destination is—snorkeling? Zip lining? Swim with the dolphins? Group painting, pottery, etc.

 

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Signature cocktails:

These are very popular now, but put your own twist on it.  If I were getting married again, I would have wine tastings stations set around everywhere!

However you personalize your destination wedding, be sure to minimize the overload by picking one main theme and seeing how you can incorporate in the other details.

By picking that first, you’ll save yourself work later.

Nancy Barkley, Founder  Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways

Photos, Robert London Photography  

 

 

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