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Real Weddings in Dream Locations Fall 2013

destination: contents Real Weddings in Dream Locations I S S U E N O . 3 | fa l l 2 0 1 3

6 Editor’s note

You know what makes people happy? Destination weddings. Don’t believe me? Here’s why.


Meet the editorial team behind Destination: W

10 Trends!

Exotic weddings in the Bahamas, the second life of a legendary Fiji resort, Vegas vows with a lot of luxury, and more.

12 5 Travel Agent Secrets

Our go-to destination wedding specialist at Coastline Travel shares her insider tips on finding the spot that’s perfect for you and your crew.

14 A Wedding in Palm Springs A pair of New Yorkers plot their vows in the California desert, and style meets sizzle under the palms. (Wait, is that a bagpiper in the shallow end?)

26 Packing for Palm Springs

Stock that suitcase with golden bling, silver screen sunglasses, and a glam gown that will definitely turn heads.

28 Palm Springs Insider

The city’s Rat Pack attitude lives on—along with some of Cali’s coolest resorts. Meet the people and places who’ll make your wedding sing.


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cover Photograph: Aaron Delesie

weddings at the park, ideal for any season

Our venues offer settings for traditional events to a unique restaurant atmosphere. The wedding arbor surrounded by aspens and evergreens features terraces steps and natural slate that create an unforgettable backdrop for your very special day. For more details, please contact our Catering Department at 970-827-6520. 136 East Thomas Place, Beaver Creek, Colorado 81620

destination: contents 34 a WEdding in irEland

Real Weddings in Dream Locations ISSUE NO. 3


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When your name is Clare and the old sod runs deep in your blood, it’s hard to resist the allure of a charming Irish village—and a glorious manor house hotel.

46 PaCking for irEland

We’ve got a wardrobe made for a Celtic queen, with lustrous jewelry, a castle—worthy gown, and lace shoes fit for the most contemporary Colleen.

48 irEland insidEr

Feast your eyes on luxurious estates, countryside castles, and in-town hotels that will do your wedding proud.

54 a WEdding on st. martin

learn what happens when a couple with a large clan says “no” to New Jersey and “yes” to their favorite Caribbean island. (Spoiler alert: We only print happy endings.)

66 PaCking for st. martin

A wedding in the tropics calls for cool fabrics, hot colors, and an irresistible shot of whimsy.

68 st. martin/st. maartEn insidEr

One island, two countries, and a fine assortment of tropical retreats made for a wedding. learn all about it.

74 Want somE HElP?

No need to leave our site to start planning your destination wedding. We’ve partnered with the most reliable specialists we know to help you and your guests book the whole shebang, airline tickets to hotel rooms. (And it’s free!)


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editor’s note


’ve been reading a bit about what makes people happy, and it seems that positive, shared experiences are the most sure-fire route to feeling great. Studies have compared how people feel after buying a $500 piece of jewelry and after they spend the same amount on a weekend trip with a friend. And the trip wins by a mile.

The next time someone sniffs that destination weddings are indulgent, you’ll know deep down that you’re performing a public service. Enjoy!


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Photo: timothy LamPson PhotograPhy

So it’s not much of a stretch to say that by planning a destination wedding, you’re putting your guests on a direct path to bliss. Consider the months beforehand, during which people have something fun to anticipate even when life hits a snag. And then you’ve got the gathering itself, which creates a sense of group identity and belonging that’s been proven to lower stress. And you can’t disregard the weeks and years of happy memories that follow, another strong indicator of contentment.

the Destination:W staff SALLY KILBRIDGE | Editor in CHiEf the country’s foremost expert on destination weddings and romantic travel, sally spent much of her career directing the editorial team at conde nast’s Brides magazine. she is a regular contributor to, the website of Condé Nast Traveler magazine. KRISTINA JUZAITIS | CrEativE dirECtor heading up design departments at Architectural Digest, Details, and Esquire, Kris has created visual branding for some of the nation’s most prestigious magazines. her style—the heart of Destination: W—is sophisticated, elegant, and fun. BOB PAYNE | travEl Editor While he’s trekked across greenland by dogsled and the sahara by camel, our award-winning travel editor is no stranger to luxury hotels and tropical beaches. a senior correspondent at Condé Nast Traveler magazine, he has visited 141 countries and all seven continents. KRISTI DRAGO-PRICE | ContriBUting PHotograPHY dirECtor after over a decade heading the photo department at Brides magazine, Kristi went from editing photos to taking them; she brings a fresh, naturalistic approach to wedding pictures and lifestyle sittings. SARAH H. LEINGANG | fasHion & BEaUtY Editor sarah spent eight years in the beauty and accessories departments of Brides magazine, and now adds bridal fashion and ready-to-wear to her beat. she discovered her love of fashion during her competitive figure skating days, thus explaining her obsession with sheer illusion. BARRIE GILLIES | dEPUtY Editor barrie started her career at Cosmopolitan magazine, where part of her job entailed interviewing america’s most eligible bachelors. subsequent editorial positions found her chin-deep in beauty, childcare, and weddings at Fitness, Parents, and Brides. she loves interviewing our real couples. CRISTINA LOZITO | PHoto Editor our photo editor previously worked at Brides Local magazines, where she snagged real weddings for 16 regional editions. in addition to acquiring stunning weddings for Destination: W, cristina loves taking her own pictures; her secret talent is an eye for arranging wedding flowers. 8

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Photos : saLLy: timothy LamPson, Kristi: PErry hagoPian, sarah: tErrEnCE LEingang, BarriE: BiLL DrUmmy, Cristina: CharLottE JEnKs LEWis


“no Elvis” vEgas ZonE

The las Vegas wedding scene isn’t all Elvis impersonators and drive-through chapels. Case in point: the new wedding facilities at ARIA Resort & Casino, which include a luxe 60-seat chapel with video facilities and separate lounge areas for both girls and guys (the latter has a pool table and wet bar). You can order pre-ceremony hors d’oeuvres from Jean-Georges Vongerichten, have your wedding cake baked at Jean Philippe Patisserie, and treat the gang to an evening at Cirque du Soleil. Sin City just got a dose of sweet. 10

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fivE-star fiJi

What’s not to like about a private-island resort where you land in a seaplane, wade into shore, and spend your days in blissful idleness? Vatulele, which has been one of Fiji’s most exclusive properties for the last 23 years, has just emerged from

JamaiCa’s HiPstEr HidEoUt

The Caribbean’s trendiest wedding spot sits where the Blue Mountains tumble down to Jamaica’s most pristine beaches. Port Antonio, a favorite Hollywood retreat in the 1950s, is experiencing a rebirth of hotel hipness, spearheaded by the Geejam resort group. Geejam’s prime candidate for a glam wedding: Trident Castle, a 40,000-square-foot estate with eight bedrooms (overflow guests can bunk in its sister properties), a helicopter pad, and its own chapel. Marrying fairytale looks with the area’s cool factor, it’s a genuine find.

indian voWs, BaHamian BEaCHEs

a massive reno, which introduced plenty of 21st century comforts. Weddings here are small and unforgettable: traditionally dressed Fijian warriors accompany you to the beach, a village choir sings, and children toss flower petals in the sand. All this and resort-wide Wi-Fi access? Heaven.

Part of you has your heart set on a traditional Indian ceremony. And part of you craves the ease of an island wedding. A new event division at Atlantis, the Paradise Island megaresort, specializes in Hindu-style weddings, so you can satisfy your soul with traditional ceremony elements (mandaps, thrones, malas, a firepit for the seven circuits of the Holy Fire), feast on Chef Rajesh Kattaria’s spectacular cuisine, and bask in all that Bahamian sunshine. Who’d have thunk?

A ceremony in the Penthouse Suite at The Shore Club on Miami Beach lets you mix intimate with trendy in a city that’s a breeze to reach.

our travel expert’s

5tips for Successful Destination Wedding travel

Erin ZEttEr is our go-to destination wedding travel expert at the coastline travel advisors, the virtuoso travel agency we’re partnered with. the santa barbara, california, native’s passion for art, culture and adventure have taken her all over the world, and made her the person you want to talk to if you’re thinking about a wedding in mexico, say, or europe, or the south Pacifi c. she knows the secrets to successful destination wedding travel, which is why we’re delighted she took the time recently to share some of her best. 12 Destination: W


It’s all about personality. Are the bride and groom, and their guests, more suited for a sandy beach, a castle in Ireland or an African savannah? Are they looking for an adults-only option, or is it a family friendly celebration? Especially if there will be children, you want to make sure the destination has plenty of activities to keep everyone happy.


Where do the guests live? How accessible is the destination? Consider that while some guests might live near major air gateways, others might have more limited travel options. Find out all the costs up front, with save-the-dates going out 6-8 months ahead of time. This not only helps with your own budget but also helps guests decide if they can afford to attend. And to help everyone, look into group rates, both with airlines and at the resort.

Settings for a garden wedding don’t get much lovelier than at the Domaine de la Baume in Provence; well worth the trip.

If you’re fantasizing about a Caribbean wedding under the palms, it doesn’t get easier for you (or your guests) than the St. Regis Bahia Beach—just 20 minutes from the San Juan, Puerto Rico, airport.

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR THE PROPERTY YOU CHOOSE TO HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH DESTINATION WEDDINGS? WHAT ABOUT THE LEGALITIES OF MARRYING IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY? In some destinations, the legal requirements are complicated enough so that couples make things official before they depart, then invite family and friends to celebrate at the destination. Some points to take into account: Almost always, if your marriage is legal in a foreign country, it’s legal in the U.S; just be sure you have the proper paperwork. If you’re planning a religious ceremony, make sure you’ll be able to find an officiant of your religion (for example: in a strongly Catholic country, it may be hard to find a Rabbi). If it is to be a same-sex union, find out if they’re allowed.

Very important. You want to know if they have an event planner on staff, or can recommend one in the local area. You’ll want to make sure that the event planner becomes familiar with you, your preferences, and your budget, so they can help make the best decisions. If possible, consider visiting the destination before the wedding, so that you can see the location and make final decisions on vendors, etc.

IS IT A GOOD IDEA TO COMBINE YOUR WEDDING AND HONEYMOON? Sure, but remember that your guests may want to make a vacation out of their trip as well. So if you’re looking for privacy after the celebration consider moving to a different property.

Palm Springs

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jen & ed Photographs by text by

Br a e d o n F ly n n

b a rr i e g i l l i e s

Real Weddings in Dream Locations


ennifer Gardikas and Ed Caesar fell in love while walking the cobblestone streets of New York’s Greenwich Village. Three years later, they became engaged after moving to Southern California.

Then began the where-do-we-marry debate: The bride’s family live in California, while most of the groom’s clan is in New York. In the end, they settled on Palm Springs. “The idea of warm weather, a convenient airport, and the town’s Old Hollywood history appealed to us,” says the bride. “We figured the New Yorkers could take a mini vacation.”

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As for the venue, the couple had several criteria: 1. Outdoor areas for both ceremony and reception. 2. Dancing until midnight. 3. A place that would work with their budget. Jen and her mom visited several locations and landed on the Viceroy, a modernchic boutique resort set among three courtyards at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains. “It was perfect for us” says Jen, “and the staff were amazingly accommodating.” And what of the New York of their hearts? While Jen couldn’t transport the Chrysler Building to the desert, she used Manhattan as inspiration for the décor. “I chose a palette of neutrals with pops of metallic and coral, plus sparkling bistro lights. It felt as if we’d brought a bit of the city to Palm Springs.”

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location & Vendor lIST Photographer

Braedon Flynn


Lindsay Longacre of LVL Weddings & Events;


The Viceroy Palm Springs;


Elizabeth Fillmore;


Cheer up Cherup;


Henry Streek Martinez;


Captain MacLeod;


Leilani Hailey;


Lauren Feist;

“Ed and I had so much fun! When you have 125 guests who

have traveled far to celebrate with you have an obligation to them. But we enjoyed every single moment, totally stress-free.�

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“My Irish husband, Ed, had planned every second of the music, including the ceremony. What he didn’t know is that I had found an amazing bagpiper. The ceremony music played until my mom and grandparents were seated—and then it stopped. You can imagine Ed’s surprise following that second of silence, when Captain MacLeod came around the corner, piping in the bridal party! Ed loved it!”


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“With any destination wedding, you relinquish a lot of control,” says Jen. “So do your research and love your venue and vendors. We worked with the Viceroy because it’s a beautiful place and also because we felt a connection with Jessika and Olivia, the resort’s event coordinators. And our own planner, Lindsay, was a lifesaver—she worked through details we hadn’t even thought about because she knew the venue.” 24

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ADVICE from JEN & ED • SET UP A WEBSITE. “Half of our guests were flying in, so most of our site was dedicated to travel information. We included our hotel details as well as additional choices in the area, airport and shuttle options, plus activities in the area.” • SURROUND YOURSELVES WITH GOOD PEOPLE. “Make sure you have vendors that you like and can communicate well with. You’ll be spending a lot of time with them, whether it is via phone or email, or in person.“

• ACCEPT PLENTY OF HELP. “My mom was a huge help, as were my bridesmaids. I loved having a reason to call or spend time with them. And Ed was my rock, keeping me calm when I’d get anxious. I enjoyed every step of the process.” • KEEP IT PERSONAL. “Ed’s brother, Matt, married us. Matt’s wife read an Irish blessing. In fact, all of our siblings were part of the wedding. That’s what made us the happiest.”



Packing for


Palm Springs 26

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Presmer, $44-$80 each

lIQUID EYElINER guerlain, $37


Karen Walker, $280


badgley mischka, $300


monique lhuillier, $795



beneямБt, $26

Kara Ross, $120




A PAlM SPRINGS WEDDING MIGHT BE PERFECT IF YOU . . . • Insist on sunshine, but are relaxed about everything else • Have a thing for palm trees, pools, and putting greens • Appreciate retro architecture, and aren’t afraid to use it in your design • Met your fiancé here over a martini on Spring Break

LAY OF THE LAND: Palm Springs exists, and is so popular for destination weddings, because of Mount San Jacinto. In the winter, when this part of Southern California might otherwise be shivering, the mountain blocks the north winds and creates a perfect climate for marching down the aisle in the sunshine. It doesn’t block the Hollywood crowd,

though, who are just over two hours away by car and who contribute significantly to the town’s celebration of divergent lifestyles. Its kitschy 1950’s architecture is part of its charm and has been the setting for many a retrothemed wedding. But if your style and guest list are on a grander scale, there’s also no shortage of more traditional resorts. —Bob Payne

The Parker Palm Springs

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The Parker Palm Springs



Palm Springs Wedding Planners We Love • • •

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JW marriot

CLIMATE Palm Springs is in the desert, remember? So let somebody else sweat it out looking for the off-season rates of July and August. You want the best of everything for your wedding, including the weather, so plan on getting married some time between January through May, when days will be sunny but not unbearably hot. October through December is high season, with accompanying crowds and prices. MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS California marriage licenses are similar to those issued by most states, with one exception, which is useful if you happen to be a film idol or rock star. California actually has two types of marriage licenses, public, and confidential. The latter, although entirely legal, require no witnesses

and are not available for public viewing. For the rest of us, there are the usual requirements, which you can see here in full. GROUP HUGS What to do with the gang before the wedding: • Chill by riding the aerial tramway from desert heat to the snow-covered heights of Mount San Jacinto. • Tour the house where Elvis and Priscilla Presley spent their honeymoon, exactly nine months before lisa Marie was born. • Explore the stream-cooled trails and awesome rock formations of Indian Canyons. • Visit one of the holdouts from the Rat Pack days, Melvyn’s at Ingleside Inn, for classic cocktails.

the Parker Palm springs


oUR PicK oF Palm sPRings Wedding hotels

if YoU Want it strEamlinEd and glam: The Viceroy Palm Springs takes a tailored approach to Hollywood Regency style, with a bold black, white, and yellow color scheme set against a rugged mountain backdrop. if YoUr dEsErt fantasY involvEs a Boat: Arrive at your ceremony location aboard a gondola at the JW Marriott Desert Springs, whose extensive network of lakes and waterways will let you imagine you’ve found Venice in the desert. if YoU Want to savE somE $$$: Billing itself as the Ace Hotel & Swim Club, this 170-room former Howard Johnsons, its restaurant once a Denny’s, is as kitschy and as cool as it gets in Palm Springs, and the prices will make you smile. They love to do weddings, have many space options, and, the real clincher, offer a midnight tamale cart for late-partying guests.

the viceroy

IF YOU LIKE ECCENTRICITY WITH A SIDE OF HIP: The Parker Palm Springs, famously decorated by designer Jonathan Adler, mixes such elements as medieval armor, leopard fabric, and hanging wicker chairs into the most playful resort in the desert. With croquet courts, fire pits, pools, and plenty of gardens, there’s no shortage of ceremony and reception sites.

The Ace Hotel

The Colony

IF YOU CAN SEE THE APPEAL OF MOBSTERS MEET MOROCCO: Built with mob money in the 1930’s and redone in a Moroccan style a few years back, the 56-room room Colony Palms has become a popular setting for very small, very hip, very adult weddings. Destination: W


Ireland a r e d a

Clare & Chris Photographs by text by


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Aaron Delesie

b a rr i e g i l l i e s


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Virginians Clare McGovern and Chris Lewis chose Ireland for their wedding because of the country’s beauty, the memories their guests would take home, and the bride’s heritage. “I was named Clare for our family coat of arms,” says the bride. “The de Clare family came to Ireland from England and settled in County Clare.”

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THE LOCATION The star attraction in a thatch-roofed village that’s a fixture on the tour bus route, Adare Manor’s neo-Gothic architecture and formal gardens look like a French chateau transported to Ireland. Adare lured Clare and Chris for practical reasons, too: It’s only a 25-minute drive from Shannon Airport, so jet-lagged guests could practically walk off the plane and into bed. It was the perfect spot for 90 friends to get a taste of the house-party life, some lingering for a week to enjoy clay pigeon shooting and fly fishing, as well as carriage rides, village strolls, and whiskey tastings.

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THE CEREMONY The couple wed at St. Nicolas Friary, a 700-year-old Augustinian friary that sits on the banks of the Maigue river. (The couple went fly fishing there the day after their wedding.) In the spirit of the austere space, the ceremony was simple—an organist, two readings and a short service. “After the ceremony, we drove around in a Rolls-Royce and had a glass of champagne before going into the reception,” says Clare. “It was an awesome ride.”


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THE PARTY One long table was arranged to seat the 90 guests for a six-course meal with wine pairings. “The configuration added to the fairy-tale feel of the evening and suited the space perfectly,” says Chris. When the “official” reception came to a close at midnight, the hardier guests headed to the tap room. “The Irish folk band we’d hired for Friday night’s dinner ended up hanging out for the weekend. They took out their instruments for a show that lasted into the wee hours,” says Chris. “Some of the guests closed the bar down at 5 am.”


Aaron Delesie

Wedding planner Michelle McDermott

Reception location & catering Adare Manor

Dress Monique Lhuillier

Bridesmaids’ dresses J.Crew; Groom’s suit Bespoke tux from Rock Custom Tailoring

Invitations Wedding Paper Divas

location & Vendor lIST

Cake Sue Cummins of A Cake for all Occasions

Florist Lawless Flowers

Music Moxie (rehearsal dinner)

Groove Orchestra (reception)


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“I always wanted something totally low key or a blow-out. My father encouraged us to do something we’d always remember in a gorgeous place. Ireland is close to our hearts and we fell in love with Adare the instant we visited.”


Gerard Yosca, $165


Ireland Packing for




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Dolce&Gabbana, $24


Ines Di SInes Di Santo, $9,375,





• Have a thing for flutes and fiddles, bagpipes and harps • Feel any landscape is improved with a light layer of mist • like the idea of making your entrance down a baronial staircase • Embrace your heritage, even if not everyone is convinced you descend from Irish kings LAY OF THE LAND: Depending on your wedding location, you’ll fly into Dublin, on the east coast, or to Shannon, in the southwest. If you’re not keen on city vows (though Dublin is a congenial metropolis) chances are you’ll want to head for a countryside estate, castle, or lodge. The further west you go, the more rugged things get, with the Atlantic coast boasting the most spectacular scenery. While motorways are easy to navigate, rural driving can be a challenge, what with left-side driving and flocks of sheep. Nonetheless, the lure


of white-washed cottages and peatwarmed pubs is impossible to ignore. —Bob Payne

Beara Peninsula, County Cork

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CLIMATE locals call the climate “soft”—which basically means you should anticipate a bit of rain even on the fairest summer days. Make sure any outdoor wedding arrangements have a good indoor backup plan. MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS legal marriage in Ireland isn’t easy to pull off for visitors; it involves a nine-day minimum residency and then a 22-day waiting period after you file your paperwork. We suggest a civil ceremony before leaving home (Town Hall will do); have a ceremonial vow renewal complete with Irish Blessing once you arrive. If you do wish to go the legal route, here are the details. GROUP HUGS What to do with the gang before the wedding: • Head for a seisiun, an impromptu musical practice (check the local paper for listings) • Book everyone a round of golf, a near-religious experience. • Gather the gang in a seaside pub for Galway oysters and Guinness • lace up the hiking boots for a walk around Connemara National Park, some of the most glorious countryside on the planet

the dylan dublin

dromoland Castle



irish Wedding Planners We Love • • •

Sheen Falls Lodge



oUr PiCk of irisH WEdding HotEls

if YoU HarBor PrinCEss fantasiEs: You’ll take a tiny ferry across the River Suir to Waterford Castle, where stone crenellations and ivy-covered walls fulfill a weekend’s worth of royal fantasies. Hold your ceremony in the medieval great hall and sleep in a bedchamber straight out of a fairy tale. if YoU’vE got an aCtivE CrEW: There’s a reason hiking, kayaking, and falconry are stars of Sheen Falls lodge gatherings: How better to enjoy the 300 acres of heather-covered mountains on the banks of Kenmare Bay? And if you like indoor comforts, the kitchen takes its cues from local waters, dairies, and farms.

Waterford Castle

mariannes Cottage, sheen falls lodge

Dylan Dublin

If You Want a City Wedding: On the edge of the city center, the Dylan Dublin is Victorian outside, elegantly edgy inside, and delighted to accommodate a civil ceremony in the library, a drinks reception on the terrace, or cured organic salmon, Wicklow lamb, and wild garlic puree in the restaurant. If Getting There Has to Be Easy: Romance-minded Americans have been making pilgrimages to Dromoland Castle for 50 years, for storybook looks, superb golf, and five-star fishing—all just a 10-minute drive from Shannon airport. Dromoland can supply a horse-drawn carriage with coachman and as many harpists as your heart desires. If Price Is No Object: Since emerging from a nine-year restoration in 2011, Ballyfin, a country house hotel that could give Downton Abbey an inferiority complex, has won just about every award the travel world bestows. If you’ve got the funds, its 600 acres of grottoes, gardens, and follies could make for the most extravagant Irish wedding ever.


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Whitney & Joseph Photographs by text by

K a r i n vo n Vo i gt l a n d e r barrie gillies

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estination weddings run in Joseph forrester’s family. His siblings married in las Vegas, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean, so when he and Whitney Meyer decided to get married on St. Martin, it wasn’t exactly a shock. Still, Whitney had her concerns. “I knew if we had our wedding in New Jersey, it would be huge, and I wanted something intimate and unique,” says Whitney. “But I was worried my family would be against the idea. Instead, they were immediately excited.”


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St. Martin is the couple’s go-to vacation spot, and the bride felt confident about putting together a wedding for 75 guests. After tons of internet research and a short trip to the island, the couple managed to secure the locale—a luxe hilltop villa—book an awesome DJ, and choose a thoroughly French menu. Whitney created an all-white reception brightened with pastel hues borrowed from the pink and purple table flowers. “We were able to get the elegant wedding we both wanted with an island attitude. We had an amazing view of the Caribbean but the ladies could wear heels.” Their top memory? “We got pregnant on our honeymoon with our daughter Peyton Rose.” The fairytale continues. Destination: W 19

location & Vendor lIST Photographer KarinVon Voigtlander; Ceremony & reception location Villa les Jardins de Bellevue; Dress Maggie Sottero; Invitations: LetterBoxInk; Catering, Cake & Party Rentals: Fabulous Feasts; Florist Au Temps des Fleurs; Music DJ Frank Nachum

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sweetest SURPRISE? “How relaxed Joe and I were! Everyone danced, drank and had a great time. Perfection!”

“Joe and I knew we wanted an island wedding

and there was no other spot closer to our hearts than St. Martin. We love St. Martin because the island is small enough so you can experience all of it—from the laid-back atmosphere of the Dutch side to the awesome beaches and culinary delights of the French side.”


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THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE “Securing accommodations for our guests was a bit of a problem. Since our wedding wasn’t at a resort, I needed to scout other venues and to give friends options. I set up guest rates at two different hotels so everyone could choose which would be better for them. A few of our friends rented a house on the ocean and split the bill. You definitely have to be organized when planning a long-distance affair.”

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ADVICE FROM WHITNEY & JOSEPH Communication is key. “We were dealing with many French vendors and the language barrier accounted for some mistakes. I didn’t realize how important it is to be as detailed as possible.” Don’t overpack. “I brought way too much décor stuff from home. I didn’t even use the candles because it was windy!” Think about how you schedule the extracurriculars. “We booked a catamaran trip to Anguilla’s Prickly Pear Island on Wednesday and the next day we planned a yacht race. Looking back, I would have spaced them out. A lot of people got sunburned on the first trip and didn’t make the race.”


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Packing for

NERISSA MINAUDIÈRE Rafé new york, $495

STICK PEARl EARRINGS lena skadegard, $745

DOVEY STRAPlESS GOWN love, yu, $2,000 lOUISA WOVEN TOTE Joie, $118


sachajuan, $28


KiraKira, $638



Zimmermann, $220

EMIlY BlUSH CRINKlE SIlK CHIFFON GOWN donna morgan bridesmaids, $230


charlotte olympia, $525

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• like the idea of celebrating your nuptials in two foreign countries • Want to shop for Paris fashion, without the jetlag • Think French cuisine gets even better when served under a palm tree • Always knew yours would be a beach wedding

LAY OF THE LAND: The Caribbean island of Saint Martin, roughly divided in half by French Saint Martin and Dutch Sint Maarten, is proof that sharing can work. The two countries have been on the island for hundreds of years, but have yet to see the need for any kind of border check. So you can have a wedding on either side (following the laws of their

respective nations if you are going the full legal route) but then split accommodations, venues, entertainment, etc., between the two as you choose. look for more nightlife on the Dutch side, more fashionable shopping and smaller, more intimate hotels, on the French. And expect to find good food and good beaches everywhere. —Bob Payne

Westin St. Maarten

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CLIMATE December through March is the dry, busy, more expensive season. Temps aren’t much warmer the rest of the year, but rain showers are more likely, and June through September is hurricane season, with lower prices and fewer crowds, if you feel like gamblilng.


MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS Each side of the island has its own marriage requirements. They are detailed here for St. Martin, and here for St. Maarten. Basically, although the French side’s month-long residency requirement has been waived, marriage banns have to be published 10 days in advance on both sides. The Dutch require you to be there two days prior to the ceremony and to have gotten written permission from the lt. Governor, which can take up to two months. GROUP HUGS What to do with the gang before the wedding: • Cruise the boardwalk in Philipsburg, but not on a day when cruise ships are in. • Arrive hungry at the string of lolos, or creole barbecue shacks, along the beach in Grand Case. • Treat everyone to a sunset toast of guavaberry rum. • Check out the scene at Orient Beach, keeping in mind that it’s clothing optional.


Wedding PlanneRs We love in st. maRtin/st. maaRten

• • •

Grand Case Beach Club

Destination: W


l’Esplanade Hotel l’Esplanade


oUR PicK oF st. maRtin/st. maaRten Wedding hotels if YoU dEBatEd: CariBBEan or CotE d’aZUr? A low-slung Orient-Express luxury resort on a prime section of beach, la Samanna is about as chic and as French as Saint Martin gets. If you want to go dressy, in a tropical way, this is the place. Views of the Baie longue are fantastic, but don’t try to enjoy them in September and October, when the hotel is closed. if YoU Want sEClUsion, for UP to 1,000 gUEsts: The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, St. Maarten, which sits on the Dutch side’s pleasant Dawn Beach, is a bit isolated, but with all the facilities to support a 325-room hotel, including a casino, vast infinity pool, and huge venue spaces indoors and out, your guests won’t have trouble keeping busy.

la samanna

IF YOU’RE ALREADY DREAMING OF THE NEXT ISLAND: At the northern end of the French side of the island, the Grand Case Beach Club is a collection of condo-like buildings on the beach. The beach isn’t huge, so most couples opt to hold their ceremony on the hotel’s thumb-like peninsula, which looks out on Anguilla. Sonesta Maho Bay

IF YOUR STYLE IS INTIMATE: Also in Grand Case, Hotel L’Esplanade is a luxe 25-room Mediterranean-style hideaway on a hilltop perch made for watching the sun drop into the sea. If you’re looking for a house-party-style wedding, look no further. IF YOU WANT TO MAKE A GRAND GESTURE The Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino, on the Dutch side, is almost Vegas-like in its grandeur, down to the cabaret shows and night club, and at more than 500 rooms it is as big as resorts get on the island. A favorite wedding venue among its 10 acres of grounds is the gazebo, overlooking the Caribbean.

Westin St. Maarten

B O O K I T !it! booK


Want exPeRt helP With yoUR Planning? it’s FRee! If you’re interested in one of the locations in this issue, or if you want to explore other options for a destination wedding anywhere in the world, get in touch with our partners at Coastline Travel Advisors ( This team of top travel insiders, with extensive experience in destination weddings, is genius at:


• Booking air travel • negotiating group hotel prices • organizing ground transportation • arranging travel insurance • administering bridal and honeymoon travel registries

They'll hold your hand every step of the way and will coordinate your guests’ travel without charging anyone an extra fee. (If you want them to help with the wedding itself, they’re happy to do that for an additional cost.) This way you can spend less time sweating the details and more time enjoying your engagement.

e-mail erin Zetter or call 800-345-2483.

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S T. M A R T I N

Destination: W Issue Number 3, Fall 2013  

Real Weddings in Dream Locations

Destination: W Issue Number 3, Fall 2013  

Real Weddings in Dream Locations