Spring 2020

Page 1




to Tie the Knot







All-inclusive luxury meets wedding perfection.

Weddings.PalaceResorts.com 1-877-725-4933

From breathtaking settings overlooking the sea to culinary masterpieces, expect your wedding to be awless. And expect our adults-only, all-inclusive paradises to pamper you and your guests in complete splendor, with personal butler service, premium drinks, treatments at a world-class spa, championship golf, and more as part of your stay.




Italian Swim-up Bi-Level 1 Bdrm. Butler Suite w/Patio Tranquility Soaking Tub at Sandals® Grenada


Mor e Q ual i t y I nc l u s i o ns T han A ny Ot her Res or t s On T he Pl anet

Why shouldn’t your honeymoon be as spectacular as your wedding day? At Sandals Resorts, you’ll experience all the indulgences of the world’s only five-star Luxury Included ® honeymoon—from our exotic and romantic Love Nest Butler Suites®, every land and water sport including waterskiing and daily scuba diving for certified divers, to premium liquors and 5-Star Global Gourmet™ dining at up to 16 extraordinary restaurants. When you choose to start your new life together at Sandals, you’ll find that you really can have it all—and it’s all-inclusive, even taxes, tips and Sandals transfers.*





@ sandalsresortsweddings

JAMAICA • ANTIGUA • SAINT LUCIA • BAHAMAS • GRENADA • BARBADOS *Visit www.sandals.com/disclaimers/destinationidosprsum2020 or call 1-800-SANDALS for important terms and conditions. Sandals® is a registered trademark. Unique Vacations, Inc. is an affiliate of Unique Travel Corp., the worldwide representative of Sandals Resorts.






YOUR DESTINATION DREAM WEDDING BEGINS HERE G R A N D H Y AT T B A H A M A R Say “yes” to a romantic destination wedding in the Bahamas. Whether you want a tranquil beach setting or a lavish ballroom, our dedicated event planners will help with every detail, from rehearsal dinner to farewell toast, wedding day production, guest room blocks and transportation.







Grand Hyatt Baha Mar is a spectacular luxury resort located on the picturesque island of New Providence in Nassau. With stunning views of the ocean and green coastal fairways, Grand Hyatt Baha Mar is a sanctuary of natural beauty, dramatic architecture, art, and modern luxury. The oceanfront haven boasts 1,800 opulent guestrooms, including 230 suites that comprise one, two and three-bedroom residences with lavish amenities and contemporary décor. Designed to be the preferred venue for weddings, our resort is inspired by the spirit and beauty of the Bahamas, making our venues distinctive for their playful colors and airy interiors. Have your wedding at our water side chapel or have a beachfront wedding overlooking Cable Beach. We offer unparalleled outdoor spaces including patios, lawns, pool areas, and, of course, the pristine beach.

WATERSIDE CHAPEL: Exchange vows in this intimate space overlooking the show fountains. Floor-to-ceiling windows maximize sunlight, and the neutral interior allows your chosen decor to shine. The chapel seats 100 in pews or 150 in folding chairs.


CABLE BEACH: Gather your guests beside crystalline waters on the world-famous Cable Beach. With 3,000 feet of white sand, the space can host your attendees for a one-of-a-kind wedding or event.

Your guest can experience a 100,000-square-foot casino with 1,140 slots and 119 table games, indulge in the destination’s 30,000- square-foot ESPA Spa, splurge at high-end retail shops, and savor innovative cuisine at more than 20 restaurants, bars and lounges. A white sand beach with water sports, multiple pools, The Racquet Club at Baha Mar and a Jack Nicklaus Signature Design golf course ensures no shortage of activities and fun, accented by unforgettable Bahamian hospitality.

WEST GAZEBO: Host your nearest and dearest (two to ten people) amid blooming native flora. The surrounding gardens include pathways through bougainvillea, night-blooming jasmine, orchids, and yellow elder—the national flower of the Bahamas. BAHA MAR CONVENTION, ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT CENTER: Adorned with local art, this 82,000-squarefoot venue boasts three ballrooms—the largest of which accommodates 3,000 guests—plus 14 breakout rooms and 2 ballrooms. Outdoor event spaces include multiple lawns, terraces and patios.

CATERING Personalize your special day with a menu that reflects your unique tastes. Create your own signature cocktail, and choose from five meal service styles: buffet, stations, plated, familystyle, or Hyatt Personal Preference Dining®.


CONTENTS features 24

America the Beautiful

Destination weddings don’t have to require a passport. From California’s wine country to Florida’s coastal beauty, we’re rounding up the best domestic “Destination I Do” locations.

34 Pursue Your Passions

Beach-going might not be your cup of tea – and that’s okay. In this issue, we’re highlighting heritage travel in Ireland (pg. 34), history in London (pg. 36), whisky in Scotland (pg. 38), adventure in Alaska (pg. 40) and entertainment in Las Vegas (pg. 42).

44 Southern Sojourns

One of the most beloved regions is the South – known for its warm hospitality, down-home cooking and scenic countryside. We’re featuring three destinations that would make an ideal setting for your wedding away in New Orleans, Louisiana (pg. 44), Asheville, North Carolina (pg. 48) and Nashville, Tennessee (pg 51).

68 Love in the Hills

For those who envision themselves saying “I do” surrounded by stunning vistas or rolling hills, these two destinations are sure to meet your expectations. For scenery success look to Aspen, Colorado (pg. 68) and Austin, Texas (pg. 70).

72 Spotlight Destination – Italy

There are few destinations in the world more universally loved than Italy. Whether it’s the stunning coastline, mind-blowing history or tantalizing cuisine, there truly is something for everyone. We’re exploring this keepsake honeymoon and destination wedding classic with Sorrento (pg. 72), Lake Como and Florence (pg. 74).

80 Weddings in Wailea – Maui’s Southside

Maui, Hawaii can always be found at the top of the list when it comes to romance and popular destinations for where to tie the knot. Discover the stunning area of Wailea and all it has to offer for your romantic adventure.

60 Love on the Water

Photo courtesy of: The Ranch at Rock Creek

Waterfront resorts and venues span the world-over. Uncover classics and unexpected options in Vancouver, British Columbia (pg. 60), Riviera Maya, Mexico (pg. 62), Anguilla in the Eastern Caribbean (pg. 64) and Lanai, Hawaii (pg. 66).



Love& Luxury All-Inclusive

on The Dominican Republic’s Caribbean Coast

Big Day Preview





Contact Our Wedding Center | 888.659.8767 | RESORTSBYHILTON.COM All prices are USD. Applies to new bookings only. Offers valid through December 15, 2020. Big Day Preview (BDP) applies to US and Canada adult residents only. Credit is valid for minimum $5,000 wedding program. Credit applicable to BDP host hotel only, limit one BDP credit per wedding, not available within 6 months of wedding date, based on ROH room category. Free weddings require minimum room category of Hilton La Romana - Premium Suite Ocean Front, Hilton Playa del Carmen - Oceanfront and Hilton Rose Hall - Oceanfront. Free weddings are only available Mon–Wed between 9am and 1pm and are only offered during initial booking at least 6 months prior to wedding, not available for previously reserved and/or confirmed weddings. With a Lavish & Opulent package, the couple receives 1 complimentary night when celebrating their one-year anniversary with a minimum 4-night paid stay in the hotel in which they were married. Pick Your Perks applies to Lavish & Opulent or higher wedding packages. Additional terms and conditions/restrictions apply, check with your wedding coordinator for full details. The following promotions are combinable, Leisure Groups Program, Big Day Preview credit, Pick Your Perks. They are not combinable with any other promotion. Holidays or other blackout dates may apply. Offers may be changed or withdrawn at any time. Not responsible for errors or omissions. ©2019 Playa Hotels & Resorts is the owner and exclusive operator of Hilton La Romana, Hilton Playa del Carmen and Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa. All rights reserved. PLA10721019

CONTENTS departments


14 Editor’s Letter 16 Wedded Wisdom

84 Ask the Expert – THE ART OF ELOPING

18 On the Horizon

Stay up-to-speed on recent hotel happenings and wedding and travel trends.

20 Insider Traveling

No matter the destination, here are some helpful travel tips and must-know info.

Fashion Forward

52 DESERT DAYDREAM – Set in the hills of Palm Springs, this upscale destination, juxtaposed with the rugged beauty of the desert, was the perfect backdrop for our sophisticated boho-chic styled shoot.

86 TABLE FOR TWO – Inspired by the undeniable romance

of an elopement, this photo essay is proof that you don’t have to sacrifice style or décor when you have an intimate wedding for two or a few. Couples and vendors from different parts of the globe provide ideas and advice.


Morgan Childs, owner of Modern Elopement, gives her expert advice on how to create an epic event for two.

94 The Honeymoonist – TOP 5 HONEYMOON

QUESTIONS, ANSWERED In order to experience a flawless honeymoon, our resident expert has given her top tips for ditching the drama and planning the best trip of your lives.

100 Adventures in Etiquette – THE KID FACTOR

To kid, or not to kid: that is the question. Deciding whether to include cute little whippersnappers might be keeping you awake at night. We’re providing sound advice on how to handle this tricky situation.

102 Real-Life Weddings

We really have a little bit of everything this issue when it comes to our couples who have tied the knot away from home. From a city-stunner in NYC (pg. 102) and a brightly hued celebration in Tulum, Mexico (pg. 106) to an uglycry inducing father-daughter dance on the island of Maui (pg. 110) and a sweet Southern soirée in Charleston (pg. 114), these couples all celebrated in their own unique way. Looking for a floral fantasy in Costa Rica (pg. 118), a garden setting in San José del Cabo (pg. 122), or even a tropical Hawaiian fête on the shores of Oahu (pg. 126)? You’ll be inspired by these real couples who found their perfect destination “I do’s.”


Photo courtesy of: Erin and Gabri Photography

Get the inside scoop and helpful insights on the wedding world.

IN THE CITY OF LOVE Luxury event and wedding planner Alejandra Poupel shares her tips on marrying in this iconic European city.

T h e b i g d ay i s c o m i n g

An elegant chapel, a terrace by the sea, lush green gardens. Wherever your journey takes you, Palladium Hotel Group has the destination you’ve always dreamed of. Happily ever afters begin here. For more information, please contact your travel professional, visit


or call 1.888.237.1226





Throughout this issue

to Tie the Knot


pg. 72

Throughout this issue


SENIOR EDITOR Courtney Kellar

OWNER / CEO Carolyn Steere






pg. 60


DESIGNER Jaclyn Threadgill




Spring 2020 Cover: Real-life destination wedding couple Brittany and Ryan look as lovely and in love as any two could be. Brittany looks stunning in a gown by Hayley Paige, hair and makeup by Styling Trio, earrings by Anthropologie and bouquet by Vanessa Jaimes Floral. Ryan’s blue suit and burgundy tie by Cravats look dapper and sophisticated. The two wed in Tulum, Mexico and celebrated their event at Chiringuito Tulum Hotel. Everything was planned to perfection by Tropical Occasions and photographed by Erin and Gabri Photography. Check out their wedding story on page 106.

NORTHEAST & CARIBBEAN ADVERTISING MANAGER Diane Homer CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Victoria Abbott Riccardi Kate Darnell Elaine Hilbelink Holly V. Kapherr Shana Kinnerup Melissa Klurman Judy Koutsky

Stacey Marcus Susan Moynihan John Roark Samantha Ross Anthony Stein Kathy Till Harmony Walton





Throughout this issue



pg. 102

REAL DESTINATION WEDDINGS from Charleston to Costa Rica

Throughout this issue

elopement THE




Summer 2020 Cover: This sunny, fun cover was captured at our “Desert Daydream” photo shoot in Palm Springs, California at Korakia Pensione by Jillian Rose Photography and can be seen in its entirety starting on page 52. The model, Amie Tollefsrud, is wearing a gown by Tara Lauren and is accessorized with earrings and a hat by BASY Boutique. Her hair and makeup are by 931 Beauty Co., and she is holding a bouquet designed by Inessa Nichols Design with flowers provided by Fifty Flowers. Planning was done by One Social Design and production by Be Inspired PR.


Please visit us online at destinationido.com/ subscription or call our toll-free number to order a one-year subscription – 866-359-9855. Domestic and Canadian rates are $13.90 USD per year and foreign $29.90 USD. Additional shipping rates may apply.


Please contact our corporate office at 480-759-9855 or visit us online at destinationido.com/advertise.


If you would like us to feature your location or wedding, please submit your request via email to info@destinationido.com or visit destinationido.com/ submission-guidelines.


All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this periodical, in whole or in part, must be approved and awarded written consent from Destination I Do magazine. Please note that Destination I Do magazine provides this information only as a general guide. Opinions expressed by writers do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. Destination I Do magazine is published twice annually with a quarterly cover change. If you have purchased the same issue twice, please contact our customer service department at 480-759-9855 and we will either issue you a full refund or send you the next scheduled issue.

Contact Us

phone: 480.759.9855 | toll-free: 866.359.9855 web: destinationido.com blog: destinationido.com/blog email: info@destinationido.com pinterest: Destinationido instagram: Destinationido facebook: Destinationidomag twitter: Destinationido


You tie the knot. We’ll pull the strings.

From barefoot beachfront ceremonies to formal black-tie affairs to everything in-between, Key Largo is an extraordinary place to begin your lives together. And no matter which venue you choose – from beach to ballroom – you’ll fi nd professional wedding coordinators here to tie up all the loose ends. fla-keys.com/keylargo 1.800.822.1088


happy birthday to us –

we’re 15!

t Destination I Do, celebrating is our favorite. Celebrating romance, milestones and especially love (Eh hem, why else would we have this magazine?!). And in this issue, we get to celebrate not just love, but us being in the business of love for 15 years! We’ve come a long way since our first issue and have experienced quite a journey. From watching destination weddings transform from small elopements (Don’t worry, those are making a major comeback – see stories on pg. 84 and pg. 86 for advice and inspiration.) to elaborate weddings away (Real-Life Weddings start on pg. 102). The past 15 years have been an exciting ride and an incredible experience. We’ve had the absolute honor of featuring thousands of real couples who have planned their own destination weddings and showcased locations all over the world. Through the years, we’ve never deviated from our mission – to provide you with reliable, trustworthy information on the places you’re headed and the vendors you work with.


We take your wedding day and honeymoon plans very seriously. That’s why we visit all the destinations you see on our pages – in person – to make sure they have what it takes to host your special event or honeymoon celebration. We know what is at stake, as many of us have been destination brides and grooms ourselves. We know that this day is a major milestone in your life. We know that you’re bringing loved ones along with you to share in your special day and you want that day to be as wonderful as the very love you’re celebrating. As we venture into the next phase of Destination I Do, rest assured we will remain in print to keep delivering the beautiful spreads of destinations you’re

asking to read about. We will continue to cover the real couples saying “I do” in places around the world to inspire your own plans. And in 2020, we plan to bring you even more. Destinationido.com is getting a new look and feel to help you wherever you’re at in your planning. We’re also taking to the airwaves and you can now listen to advice and tips from the pros via our podcast (search for “Destination I Do” wherever you listen to your podcasts). We’ll have great content such as deciding if a destination wedding is right for you, whether you should include kids at your celebration, and how to deal with working with vendors from afar – to name a few. As we all venture into a new decade (and for us, a milestone 15 years in business), let us continue to celebrate love, together! And thank you for your support these past years…without the industry cheering us on and the thousands of couples who plan weddings away, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. Yours Truly, Jennifer Stein

Photo courtesy of: Dennis Kwan Headshots






Destination weddings allow you to combine your wedding and vacation into one. “Rather than trying to fit it all into one day, we had a whole weekend with our loved ones.” – Catherine, San José del Cabo, Mexico bride (full story on pg. 122)

“It’s so important to trust the team you hire. Giving them the freedom to create is when their best ideas come. But, at the same time, it’s important to speak up when things matter to you. You get one shot at this, so you don’t want to have regrets. Don’t be shy if something is important to you.” – Harmony, Maui, Hawaii bride (full story on pg. 110)

“Right after the ceremony, when all was said and done, our photographer, Dana Cubbage, unexpectedly turned around and triumphantly declared, ‘And THAT’S how you get married!’ We were overjoyed and that confirmed that we did the right thing.” – Claire, North Carolina elopement bride (images on pg. 92)

Michelle Durpetti of Michelle Durpetti Events has over a decade of wedding planning under her belt. With a penchant for all things Italian, this talented destination expert is weighing in on some of her top tips for couples planning their own destination events.

Tricky Transportation:

Consider your family and friends if all of them are making the journey with you. Are there direct flights to your destination? If not, how many stops? Upon arrival, will there be additional travel? If a journey is long, complicated and expensive, it may discourage guests from coming.

Find a “Fluent” Planner:

When you’re getting married in a country where English isn’t the primary language, hire a bilingual planner who can facilitate the entire process. My team is fluent in Spanish and Italian, and this comes in handy when we work in countries where these languages are spoken.


Scout it Out:

Check out the destination before you commit (especially with your planner!). A scouting trip is so valuable because you get to experience how your guests will travel to your wedding and see the spaces in person. This is also an ideal time to meet with vendors. This way, you get to make informed decisions that include more insight than just photos you see online.

Embrace the Destination:

Tap in to the local culture for activities for your guests while they are in town for your event. Getting married in Italy? Host a cooking class. Maybe you are off to Hawaii and a lei making class would be a fun option. While you may not have the budget to host everyone for something like this, you can still include information on your wedding website or your welcome letter, providing some tips and suggestions for the destination. DESTINATIONIDO.COM

Photos courtesy of (top to bottom): Dana Cubbage Weddings and Collin Pierson Photography


Experience the perfect day in the perfect place. With a minimum stay, we’ll pay for your destination wedding in Mexico or Jamaica – décor, minister, and more is on us. And enjoy benefits up to $30,000 in value. What are you waiting for? Plan the destination wedding of your dreams at Palace Resorts. Live the Palace Life. 1-877-725-4933 Weddings.PalaceResorts.com











Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands This boutique all-inclusive property reopened in December 2019, after it was damaged by Hurricane Irma. This luxury retreat is available for a full buyout and boasts stunning interiors, an infinity-edged pool, tennis courts and cinema – all in an intimate, secluded setting. valleytrunk.com

Los Cabos, Mexico New on the scene in Los Cabos is the Royal Residence on property at Le Blanc Spa Resort Los Cabos. This private 18,428 square-foot mansion includes private butler service, a fitness center, movie theater, stunning views of the Sea of Cortez and access to the resort facilities. leblancsparesorts.com


Bequia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines Recently opened and part of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, The Liming on the island of Bequia offers wedding groups and honeymooners 11 spacious villas to choose from (one-to-five bedrooms), private spa treatments and yoga, beach barbeques and much more. The Liming means “the art of doing nothing.” Doesn’t that sound amazing? theliming.com

Oahu, Hawaii Known as “The Jewel of Waikiki,” ESPACIO is the definition of luxury. With only nine suites (each occupying their own floor), guests can choose from two-to-three bedroom configurations. Situated on famed Waikiki Beach, guests will dine “Mugen-style,” which is a Japanese-French culinary concept, with ocean views as far as the eye can see. espaciowaikiki.com

Northland, New Zealand These three private luxury residences are located on 6,000 acres of farmland overlooking the Bay of Islands. Each four-bedroom Residence provides 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean and comes complete with a golf cart, farm-to-table cuisine, an indoor heated pool and access to three private beaches and some of the best island hopping in the world. robertsonlodges.com

Cape Town, South Africa A 17th-century church has been repurposed into a seven-room luxury boutique hotel in the center of the historic Church Square of Cape Town – LABOTESSA. Opened in August 2019, LABOTESSA offers guests the finest in accommodations by fusing history with modern amenities, all with views of Table Mountain. labotessa.com


Photos courtesy of (top to bottom, left to right): Valley Trunk, The Liming Bequia, The Residences at Kauri Cliffs, Le Blanc Spa Resort, Aqua-Aston Hospitality & Kelly Walsh

recent renos & openings


make it a fairytale At a resort unlike any in the world.





new york New York is the connection point for many destinations around the world. Chances are, you will find yourself flying through the Big Apple if you’re headed to Europe, Africa or even Thailand (depending on where in the country you start from). Our suggestion would be to stay in this bustling, gorgeous city for as long as possible, but if you only have a long layover, you can maximize it by considering the following suggestions.

8-12 HOURS If you have an eight-12 hour daytime layover, skip the airport lounge and head into Manhattan via taxi (Uber and Lyft can actually be fairly frustrating in NYC, so go with a traditional yellow taxi!). A must-see spring through fall is Central Park. A leisurely late lunch at The Loeb Boathouse overlooking the park and the iconic scenery is a great way to pass the time. Follow it up with a Broadway show, and you’ve hit two major bucket list items in less than a day. 24 HOURS With a full day in the city, you can cover a lot of ground. Everything from

Rockefeller Center and Times Square to the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty are popular for good reason. The food scene here is one of the best in the world, so make sure you research ahead of time to get your favorite cuisines covered. Because there are far too many to list, we suggest referring to New York Magazine’s “Best of New York” list. They publish one every year. After you’ve had your fill and walked it off in Central Park, enjoy a handcrafted cocktail at our favorite rooftop bar, The Roof. Situated on top of Le Méridien New York, Central Park, the views and vibe are ideal for a quick city stop over.


rent your wardrobe If you’re pressed for time and wedding plans have you a bit overscheduled, one thing you can cross off your list is packing for your honeymoon. Lady Jetset is a service that rents clothes for almost any occasion. Heading to the slopes and don’t have time to shop, much less ship all your bulky ski clothes? Lady Jetset not only works with you to select the perfect fit (they FaceTime their clients to understand their specific needs),


but they will also ship items directly to your honeymoon location. After you’re done, ship it directly back with the included return shipping box and label. No luggage or even dirty laundry to deal with. All set for your honeymoon, but stressed to find the perfect rehearsal dinner dress, engagement shoot silhouette or bridal shower outfit? Lady Jetset has you covered here, too. Their personalized service will ensure you look fabulous no matter what the occasion. ladyjetset.com


Photos courtesy of (top to bottom): Songquan Deng © 123RF.COM and Andrea Graeve




Live a dream… The Caribbean beach wedding ceremony you‘ve always dreamed of Wedding specialists always happy to help Six wedding packages to choose from: Emerald, Romance Extravaganza, Unforgettable, Sunshine, Romantic and Free* Three wedding themes: Blue Marine, Vintage and Glamour For more information visit www.bahia-principe.com or email groups1@bahia-principe.com *Additional fees apply for services of a judge, minister or priest. Subject to terms and conditions.

Dominican Republic · Mexico · Jamaica

I do.




CUSTOMIZABLE WEDDINGS Beaches Resorts also offers a fully customizable destination wedding, where you can have all the romantic touches of a traditional wedding in the most spectacular settings in the Caribbean. Choose from endless options to mix and match and create your own dream wedding.

We do.

Share your love with the ones you love. At Beaches Resorts, you can have it all—your dream wedding surrounded by the people who mean the most to you. And while you’re off having the honeymoon of a lifetime, they’ll have their own incredible vacation, with unlimited land and water sports, 5-Star Global Gourmet™ dining at up to 21 restaurants per resort, and entertaining options for adults and kids. With more quality inclusions than any other resorts in the world, it really is a celebration everyone can enjoy. VOTED WORLD’S BEST AT TH E WOR LD


PLUS YOUR BEACHES HONEYMOON INCLUDES*: A Bubbly Welcome A bottle of chilled sparkling wine elegantly arranged in your room upon arrival to toast your future. A Romantic Gesture A special turndown service on the first evening of your honeymoon. Wake Up To Wedded Bliss Delight in a delivery of fresh flowers and a decadent breakfast in bed one morning of your choice.



More to do.

Absolutely everything’s included for your honeymoon.

@ beachesresortsweddings

BEACHES.COM/WEDDINGS 1-877-BEACHES • or call your Travel Advisor *Visit www.beaches.com/disclaimers/destinationidosprsum20bch or call 1-877-BEACHES for important terms and conditions. Beaches® is a registered trademark. Unique Vacations, Inc. is an affiliate of Unique Travel Corp., the worldwide representative of Beaches Resorts.


beautiful Destination weddings don’t have to require a passport. From California’s wine country to Florida’s coastal beauty, we’re rounding up the best domestic “Destination I Do” locations for you!


The Breakers Palm Beach


If you’re in search of a breathtaking beach destination, but prefer to keep your toes in your heels, then The Breakers Palm Beach is exactly what you’ve envisioned. This regal structure sits on the white sands of posh Palm Beach, Florida, and grand ballrooms rich in history lend a royal-like backdrop for your reception. With several indoor and outdoor spaces to choose from, filling an entire destination wedding weekend on property is easy to do. And with the finest food around, you won’t want for variety when you stay for your honeymoon. From individual ice sculptures at your seat dripping in fresh seafood to ice cream sundaes legends are made of, The Breakers is among the best-of-the-best.

If a tropical destination wedding is what awaits you, then look no further than the vacation haven of Hawaii for your big day. Tying the knot at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea offers some of the best views of Maui, plumeria trees as wedding canopies, and a reception lawn just beyond the beach lined with tiki torches. Tucked into the traveler-friendly town of Wailea, you’ll enjoy a shuttle service to shopping and exceptional restaurants on- and off-property, including Wolfgang Puck’s famed Spago. The lobby bar’s open-air environment is ideal for entertaining your guests and loved ones arriving from afar. In addition to great settings (and great weather – Maui is among the driest of Hawaii’s islands), the people here, with their welcoming warmth, make a destination wedding feel like home.




Photos courtesy of (top to bottom): Braja Mandala and Four Seasons Maui

Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea



The Ranch at Rock Creek

Photos courtesy of (top to bottom): The Ranch at Rock Creek and Eleven Experience

Montana is arguably one of the most pristine parts of the U.S. and The Ranch at Rock Creek in Philipsburg has mastered the art of maintaining that beauty – with luxury rivaling the world’s best. Kate Bosworth picked a hillside perch for her big day on this 6,600-acre property. With a lodge housing nine bedrooms, individual residences and a glamping section, there’s a little something for every type of wedding guest. Trapper Cabin even comes complete with an outdoor cedar soaking tub for two. But, it’s the activities around the main event that make this destination truly memorable. From a rodeo in the summertime to horse-drawn wagon rides and survival skills challenges, group activities for the guys and gals are family fun. Then, host your reception in the Western-style event barn, celebrate late night in the bowling alley, and wake up with a summer wagon ride to your post-wedding cowboy breakfast in the wilderness. Your wildest Western wish is their command.

Taylor River Lodge

If summer camp for adults with fine wine and food, truly magical settings, and memorable activities sounds like your kind of vacation, then Taylor River Lodge is an idyllic destination to sleep about 30 of your closest friends and family. Guests stay in luxury cabins (with heated floors) right along the roaring river (ideal for fishing and white water rafting) in Almont, Colorado. Learn to fly fish in their very own stocked pond, or unwind in their intimate spa and indoor pool with a wall that opens to the great outdoors. Play a round of ping pong before your tented reception kicks off, with the Eleven Experience team catering to your every need. This all-inclusive means bucket list activities, mouthwatering meals sourced locally in Colorado and award-winning photography spots. Open May through October, because of its private off-the-beaten-path location, your group will feel like royalty. SPRING & SUMMER 2020



Wine Country

California’s wine country prides itself on being a picture-perfect backdrop for weddings. With vines on the horizon, overall incredible cuisine, and plenty of Cali culture to partake in before and after the big day, this is a destination worth considering – especially at the new Las Alcobas in the quiet, but notable town of St. Helena. Situated walking distance from shops and restaurants and over the bridge to the Beringer Estate, you have all you need just steps from your suite. The 1907, Georgian-style farmhouse welcomes guests at entry and the modern rooms, complete with fire pits overlooking the vineyard, are about as sexy as they come in the valley. The event barn and lawn are ideal for weddings and the partnership with nearby Beringer means rehearsal options. Start your wedding weekend off right with a couples trip to the Atrio Spa and enjoy Ayurvedic treatments to balance and ready you for the big day. Then, don’t leave town without a special sommelier tasting on your balcony. For modern romance in a historic spot, Las Alcobas has mastered the art of celebrating.

MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa

If you want to make your big day feel more like home, then MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa in Sonoma is just the location for you. Residential-like rooms and suites with indoor and outdoor showers will start your day right. After wine tasting in Sonoma County, end your evening sitting fireside by an outdoor fire pit or snuggle up to the real wood-burning fireplace in your room. The west lawn for ceremonies is in the heart of the property, just a few steps from the wrap around patios that make this place a communal experience for your loved ones. The Coach House, named for the historic property’s carriage days, is a beautiful celebration backdrop for 150 guests. Add in the complimentary electric bikes for a photo op on your big day and your checklist is complete!




Photos courtesy of (top to bottom): Las Alcobas, www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/albina_kosenko and Gentleman and a Ginger for MacArthur Place

Las Alcobas

St. Simons Island

Sea Island

Jekyll Island

Little St. Simons Island


Goldenisles.com | (800) 933-2627

Magical, Moving and Memorable

The Jekyll Island Club Resort has been the cherished setting for generations of happy couples. Here, a wondrous sense of history walks hand in hand with unforgettable celebrations. (866) 810-5325 | www.jekyllclub.com/weddings


Whether sun or snow is in your wedding plan, The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch delivers perfection. At the base of Beaver Creek Mountain with s’mores at-the-ready fireside, the property transforms into a stunning ceremony site (especially on the skier’s bridge). Inside you’ll find cowhide furnishings, a massive fireplace in the great room and a spa with one of the world’s best man-made grottos. Located in the Vail Valley, the relaxed (yet posh) property is just a few hours outside of Denver and a few minutes from a happening town with ice skating in winter and plenty of shopping year-round. For intimate events, host a private dinner in Anderson’s Cabin, the historic home of one of the seven original settlers of the area. The chefs have mastered many things, including the art of raclette, a must-try when you visit. Upgrade to the club level for truly luxurious amenities and your wedding weekend experience is complete.




Photos courtesy of: The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch

The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch


Photos courtesy of (top to bottom): Montage Palmetto Bluff and Cal-A-Vie Health Spa (2nd & 3rd)

Montage Palmetto Bluff

What was once a tree farm is now a destination so special, it feels like you’re stepping back in time to a welcoming friend’s estate, perched along the May River in Bluffton, South Carolina. The hotel may not actually be a friend’s home, but Montage Palmetto Bluff does lead with its warm Southern hospitality. The property boasts two quintessential Southern chapels for ceremonies, classic cottages for guest rooms and porches overlooking the river where you might even spot bottlenose dolphins swimming by. Moreland Village is extra special with a five-story tree house and Cole’s – a hot spot for bowling and ideal for rehearsal dinners. This Lowcountry highlight has it all within an arm’s reach, from a riverfront marina to a nature preserve and a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. For something extra special at night, you can even celebrate under a tent in the ruins of the historic R.T. Wilson mansion.

Cal-a-Vie Health Spa

Not all U.S. destinations have to feel like home. Cal-a-Vie Heath Spa transports its guests from welcoming San Diego to the feeling that you’ve landed in the French countryside. There’s an 18th-century windmill, an observatory to inspect the stars, and the 300 year-old Parish House perfect for wine tastings and intimate dinners for up to 40 guests – but that’s just the start. The 400 year-old Carmelite Chapel from Dijon, France is truly spectacular for ceremonies. With a pavilion adjacent to the majestic gardens, your formal reception or outdoor event can be whatever you dream it to be. The buyoutonly property houses up to 64 guests for a relaxing, wellness-focused experience that will certainly ensure there’s no stress on your big day. These bucket list locations boast no guest stress. With all the U.S. has to offer, packing your bags for a destination wedding has never been easier. SPRING & SUMMER 2020




DISCOVER YOUR RHYTHM. Seminole Hard Rock Weddings 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood, FL 33314 I 800.937.0156 HardRockHolly.com I #DiscoverYourRhythm





Let Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood set your stage. Celebrate life’s special moments in the world’s only Guitar Hotel. Offering spectacular venues and limitless options, Seminole Hard Rock has something for everyone. Unwind at the world-class Rock Spa® & Salon or indulge in one of the resort’s many unique restaurants and bars. Enjoy the ultimate rock star treatment at the new state-of-the-art Hard Rock Live. Take a stroll in the new indoor retail promenade or try your luck on the gaming floor. Take advantage of South Florida’s sun and sand at one of six pools including the new 13.5-acre pool lagoon or kick back in one of the 1,271 luxurious guest accommodations. Seminole Hard Rock’s venues are spacious, with flexible configurations to tailor to any event. Complete with state-of-the-art audiovisual technology and lighting equipment, our venues are primed to make your next event the next headlining act. Book your wedding at Seminole Hard Rock and let us put your big day on the center stage. 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood, FL 33314 I 800.937.0156 | HardRockHolly.com I #DiscoverYourRhythm



passions One characteristic of a strong relationship is a shared passion – whether that be for travel, family or simply living life to its fullest. Destination I Do readers tend to be adventurous, so we encourage you to take your passions into account when pursuing your destination wedding or honeymoon dreams. Find something that interests you both, and cater your wedding away or honeymoon toward that mutual interest. We’re sharing examples in “Pursue Your Passions,” highlighting heritage travel in Ireland, history in London, whisky in Scotland, adventure in Alaska and entertainment in Las Vegas.

Ashford Castle



s more and more people discover their heritage through DNA test kits like 23andMe, the desire to visit their ancestral homeland has created a boom in the genealogy-themed vacation market. This includes couples eager to learn more about each other’s family history.

Ashford Castle



EF Go Ahead Tours, for example, now offers genealogy tours to Germany, Italy, Scotland and Ireland. Working in DESTINATIONIDO.COM

Photos courtesy of: Ashford Castle


Ashford Castle

Carton House

Dromoland Castle

Photos courtesy of (top to bottom, left to right): Ashford Castle, Carton House & Dromoland Castle

collaboration with Ancestry, each tour includes an AncestryDNA kit family history review and an AncestryProgenealogist on each trip. The company can also arrange solo heritage tours. Classic Journeys also offers private and group excursions to help you “take the route back to your roots.” Using DNA results that you provide, they’ll craft a bespoke tour or have you join one of their set group ancestry trips to Europe, Central and South America, Cuba, North America, Asia-Pacific or Africa. Even cruise lines are offering genealogy-oriented voyages. Crystal Cruises, Avalon Waterways and Uniworld River Cruises all offer Jewish heritage cruises. Not surprisingly, luxury properties have joined the party. In Ireland, for example, the 800-year-old, 5-star Ashford Castle on the west coast works with a local genealogist, who can SPRING & SUMMER 2020

research a guest’s Irish heritage before they arrive and then share it with them at a quiet moment. The castle’s palatial suites, period décor and grand gardens offer the ideal setting for such historical insight. Similarly, the 5-star Dromoland Castle, also on Ireland’s west coast, has a local genealogist available for guests of Irish descent to research and then share their family history using such resources as town historical societies, libraries and parish records. The castle, with its 16th-century furnishings and turreted towers provides a perfect old-world feel.

Then, there’s the 18th-century Carton House, once host to Queen Victoria, which has a local genealogist available to Irish guests to consult with before and during their stay. One of the country’s top genealogical resources is the National Archive in Dublin, only 30 minutes by car from the castle. Whether you choose a destination wedding or “heritage-moon,” visiting each other’s ancestral homeland is an invaluable experience. Beyond creating memories for a lifetime, it will deepen your understanding of each other as you embark on this new chapter together. PURSUE YOUR PASSIONS





hen choosing a location for a romantic getaway or destination wedding in an iconic city like London, most couples want to immerse themselves in its culture, history and local vibe. On our most recent visit to London, we uncovered a very special place located in the heart of St. James, Mayfair that allows couples to do just that.



The Stafford is comprised of three separate buildings, each with a unique flavor and style. The Main House can be described as Victorian grandeur, the Mews Suites have a more modern feel, and the Carriage House still retains the charm of its roots as a British nobleman’s stable. All are set around a beautiful tranquil courtyard – an oasis from the bustling city that surrounds it. My favorite location for a small, chic destination wedding would be a cocktail hour in the courtyard, followed by a dinner in the fully operational wine cellar. This chic underground venue was used as a club for American and Canadian officers during WWII and houses a fascinating collection of memorabilia. There

are also a number of other elegantly appointed rooms for small gatherings, including rehearsal dinners and brunches. The Stafford is licensed for both civil ceremonies and partnerships. Modern British cuisine is served at The Game Bird, the restaurant in the Main House, and The American Bar, a congregating point for guests to share a drink or Mediterranean inspired dishes. The location of The Stafford is hard to beat with its proximity to Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, and West End theaters. Check with the concierge for directions to a little-known passageway that leads to Green Park with quick access to the Underground stations. The Stafford typifies unobtrusive elegance in the heart of this bustling, vibrant city and is truly a find on our search for places to unlock a historic door to romance. DESTINATIONIDO.COM

Photos courtesy of: The Stafford London


The Stafford London boasts a prestigious address that goes back to the 1700s. It has taken many forms – from the private residence of the daughter of the Earl of Spencer to a WWII air raid shelter. It was also the home of famous WWII secret agent Nancy Wake, a.k.a. “The White Mouse,” who was considered the Gestapo’s most wanted person. In recognition for her contribution to the war effort, The Stafford welcomed her into residence, and it is said that most mornings she could be found at the bar sipping a gin and tonic. The Stafford has a most interesting past, but it is now a 5-star luxury hotel that oozes character and charm and delivers every creature comfort one could ask for.








aking your passions into account when planning your dream destination wedding or honeymoon can mean a myriad of things, like seeking out your ancestral heritage or simply the perfect sip of peat-smoked whisky. The past few years have seen immense growth



in culinary-themed travel. This includes lovers of libations. Scotland is a stunning destination in itself but primarily known for two things – Scotch whisky and golf. For fans of the former, there’s one Scotland destination in particular that’s on every whisky drinkers’ dream destinations list: Islay. What Kentucky is to bourbon whiskey, Islay is to Scotch whisky.

aging whisky) and you’ve got a winning combination. The small, scenic island boasts nine distilleries today, including names like Lagavulin and Laphroaig. With histories dating as far back as 1779, many of these distilleries still make their whisky in the same buildings and in much the same way as they did more than 200 years ago.

Islay is an island located off the west coast of Scotland, approximately 25 miles long, and much of it is still open farmland and uninhabited coastline. So, how on earth did this remote Scottish island become the epicenter of some of the finest whisky in the world? In short, it was the perfect storm of circumstances. The island was full of barley farmers with time on their hands and excess supply of peat and pure, soft water. Add in the consistently chilly climate (perfect for

insider tip: The tours and tasting rooms at all of the island’s distilleries are immensely generous, so it’s important to have either a hired driver or someone in your group who isn’t partaking. Safety first! It’s also important to note that Islay isn’t just for dreamers in search of the perfect smoky dram. In fact, I don’t even drink whisky and recently spent a heavenly week on the island. Its charming seaside DESTINATIONIDO.COM

Photo courtesy of: Courtney Kellar

Laphroaig Distillery

Photos courtesy of (top to bottom, left to right): The Machrie Hotel & Golf Links, Courtney Kellar (2nd & 3rd) and www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/niallmactaggart

villages, beautiful beaches, fresh seafood and friendly pubs all make for great experiences. For honeymooners, there’s really only one option when it comes to accommodations – The Machrie Hotel & Golf Links. Well, technically there are other options, but The Machrie stands alone in its level of service and comfort. It’s set along a misty shoreline, surrounded by rolling countryside as far as the eye can see. You’ll quickly come to know the friendly staff on a first-name basis, and don’t be surprised if you run into fellow hotel guests all over the island. For travelers in search of Scotland’s second great achievement, there’s also golf at The Machrie. And what splendid golf it is. Golf has been played here since 1891, but the courses were recently modernized by course architect DJ Russell. The challenging 18-hole course is a traditional, undulating links course with sea views. There’s also the Wee Course, which has six, par-three holes. The Machrie Links also boasts the latest technology in its covered driving range.

Stirling Castle

Once on Islay, it’s virtually impossible to get lost, but getting here is part of the journey. For those not wanting to hire a driver once on-island (no Uber or Lyft here!), it’s recommended to bring your own vehicle via the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry from Kennacraig. This is the preferred option, and the drive to Kennacraig from the surrounding Scottish cities will likely become one of your favorite parts of the trip. The drive from Oban takes you along the infamously beautiful Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Traveling to Kennacraig from Glasgow takes you via fern-ensconced roads and through rugged countryside spotted with shiny stone crags. There’s also the option to fly into Islay via Glasgow, but keep in mind that the small airport has frequent closures due to inclement weather – it is Scotland, after all. While the Scottish weather may be unpredictable, the friendliness of Islay’s locals and the ability of the landscape to take your breath away are as strong as the smokiest whisky. SPRING & SUMMER 2020




adventure IN ALASKA



ONBOARD THE SHIP Traditional cruise cabins can be a bit, well, cozy, but the Owner’s Suite aboard the S.S. Legacy is the ideal place to stay. Located on the top level of the ship next to the two outdoor Jacuzzis, this cabin is the only one on the top floor, so it feels very intimate and secluded. It’s spacious at 600 square-feet and has both a bedroom and separate living room, complete with



expansive windows for outdoor viewing. It even has a Jacuzzi bathtub, wet bar, kingsized bed and media center. The food aboard the S.S. Legacy is not the standard buffet. Instead, all three meals are plated with options that include a variety of fish, meats and vegetarian fare. The all-inclusive menu includes drinks, so cocktail hour is a great time to socialize and learn about the next day’s activities. Also, unlike the big ships where the excursions are extra, on UnCruise,

everything is included: excursions, meals, drinks, snacks and educational talks. Usually three different excursions are offered daily, and couples can take their pick the night before. EXPLORING ALASKA A variety of activities are offered each day, including the popular and very active hiking or bushwhacking walks – where guides are literally creating their own trails. There is also kayaking (few things are as amazing as kayaking among floating icebergs), SUP, skiff rides to glaciers, and more. It’s not uncommon DESTINATIONIDO.COM

Photos courtesy of: UnCruise

or adventurous couples looking for a honeymoon that allows them to be active, immerse themselves in nature and experience truly unique activities, an Alaska UnCruise sojourn is just the thing. UnCruise has been around for over 20 years and they consider themselves the anti-cruise. Dispel thoughts of big cruise ships and traveling with thousands of fellow passengers, because the S.S. Legacy holds 90 passengers max – allowing couples to get to know like-minded travelers.






Beaches® makes it easy for you to test drive your dream destination wedding and experience our 5-Star Luxury Included® Resorts first-hand. Be our guest for two nights at an exclusive rate starting at $250 per couple per night,* plus if you book your WeddingMoon® group of 5 rooms or more, under a group code or contract and you’ll receive up to $600 in credits,* complimentary group inclusions, and more! Certain restrictions apply. Beaches Turks & Caicos

Photo courtesy of: UnCruise

to see wildlife each day including bears, mountain goats, puffins, orcas, humpback whales, dolphins, sea lions, otters and other critters. Whether on the ship itself or off the boat on an excursion, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how much wildlife you’ll spot – and how few other people you’ll see. PORTS OF CALL Unlike the large cruise ships, the UnCruise roundtrip journey from Juneau stops at places the big ships can’t reach. The ship spends two days in Glacier Bay National Park – a highlight for any traveler to Alaska. Other stops include wilderness exploration in the Tongass National Forest and Glacier Bay outback. Highlights of Glacier Bay are Margerie and Grand Pacific Glacier visits with a park ranger aboard. Other must-sees include Dawes Glacier and Fords Terror SPRING & SUMMER 2020

by skiff. Travelers will also cruise past Five Fingers Lighthouse, Alaska’s oldest light station, and Three Brothers islands, where sea lions can be seen doing their thing along the shores. The captain can also change the course depending on weather or animal sightings. GETTING TO AND FROM JUNEAU The S.S. Legacy starts and ends in Juneau; travelers can fly via Seattle from most major cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago or Atlanta). Be sure to spend a day or two in Juneau, Alaska’s capital city, prior to the cruise to see the Mendenhall Glacier and perhaps go dogsledding or take a helicopter tour over the ice fields. For honeymoon couples seeking the ultimate in adventure, Alaska is a perfect and passionate choice.


by Sanda ls


BEACHES.COM/TESTDRIVE 1-877-BEACHES or call your Travel Advisor @beachesresortsweddings *Visit www.beaches.com/disclaimers/destinationidosprsum20testdrivebch or call 1-800-BEACHES for important terms and conditions. Beaches® is a registered trademark. Unique Vacations, Inc. is an affiliate of UniqueTravel Corp., the worldwide representative of Beaches Resorts.




as Vegas is constantly evolving. The experience I had five years ago was not the experience I had on a recent trip to the Vegas strip. And, in five more years, things will evolve yet again. Don’t assume that what you’ve already seen is all there is to know about this thriving destination. It’s no longer just a city of sin – it’s a city of sensory indulgence, flavor and passion. My visit to The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, in particular, provided a myriad of exciting experiences. EAT Las Vegas has grown into a culinary epicenter of sorts, with one of the largest concentrations of five-star and Michelin ratings, and celebrity-run trendy eateries. The options at The Cosmopolitan are seemingly endless. The depth of their offerings range from quick and casual, elegant and chic, to private and romantic, boisterous and interactive. Whether you are looking to propose, party or wed – there is a perfect place to break bread. LOVE The point of a destination wedding, after all, is getting married. At The Cosmopolitan, there is no reason to forfeit intimacy and elegance because of the destination.

• A candlelit staircase in their theater, The Chelsea, which has a traditional feel in the heart of Vegas. The venue provides a unique way to escape the bright lights and pulsing fever of the city. • In-suite and bridal suite venues are converted rooms in the hotel towers that provide a cozy space for a smaller group, with million-dollar views of the strip. • For a sexy setting behind a literal curtain of crystal, the infamous Chandelier Bar in the heart of The Cosmopolitan places your party in the most picturesque venue on property. ENTERTAIN While casino gaming is the standard Vegas attraction, there are endless




Photo courtesy of: Gin & Sake

Three unforgettable settings include:

Photos courtesy of (top to bottom, left to right): The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (1st & 3rd), David J. Crewe (2nd) & Seva Kalashnikov (4th)

means of entertainment. With an abundance of options at The Cosmopolitan, you and your guests need never leave the property. If “party” is your spirit animal, The Cosmopolitan is home to one of the most popular day and night clubs in Las Vegas. Marquee Dayclub plays host to many celebrity DJ’s, setting an unparalleled daytime pool party atmosphere that is complete with Champagne, cabanas, house dancers and more. It is the place to be seen, let loose and cast all worries aside. Marquee Nightclub moves the party indoors at night with club beats and bottle service on multiple levels. If you need a reprieve from the club scene, The Cosmopolitan is also home to one of the most unique stage shows. Take a seat and watch “OPIUM” by Spiegelworld – an adults-only show full of raucous hilarity that can’t be missed. At the end of it all, unwind and celebrate with each other. Share a massage in the Sahra Salon or sit poolside and soak in the sun. Take a gamble on Vegas. There’s no sin about it. SPRING & SUMMER 2020



Photo courtesy of: Nottoway Plantation

Southern Sojourns

Nottoway Plantation




The U.S. is distinct in that it has so much to offer in one country, both culturally and geographically. One of the most beloved regions is the South – known for its warm hospitality, down-home cooking and scenic countryside. Destination wedding couples are all about offering their guests a special homeaway-from-home experience, so it only makes sense that many flock to the South. We’re highlighting three special destinations that would make an ideal setting for your very own “Southern Sojourn” – New Orleans, Louisiana, Asheville, North Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee.

New Orleans

The Big Easy at its Finest WORDS BY COURTNEY KELLAR


ne of the top characteristics for a strong wedding away is a destination with a distinct personality, and if there’s one thing New Orleans has in spades – it’s personality! While relatively small (it’s ranked 50 in the nation’s most populated cities), New Orleans has seemingly endless options for accommodations, eateries, activities and wedding venues. We’re sharing a few options to get you started along the path to planning.


Melrose Mansion: Calling this restored Victorian mansion home during your stay in NOLA would be a wonderful way to treat yourselves. It’s located in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood on the edge of the French Quarter. Its suites are sophisticated and spacious, and the on-site pool provides a modern addition to the antebellum architecture. Daily breakfast is included with your stay, but know that there’s no restaurant on-site. There are 21 rooms in total, with 14 in the Mansion and another seven in a building next door.

Justine: For a true taste of the trendy NOLA scene, snag a table at Justine. This bold brasserie was opened in 2019 by Justin Devillier, the 2016 James Beard Award winner for “Best Chef: South.” As a result of his newfound fame, Chef Devillier realized he and his wife’s dream of opening up a restaurant in the French Quarter. The catch-of-the-day, steaks and craft cocktails are all stellar, but be sure to save room for dessert. You’ll have sweet dreams about the Banana Cream St. Honoré and Coconut Passionfruit Pavlova.


Preservation Hall: After you’ve taken a historic walking or bike tour of the French Quarter, you can’t miss a nightly show at Preservation Hall. This jazz venue has been in operation for more than 50 years and clings to its old-timey ways, i.e. no cell phones allowed!

Audubon Cottages: Lying in cozy contrast to Melrose Mansion are the Audubon Cottages, located on the south side of the French Quarter. These historic cottages combine to offer seven, one-and-two-bedroom suites, all centered around a courtyard with the oldest pool in New Orleans. Each antiques-filled cottage is unique, with some boasting two stories or a private courtyard. This little piece of paradise feels like an escape in the heart of the city.

Mardi Gras World: A visit to Mardi Gras World will be a blast for those unfamiliar with New Orleans and its infamous Mardi Gras parades. Learn the history behind NOLA’s biggest party and tour the massive warehouse, where artists are actively at work. If you’re hosting a wedding in New Orleans, Mardi Gras World’s indoor Grand Oaks Mansion makes for a surprising welcome dinner locale, and be sure to include the tour for your guests – giving them a fun and colorful welcome to the “Big Easy.”



Napoleon House: If you want lunch or dinner with a side of infamy, then there’s nowhere better than Napoleon House. SPRING & SUMMER 2020

The restaurant is located in the heart of the French Quarter in a 200 year-old building that’s rumored to be haunted. You may think the spooky surroundings and storied history would ruin your appetite, but I assure you that’s not the case. Napoleon House has been serving up Creole staples like po’boys and muffalettas since 1914.

Hotel Mazarin: This French Quarter hotel is centered around a charming courtyard, complete with overhanging trees and SOUTHERN SOJOURNS


Audubon Cottages

Bourbon Orleans Hotel

Bourbon Orleans Hotel: The bourgeois Bourbon Orleans Hotel also boasts a respected French Quarter address. The largest of properties mentioned here, Bourbon Orleans offers a refined setting and impressive accommodations – including suites with wrap-around balconies overlooking Bourbon Street or with views of St. Louis Cathedral. The dramatic marble lobby and ballroom date back to 1817, but it’s the Saint Ann Cottage that’s a real must-see for weddings. It features its own private entrance and two elegant rooms surrounding a central courtyard for intimate weddings of up to 60 guests. Nottoway Plantation: Known as the “White Castle” of Louisiana (don’t worry, there’s not a slider in sight), Nottoway Plantation is the South’s largest antebellum mansion and also a AAA four-diamond resort. Located 90-minutes outside the heart of New Orleans, this wedding option would involve an overnight stay for you and your guests. Ceremony and reception site options are too many to list, but range from spacious lawns under historic oaks to the uberchic White Ballroom within the original mansion. Weddings here are understandably frequent, and the on-site team has extensive experience to help make your most over-the-top Southern wedding dreams a reality.

Bourbon Orleans Hotel

Hotel Mazarin



Melrose Mansion

In a city older than the country itself, it’s no wonder New Orleans holds such a special place in the hearts of millions. It’s certainly a must-visit for any frequent traveler and a must-consider for couples desiring a Southern destination wedding. DESTINATIONIDO.COM

Photos courtesy of (top to bottom, left to right): Bourbon Orleans Hotel (1st & 3rd), Audubon Cottages (2nd), Hotel Mazarin (4th) & Melrose Mansion (5th)

a trickling fountain. The Queen Anne Courtyard is a beautiful spot for a ceremony of up to 150 guests, then move into the La Louisiane Salon for your reception. This charismatic indoor space includes a large copper bar, gas lanterns, wood beamed ceilings and exposed brick. Best of all, there’s no noise restrictions.



Let New Orleans & Company, the official destination authority, help make your New Orleans wedding unforgettable! For complimentary hotel, venue and planning assistance, contact us today!

MyWeddi n gIn New O r le a n s . c o m • 1- 80 0 -74 8 - 86 9 5

North Carolina’s Sweetest Spot to Say “I Do” WORDS BY MELISSA KLURMAN “




ou will love Asheville,” is the response I received from every person who heard I was visiting the North Carolina city for the first time.

Combining traditional Southern charm with stunning mountain views, quirky art and design, and a storybook mansion to top it all off, this small city is big on charm – making it a perfect choice for a destination wedding. Long before the North Carolina locale boasted top chefs and notable breweries and sweet shops, it was a draw for


Photo courtesy of: Explore Asheville


Photos courtesy of (top to bottom, left to right): Explore Asheville & Grand Bohemian Asheville (2nd & 3rd)

the unparalleled natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains that roll down to meet it. The undulating hills and abundant fresh air are what drew millionaire George Vanderbilt to build his regal Biltmore House, the largest home in America, here in 1895. Stepping back in time here is the perfect way to start a modern visit to Asheville, especially with a bubbly toast at the estate’s winery (the most visited tasting room in the country). The Biltmore Estate as a whole is a popular location for weddings, providing spectacular photo ops and a wide range of locations for ceremonies, including the home’s gardens, patios and terraces. It is important to note that no weddings can take place inside the home. However, just down the palatial drive that descends from the Biltmore mansion is Biltmore Village and the Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville, a boutique hotel with a European ambience. The Grand Bohemian has the cozy feel of a Bavarian hunting lodge that feels like a private extension of the Biltmore. The passionately built property, decorated in rich woods and plush jewel tones, offers multiple spaces for intimate weddings. Veronica Beltran, Grand Bohemian’s director of food and beverage, notes: “Ninety percent of weddings held at the hotel are destination events. We’re the perfect venue for intimate weddings, and we’re able to accommodate parties as small as ten, up to ballrooms of 150.” Although there are several unique


spaces for events, the hotel only hosts one wedding on-site at a time, continuing the feel of having a private estate at your disposal. The elegant Tyrolean Terrace offers an outdoor appeal with a swagged satin canopy hung with two grand crystal chandeliers. Indoors in the Bösendorfer Salon, a concert piano, Swarovski crystal chandeliers, and gold leaf on the intricately carved molding create an elegant atmosphere that feels like you’re in the ballroom of a palace. While in Asheville, there are a few “must do’s” before your “I do’s.” The city boasts more breweries per capita than almost anywhere in the country, so picking up a pint feels mandatory. If the suds

inspire you, plan a rehearsal dinner or your nuptials in a brewery space such as Hi-Wire Brewing, which recently added a new event space to its Biltmore Village location. Another highlight of an Asheville visit is spending time among the spectacular beauty along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Another top activity: checking out the growing arts scene in the River Arts District. Visit working studios, check out the Technicolor murals (hello, colorful wedding photo ops) and purchase a one-of-a-kind remembrance of your wonderful Asheville wedding. It seems Asheville is the Southern city at the top of everyone’s favorites list these days, and for good reason.




Where Love is Always in Style WORDS BY SAMANTHA ROSS


ouples with classic style and hipster hearts are sure to fall in love with Nashville. In the heart of Music City, positioned alongside the iconic Printers Alley, you’ll find a force to be reckoned with. Noelle, a Nashville boutique hotel, boasts character in spades, which is a feat in this eclectic city.

Photos courtesy of: Noelle

Noelle is located where vintage charm intersects with modern trends. Designed by local artists, the hotel offers an art-driven experience curated by Nashville’s own – folks such as Bryce McCloud, Nick Dryden and Andy Mumma. Drug Store Coffee is like stepping into the past and the future at the same time. It’s a delicious reality that serves coffee and pastries and also plays really good music. Keep Shop, the boutique-within-a-boutique, is not to be forgotten. It has gathered some of the city’s coolest wares, sourced both locally and from far off. Noelle offers all of this, and your guests haven’t even left the lobby. When the magical moment arrives, the Noelle offers one of the most special spaces in Nashville. Saidee Gallery is an extravagant 1930s ballroom with original crown moldings and exquisite marble encasements, all surrounded by enormous arched windows that awash the room in natural light during the day and the city lights by night. The ballroom can host up to 140 guests and is located near the hotel’s Trade Room bar and SPRING & SUMMER 2020

lounge, where your guests can mingle during the reception or grab a drink before the festivities. You’re married! It’s natural to want to shout your love from the rooftops, so take it upstairs where Rare Bird, a rooftop bar and lounge, looks over iconic downtown Nashville. When the evening is drawing to an end, there are plenty of secluded spots to steal away with your new spouse. Some say there’s even a door at Noelle that leads to an ultra-cool, secret lounge…but you didn’t hear that from us. When it’s all said and done, Nashville will leave nothing to be desired. Your wedding festivities will be beyond comparison, and you’ll find yourself booking your flight back before you’ve even left. SOUTHERN SOJOURNS



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DESERT daydream Photographer: Jillian Rose Photography Planning: One Social Design Venue: Korakia Pensione, Palm Springs Special Thanks: Be Inspired PR



Who says you can’t wear a hat with your wedding dress? Boho-chic is reinvented with this ultra-stylish yet sophisticated photoshoot in Palm Springs. Classic bohemian details, paired with rich gold and yellow accents, give the desert an elegant upgrade, brought to you by our talented team of vendors. This shoot will have you daydreaming of a desert wedding that’s anything but ordinary. 1: Our bride looks stunning in her off-theshoulder Tara Lauren wedding gown with hair and makeup by 931 Beauty Co. Floral design by Inessa Nichols Design and flowers provided by Fifty Flowers. Our groom’s navy suit is courtesy of Generation Tux. 2: The bridesmaids’ gorgeous gold and yellow dresses are courtesy of Jenny Yoo. Their hair and makeup, along with the bride’s, are done by 931 Beauty Co. Our bride’s wedding dress by Tara Lauren is complemented by yellow earrings from BASY Boutique. All three bouquets are by Inessa Nichols Design and flowers provided by Fifty Flowers. SPRING & SUMMER 2020




3 & 4: The design of the boutonnieres was courtesy of Inessa Nichols Design and flowers provided by Fifty Flowers. Our lovely bohemian-style stationery was courtesy of Xowyo Paper + Press, accessorized with flowers by Fifty Flowers. 5: The bride’s hat from BASY Boutique takes center stage in this photo. Her yellow earrings are also from BASY Boutique and her hair and makeup are beautifully done by 931 Beauty Co. The groom’s tux is courtesy of Generation Tux and his boutonniere, as well as the bride’s bouquet, were designed by Inessa Nichols Design with flowers provided by Fifty Flowers.

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9 8 6 & 7: Korakia Pensione provided a beautiful venue for this “Desert Daydream� to come to life. The space was filled with rentals from Folklore Rentals and decorated with florals from Fifty Flowers and designed by Inessa Nichols Design. Table numbers by Creative Amme and candlesticks were provided by Inessa Nichols Design. 8: Our bride, groom and bridesmaids share a cocktail provided by Korakia Pensione. The bright, colorful florals were arranged by Inessa Nichols Design and provided by Fifty Flowers. 9: This shot of our breathtaking bride perfectly captures her ensemble. She is wearing a Tara Lauren gown accessorized with earrings and a hat by BASY Boutique. Her hair and makeup are by 931 Beauty Co., and she holds a bouquet designed by Inessa Nichols Design with flowers provided by Fifty Flowers.





10 & 11: This one-of-a-kind wedding cake was created by Amriel’s Cakes. Our venue was Korakia Pensione, and rentals were courtesy of Folklore Rentals. 12: Our groom lovingly admires his beautiful bride in her Tara Lauren wedding gown. The bride’s hair and makeup are done by 931 Beauty Co., and her florals are from Fifty Flowers, designed by Inessa Nichols Design. The groom’s tux is from Generation Tux, and the stairs shown behind the couple are located at Korakia Pensione.


VENDORS photography: Jillian Rose Photography, jillianrosephotography.com, production: Be Inspired PR, beinspiredpr.com, planning: One Social Design, onesocialdesign.com, venue & cocktails: Korakia Pensione, korakia.com, floral design & reception candle holders: Inessa Nichols Design, inessanicholsdesign.com, wholesale flowers: Fifty Flowers, fiftyflowers.com, stationery: Xowyo Paper + Press, xowyo.com, rentals: Folklore Rentals, adorefolklore.com, bridal Gown: Tara Lauren, tara-lauren.com, bridesmaids’ dresses: Jenny Yoo, jennyyoo.com, groom’s suit: Generation Tux, generationtux.com, hair & makeup: 931 Beauty Co., 931beautyco.com, laser cut details & table numbers: Creative Amme, creativeamme.com, cake: Amriel’s Cakes, instagram.com/amriels_cakes, hat & yellow Earrings: BASY Boutique, basyboutique.com & models: Amie & Erik Tollefsrud, Lybys Zambrano De Cortez, and Kara Dueñas









Photo courtesy of: Fairmont Pacific Rim

ve wAt

oN the


As you daydream about your ideal destination wedding, what is unfolding in the backdrop? Do you envision stunning mountain vistas, sweet Southern country, or is your love reflected in cerulean blue waters? For the latter, “Love on the Water,” is your wedding away mission. Thankfully, waterfront resorts and venues span the world-over, and some of the best destinations may not even immediately come to mind. We’re highlighting both classics and surprises with options in Vancouver, British Columbia, Riviera Maya, Mexico, Anguilla in the Eastern Caribbean and Lanai, Hawaii.

Vancouver: Where Mountains Meet Sea WORDS BY CAROLYN STEERE


Photos courtesy of: Fairmont Pacific Rim

love Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s a trendy city with the Pacific Ocean at its doorstep and majestic mountains a quick 20-minute drive away. Here, the outdoors invite you to hike, bike, ski or simply take in the vistas. During the months of March and April, Mother Nature decks-out the city with pink and white cherry blossoms, and the beauty of Stanley Park allows you to enjoy a unique urban rain forest year-round. The past and present collide in this young, evolving city with the rich heritage of the First Nations culture.

that can host up to 420 guests to the Chairman’s Suite terrace for a small, intimate gathering, all of the venues blend chic and elegant – many with amazing views of the mountains and harbor. The culinary artists at the Fairmont work with you to develop a customized menu, including Pacific Northwest, Indian, kosher, Persian, Middle Eastern and Asian fusion. The hotel’s “spirit experts” delight in creating a one-of-akind cocktail for your event. To enhance your reception experience, you might consider treating your guests to an original dance routine performed by the Goh Ballet Academy, which includes their precious junior ballerinas. The Willow Stream Spa is a tranquil oasis

where resort guests can indulge in a peaceful setting or experience a locally inspired treatment. Your wedding guests will be in your debt for choosing Vancouver as your wedding destination, whether they indulge their wild side by exploring the outdoors and nearby Whistler, shop in nearby neighborhood boutiques, explore the culinary scene, or pamper themselves in the spa. Grazing through the goodies in the marketplace on Granville Island is also a must. However you add it up, Vancouver should be on your short list for a destination that checks off all the boxes.

The Fairmont Pacific Rim is a chic, harbor-side luxury property where weddings are perfectly dialed-in by their experienced, in-house wedding professionals. The 360-degree views were amazing from my in-room bathtub, where I could watch seaplanes land and take off in Coal Harbour with snowcapped mountains in the distance. When choosing a venue for your destination wedding, “must haves” include a great ceremony and reception setting, culinary offerings and guest experience. From the Star Sapphire Ballroom SPRING & SUMMER 2020



years, thanks to its convenience to the U.S. and its beautiful beaches. As a result, there are dozens of world-class resorts to choose from. Thankfully, there are helpful resources out there, like Destination I Do, to provide firsthand insight and info to help you choose where to spend some of the most important moments of your lives.

Mexico’s Overwater Bungalows


here are instances when choosing the destination for your wedding or honeymoon is a cinch. It’s narrowing down venues and/or resorts that’s the real challenge, and Riviera Maya, Mexico is a perfect example. It’s been a destination wedding and romance travel staple for

Palafitos guests get the best of both worlds – special treatment in their portion of paradise, but also unlimited access to the larger El Dorado Maroma resort. Both Palafitos and El Dorado Maroma are adults-only and “Gourmet Inclusive,” meaning gratuities, meals and most activities are included. If you’re interested in hosting your destination wedding here, it’s the El Dorado Maroma venues you’ll be using. Event sizes can range from intimate ceremonies on the beach to a larger event on the rooftop terrace. While El Dorado Maroma is more than capable of hosting a lovely event, if you’re staying in Palafitos, it’s really geared more toward honeymoons. In order to make the most of what Palafitos has to offer, it’s best to focus on just you two. Allow your 24-hour butler to schedule a romantic dinner for two on the beach or a private yoga session on your bungalow’s dock. Staying at Palafitos is all about enjoying life’s simple pleasures and allotting the time to take advantage of all the unique, romantic perks. insider tip: When booking an overwater bungalow, remember they’re designed to face in all different directions – giving each bungalow privacy and unobstructed views. In the case of Palafitos, this means some bungalows have views of open water, while others have views of the beach and larger resort.




Photos courtesy of: Karisma Hotels & Resorts

RivieRA Maya


A clear resort frontrunner on the Riviera Maya scene is Palafitos, which calls El Dorado Maroma resort home. Think of Palafitos as a resort-within-a-resort. Palafitos guests have their own lobby, butlers, room service, restaurant and spa, all to themselves. It’s the accommodations that are the real stand-out, though. Mexico’s first and only overwater bungalows can be found right here, on the banks of Maroma Beach. If you’ve always dreamed of staying in an overwater bungalow, but French Polynesia or the Maldives are out of reach, consider Palafitos a viable (and, in some cases, more affordable) alternative.

Make the ExperienceYours Tie the knot with us.

4 Unique Indoor and Outdoor Reception Venues to Choose From! www.stellaplantation.com 207 633 2494 linekinbayresort.com

Say it seaside.

207 633 5242



Destination Nuptials in


Zemi Beach House Zemi Beach House



At Zemi Beach House Resort & Spa, you and your partner can savor the intimacy of this 65-room hideaway nestled among fuchsia bougainvillea and lush palms overlooking Shoal Bay East on the north side of the island. Voted “No. 1 Hotel in Anguilla” and “No. 2 in Caribbean” by U.S. News & World Report in 2019, the resort has airy, white suites with private rooftop terraces and plunge pools where you can fire up the romance and unwind over chilled Champagne. “We are an intimate boutique hotel that gives our guests the feeling that they are staying in their own beachfront villa,” says General Manager, Paulo Paias. “Anguilla is a small, noncommercialized




Photos courtesy of: Zemi Beach House, LXR Hotels & Resorts

ith its meringue-white beaches, clear aqua water, luxurious resorts, superb food, and warm, welcoming environment, Anguilla is an ideal spot for couples eager to tie the knot. Only a quick ferry ride from St. Maarten, Anguilla is also one of the most secluded islands in the Caribbean.

island with friendly people, wonderful cuisine and a safe environment.”

Photos courtesy of (top to bottom): EnvisionWorks, Inc (1st-2nd) and Zemi Beach House, LXR Hotels & Resorts

One of the best places to relax at Zemi is the resort’s spa, tucked inside an authentic 300-year-old wooden Thai home. It has the only hammam on the island, along with a yoga deck and pebble-filled meditation sanctuary. Another serene spot is the resort’s second-level, adults-only pool. A larger pool lies steps from the resort’s toes-inthe-sand restaurant and bar, where you and your beloved can watch the sun set over a fruity cocktail before feasting alfresco on fresh local seafood. The beach also offers a dreamy spot to hold a barefoot ceremony, followed by a poolside reception and elegant steak and lobster dinner at Stone. For the night’s final toast, head to the snazzy, turquoise and gold Rhum Room stocked with more than 100 small-batch, single-estate rums. Couples eager to spread out on a larger property will delight in the opulent, Greek-style CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa. There are stunning beachfront accommodations hugging Rendezvous Bay, a world class spa and a Greg Norman Signature Design championship golf course. Not surprisingly, CuisinArt has myriad culinary options. Beach Bar and Grill features seafood and Caribbean dishes, restaurant Mosaic offers all-day global fare, Santorini specializes in Mediterranean, and Tokyo Bay serves standout sushi.

CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa

Zemi Beach House

For destination weddings at the resort, couples can marry on the gorgeous beach or inside the crystal-lit ballroom off the glistening white lobby. The ballroom boasts carved mosaic columns, chandeliers and a dramatic vista down to the beach via a series of feature pools. Meals can range from informal barbecues to sit-down dinners – all, of course, with plenty of Champagne. No matter where you stay, you may be tempted to never leave the property, and that’s just fine. Simply kick back and savor the exquisite beaches, island cuisine and your time together as a new couple, which just might include planning a return to the island for your first anniversary. SPRING & SUMMER 2020



LAnai Hawaii’s Most

Exclusive Island



The main property on the island is the Four Seasons Resort Lanai, situated on the southeastern shore. The destination is a short ferry ride from Maui or a quick private charter flight from Maui, Oahu or the Big Island. Once you arrive, the view from the lobby (as well as the gentle sea breeze) will take your breath away. Ensconced in dark woods, the oversized stairway leads you down to the main common area and terrace overlooking Hulopoe Bay. All of the restaurants, pools and bars share this




Photos courtesy of: Four Seasons Resort Lanai

ach of the eight major islands in Hawaii offer something a little different. The most frequented, Oahu, provides a bustling city paired with epic surf conditions. Maui delivers great nightlife, diverse settings and a bit of something for everyone. Kauai offers picturesque scenery with waterfalls, canyons and a laid-back, tropical vibe. The Big Island is known for its active volcano and sprawling landscapes. Lanai may not have a bevy of resorts to choose from, but in my eyes – that’s exactly the appeal.

stunning vantage point, along with many of the resort’s rooms and suites. Having traveled to hundreds of resorts all over the world, I can safely say the Four Seasons Resort Lanai has one of the best rooms I’ve experienced. The accommodations are not only stylish, but luxuriously comfortable and innovative, having been renovated relatively recently.

Photos courtesy of: Four Seasons Resort Lanai

Although the resort and island feel secluded, there is a myriad of things to do. Everything from aerial yoga classes, hiking (they offer a complimentary cultural guided hike of Pu’upehe – one of the island’s most iconic landmarks), biking, guided ATV tours, snorkeling, scuba and clay shooting. Golf is a must-do, as the views from each hole are magnificent and the Jack Nicklaussignature course offers a real challenge for avid golfers. No matter what you and your betrothed (or your guests) are into, they offer just enough adventure and relaxation to please a crowd.

and so, so delicious. The breakfast at ONE FORTY might just be the best I’ve had anywhere. The cold items are complemented with an à la carte menu offering local favorites including Loco Moco and specialty items worth splurging on, like their apple banana waffle with coconut streusel and caramelized bananas. You can truly find a variety of dining options from famed Nobu Lanai, ONE FORTY American Steak, Hawaiian Seafood and Malibu

Farm Bar, with its locally sourced ingredients. No matter what you’re craving, the culinary team at Four Seasons Lanai will have your taste buds (and your guests) begging for more. If you choose to venture outside of your usual Hawaiian stomping grounds and land on Lanai, you won’t be disappointed. The scenery, seclusion and serenity of this destination is sure to surpass your expectations.

The diverse backdrops for weddings at Four Seasons Resort Lanai are magical. From the iconic Manele Tee Box with panoramic views of the ocean and rolling hills to private gardens and indoor/ outdoor function space – your event will be in expert hands with the Four Seasons weddings team. The culinary offerings at Four Seasons are a standout. Not only are the choices interesting, they are sustainable, healthy (or not, depending on what you order) SPRING & SUMMER 2020




Aspen Wedding Deck

Photo courtesy of: Roey Yohai Studios





Opting for an epic backdrop for your destination wedding is one of the best decisions you can make as a couple. Much like your beloved spouse, picking “the one” is a highly personal decision. For those who envision themselves saying “I do” surrounded by stunning vistas or rolling hills, these two destinations are sure to meet your expectations. For scenery success, Aspen, Colorado and Austin, Texas are both sure to create “Love in the Hills.”

The Gant

Photos courtesy of (top to bottom, left to right): The Gant, Aspen Meadows Resort & Lauren Ertl

Aspen Meadows Resort


St. Regis Aspen

Where Luxury and Adventure Meet in the Mountains



ith humble beginnings in the silver mining industry, Aspen, Colorado has grown to be a year-round luxurious destination for relaxing, yet adventurous getaways at high elevation. When it comes to hosting events in this friendly mountain town, the service and accommodations are the kind that will knock your socks off. Destination wedding venues are not in short supply here. Because there is such a wide variety of options for every taste and budget, all kinds of mountain wedding dreams can come true in Aspen. If adventure and the opportunity for incredible event customizations are at the top of your list, we suggest looking to one of the nine venues offered by The Little Nell, the town’s only five-star


ski-in/ski-out hotel. Given the property’s reputation for top-of-the-line accommodations, the humble staff and homey atmosphere of The Little Nell may come as a surprise. The hotel’s events team can work with you to personalize a week or weekend full of wedding celebrations. Exclusive to The Little Nell is the option to dine or even marry at the top of Aspen Mountain. The Sundeck and Aspen Mountain Club both offer breathtaking views of the Elk Mountains, paired with antique Southwestern interior design inside the cozy lodge. Maybe you’re looking for a venue on the more traditional side of luxury. From the base of the gondola, take a stroll down the street and you’ll find yourself at the luxurious, red-bricked St. Regis Aspen Resort. Home to the largest ballroom in Aspen and a total of 14 event spaces, wedding specialists are available to

tailor the perfect event package to suit your needs. As a bonus, St. Regis Aspen Resort awards couples with “Starpoints,” which can be used toward honeymoon nights at other St. Regis properties. Jump right in to a rustic Western theme by booking the stunning Chaparral Ranch for your wedding day. Located just outside of town, the ranch has its own massive riding arena, horse barn and luscious green lawn surrounded by serene mountains and the sweet sounds of nature. History buffs may find their paradise in the storied Hotel Jerome, known as the place where the town’s tale is told best. With as much Victorian-era character as the building itself brings, hosting a destination wedding here requires very little décor. The hotel’s terrace is available for sunset nuptials overlooking Aspen Mountain. Couples can also choose to be surrounded by the rustic charm that nods to the hotel’s year of establishment, 1889. LOVE IN THE HILLS


For budget-friendly lodging, check out The Gant, Limelight Hotel and Aspen Meadows Resort. All of these are in or close to town, allowing guests to be near the action and events. Additionally, the W Aspen, which opened in August 2019, is a great place for bachelor and bachelorette parties, as it features sleek lounges, a hip rooftop bar and pool, and a speakeasy – all keeping with the revitalized retro theme. It's the perfect place to party all weekend long. Additionally, there is a plethora of opportunities for true Rocky Mountain

experiences. If you’re up for a little off-roading, sign up for a Jeep tour with Blazing Adventures and let expert guides take you and your crew through forests of Aspen trees and up to unique vistas. Or, learn more about the town on one of Aspen Historical Society's electric vehicle tours that visit two local museums. Enjoy the perfect pairing of luxury and adventure with those you hold dear and consider tying the knot in Aspen, Colorado.

Photos courtesy of (top to bottom): Scott Clark Photo and Limelight Aspen

Limelight Aspen



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4/15/19 9:12 AM


complete renovation. The property was purchased by Omni Hotels & Resorts in 2013, with the intention of Barton Creek being the new flagship location for the brand. As a result, no expense was spared in the total overhaul of the resort, its clubhouse, fitness facilities and event spaces. Located 20 minutes outside downtown Austin, Omni Barton Creek guests will find 493 guest rooms and suites, four pools, four championship golf courses, a state-ofthe-art spa, and over 76,000 square-feet of event space – all spread across 4,000 scenic, sprawling acres.

AUSTIN Down-Home Luxury WORDS BY COURTNEY KELLAR hen choosing a destination for your wedding away, one important factor that might not immediately come to mind is overall vibe. Frequent travelers know it’s possible to form a special connection to a particular place and its people. Finding a destination wedding location where you feel at home and at ease with your surroundings and the wedding professionals on-site is invaluable. One such destination that boasts a unique and powerful vibe is Austin, Texas.

but Austin has more than just music. There’s a strong culinary scene, quintessential Southern hospitality and, of course, the locals’ sense of pride in their city. Austinites’ creative drive and desire to uphold their city’s reputation carries over into everything they do – including hosting special events like destination weddings. If you’re a couple who is looking for these key characteristics (great food, friendly people and worldclass entertainment), but still like to enjoy the finer things in life, then Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa may be just the ticket.

Creative types have flocked to the “Live Music Capital of the World” for years,

This high-end, Hill Country resort reopened in the spring of 2019, after a

The Texas Hill Country outside of Austin and Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa really do offer the best of both worlds – access to one of the country’s entertainment capitals and a scenic backdrop with Southern service worthy of even the most high-end of events.

Photos courtesy of: Omni Hotels & Resorts


In the past, Barton Creek has been primarily known for its world-class golf and booming real estate market. Omni sought to bring the resort up-to-snuff… to be worthy of its golf courses and ritzy zip code. The resort’s décor embraces the locale (a’la Austin limestone at every turn), but maintains an upscale, neutral palette – perfect for any wedding backdrop. The event spaces run the gamut, both in size and style. The chic Brazos Ballroom caters to very large events, the indoor/outdoor Hill Country Pavilion is picture-perfect in the heart of the resort, and The Rock House is a private, rustic option. It’s not surprising Omni Barton Creek’s events calendar is competitive, and it’s important you book your wedding well in advance.






Photo courtesy of: Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria

The City of Amore






ew places invoke romance the way Italy does. The food, the language, the people and even the destination itself – it all exudes love in abundance.

Photos courtesy of: Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria

Having traveled to multiple parts of this unparalleled country, my infatuation for Italy has become insatiable. Each city and region has its own slant or specialty, but together they all provide a sense of sexiness…a feeling of amore. My recent visit to Sorrento only furthered this conviction and showed the diversity this special country offers to couples. Springtime here is magical – especially at the family-owned Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria in the heart of Sorrento. Founded in 1834, this iconic property is set on a cliff overlooking the Neapolitan Riviera. Known for its gardens and ancient archaeological remains, just strolling through the hotel’s five-acre park is a treat. Lavender-colored wisteria cascade from vines and ensconce gazebos throughout the property, while decorative marble artwork can be seen scattered throughout the grounds. What makes this hotel so distinct is not just its location, perched high on a cliff SPRING & SUMMER 2020

with 180-degree views of the sparkling blue ocean, or even its historical foundation, said to be built upon the ruins of a villa belonging to Roman Emperor Augustus, but the family who has owned and operated it since the 1800s. The Fiorentino family has been the sole proprietors of Excelsior Vittoria for five generations. In that time, the Fiorentinos have prided themselves on providing exceptional five-star luxury accommodations to celebrities and discerning travelers. The likes of famed Sophia Loren, Jack Lemon, Luciano Pavarotti and Barbra Streisand have graced the halls. One notable musician, Enrico Caruso, spent the last days of his life at the hotel, and the suite he was in has been named after him.

bygone era allow for guests to feel at home while they are away. Enjoy wood-fired pizzas and an Aperol spritz pool-side at L’Orangerie Restaurant (open June-October for lunch and dinner) or a traditional American-style breakfast indoors in the stunning Vittoria room. The frescoed ceilings and impeccable service will convince you that you’re royalty. Finish every evening on Terrazza Vittoria as the sun sets and every afternoon at La Pergola Bar à Champagne, where a canopy of wisteria hangs above and the main square and sea surround you.

The three interconnecting buildings of Excelsior Vittoria offer a combination of restored Victorian-style décor, along with modern amenities. Recently, they added a Michelin star restaurant, Terrazza Bosquet, to their lineup where guests can indulge in white-glove service and a culinary paradise by the sea.

Outside the gates of Excelsior Vittoria, you’ll find much to do in and around Sorrento. From sailing the Amalfi Coast and a day trip to the isle of Capri to a historic walking tour and shopping in Sorrento, guests (or honeymooners) would be hard-pressed not to find an enjoyable way to pass the time. Great group activities include indulging in gelato while shoping the local products a few streets away or a day hike to San Costanzo Mountain for stunning views of the area.

Each restaurant and space is idyllic for a special occasion, rehearsal dinner or destination wedding reception. The artfully blended modern facilities and beautifully restored atmosphere of a

No matter where you wed or honeymoon in Italy, you will find amore. And for me, Sorrento stole my heart, and Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria stole my soul. I hope it steals yours as well. SPOTLIGHT DESTINATION ITALY


Villa La Massa

A Love Affair with

Lake Como & Florence E

ven if you’ve traveled to Italy before, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it for your destination wedding and/or honeymoon. Afterall, what makes Italy so special is how diverse its regions are, and, frankly, I can’t imagine it ever getting old. For lovers of leisure and luxury, there’s Lake Como. For fans of wine and culture, there’s Florence. For this particular combination, we’re sharing two amazing properties that would make iconic backdrops for life’s biggest moments. Just 30 minutes from Florence Airport is a hidden gem amongst the rolling hills carved with grape vines and speckled with stone ruins. Villa La Massa was originally built in the 14th century and became a luxury hotel in 1948. Since then, the main villa and its surrounding buildings and their interiors have slowly been transformed. Today, you’ll find 51 bedrooms and suites spread across five buildings and 22-acres of land along the Arno River. All the buildings have slightly different



décor styles, but each is recently renovated and worthy of the most discerning romance traveler. Villino is a seven-bedroom villa overlooking the river that would be perfect for a wedding buy-out. Casa Colonica is the most recently renovated and would make Joanna Gaines herself swoon – with chic, rustic décor and muted tones throughout. This villa boasts four suites, a large courtyard and a private kitchen. For a wedding ceremony, the grounds are at your disposal. The on-site chapel performs religious ceremonies for small weddings of up to 16 people. Beyond the amazing food and stunning accommodations, perhaps the best thing about Villa La Massa is its location. It’s quiet and secluded, but only 15 minutes from the center of Florence. The hotel runs a complimentary shuttle for guests throughout the day, so they can easily access all the city has to offer, while conveniently escaping back to their riverside retreat at Villa La Massa. The hotel is also located in the heart of the Chianti-Rufina wine region.

A day trip to surrounding wineries would be an excellent pre-wedding opportunity for guests. After you’ve said “I do” at Villa la Massa, board a train or flight to Milan and nearby Lake Como. Lake Como is a 60-minute drive outside Milan and is best known as a lakeside haven for the rich and famous. To carve out your own piece of fame and fortune, stay at Villa d’Este. This five-star stunner is located in the charming town of Cernobbio. The hotel’s world-renowned reputation dates back to 1873, but the building and its gardens date back to the 16th century. Guests can check into Villa d’Este and enjoy the property for days on end without leaving – as many of its clients do. Famous faces who have graced the halls in recent years include Bruce Springsteen, Leonardo Dicaprio, Jennifer Aniston and Hilary Clinton. Keep in mind, though, Villa d’Este takes all their guests’ privacy very seriously, and you likely won’t even know you’re in the presence of pop culture royalty. The hotel consists of 152 luxe rooms across two main buildings with DESTINATIONIDO.COM

Photo courtesy of: Villa La Massa


Photos courtesy of (top to bottom, left to right): Villa d'Este (1st-3rd) and Villa La Massa

beautiful tiled gardens in-between. The Cardinal Suite in the main building is the most popular, and it’s not uncommon for return guests to book their trip to Lake Como around the suite’s availability. Guests looking for more privacy can choose from four breathtaking villas set on the grounds, but slightly apart from the main Cardinal Building.

Villa d'Este

Upon arrival at Villa d’Este, you’ll be tempted to lounge by the world’s first floating pool, sipping an Aperol spritz to your heart’s content. However, should you choose to be a bit more active, the hotel has a world-class sports club and spa on-site, or book a romantic boat tour of the lake. Nearby public boat shuttles can also take you to other charming villages along Lake Como, such as Bellagio. Whether or not you choose Italy for your upcoming destination wedding or honeymoon, for goodness’ sake – just go. I can’t imagine any relationship not blossoming among such scenic surroundings, mouth-watering cuisine and cultural excursions around every corner. Villa d'Este

Villa d'Este

Villa La Massa




Paris Photo courtesy of: Ross Harvey Photography

Tying the Knot in the City of Love







aris is arguably the most romantic city in the world. With a backdrop of the Eiffel Tower, incredible cuisine (pastries for your wedding dessert), and the music, lights and Seine running through it all – how could this not be a destination wedding made of magic? We asked Paris-based destination wedding planner Alejandra Poupel how to plan a picture-perfect wedding in her iconic city. HW: What is the biggest misconception about getting married in Paris? AP: There are very few venues with a view of the Eiffel Tower. If that’s important to you, plan a photoshoot with the backdrop before or after the wedding. HW: What is a “must-see/do” activity for destination wedding guests?

HW: What is one thing you wish all couples knew about getting married in Paris? AP: France has a 20 percent tax on everything and the prices are higher compared to many countries. It’s also important to prepare and organize in advance, especially if you plan to get married in September. All vendors and suppliers close from the end of July until the end of August, so if you are planning an event in

September, everything needs to be done before the end of July. Another thing to keep in mind is many historical monuments do not have air conditioning. If you plan to get married in the hot summer, make sure your venue has air conditioning or avoid the time period from mid-July until the end of August. HW: What is the hardest part about marrying in Paris? AP: You can’t really get married legally in Paris. You have to be a resident to get married in Paris, so we organize symbolic or religious weddings through church pastors, but these are not legally recognized. It is also important to hire a planner since, surprisingly, apart from the hotel venues, most of the best vendors, châteaus and historical monuments do not have English-speaking teams, so it’s crucial to have someone with you that speaks both French and English.

Photos courtesy of (left to right): Filmatography and Morlotti Studio

AP: When you have two or three days in the city, the must-see or do activity for a

destination wedding in Paris is, without a doubt, a luxury boat cruise. I recommend the Pavillon de Seine from Potel et Chabot for wedding groups. This is the best way to see everything Paris has to offer in a short time. I usually suggest a welcome dinner on a boat cruise and invite guests to arrive at 7 p.m., so they get to see Paris in the daytime and then watch the city transform into the city of lights around 9 p.m. Then, don’t forget to pause for an unforgettable photo when the boat docks in front of the Eiffel Tower while it twinkles for 10 minutes every hour.




HW: How much time should couples allot for planning their wedding?

HW: What can couples do to create the ultimate experience for their guests?

AP: The amount of time depends on the scope of the wedding. Today, things can get done via email and FaceTime or Zoom calls fairly quickly. I like to have the couple in France with me two times before the event – once to choose the venue and again to do the food and cake tastings and décor preview. The rest can be done virtually. The venue should be chosen about a year in advance. Our wedding season is May through September with limited weekend dates during that time, so they fill up quickly. Once the venue is chosen, I recommend about fourto-six months of planning, with a few hours a week to ensure everything runs smoothly.

AP: We encourage our clients to add insider activities to the wedding weekend, such as private visits to expositions or wine tastings. Paris has so many cultural activities and organizing opportunities for the guests is always appreciated. Then take care of the transportation to and from venues, and guests will have a wonderful and seamless experience. I also like to book photographers who create website links to share with the guests after the event, so they can have amazing photos of their experiences in Paris with photos in iconic Parisian locations. This is always a favorite!

Photo courtesy of: Libre Comme L'Art

HW: What are your top five venues in Paris and why do you love them?

AP: Couples come to Paris for grand romance and that gilded golden style with elegant, high ceilings in event spaces. To achieve that, I often propose the historical monuments that make Paris special, so guests can enjoy the culture and the history of France at the destination wedding. One of my favorite venues is Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte. It’s perfect for a fairytale wedding in a gorgeous castle with incredible gardens for the ceremony – only one hour outside of the city. I also love Musée Rodin, an incredible museum with Rodin sculptures and amazing gardens in the heart of Paris. Maison France Amérique, otherwise known as Hôtel Le Marois, is wonderful for more intimate weddings. For a historic ballroom in a hotel space, the Shangri-La Hotel is idyllic. And the Opera Ballroom at the InterContinental Paris le Grand is truly opulent and spectacular for a celebration.




STYLE TIPS • I design our events with a sense of drama and theater. The day should build through location changes, lighting, music and food, and beautiful floral installations. Theater is important to what we do in Paris – from the wardrobe and costumes the entertainers and staff wear, to the way we cascade floral from the ceiling. So many venues in Paris are dramatic backdrops to begin with, so we layer them with equally incredible décor and experiences.

Photo courtesy of: Libre Comme L'Art

• If you want to embrace the Parisian culture and style, focus on the gastronomy of the day. The meal is very important and the creativity of our chefs and pastry chefs is truly endless. We love fine dining in France! You can expect your first meal as newlyweds to be absolutely unforgettable.


Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort

s g n i d Wiend ailea W



awaii can always be found at the top of the list when it comes to romance and popular destinations in which to tie the knot or honeymoon. With its pristine beaches, gorgeous sunsets, sumptuous dining options and luxurious resorts – there is no question as to why. Having traveled to every island in the 50th state, I have my favorites, but the area of Wailea on the island of Maui really stands out for honeymoons and weddings away.



Wailea is situated on the leeward south end of the island and is just over an hour from Kahului Airport. The masterplanned resort community spans over 1,500 acres and includes several high-end properties catering to destination wedding groups, honeymooners and families alike. During my recent visit, I was lucky enough to explore Wailea and investigate several places that are perfectly suited for romance. DESTINATIONIDO.COM

Photo courtesy of: Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort


Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort

Fairmont Kea Lani

Photos courtesy of (top to bottom): Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort and Fairmont Kea Lani

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE My first stop was The Fairmont Kea Lani. The expansive property is set on 22-acres of oceanfront paradise. Located on Polo Beach, this all-suite and villa luxury resort allows for groups to easily gather – regardless of size. If you have a smaller group, renting a two or three bedroom villa is an option. For larger groups, you can spread out to the rest of the hotel in their oversized suites. The comfortable, recently remodeled accommodations, paired with the on-site amenities such as three pools, 24/7 fitness center, Willow Stream Spa and multiple restaurants and bars, mean your friends and family will be well taken care of. SPRING & SUMMER 2020

A standout for me was Kō, Fairmont Kea Lani’s “plantation-inspired” restaurant. The recipes and preparations are deeply rooted in the island’s history and they proudly share these traditions with guests. The plates are interesting and interactive – think cooking your own sushi-grade ahi on a hot stone – and “Ohana-style” desserts to be shared with the whole table. When it comes to your wedding day, the number of backdrops you can choose from is considerable. Whether it’s their Polo Lawn, historic Gazebo or Pacific Terrace for your ceremony, or their ballrooms, indoor/ outdoor terraces or lawns for your wedding reception – each will allow you beautiful views of the ocean. Not to mention access to Farimont’s incredible staff who handles everything, so you don’t have to.

MODERN DESIGN, MASSIVE PAMPERING Next up on my journey was Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort. This sleek and sexy option offers a totally different feel than the other properties in the area. The modern design is paired with warm, upscale décor that allows the destination to truly shine. Unobstructed views of the ocean and the island of Lanai are offered in almost every common area and many of the guest rooms. The thoughtfully planned out event spaces allow for your evening reception to flawlessly transition to late night after-parties (noise curfew starts at 10 p.m. for outdoor amplified music). For a truly unforgettable experience, check into one of Andaz Maui’s oceanfront villas WEDDINGS IN WAILEA


Fairmont Kea Lani

(offered in two, three or four-bedroom configurations). Your group can congregate on the large lawn directly in front of the villas or in the state-of-the-art kitchen and great room. With 1,800 to over 4,000 square-feet of space to entertain in, you’ll forget you’re even at a resort. Don’t miss ‘Āwili Spa and Salon while you’re visiting Andaz Maui. A visit with your wedding party for group pedicures might sound like a typical experience, but with leather pedicure chairs complete with a view of the ocean, I’m fairly sure you won’t be able to duplicate this kind of pampering at home.


If you’re looking for something away from the water, yet still boasting gorgeous views and that true “Hawaiian vibe,” Hotel Wailea is the perfect fit. Situated 300 feet above the sea, this Zen, adults-only retreat is not only secluded, it’s transcendent. Cascading waterfalls welcome you to a rock-walled bungalow high above the rest of Wailea. This Relais & Chateaux property has been named “No. 1 Resort in Hawaii” by Condé Nast Traveler (Readers Choice Awards 2018) and is truly a romantic respite. Offering a totally different escape for couples, the breathtaking beauty of the property gives a one-of-a-kind experience for all who enter.

Hotel Wailea

The 72 one-bedroom suites are spread out over 15 acres, so guests are encouraged to reserve accommodations early as the property books up fast. If you’re considering a wedding here, you’ll find several backdrops to choose from including the event lawn, garden and ballroom, but the stand-out space is The Tree House. Under a canopy of avocado and mango trees, this stunning setting provides gorgeous ocean views and can accommodate up to 25 people (standing) or an intimate group of six if you’d prefer to do a seated dinner for your reception. Regardless of where you say “I do” in Wailea, think soft Hawaiian breezes, rainbow-hued sunsets and the scent of plumeria surrounding you as you exchange vows with the love of your life. Turn to pg. 110 for a real-life wedding in Wailea.




Photos courtesy of (top to bottom): Fairmont Kea Lani, Stephanie Russo & Linny Morris

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The Art of Eloping


ometimes the thought of a large guest list or just the normal pressures of well-meaning relatives and friends becomes too much to bear and the entire focal point of the union – the couple – gets lost. Eloping is the epitome of romance; it removes all external factors and allows the couple to focus entirely on themselves. It can also enable the couple to redirect finances to their first home or a truly epic honeymoon. Whatever the reasoning, we’ve tapped into elopement expert and wedding planner Morgan Childs of Modern Elopement for some advice on how to create an epic event for two (or a few).



DID: Are there ways to elope without upsetting friends and loved ones? MC: Eloping doesn’t mean you have to alienate your family or friends. If you can’t invite everyone you love, consider holding a hometown bash after you have tied the knot and have had some time to recover. It is a great way to prolong the occasion and to include everyone without the stress or expense of having to plan a traditional wedding. Your loved ones just want to officially celebrate alongside you, and providing them an opportunity to do so will eliminate any hard feelings. DESTINATIONIDO.COM

Photos courtesy of: Jayleigh Flood Photography


Another way to make sure no one close to you feels left out is to mail them a personalized elopement announcement card after your elopement – and before any big announcements on social media. This simple gesture will prevent any hurt feelings and loved ones believing they are the last to find out about your big news.

Photos courtesy of (top to bottom): Jayleigh Flood Photography (1st & 2nd) and Rachel Jay with The Copper Collective

DID: What are your main tips for planning a destination elopement? MC: With an intimate wedding, you can choose to splurge on the things that matter to you and not worry about compromising. Whether that is the dream destination or pulling out all the stops for a once-in-a-lifetime dinner, you can do more with less guests. Here are a few of my main tips: Treat it like your wedding day and don’t skimp on style. Wear the dress, get the great shoes and splurge for flowers. An elopement shouldn’t be a second-class experience and, this way, you will feel just as special as you walk down the aisle. Don’t feel guilty about choosing to elope. While it may not be the most popular way to wed, it is perfect for many couples and there should be no guilt about wanting a more intimate experience. Hire a great photographer. Not only will you want to remember this day forever, but everyone who didn’t get to attend your day will be begging to see the evidence.

No wedding registry. Since elopements are small affairs, it’s not generally good etiquette to requests gifts without an invitation to the celebration. Whatever your reason for considering a destination elopement, know you should make the decision based on what is best for you as a couple. Including some of Morgan’s tips will help your event feel special, no matter who is included. Epic backdrops. One of the benefits of an elopement is you can have your ceremony or photos on the edge of a cliff, on a fantasy tropical island or a stately courthouse – whatever your style, you are not limited by your guest count. No planning headaches. You don’t have to worry about a year of budgeting, vendor contracts, seating assignments and the multitude of opinions and unsolicited advice from your friends and family on your big day.

Don’t forget to plan something after your ceremony. An amazing dinner for two, a sunset sail or a night out on the town – whatever suits you best, make sure you have a plan to commemorate your big day.

DID: Conversely, what are some of the reasons a couple might not want to elope? MC: No dance party. Usually an elopement is a ceremony followed by a dinner and doesn’t include the traditional elements like a first dance, cake cutting and those memorable dance floor shenanigans.

DID: What are some of the best reasons to have a destination elopement? MC: It costs less. Less guests and a simplified experience means you will spend significantly less on your wedding day, even with some of the splurges.

Foregoing the Pinterest wedding. Elopements by nature are simpler weddings and don’t have all the opportunities to add those many ideas and details you may have had pinned on your wedding board for years.


About Morgan Childs: Morgan got her start in event planning 17 years ago, working in one of the principal firms in NYC. After finding her passion in event design and planning, Morgan moved back to Hawaii to open Moana Belle Events. After producing many spectacular destination weddings, she noticed a gap in the market for her couples who wanted a beautiful and intimate wedding, so she created her second company – Modern Elopement. Modern Elopement is a complete elopement experience curated to ensure effortless planning, without sacrificing quality or style.




Inspired Elopements from all Over the World 86

If you choose to elope, you may be cutting out the extensive guest list, but that doesn’t mean you have to cut style or pomp and circumstance. The following pages are a mixture of inspired elopements and advice from wedding experts on how to make your intimate affair a reflection of your personalities and unique tastes.

don’t skip décor “My favorite element to include in any destination event is décor and details! I think people often believe that because they are traveling somewhere or because the guest count is more intimate, they feel their event doesn’t necessarily need to be designed. Therefore, I love when my destination clients have a cohesive vision or are inspired by their chosen location, and we can create something really layered and experiential. For me, a destination elopement or wedding is a chance to curate a unique experience and that is such fun!”

-michelle durpetti

vendors Planning & Design: Michelle Durpetti, Michelle Durpetti Events Photography: Collin Pierson Photography Production: Canteiro Weddings & Kesh Events Gowns: Valentini Spose & Gali Karten from Dimitra’s Bridal Couture Hair Accessories: Bindi.Shop Stationery: Smitten Boutique Location: Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya




choose somewhere epic to elope “Whether it is somewhere special to you and your partner or somewhere you would love to honeymoon – an elopement affords you the freedom to wed in your dream destination.”


-morgan childs, modern elopement


vendors Planners: Modern Elopement Photography: Schyne Photography Flowers: Passion Roots Musician: Akahi Productions Officiant: Reverend Michael Nelson Hair & Makeup: Cherbu Makeup & Hair





“Make [your elopement] personal and unique to you as a couple. Don’t shortchange yourself on the special things you wanted in a wedding. Go for the décor, flowers and fireworks if you want them… more is possible on this small scale.”

-regina atkins, crosby + jon

avoid “elopement packages”

vendors Production & Creative Direction: Crosby + Jon Photography: Jeremy Chou Photography Videography: Robert Michael Films Venue: Casa Velas Grand Velas Project Director: Ary Iturralde Florist: Flor Mimo Hair & Makeup: Zoë Elizabeth Makeup Rentals: Grupo Trendy Photo Assistant: Lexi Marie Photography Video Assistant: Excursion Media Wedding Dress: Amsale Lifestyle Attire: Swirl Boutique Shoes: Bella Belle Shoes Dessert: Charme Repostería Crown: MJF Bridal Paper Goods: Soolip Rings: Everly Rings Linens: Wildflower Linen




“Give yourself enough time. Arrive several days early and stay several days after. Nothing is fun if it’s rushed.”


-regina atkins, crosby + jon






you get to just “be you” “We got to just be ourselves and spend time with each other, soaking in the moment without having to care about things running smoothly or making sure everyone else was happy.”

-claire + luther, real-life elopement couple

vendors Photography: Dana Cubbage Weddings Wedding Planner: Sabrina Ward with Eventa Bella Ceremony/Reception Site: Magnolia Plantation & Gardens Florist: Branch Design Studio Stationery: Lowcountry Paper Co. Gown Designer: Katie May Groom’s Clothing Designer: Ted Baker Cake: Sablée Hair & Makeup: Wedding Hair by Charlotte Car Service: Lowcountry Valet & Shuttle Co. Event Rentals: Snyder Events

“There really is no limit to what you can do with an elopement, because it’s all about the couple!”


-dana cubbage, photographer




Top 5

Honeymoon Planning Questions,

Photo courtesy of: maridav © 123RF.COM

d e er w s n A 94




The Honeymoonist, Susan Moynihan, has been planning honeymoons for six years, and writing about them for even longer. Here are the top questions she gets from clients.


How Do We Come Up With a Budget?

An educated traveler is the best traveler, so when you’re scanning dream hotels online, go one step further and check actual pricing – not via flash sale or discount sites, but direct from the hotel’s website, including taxes and service. And, mind a few key rules: the more destinations you visit on a trip, the more things will add up thanks to the cost of getting from place to place.


When Should We Start Planning?

Some couples reach out to me before they even have a wedding date; others call me in a panic because they have nothing planned and are getting married in a month. Neither is ideal. If you’re more than a year out, you won’t get true pricing on rooms or airfare. If you reach out too late, you may find hotels are sold out in the room category you want. I suggest four-to-six months out as a great planning window. The exceptions are limited access places like safari camps or adventure lodges, which book up outside of a year, and cruises, where you can save by depositing early.


What’s the Best Way to Book a Hotel?

Photo courtesy of: Carla Ten Eyck

There are many ways to book a hotel room, but there’s one common truth: at the end of the day, hotels want their rooms filled with loyal customers, not bargain hunters, so they value reservations accordingly. Top priority is given to rooms booked directly by a guest or a preferred travel agent that sends them lots of business. Loyalty is rewarded, and that may score you perks – from free breakfasts to upgrades. Next up are OTAs (online travel agents) – thirdparty sites like Expedia that let you book online through their portal. Sometimes this can save money, but watch out for the fine print; some OTAs are not beholden to give you what you book, so in an oversold situation you may get a lower-quality room or even be moved to a different hotel. Packaged trips can save you money, but make sure you


want to use all elements of the package, or better yet, create a custom one via a reputable travel advisor or tour company who can tap into special promotions and discounts via unique relationships.


Do We Really Need Travel Insurance?


How Much Should We Plan To Do?

Travel insurance is an extra cost, but worth its weight in gold if you ever have to use it. Price is done per person, based on age and trip cost. I’m a big fan of Travelex’s Select plan, which covers cancellation for covered reasons, but also things like missed connections, lost baggage and medical assistance. If you book insurance through the vendor, like getting cruise protection through the cruise line, read the fine print carefully. They may cover you for cancellation or injury onboard, but not for mishaps that take place during port calls.

One of the biggest mistakes I see is couples trying to jam so much into their trip that they don’t get to relax. There are also travelers who don’t plan ahead and get to their destination, only to find their dream activity is sold out. The best path is down the middle – book your must do’s, like that romantic sunset sail or private dinner reservation (knowing there may be penalties if you cancel last minute), but leave unstructured time to sleep in, laze by the pool or wander around town. See another five of The Honeymoonist’s “Top Honeymoon Planning Questions” answered at destinationido.com/ advice-for-honeymoons.





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Kid Factor Photo courtesy of: Ross Harvey Photography




As adorable as children can be, your wedding may or may not be the event for them to exhibit their cuteness. Whether or not to include kids always raises etiquette issues. Below, we uncover the best ways to handle the “kid-or-not-to-kid” challenge many of you may be facing. Q

My fiancé and I are on the fence about including kids. He seems to be okay with the idea, but I am really not keen. What’s the best way to work through this to decide what we should do?


Because you and your fiancé are not in agreement about including kids in your celebration, I would begin by evaluating your guest list and assessing how many children might be involved and their ages. Determining factors might be whether your venue is child-friendly, the financial implications of adding children and the ambience you want to create for your special day. Compromising and communicating are two healthy functions in building your relationship and resolving this issue.


We’ve officially decided against having kids at our destination wedding. How do we inform our guests of the decision without upsetting anyone? Should we make any exceptions?


If you have decided to have an adults-only destination wedding, it will be important for you to indicate that on your website, save-the-date card and invitation, so your guests can make arrangements for their children prior to booking any travel. It’s best if you can


communicate this as early as possible. If guests choose to turn your destination wedding into a family vacation, they will be responsible for providing childcare for their children during all of the organized wedding events. The only exception you would make is for children who are included in the wedding party. They would be expected to attend all the wedding activities.


We’ve said “no kids” for our destination wedding, as it is not an appropriate venue for children. However, my maid of honor just had a baby and will be nursing. What do we do?


It would be appropriate to have childcare for your maid of honor in her hotel room or within a private room at the venue, so she might discreetly nurse her baby, as needed.


We’d like our loved ones to be able to bring their kids with them on their trip to our destination wedding, but we’d really prefer they go to a private room on-site with babysitters watching them for the actual ceremony and reception. Is this okay and how do we encourage people to keep their kids in the space we’ve provided? Will people be offended?


Providing an on-site room for children is a gracious way to accommodate children for your destination ceremony and reception. When you are doing your guest counts, ask parents to inform you of the number of children and their ages they will need childcare for. Provide a map of where parents should bring children and some indication of the type of childcare that will be provided, so that parents can be assured of their children’s entertainment and safety. Sometimes couples feel comfortable having the children brought in for the dancing after dinner is completed. That too could be indicated in your communication – both on your wedding website and formal invitation. Unfortunately, there will always be people who do not adhere to the rules.


Is it okay to have an age limit for the wedding? We’re okay with older kids (teenagers) coming, but really don’t want little children. How do we handle this?


Age limits are appropriate for weddings and the best way to handle this is to specifically name the invited guest on the wedding invitation. You might choose to provide on-site childcare for the younger children. Kids in the wedding party can be the one exception, otherwise feelings will be hurt if you include some younger children but not all. Including children in your destination wedding (or not) can be tricky to navigate, but as long as you have clear, respectful communication from the start, drama should remain at a minimum.








“For our big day we had three must haves; a breathtaking venue, amazing food and drinks, and great entertainment.”

words by: Camryn Dilger images by: Jay Lim Studio wedding planner: Ashley Peraino


ew York, New York is perhaps the most exciting city in all of America. Home to Times Square, the Empire State Building and Grand Central Station, the “Big Apple” is one of the most iconic backdrops imaginable for a cityscape destination wedding. For Todd and Mariana, they wouldn’t have celebrated their marriage any other way. “Although we knew it would be a bigger celebration at home in Los Angeles, we envisioned an unforgettable wedding that truly reflected our spirits and that would set the stage for our life and legacy together,” the bride says. The couple’s wedding combined Old Hollywood glitz and glam with classic Broadway-esque style and charm. Todd and Mariana said “I do” in a cathedral on the Upper East Side and held their reception overlooking Fifth Avenue with views of Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. “We had decided at some point throughout our wedding planning process to let the backdrop of the city be our décor and focus minimally on the details,” the bride says. “We love everything the ‘Big Apple’ has to offer and figured our guests would, too – its energy, skylines, beauty, old soul and bustling city streets.”







The city magic of Manhattan provided an unforgettable setting for the couple and their guests. The entourage experienced the hustle and bustle of the streets from above, opting for a rooftop doubledecker bus tour. They also incorporated classic elements of New York into the reception, such as a custom wedding newspaper, “The Newlywed Times.” The paper included the menu, seating charts and even a crossword puzzle. For the couple, however, none of the extravagance of the day compared to the feeling of becoming husband and wife. “For Todd and I,” the bride says, “our favorite moment of the wedding day was undoubtedly the moment that we saw each other for the first time as I walked down the aisle, and we locked eyes and felt the love between us and all around us in such a magical setting.” If you dream of tying the knot like Mariana and Todd with Times Square, the Empire State Building and Grand Central SPRING & SUMMER 2020

Station as your backdrop, consider getting married in the city that never sleeps.

VENDORS photographer: Jay Lim Studio, jaylimstudio.com, wedding planner: Ashley Peraino, ashleyperaino.com, ceremony site: St. Ignatius Loyola, stignatiusloyola.org, reception site: 620 Loft & Garden, rainbowroom.com/620-loft-garden, florist: Icon Event Style, iconeventstyle.com, stationery: Minted and Vista Print, minted.com and vistaprint.com, gown designer: Jovani Couture, jovani.com, groom’s clothing designer: Calvin Klein, calvinklein.com, groomsmen’s clothing designer: The Black Tux, theblacktux.com, officiant: Fr. Brian Konzman, bus: Top View NYC, topviewnyc.com, shoes: Jimmy Choo, jimmychoo.com, hair: Truly Happy Beauty, trulyhappybeauty.com, makeup: Eliana Mendoza, catering: Eventfull NYC, eventfullnyc.com, cake: Butterfly Bakeshop, butterflybakeshop.com, rentals: Big Dawg Party Rentals and Luxe Event Rentals, bigdawgpartyrentals.com and luxeeventrentals.com, newspaper: G2 Creations Boutique, g2creationsboutique.com, dj: Jay McElfresh, jaymcelfresh.com, saxophonist: Sam Powell, sampowellmusic.com & photo booth: Flux Photobooth Company, fluxphotoboothcompany.com

“We’re grateful to our friends and family who have supported our hopes, dreams and undying love for one another then, now and forever.”






“The half-moon shaped altar held a double purpose and was moved to the dinner area to spruce up the beach looking out to the water.”

words by: Jennifer Stein images by: Erin & Gabri Photography wedding planner & event designer: Tropical Occasions


t’s not every day the father of the bride is the match maker. Ryan met Brittany’s dad while building her parent’s house. Her father was so impressed by Ryan that he jokingly suggested Brittany should move home to date this young builder. After repeated nudging by her father, Brittany decided to ask him out during one of her visits. “When she took the opportunity to ask me out for a date, she was so darn cute about it that I had to go,” recalls Ryan. “My dog, Saki, and I met Brittany at Siesta Key Oyster Bar. We laughed for the next four hours straight. I couldn’t wait to get together again.” After a long distance friendship (including nightly phone calls, belly laughs and weekend reunions) turned into a long distance romance, the two knew they had found “the one.”




A destination wedding came natural to the pair. “Our relationship is first and foremost based on friendship and creating amazing, fun experiences together,” says the couple. “We wanted the start of our marriage to be an adventure in itself. We thought this might be the only time we were all together with the people we love most across the world.”


guide us and love us unconditionally. We also had everyone take a moment of mindfulness, and the entire audience joined hands as my dad guided them through a mini-meditation to get present and into the ceremony. It really helped to calm the nerves of everyone,” recalls the bride.

With 73 people along for the ride, the group headed to Tulum, Mexico to experience its off-the-beaten-path vibe. “Its exotic atmosphere and international bohemian culture, combined with a not-so-great connection to the digital world, creates an environment where you can be carefree and feel removed from society if you let yourself. To us, this is a great way to start a life together,” says Brittany.

The lively and fun atmosphere of the reception was intentional from the start. The couple replaced the traditional cake cutting with a party piñata filled with glow sticks, silly glasses and leis. “We used that to kick off the dancing and told everyone to head up to the restaurant for the first dances with an 11-piece live band. The band was incredible and everyone had such a blast with all the party gear!” recalls Brittany.

The couple planned an incredibly unique ceremony, which included Brittany’s father as the officiant, family vows and group meditation. “[Our parents] promised to accept each of us into their family as their own, to love, support and

The entire wedding went off perfectly with the help of their wedding planning team. “I had a great, experienced team in Tropical Occasions and having them made all the difference. They brought our vision to life.”


VENDORS photographer: Erin and Gabri Photography, erinandgabri.com, wedding planner & event designer: Tropical Occasions, tropicaloccasions.com, florist: Vanessa Jaimes Floral, vanessajaimes.com, videographer: Julie Hill of Elysium Productions, elysiumproductions.com, ceremony site: Zorba Tulum Beach Homes, zorbatulum.com, reception site: Chiringuito Tulum Hotel, chiringuito-tulum.com, catering: Chef Tomás Medina, instagram.com/chef.tomas.medina, décor: Archive Mexico, archiverentals.com, stationery: Art Paper Scissors, artpaperscissorsdesign.com, band: On the One Tulum, tulumweddingband.com, dj: Dulce Rullan, dulcerullan.com, hair & makeup: Styling Trio, stylingtrio.com, ceremony dress: Pallas Couture, pallascouture.com, reception dress: Hayley Paige, hayleypaige.com, shaman: Shaman Charlie, groom’s clothing designer: CustomMade Suit by local designer Cravats, bridesmaids’ dresses: RenzBridal on Etsy, etsy.com/shop/renzbridal, earrings: Anthropologie, anthropologie.com & groomsmen’s clothing designer: Suspenders from AquariusStore on Etsy & Feather Bowties from Bow SelecTie, etsy.com/shop/aquariusstore & bowselectie.com


“I had a great, experienced team in Tropical Occasions and having them made all the difference. They brought our vision to life.”









words by: Jennifer Stein images by: James x Schulze wedding planner: Marcy Blum Associates


armony and Bayo’s love story is a mixture of modern culture (they met on Tinder) and traditional courtship (he proposed on bended knee with a custom ring he thoughtfully picked out). For five years, they traveled the globe together before Bayo’s romantic proposal in Cartagena. When it came to their wedding planning, they had the world at their fingertips. Harmony owns a wedding consulting agency, runs a wedding travel blog and has been in the industry for over 15 years. So where on earth would a wedding mogul who has traveled the world decide to tie the knot? Maui, Hawaii, of course!


“Hawaii was an easy destination for our West Coast families to get to and navigate. And we spent our second anniversary at Four Seasons Maui, so the location was already a part of our story. We wanted a luxury hotel in a place that felt like a true vacation and that property checked all the boxes,” says the bride. With 86 of their closest friends and loved ones in attendance, Harmony in a custom Hayley Paige gown and Bayo in a black tuxedo made their union official under two plumeria trees overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Ali Phillips, a dear friend and destination wedding planner, officiated their ceremony, which resulted in “lots of happy tears.” As the bride recalls, “she has been very much a part of our life together from the beginning. Ali kept it lighthearted and sweet, sentimental and personal. We never could have imagined it being as special as it was.”

Harmony wore a semicustom Hayley Paige dress with a matching custom veil and beaded bra that peeked through like it was part of the dress. “Hayley was also a guest at the wedding and came to dress me in my gown before photos. A very special moment!”



Instead of the bride doing a wardrobe change, the groom did. He wore a black tux for the ceremony and changed into a white dinner jacket for the reception.

The outdoor sunset reception was not in short supply of thoughtful details and unique touches for guests to experience. Everything from hand-stitched personalized napkins as place cards and a “wall of whisky” cocktail bar, to a Champagne bar and hand-written “thank you” notes tucked under everyone’s place setting, attendants were treated as if they were the guests of honor. The couple even provided a favor bar for guests to pick their own gift. “We wanted guests to pack a gift from a destination wedding they actually wanted to take home, so we let them choose!” Under a canopy of stars and bistro lights, the “formal but comfortable” reception was just what the couple wanted. “Steven Boyle Design and Marcy Blum Associates did a fantastic job creating a look that felt effortless and thoughtful at the same time.” One highlight of the evening was when Harmony’s father took to the dance floor for their father-daughter dance. Since her dad had recently experienced a life-threatening situation that took both his hearing and his balance, it was miraculous that he was there to dance with her. He picked a familiar song, so he would know the words. Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” was his choice, and while Harmony mouthed the words to her father, guests (and Harmony) were reduced to tears.




The dance floor proved to be the destination of special moments. The couple’s first dance was Harmony’s favorite memory. “We got to look around the reception and see everyone we love and look at each other and just be in the moment. I didn’t want the song to end.” And the last song of the night was Bayo’s favorite memory. “We played Queen’s ‘Somebody to Love,’ and all our favorite people linked arms on the dance floor and started to sing and sway to the music in a tight circle. It was a moment I’ll never forget.”

VENDORS photography: James x Schulze, jamesandschulze.com, wedding planner: Marcy Blum Associates, marcyblum.com, floral, décor & rentals: Steven Boyle Design, stevenboyledesign.com, linens: La Tavola Fine Linen, latavolalinen.com, food and beverage, venue, cake & staff: Four Seasons Maui Resort at Wailea, fourseasons.com/maui, video: Elysium Productions, elysiumproductions.com, officiant: Ali Phillips, engagingeventsbyali.com, invitations + paper goods: Minted, minted.com, gown designer: Hayley Paige, hayleypaige.com, bridal salon: JLM Couture Flagship Boutique, jlmcouture.com/boutique, groom’s clothing designer: The Black Tux, theblacktux.com, groomsmen’s clothing designer: Friar Tux, friartux.com, ceremony music: Alika Nako’oka, alikasmusic.com, dj + dj booth & saxophonist: Maui DJ Services, mauidjservices.com, hair & makeup: Ry-n Shimabuku, ry-nshimabuku.com, dance floor & lighting: Rio Event Design, rioeventdesign.com, specialty glassware: Accel Event Rentals Maui, accelrentals.com, wedding website: Appy Couple, appycouple.com, calligraphy: Calligraphy Katrina, calligraphykatrina.com, seamstress: A Stitch in Time, asitbridal.com, champagne bar: Louis Roederer, louis-roederer.com, bridal shoes: Badgley Mischka, badgleymischka.com, sound: PSAV, psav.com/partner/ usa/hi/hawaiian-islands/four-seasons-resort-maui-at-wailea, jewelry: Maria Elena Headpieces, mariaelenaheadpieces.com & custom gifs: Your Digital Stylist, yourdigitalstylist.com SPRING & SUMMER 2020








words by: Lauren Ertl images by: Dana Cubbage Weddings wedding planner: Cruz Coordination


orbidden love couldn’t keep this couple away from one another. Neither could distance keep them from choosing to have a destination wedding in the town of Southern charm, Charleston, South Carolina.

Guests were ecstatic to make plans for a mini-vacation to the coastal city with a rich history.

Having met at their first jobs out of college, Sarah and Patrick quickly developed feelings for each other that led to eight months of dating in secret. Not even Patrick’s closest co-workers knew about the couple’s relationship. When it grew to the point they could no longer keep it a secret, they decided to look for new jobs and tell the world. Choosing to have a destination wedding in Charleston came naturally to Sarah, who grew up there and felt the desire to say “I do” in the city from an early age. “I went to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens as a child on field trips,” the bride says. “I remember telling my parents that’s where I wanted to get married one day.” Guests were ecstatic to make plans for a mini-vacation to the coastal city with a rich history. No one could have been more excited than the bride’s parents who call Charleston home. When they received the news that the wedding would be in their hometown, they immediately got to work in partnership with the couple’s fabulous planner, Jessica Cruz.







Magnolia Plantation and Gardens brought the couple’s garden party theme to life.

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens brought the couple’s garden party theme to life. The goal was to create an atmosphere filled with Southern hospitality for a relaxing yet vivacious time. Sarah and Patrick had a wood-and-white checkerboard dance floor to go with more neutral colors, and perhaps the most unique feature was a bookshelf filled with different cakes, rather than one large wedding cake. “As the guest favors, we had a huge baker’s rack covered in ivy and florals with little cut crystal punch cups that each held a succulent that my mom had propagated over a year,” the bride says. “She grew over 200 succulents and basically turned our sunroom into a greenhouse in the year leading up to the wedding.” Sarah urges couples not to shy away from certain DIY projects if you are feeling crafty and would like to add special or quirky elements to your day. Just make sure you give yourself enough time to do it all. In the end, as Sarah and Patrick stood at the altar taking in the officiant’s story about their love, the couple brimmed over with joy. Every part of their Charleston garden wedding culminated into one joyous event to be cherished forever.

VENDORS photographer: Dana Cubbage Weddings, danacubbageweddings.com, wedding planner: Cruz Coordination, cruzcoordination.com, ceremony/reception site: Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, magnoliaplantation.com, rentals: EventWorks and Ooh! Events, eventworksrentals.com and oohevents.com, lighting: Lowcountry Entertainment, lowcountryentertainmentsc.com, dog nanny service: Dog Tired, dogtiredsc.com, florist: Pretty Petals of Charleston, prettypetalsofcharleston.com, stationery: Meg Morrow Fine Paper, megmorrowdesign.com, gown designer: Berta Bridal, berta.com, bridesmaids’ dresses: Show Me Your Mumu, showmeyourmumu.com, catering: B. Gourmet Catering, bgourmetcatering.com, hair and makeup: Pampered and Pretty, pamperedandprettyxo.com & cakes: The Mixing Bowl and Kaminsky’s Dessert Café, facebook.com/themixingbowlsc and kaminskys.com SPRING & SUMMER 2020








words by: Lauren Ertl images by: Costa Vida Photography wedding planner & event designer: Four Nineteen Weddings


n Halloween night in 2011, at the House of Blues Boston, a couple came together. This wasn’t the only thing that made this couple interesting from the start. Both of them ran popular music blogs, loved traveling and had a dream to move out West. After about seven years of knowing each other, the adventurous couple would embark on a trip of a lifetime to be married in Costa Rica. Alex and Kristyn are both from New England, but packed up and moved to California. Their families knew a New England wedding was unlikely, so when the couple told them of their Costa Rica wedding plans, they were overjoyed. “We had been traveling to Peninsula Papagayo for years and it holds a special place in our hearts,” the couple says. “It represents everything we live our life by; life is fueled by the ocean, nature and wildlife are protected, and the people and culture are colorful and lively!” A wildly colorful atmosphere wasn’t the only thing that would keep the party going at the wedding. Their planner, Barbara from Four Nineteen Weddings, made it as easy as possible and handled every aspect of the wedding weekend so that the couple and their 120 guests could enjoy a wedding vacation. Kristyn knew how valuable it was to have a wedding planner based in the country who spoke the language. “We had four main events and three smaller activities, so [Barbara’s] organizational skills and attention to detail were unmatched,” the bride says.




On the first evening of the four-day celebration, the couple hosted a “welcome to paradise” event with refreshing cocktails, local beer and light appetizers. They even had Pinky Guaro, a four-piece cover band kick off the weekend. The next day, they treated guests to a catamaran adventure including private beaches and snorkeling. On the eve of the wedding was an intimate rehearsal dinner for immediate family and the bridal party. The morning of the big day, the couple offered two pre-wedding activities: a golf scramble on the Ocean Course at Peninsula Papagayo and a spa day. This all led up to the big moment. The ceremony took place at sunset on the beach under a gorgeous floral arch. With the waves softly crashing in the background and the colors of the sunset bringing out the beauty of the bougainvillea and roses above them, Kristyn and Alex said “I do.” “Alex and I wrote our own vows, and sharing them was a profound moment,” Kristyn says. “It’s a powerful thing to try to describe your love for someone – it’s a vulnerable, truthful and passionate moment. It felt like we were the only two people there, but we could feel the love and happiness surrounding us from our family and friends.” VENDORS photographer: Costa Vida Photography, costaricawedphotography.com, wedding planner & event designer: Four Nineteen Weddings, fournineteenweddings.com, ceremony & reception venue: Prieta Beach Club, peninsulapapagayo.com/club/prieta-beach-club, florist: Artflower, artflowercr.com, stationery: Steph B. and Co, stephbco.com, gown designer: Pronovias, pronovias.com, after party dress: Alice McCall, alicemccall.com, groom’s clothing designer: Suit Supply, us.suitsupply.com, bridesmaids’ dresses: Jenny Yoo, jennyyoo.com, hair: Famous Points Beauty Salon, famouspointsbeauty.com, makeup: Maravilla Makeup, maravillamakeup.com, ceremony music: Carillo Brothers, reception music: Buena Calle, facebook.com/buenacalle, after party music: DJ Ciro with Music4You, music4you-events.com, welcome event & rehearsal dinner: Pinky Guaro, facebook.com/pinkyguaro, cake: Victoria Zoch, instagram.com/victoriazoch, wedding food: Prieta Beach Club, peninsulapapagayo.com/club/prietabeach-club & rehearsal food: Chef Nicolas Devenelle with Chef4U, guanacastechef4u.com












“Ryan and I knew from the start that we wanted a destination wedding.”

words by: Camryn Dilger images by: Gideon Photography wedding planner & event designer: Amy Abbott Weddings & Events


atherine and Ryan’s love story began on a sunny Thursday afternoon in Dallas, Texas. Their mutual love of dogs brought them together at a dog-friendly beer garden when Ryan’s French bulldog jumped on Catherine’s lap and knocked over her drink. Ryan offered to buy her another one, and the rest was history. The couple got engaged a year after they met and became husband and wife at sunset in the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains in Mexico. “We considered many destinations across the globe, but ultimately decided on San José del Cabo,” Catherine says. “San José is the more laid-back sister city to Cabo San Lucas.


My family has vacationed there since I was a little girl, and it feels like a second home to us.” The couple strayed from the more common seaside setting and hosted their ceremony in the Mango Grove of Flora Farms instead. They said “I do” surrounded by 25 acres of luscious fruit trees and gardens, complete with an organic farm-to-table restaurant. “I think most of our guests were expecting a beach wedding, so it was a fun surprise,” Catherine says. Catherine added that she and Ryan originally decided on getting married abroad because they loved the idea of combining a wedding and a vacation into one event to experience with their guests. “Rather than trying to fit it all into one day, we had a whole weekend with our loved ones,” the bride says. REAL-LIFE WEDDINGS


During cocktail hour, guests enjoyed signature handcrafted drinks while a classical guitarist provided live music. The reception décor featured an abundance of candles and floral arrangements with roses and fresh lavender. Guests dined on roasted chicken and vegetables, fresh tuna and local burrata. Later, they concluded the night with homemade, wood-fired pizzas. “As two self-proclaimed foodies and music lovers, our reception was all about the tequila, good food and live music,” Catherine says. “We wanted our reception to be as fun and relaxed as possible, and it was everything we hoped for and more.”

VENDORS photographer: Gideon Photography, gideonphoto.com, wedding planner & event designer: Amy Abbott Weddings & Events, amyabbottevents.com, ceremony/reception site: The Mango Grove at Flora Farms, flora-farms.com, florist: Pina Cate, instagram.com/pinacate0202, stationery: Bells & Whistles Design, instagram.com/bellsandwhistlescabo, gown designer: Carolina Herrera, carolinaherrera.com, groom’s clothing designer: The Black Tux, theblacktux.com, bridesmaids’ clothing designer: Joanna August for Bella Bridesmaids, bellabridesmaids.com, groomsmen’s clothing designer: The Black Tux, theblacktux.com, videography: Heart Visuals, heartvisuals.com, officiant: Minister Marco Arechiga, ministermarco.com, catering: Flora Farms and Cabo Cakery, flora-farms.com and cabocakery.com, rentals: Baja Boutique Rental Company and Del Cabo Event Design, bajaboutiquerental.com and delcaboeventdesign.com, band: Kilometro, kmcabo.com, hair & makeup: Blanc Bridal Salon, blancbridalsalon.com, bridal accessories: Jimmy Choo and William Noble Rare Jewels, jimmychoo.com and williamnoble.com




“If I could give any piece of advice to couples planning a destination wedding, it would be to just let go and enjoy the second you step foot on the plane.”









words by: Kate Darnell images by: Jana Dillon Photography weddingplanner & event designer: Moana Belle Events

“[The planning] was just an incredible journey along the way. I enjoyed it as much as my wedding.”


lva and Eric met in a crowded coffee house in Shanghai on a beautiful afternoon. Eric “generously” offered Elva a pass for a design fair with one catch – her phone number. Clearly that gesture of generosity landed him the woman for life. Hawaii had a special place in the couple’s relationship. Having shared their first sunset on Haleakala and Eric popping the question on Kaimana Beach, it only made sense that the pair share this magical destination with their loved ones. “Both our families were very excited about the idea,” recalls Elva. “Eric is from Los Angeles and I am from Shanghai. Honolulu is a poetic middle point for both of us. Our friends and families flew out of the cold winter, got their Reyn Spooner Hawaiian shirts on, and we had the most wonderful time on the island.” A “simple and relaxed ceremony by the ocean” was attended by 72 of the couple’s closest friends and loved ones as they tied the knot “under palm trees and the warm Hawaiian sun.” REAL-LIFE WEDDINGS





In true millennial fashion, the pair found their wedding planners on Instagram.

“I walked down the aisle with an ukulele playing ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love,’ a nice breeze passing through my veil and Eric smiling anxiously by the ocean. We exchanged the vows we wrote for each other. We laughed and teared up. It was everything I had ever wanted and more,” says the bride. The reception had a tropical Hawaiian feel with lots of personal touches. Their best man serenaded them with “Thinking Out Loud” for their first dance, and a surprise hula flash mob brought the party into full swing. “We choreographed and videotaped the [hula] moves and the wedding party, from all over the world, practiced before the wedding. We surprised the guests with our hula moves to an island version of ‘All About that Bass.’ At the end of the song, we invited all the guests to join the hula and thus opened the dance floor.” In true millennial fashion, the pair found their wedding planners on Instagram. “Their team is simply amazing. We had a wonderful planning trip to Honolulu with our planners Moana Belle, where we met our awesome florist and had delicious tastings at local restaurants. I cried when I first saw our wedding venue. It was just an incredible journey along the way. I enjoyed it as much as my wedding.”

VENDORS photographer: Jana Dillon Photography, janadillonphotography.com, wedding planner & event designer: Moana Belle Events, moanabelle.com, ceremony & reception site: Lanikuhonua Cultural Institute, lanikuhonua.com, florist: Passion Roots, passionroots.com, gown designer: Suzanne Neville, suzanneneville.com, catering: MW Restaurant, mwrestaurant.com, rentals & lighting: Accel Event Rentals, Hawaii Tents and Events & Event Accents, accelrentals.com, hawaiitents.com & eventaccents.com, linens: La Tavola Fine Linen, latavolalinen.com, ceremony music: John Riviera, johnriveramusic.com, reception music: Island Kings Band, hawaiianwedding.band, entertainment: Tihati Productions, tihati.com, wedding cake: A Cake Life, acakelife.com & photo booth: Photo Ops Hawaii, photoopshawaii.com





“With a little love and luck you will get by With a little love and luck we’ll take the sky…”

Photo courtesy of: James x Schulze



From beautiful beachfronts to picturesque peaks, celebrate love in exquisite detail.

Worldwide Events

South Asian Weddings

— Photo Creidt

Katherine Stinnett

James and Schulze

Phil Chester

Destination Weddings



Edging the blissful waters of Los Cabos, the Mexican Pacific, and Riviera Maya, our hotels and resorts take your wedding to a new level of magic and enchantment. Given that you’re so special to us, we only hold one wedding per day and schedule an appointment to tailor your event as you’ve always imagined. There’re onsite Wedding Planners certified in South Asian, LGBT and Jewish ceremonies; and you get a certificate to return and celebrate your first anniversary with us. Providing attention to detail, our properties go above and beyond your expectations to create the wedding of your dreams.

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