Page 1


What’s Trending in 2017 Say “I do” in Ireland Honeymoons in Bora Bora & Bali

Dear Brides and Bridegrooms, Congratulations on your engagement! A double celebration is in order … your destination wedding and your honeymoon. I’m an expert at planning both and take a true delight in being part of your life’s most anticipated events. You deserve to enjoy every minute of your engagement … that means discovering the best ideas and trends, and then relying on an expert you can trust to help you create a remarkable celebration. This issue of DestinationVows is loaded with tips, trends, and stories of real destination weddings and honeymoons – inspiration for creating the most unforgettable event! Whether you’re eloping, celebrating with just a few loved ones, or inviting everyone along for the ride … I’ll make planning your big event a piece of cake. My years of experience and inside connections with the finest hotels, resorts and cruise lines around the world are your entrée to unsurpassed quality and value. I pride myself on my ability to be attuned to every aspect of your taste and style, while paying careful and creative attention to all the details … so that your entire experience flows seamlessly! Destination weddings and honeymoons are my passion: I promise that yours will be a one-of-a-kind experience, designed and handcrafted just for you. I can’t wait to begin the exciting journey to a destination wedding or honeymoon beyond your dreams! Best Wishes, Agency name Your Ensemble® DestinationVows Specialist

In this issue 2017 Destination Wedding Trends


New ideas for your special day

Around the World Wedding Destinations


Dreamy wedding venues all over the world

A Whimsical Wedding in Ireland


Elina & Filip tie the knot in the Irish countryside

Napa & Bora Bora: An Extraordinary Two-Part Honeymoon


Cara & Jeff celebrate their love of wine and wonderment

Destination Wedding Checklist


A handy list to keep your wedding planning on track

Top 5 Adventure Weddings


The top wedding locales for more adventurous couples

So, That Was Pretty Cool


Rick & Jenny take an exotic honeymoon in Bali

Las Vegas: The Wedding Capital of the World


Viva Las Vegas for unique wedding ideas





© Ensemble Travel® Group. All rights reserved. 2017 Ensemble Travel® Group. Ensemble DestinationVows®, is a registered trademark of Ensemble Travel® Group. No part of this publication may be reprinted or otherwise duplicated without written permission of the publisher. Ensemble DestinationVows® is published once a year on behalf of Ensemble Travel® Group member agencies. Ensemble DestinationVows 2017



Ensemble DestinationVows 2017

Planning a

Destination Wedding? Let us help you create your happily ever after! Here are 5 reasons why. The


Having only one person plan your destination wedding and travel arrangements for your friends and family is so much simpler.

It’s Stress-Free

Let your Ensemble® DestinationVows Specialist handle the stress, allowing you more time to enjoy the moment.

The Confidence

Put your mind at ease knowing your destination wedding plans and requests will be managed in a professional, timely manner.

The DV


You gain confidence knowing your Ensemble® DestinationVows Specialist has established a good reputation and has built great relationships with hoteliers and on-site wedding coordinators.

Our Passion

To know that your Ensemble® DestinationVows Specialist truly cares about planning your wedding and will be with you every step of the way.

Contact your Ensemble® DestinationVows Specialist to learn more.

Ensemble DestinationVows 2017



The Next Wave

Tying the knot in a faraway land has always been daring, avant-garde, and unique. But this year, there’s a fresh wave of unconventional weddings on the rise. It’s no longer enough to skip the traditional hometown ceremony and run off to a beach. Now, expressing one’s individuality is being plumbed to new depths. Instead of asking, “What are the cool kids doing?” today’s rebellious lovebirds are asking, “What is no one doing?” Then, they’re going with that.

Ensemble DestinationVows 2017




How far will you go for


Today’s travel-happy brides and grooms are marrying in autumn instead of spring — and they’re choosing destinations that are farther away from home. While beach resorts and tropical islands are still popular, some are opting for locales that don’t have that “done before” feel. The result is swoon-worthy affairs in achingly beautiful Chilean vineyards, atop rugged Icelandic cliffs, set against minimalist desert landscapes, amongst Mediterranean ruins, and beyond.

Mixing and matching traditions Another growing trend with a twist is the reinterpretation of ethnic and cultural practices. Today’s couples are celebrating their heritage in exciting, new ways. Often, mixing Western customs with meaningful rituals and practices from their respective family backgrounds. More adventurous pairs who have traveled together before marriage are handpicking customs that hold special meaning for them. A couple who took a trip to Ireland, for example, might decide to incorporate Celtic hand-fasting into their ceremony. Others might include a tea ceremony from Vietnam, the Chinese double happiness symbol, henna painting, or Polynesian flower leis.


Ensemble DestinationVows 2017

The return of the demure


Conservative grandmothers are breathing a sigh of relief as the lingerie-dress phenomenon wanes and more modest designs make a comeback. You can thank the Duchess of Cambridge for the re-emergence of long sleeves. On the bridal fashion runways, we saw out-sized sleeves on Vera Wang’s Filomena dress, lacy elegance on Carolina Herrera’s Emilie, peek-a-boo sleeves on Ines di Santo’s Madeleine, and Pronovias’ feather cuffed Nuria. Ines di Santo's Madeleine, 2017 collection

Monique Lhuillier's Hallee, Fall 2017 collection

Grace Loves Lace Hollie 2.0 collection

Vera Wang's Filomena, Fall 2017 collection

Jenny Packham's Dixie, 2017 collection

Carolina Herrera's Emilie, Fall 2017 collection

Plus, did you notice? The dresses have names! While a few designers are sticking to numbers, others are giving their gowns actual personalities. The Hallie from Monique Lhuillier was a big hit on the catwalks. With a whopping 2.5 million pins, the most popular wedding dress on Pinterest was the Hollie 2.0, by Australian label Grace Loves Lace. Other dress design twists include a wider range of chic pantsuits, long peplum tops, gorgeous petal-like capes, and halter styles with high necklines like those on Wang’s Bess and Dagmar or Pronovias’ Noa. Though sheaths are easier to pack, some brides are finding the feminine allure of tulle too much to resist. This year, the tulle awards go to Vera Wang’s Alden and Sigourney, Jenny Packham’s Dixie, and Hayley Paige’s Arlo.

Authenticity is in the


When it comes to traveling brides and beauty routines, we’re living in a post-Kardashian world. In stark contrast to the facial contouring and dramatic hairstyles happening back home, au courant destination brides are keeping it simple with healthy-looking, natural makeup; soft, romantic hair; and sweet, blush-pink nails. We’re seeing less of the black eyeliner and finely sprayed up-dos and more bohemian braids, loose beach waves, and easy yet sophisticated chignons. Those with thick or curly locks are livening things up with sparkling headbands and bejeweled headpieces.

Ensemble DestinationVows 2017




Men are getting more stylish

For the men, bolder style choices are in. Courageous grooms are sporting solid colored ensembles or black suits with strong, jewel-hued ties. The trend seems to be single-breasted, one-button jackets that draw the eye to the waist, à la everything Tom Ford ever designed. Stylish standouts include sharp, dandy-style tuxedos with a snow-white shirts and cravats or suits made from patterned brocade fabrics that give the vest and jacket a visual pop. In refreshed ethnic ceremonies, we’re seeing gold-embroidered dashikis with matching kufi hats and handsome Mughal-era sherwanis with stunning combinations of brocade, velvet, rich silks, and more.

Photography is center stage

Today, professional wedding photographers are playing a more central role, acting as visual consultants, even participating in the planning of the actual event. Which location works best as a backdrop? What sort of lighting are we after? Some couples are scaling back elsewhere so they can spring for a team of photographers and videographers who work together to tell the wedding story. Documentary-style action shots, images that set the scene, are the key to storytelling. Savvy pros aim for in-the-moment shots like carved wooden doors opening to reveal the bride. A tear being wiped away from a father’s cheek. The groom, pacing. The maid of honor getting choked up when it’s her turn for a speech. Social media is playing a big role too. Many wedding photographers are publicizing their portfolios and travel schedules on Instagram and Facebook. Fun, sharable images trending now include newlyweds jumping in the air, guests photo-bombing the happy couple, day-after shots, and grid formats. In addition to wedding videos, photographers are also delivering highlight films and animated GIFs that can be shared right away.

The bold and the beautiful

Pantone’s fashion color report for Spring 2017 offers a wide range with evocative names like Niagara, Lapis, Primrose, Flame, Island Paradise, Pale Dogwood, Greenery, Yarrow, Hazelnut, and Kale. And some couples are going with their flow. Others are shunning the corporate color overlords and going their own way. Bold, jewel tones – Venetian red, sapphire blue, and purple hues – are replacing traditional pinks and blues. And black and white is making a comeback as destination couples work to simplify, simplify, simplify.


Ensemble DestinationVows 2017

Let’s cake that up a notch

Naked (un-iced) and semi-naked cakes are still big this year, many decorated with fresh fruits or flowers and laser-cut toppers that spell out “love” … “better together” … or “Mr. & Mrs.” Making a comeback, are three-tiered cakes iced in soft, white buttercream swirls and decorated with locally sourced flowers or edible accents, like sugar shells and starfish. We’re also seeing glamorous metallic touches, cakes covered in sugar ruffles or roses, white fondant cakes with sugar-veil lace details, and outdoorsy cakes accented with green succulents or herbs. When it comes to geometrics, designers are moving away from dots and toward bold squares and triangles.

Local eats and drinks

Where it’s available, fresh, healthy, organic food and farm-to-table fare is still in demand. Places like the Hawaiian Islands are coming through with tantalizing dishes made from locally sourced ingredients. In other locations, highlighting the cuisine of the region — serving roasted lamb and Arctic char in Iceland, for example – augments the destination wedding experience. With an uptick in daytime weddings, many couples are going with brunch instead of dinner or creating gorgeous buffets with garden-party-style finger sandwiches and fountains of champagne. Speaking of drinks, signature cocktails are all the rage and artisan ingredients are in. From sparkling sangrias and maple bourbon Old Fashioneds to elderflower and honey martinis and passion fruit punch, individuality is the name of the game.

Photos above: Dark Roux Photography, New Orleans

Is our wedding trending yet?

With professional-level web sites, interactive invites, awesome planning apps, and the wonders of crowdsourcing, pulling a destination celebration together is easier than ever. Top picks for today’s best wedding apps include: Paperless Post, WeddingWire/ WedSocial, Look Book by The Knot, Appy Couple, Zola Registry, Honeyfund, I Do Foundation, Zank You, CrowdRise, WedSocial, Spotify, LiveLens, WedPics, and more. Want a secret space just for the two of you? Check out Duet, Couple, Avocado, and Between. When it comes to social media, many are choosing unplugged weddings that allow guests to enjoy the ceremony while professional photographers capture sophisticated images and an unobtrusive social media concierge live-tweets the event. At the reception, smartphones get turned back on and the sharing begins. Don’t forget the custom hashtag, a crowd sourced playlist, charging stations, selfie sticks, SnapChat filters, and live streaming screens.

Ensemble DestinationVows 2017


WEDDING DESTINATIONS From fairy tale castles to ancient desert lands – be inspired by these extraordinary options for destination weddings. Exotic Locales:

Off-the-beaten-path destinations, like Petra or The Seychelles, offer some of the most incredible backdrops for your big day.

The Islands of Love With some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world, the Seychelles make for a photo-fabulous wedding destination. But if that’s not reason enough, these far-away islands in the Indian Ocean have a lot more going for them. For one thing, the weather is wonderful. That’s true year-round, and without the threat of tropical storms. You’ll be spoiled for choice, with more than 100 islands in The Seychelles and literally dozens of resorts


Ensemble DestinationVows 2017

and hotels. Couples may also like to know that the Garden of Eden – the original love nest – was once thought to be in the lush Vallée de Mai on the island of Praslin. No wonder the Seychelles have been called the islands of love. – Suzanne Morphet

Magical Weddings in Petra The mysteries and magic of this ancient desert land will take you on an epic wedding odyssey in Petra, Jordan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The

storybook setting – think Lawrence of Arabia meets Indiana Jones – is replete with miraculous secret passageways leading to wondrous stone structures carved by the ancient Nabataeans. The rose-red city beguiles all who lay eyes on her. Unique destination weddings are popular at the Khazneh (Treasury). A sea of candles illuminates the towering facade as guests gather around elegantly appointed tables with the bride and groom center stage. One of the new seven World Wonders, Petra will amaze wedding guests. – Ilona Kauremszky


From castles to paradores, look to countries like Germany and Spain for destinations where fairy tale weddings come to life.

Exciting Wedding Venues in Spain When you look for exciting wedding venues, look no farther than Spain. You’ll find world-class culture and culinary options to whet the appetite of every foodie, from three-star Michelin restaurants to tapas tastings. For accommodations, Spain’s paradores are luxury hotels in historic buildings. Outside of Seville, in Fuentes de Andalucía, are two extremes in wedding venues. One is the 13th century Castle

of Monclova – with its bougainvillea -draped courtyard and great hall lined with medieval tapestries, it is steeped in history. Another option is Teodoro Herce’s farm for breeding champion horses. Both have organic gardens and regularly host large weddings. – Richard Frisbie

Fairy Tale Weddings in Germany Get swept away in a fairy tale setting with Prince Charming in tow for the ultimate of “I do’s.” Whether it’s in a historic chapel in the fabled Heidelberg

Castle, a charming Bavarian town, or a storybook Rhine Valley village, Germany has some of the finest wedding backdrops to create the perfect royal atmosphere. Springtime is the popular wedding season when gardens are in full bloom. Pretty pastel perennials laden in lush green canopies surround palace properties or private courtyards. Wedding receptions boast their own grand affair from Berlin’s legendary nightlife to Baden Baden’s posh places. – Ilona Kauremszky

Ensemble DestinationVows 2017


Sun Spots:


Bora Bora



look to the sun for your perfect wedding destination.

Match Made in Heaven: Bora Bora

Bermuda Bliss

Not every destination can live up to the magazine images that first caught a couple’s eye. Bora Bora can. The bright blue skies, turquoise waters and streaming rays of sunshine are as constant on the tropical French Polynesian island as any destination wedding planner could hope for. With the sophistication demanded by an elite celebrity clientele and the promise that the honeymoon will be as picture – perfect as the ceremony, the island atoll is a match made in nuptial heaven. – Heather Greenwood-Davis

For a destination wedding that’s a jet hop from the east coast, Bermuda makes weddings easy. Here, you can declare your love in a Gothic openair church, in Lover’s Lane (a lush forest walk alive with songbirds) or by a bubbling aquarium tank. After nuptials, enjoy a sun-kissed honeymoon of sailing, diving, cycling or riding horses along the sand – or simply lounge a deux on a pinktinged beach dotted with hidden coves. Consider adding Bermudian traditions: the bride arriving by horse-drawn carriage and two wedding cakes: the groom’s cake is wrapped in gold leaf, the bride’s in silver.

After the ceremony, step through one of Bermuda’s mystical moongates to ensure lasting happiness. – Kate Pocock

Married by the Mayans Your wedding is an historic moment, worth saying your vows atop a historic monument. Consider a wedding overlooking the jungle atop Xunantunich’s El Castillo, one of more than 600 ancient Mayan sites in Belize. It’s the only country in the world that allows couples to legally wed at these sites. Aside from the long-abandoned Mayan cities, Belize weddings can be hosted in the jungle, on the beach, at a private island, or even while scuba diving the Great Blue Hole. – Jennifer Billock ❦

To book your extraordinary wedding destination, contact your Ensemble® DestinationVows Specialist today. 12

Ensemble DestinationVows 2017

The Tie the Knot


program with Princess Cruises


Few things compare to the exhilaration when a couple says “I do” and begins their new life together. And your magical moment should be just that — brimming with enchanting delights, joyous celebrations and picturesque views providing a spectacular backdrop. The Tie the KnotSM program with Princess Cruises® can do all that and more. • Eat, drink and be married at sea by the ship’s captain • Celebrate your wedding harborside to include non-sailing guests • Say “I Do” ashore at your favorite exotic cruise destination

For more information please contact your Ensemble® DestinationVows Specialist

A Whimsical Wedding in


by Elina Bolokhova



Filip and I met during freshman orientation week at Hampshire College. I was fresh out of the woods following a three-day camping trip. Fil and his future Best Man were waiting behind me in line to the dining commons. They tried to ask me a question and, hungry and in want of a shower, I gave them a curt reply and turned right back around to the front of the line. It seemed like an inauspicious start. But Fil and I continued to see one another around campus and gradually, we found ourselves gravitating toward one another. We would spend hours taking long walks around the stunning Western Massachusetts landscape, just talking. Sometime into our second semester, Fil and I started officially dating. Soon after our sophomore year, I took a medical leave of absence and moved back to Brooklyn, and Fil left school to come with me. We wound up being inseparable in New York City.


Ensemble DestinationVows 2017

On September 16, 2016, college sweethearts Filip and Elina tied the knot in the rustic Irish countryside after eleven years together. Filled with games, playful accents, a wandering menagerie, tea party nibbles, and (naturally) some rain, the day felt like a step back in time. The


On January 28th, 2014, we were on our way to spend the Chinese New Year in Hong Kong. In the car and later at the airport, Fil kept nervously checking his backpack. At one point, as we were boarding the plane, I jokingly asked, “What’s in there, an engagement ring?” His nervous grin gave me pause. But in the ensuing 12-hour plane ride, I put that small incident out of my head. We finally arrived at the apartment where we were staying around midnight. When I walked into the living room to ask Fil how to work the shower, I found him by the window looking out at the glittering, night-lit cityscape of Hong Kong. He got down on one knee and reached into his pocket. He had a box with a black diamond solitaire ring that was designed by our friend. I teared up when it dawned on me what he was intending to do. After a beautiful speech that I can’t remember due to the sheer shock I felt, I somehow managed to say “yes”.



Early in the process, Fil and I decided that we wanted to have a destination wedding. Travel has been a common thread running through our relationship and our lives together. I was born in St. Petersburg, Russia before the fall of the Soviet Union, and he escaped to New York City right before the break-up of Yugoslavia. We backpacked through India and Nepal and got engaged in Hong Kong. It was a nod to something we loved, and there was also a practical consideration: Making older relatives travel from Russia and Croatia to the American East Coast seemed like a big ask. On a whim (and because we are both anglophiles), we started looking at rental houses in the U.K. and stumbled upon some Irish listings. I had been to Ireland in the past, during an interim college semester in January. It was beautiful, even in the grey, wet winter. A lightbulb went on for both of us: We could snag a spacious country house for the weekend that would hold the ceremony and reception at a rate unheard of in New York. And we could do it in the gorgeously green countryside that our extended families could easily reach from Eastern Europe. Together with our wedding planner, Annie, we narrowed down our list of possible venues, weighing each carefully against our overall vision. I wanted the wedding to be fun, so space for various post-ceremony activities was definitely a consideration. We wound up going with Roundwood House, an 18th century stately home in County Laois, a little over an hour out of Dublin. Not only did it feel like stepping into a Jane Austen novel, it had sufficient space for our entire guest list of 30 people and they were willing to accommodate Fil’s celiac disease by creating an entirely glutenfree kitchen for two days – no small feat!

A lightbulb went on for both of us: We could snag a spacious country house for the weekend that would hold the ceremony and reception at a rate unheard of in New York.

Most of our guests were flying into Dublin, so we booked a bus to transport everyone to the house the day before the ceremony. Once we arrived, the guests were greeted with coffee and sandwiches. There was some downtime for showering and a change of clothes before guests were asked to gather in the drawing room for the entertainment. Annie had the – genius! – idea of bringing in a troupe to host a murder-mystery party for the rehearsal dinner. It was a perfect icebreaker for our two families and our other guests, many of whom had not met beforehand. After, we sat down to a decadent rehearsal dinner of beef bourguignon chased with rhubarb-and-strawberry pavlova. Ensemble DestinationVows 2017


Ceremony and Reception The day started with all the bridesmaids meeting in the wedding suite to drink prosecco and have their makeup and hair done. The bridesmaids wore black chiffon gowns and carried gilded baby’s breath bouquets. The groomsmen had black suits, mint bowties and boutonnieres made from succulents and golddripped duck feathers. Everyone was told to bring rainboots, as it had sun showered earlier in the day. The ceremony took place in a rustic barn, where neatly-arranged piles of chopped oak and bogwood had been decorated with twinkle lights and greenery for the occasion. It felt like fairyland at twilight. Our Irish band played the Game of Thrones theme song.


Ensemble DestinationVows 2017

The ceremony took place in a rustic barn, where neatly-arranged piles of chopped oak and bogwood had been decorated with twinkle lights and greenery for the occasion. It felt like fairyland at twilight.

My dad escorted me down the old, uneven cobblestones while the band played the title song from Beauty and the Beast. Fil teared up when he saw me. I proceeded to cry – as I would through most of the ceremony – and my maid of honor discreetly passed me a tissue. We did a “ring warming” ceremony where our rings were passed around to each guest, so that they could bless them with a wish for our future life. We had purchased two lace crowns from Etsy to simulate a Russian Christian Orthodox crowning ceremony. It was a small nod to my heritage and a way to make my Russian guests feel at home. The crown, coupled with my cathedral-length veil against the wood, stone and verdant background makes the wedding photos look like they were plucked out of a book of fairy tales. After saying our self-written vows, we exited the barn to Noah and the Whale’s cheerful “5 Years Time,” pausing on the green to release two biodegradable, white dove balloons in honor of our pet dove, Lady Byron. The flower-crown station set up by my florist looked like something pulled straight out of Pinterest: My florist had printed out large, step-by-step visual instructions and nestled them between vases of flowers. Surprisingly, it was the older crowd that gravitated to that particular activity. A bean bag toss was stationed in the spacious yard nearby. A magician roamed the crowd, entertaining them with card tricks and other upclose magic as they nibbled on tea sandwiches and mini scones and drank sparkling wine dressed with artisan sugar cubes and muddled fruit. Roundwood isn’t exactly a working farm, but it is home to two dogs, four cats, two guinea pigs, two donkeys, and a smattering of chickens and geese. Most of the animals wandered freely among our guests, fulfilling my wish for a real petting zoo. Fil and I even managed to sneak some time with one of the cats for the photoshoot.

Dinner was set up in the library. Three long tables were decorated with succulent plants as table runners, fairy tale silhouette cut-outs and other accents in gold.


Ensemble DestinationVows 2017

Dinner was set up in the library. Three long tables were decorated with succulent plants as table runners, fairy tale silhouette cut-outs and other accents in gold. White Christmas lights were woven into the runners, illuminating the leaves from within. Our menus were folded into origami fortune tellers, with trivia about our relationship under the flaps. A striped black and white envelope, filled with custom “I spy” and mad libs games was placed on each seat. We feasted on sticky sesame beef and candied cashew nut and toffee icecream. Speeches were made, more tears were shed. After, we adjourned to the main house to dance to Irish party songs and sample the three gluten-free cakes we managed to safely transport from Brooklyn. As the night wound down, Fil and I danced to Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years” as everyone snacked on french fries and sipped Nutella and Bailey’s milkshakes. Later, a photo booth was set up alongside a guest book. Photo props included cardboard cutouts of our pets’ faces that I had personally made right before flying out to Ireland. It was a small way to have our five animals share in our special day, since we couldn’t take them overseas. Beside the photo booth was a temporary tattoo station, complete with made-to-order tats of our faces. The following day our guests enjoyed brunch and mixed drinks at the morning mimosa bar. Sated and refreshed, they boarded a bus for a two-hour picnic and sightsee at Glendalough in County Wicklow to round out the wedding weekend. Then we said goodbye, and they ferried back to Dublin to board flights or vacation at their leisure. Next up: Saving for a honeymoon that rivals the wedding. ❦

To book your Ireland destination wedding, contact your Ensemble® DestinationVows Specialist today. Wedding photos: IG Studio Photography

Ensemble DestinationVows 2017



Begin your new life together in a storybook tropical setting. Choose from expertly crafted and customized wedding packages providing you all the essentials for your picture perfect event – plus special touches that will wow to make your wedding truly unique! Each romantic wedding package is thoughtfully designed and feature free anniversary nights. Relax knowing our on-site wedding coordinators are there for you every step of the way and handle all the details so you can focus on one another. Have the wedding of a lifetime at Dreams and Now Resorts & Spas!

Guests of Dreams and Now Resorts & Spas will enjoy Unlimited-Luxury®, which includes: luxurious accommodations, 24-hour room and concierge service, daily refreshed mini-bars, an array of gourmet dining options, exquisite bars serving limitless top-shelf spirits, countless day and nighttime activities and much more!

COSTA RICA: Dreams Las Mareas Costa Rica DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Dreams Dominicus La Romana | Dreams La Romana Resort & Spa | Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana Dreams Punta Cana Resort & Spa | Now Larimar Punta Cana | Now Garden Punta Cana | Now Onyx Punta Cana MEXICO: Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa | Dreams Los Cabos Suites Golf Resort & Spa | Dreams Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort Dreams Puerto Aventuras Resort & Spa | Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa | Dreams Sands Cancun Resort & Spa | Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa Dreams Villamagna Nuevo Vallarta | Now Amber Puerto Vallarta | Now Jade Riviera Cancun | Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun PANAMA: Dreams Delight Playa Bonita Panama

For more information, please contact your Ensemble® DestinationVows specialist Tours operated by Travel Impressions, Ltd. All weddings, regardless of size, must be booked a minimum of 30 days in advance of the wedding date. Once wedding is confirmed it cannot be canceled within 6 months of the date of the wedding without a fee. For weddings booked within 6 months of the wedding date the wedding cannot be canceled without the penalty. The cancellation penalty is $500. Information is accurate at time of printing and is subject to changes, exceptions, cancellation charges and restrictions. Not responsible for errors or omissions in the printing of the publication. Travel Impressions materials (including, but not limited to, names, trademark, service marks, logos, marketing materials, etc.) shall not be used, reproduced, transmitted or distributed in any way, except with the express written consent of Travel Impressions. CST #2029006-20, IOWA #758, Washington UBI #602 425 801. LF1201-16_SH_11.28.16.

Napa By Britney Hope

& Bora


An extraordinary two-part honeymoon Manhattan married couple Cara and Jeff Erwin are all about making every moment count.

together, hosting theme parties for their friends, and planning their first getaway to Italy.

When the pair first met at a bar downtown in 2012, they talked until early morning – pausing only at closing time to head home for a quick nap before meeting back up for brunch a few hours later. “We basically had a 48-hour date,” Cara jokes.

“I had studied in Italy, but Jeff had never been,” Cara says of the 2015 getaway, which included a whirlwind tour of Milan right after their flight, a picnic by Lake Como, and an unexpected surprise.

A marketing professional based in New York City, Cara describes her early relationship with Jeff, a musician, as “always easy, just always right,” and it wasn’t long until they were moving in

“We had brought wine, were looking for a scenic spot to sit, and I was taking pictures when I noticed Jeff was getting down on one knee,” Cara recalls. Jeff, it turns out, had brought along some undeclared goods: Cara’s

Ensemble DestinationVows 2017


“We liked the idea of getting married at an East Coast winery, and then honeymooning at a West Coast winery.” grandmother’s ring – a family heirloom she didn’t even know existed – and was just waiting for the right moment. “My grandmother passed away when I was 12,” she says. “I didn’t stop crying for about an hour!”

As it was still only June, the clever Erwins, not wanting to waste the warm Manhattan weather, decided to delay their honeymoon until the cold weather arrived – which of course, gave them lots of time for their new favorite thing: dreaming up adventures.

Suffice it to say, she said yes. A little over a year later, Cara and Jeff were joined by friends and family at Raphael Vineyard on Long Island for an idyllic, Tuscan-style black tie wedding, complete with a wine ceremony celebrating their Jewish and Christian backgrounds, vows written from the heart and an Italian feast finished with 20 Venetian desserts. “We planned it all down to the last detail,” Cara says, crediting the success of their big day thanks to research, careful organization, and plenty of professional help.


Ensemble DestinationVows 2017

Bora Bora, being the paradisiacal epitome of all things romantic, was the post-nuptial getaway spot of choice, but being located on the other side of the world, getting there meant several stopovers – and the opportunity to double up on the Erwins’ destinations. “We liked the idea of getting married at an East Coast winery, and then honeymooning at a West Coast winery,” Cara explains, so they decided to kick off their honeymoon with a weekend in Napa. “We like wine, and we like learning about it,” she says of their passionate

curiosity for vintages. “It can get very stuffy and serious, but we don’t have sophisticated palates,” she adds. “We drink what we like.” And so, armed with newlywed status and ambitious plans for unforgettable memories, the Erwins arrived in Napa by way of San Francisco, and dove head first into a flurry of happy hours, elegant meals and special tastings all over the region. It wasn’t all swirling and sipping, however; keen to see as much of the valley as they could, Cara and Jeff also booked a hot air balloon ride at Domaine Chandon Winery, which took them high above the vines and into a just-lit morning sky. “It was very romantic,” Cara says dreamily. “All the other balloons rise up around you, so the sky is filled with different colors. You’re

in awe of how huge they are.” Hand in hand, Cara and Jeff floated in a basket on the wind, drinking in a golden yellow sunrise and snapping birds-eye shots of paradise from above before descending toward an awaiting champagne breakfast back on Earth. The perfect end to a perfect weekend - although for the Erwins, it was only the beginning. Not long after they had touched down on solid ground, Cara and Jeff were up again, flying from San Francisco to Papeete, then on to Bora Bora. Many hours and one breezy boat ride later, they had arrived at the InterContinental Le Moana, where their jet lag blossomed into exhilaration as they took in their surroundings. “We were overwhelmed - I couldn’t stop smiling,” Cara says. “The water is so blue — it’s like you’ve never even Ensemble DestinationVows 2017


“We couldn’t believe it - we just kept grinning at each other,” Cara says of their enormous private table, the wine-paired tasting menu of fish she had never heard of before, and the view. “We felt like the king and queen of the restaurant.”

“The water is so blue — it’s like you’ve never even seen blue before.”

It was a dizzying week of dreams coming true. One night, after a glassfloor dinner at the St. Regis’ Lagoon restaurant, the newlyweds set off into the sunset for a stargazing tour on a private island, where they sat in lounge chairs, snacked on sushi and sipped champagne under a canopy of twinkling light. “Most times, you don’t even see stars in Manhattan,” Cara says of the breathtaking beauty above them. “On the other side of the world, they’re completely different — there’s constellations you’ve never seen before.”

seen blue before. We had no idea what time it was, we were still in clothes we’d slept in on the plane, but we didn’t care, because in that moment, nothing could be bad.” In love with the idea of waking up on the ocean, Cara and Jeff had been “obsessed with the overwater huts,” when planning their trip, and were thrilled to be escorted to a villa with an outdoor shower, a glass floor with a flurry of tropical fish below, and view of the nearby mountain. “This was our home,” Cara shares. “It was unbelievable that we could jump into the water from our deck, or snorkel under our sofa.”


Ensemble DestinationVows 2017

As tempting as it may have been to hole up in an overwater Shangri-La for the week, Cara and Jeff had no intention of wasting a moment. “We’re not really beach people,” she says. “We decided that if we were going to be in Bora Bora, we were going to have every experience.” Day one began with a honeymoon must: a day of pampering at the nearby Thalasso spa; followed by dinner at La Villa Mahana, a mainland dining spot with only six tables. Cara had emailed the restaurant in advance hoping for the VIP treatment, but was speechless when she and Jeff were led to a secluded, temple-style table adorned with stone sculptures overlooking the sunset.

On one of their final days, they embarked on a snorkeling adventure, where they explored natural coral reefs, fed barracudas, and swam among sharks. “I was nervous about the sharks,” Cara admits, “but Jeff encouraged me. We wanted to see how far we could push ourselves to do new and different things together.” Drifting along with the sharks turned out to be the highlight of their trip, according to Cara; a simple-yetmeaningful moment where she and her husband were able to quiet their minds, let go of worry, and simply put their trust in each other before heading back toward the real world. ❦

To book your Napa or Bora Bora destination honeymoon, contact your Ensemble® DestinationVows Specialist.





before wedding

• Determine your budget, including any wedding related costs, travel expenses and your accommodations. Many couples are also concerned about what their guests will be paying and will sometimes determine a guest budget as well. • Contact an Ensemble® DestinationVows Specialist to help plan the big event. • Choose a wedding destination and resort. • Choose a wedding date.



before wedding

• Shop for a wedding dress. • If possible, visit your wedding resort. • Send out formal wedding invitation with details. • Confirm rooms and airseats required. • Confirm your wedding ceremony location, if not already done. • Confirm dinner/reception area with the resort. • Launch a wedding website.

• Choose your wedding party.

• Select wedding package/ style. Discuss any addons you want to include or customize the wedding package with your own personal style.

• Create a guest list.

• Choose an Officiant.

• Send out a save-the-date notice to guests.

• Book a photographer.

• Choose your wedding location (the earlier, the better, as locations book up quickly).

• Block rooms and airseats.

• Select attire for your wedding party.

• Create a honeymoon registry.

• Research excursions for your wedding group.



before wedding

• Finalize food menu, décor, flowers, cake, etc. • Confirm hair and make-up appointments on wedding day. • Make sure passports are in order. • Purchase wedding rings.



before wedding

• Plan welcome party and rehearsal dinner (if required). • Prepare welcome letter for your guests. • Purchase items for welcome bags. • Confirm honeymoon plans.




before wedding • Re-confirm flight and hotel booking. • Review and confirm wedding details. • Create a seating chart and place cards. • Create wedding program for guests.

On arrival at your wedding resort

• Meet with the resort’s wedding coordinator, go over wedding details and an inspection of your ceremony and reception sites. • Apply for marriage license (sometimes this can be done ahead of time, ask your Ensemble® DestinationVows Specialist). • Do blood tests (if required). • Create welcome bags for guests and drop them off.


before wedding

• If required, get your wedding dress steamed.

• Write your vows. • Finalize wedding ceremony. • Create any signs needed.


Wedding Day • Deliver wedding gift to your fiancé. • Have the time of your life … it’s your wedding day!

Ensemble DestinationVows 2017




Adventure Weddings Your life together is sure to be an epic adventure, so why shouldn’t your wedding be a once-in-a-lifetime experience? Wedding ceremonies aren’t just a chance to celebrate your love and commitment to one another; but also a unique opportunity to show family and friends the mutual qualities and interests that connect you as a couple. Celebrate with nuptials that are as extraordinary as you both are. Here are five of our top choices of weddings for adventure lovers.




Is there a better way to celebrate your love than atop an Alaskan glacier, one of the planet’s most awe-inspiring landscapes? You’ll never know if your rapid heart rate and light-headedness are due to your remarkable locale’s high altitude or thoughts of your betrothed. Forget the traditional limousine or horse-drawn carriage, you and your partner will take to the skies in a helicopter that soars over surreal ice fields and crystal blue lakes to be deposited on a glacier. On that otherworldly peak, with the clouds at your feet and the heavens above your head, you’ll promise each other forever.


Your guest list may be at full capacity but you’ll want to find room to squeeze in a very special – if skeletal – A-lister when getting married at Chicago’s Field Museum. Here, you will say “I do” under the watchful gaze of SUE, the world’s largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex. The out-of-this-world adventure continues as guests explore the museum’s exhibits, including dioramas of the natural world and the ancient Americas. It’s truly a singular experience to be surrounded by some of the planet’s most ancient and extraordinary artifacts as you and your beloved claim your own piece of history. And not to worry, we’re (pretty) sure SUE doesn’t bite.


Ensemble DestinationVows 2017







Underwater wedding ceremonies bring new meaning to the idea of being “deeply in love.” The Scuba wedding option at Monaco’s Larvotto Beach is conducted by Pierre Frolla, a world-famous free diving champion, and can include up to 22 guests. Underwater, there’s a fully staged setup complete with an altar and the entire subaquatic ceremony is filmed for your viewing pleasure when you’re back on land. Once you’re out of the water, enjoy a cocktail and lunch on the nearby beach.


Roller Coaster

When you think about it, it’s a perfect match: the adrenaline rush of a wedding day perfectly pairs with the first coaster to offer a 180-degree “heart-line twist and dive” move. Taking the plunge was never as literal as this wedding day option in Las Vegas. Couples get a front row seat on the roller coaster where an officiant standing off-coaster leads the ceremony. Right after the vows are exchanged and the pronouncement is made, the coaster lifts them 203 feet in the air before serving up a 144-foot drop at 67 miles per hour. The only trick: make sure the future bride and groom are tall enough (54”) to ride.


Sky High


The guests, the priest, the flowers, the serenading band…it’s all there with the couple as they get married on a platform suspended 50 meters above the earth. The unique wedding option isn’t for the faint of heart but those looking for even more of a thrill can cement their nuptials with a bungee jump at the end. Prefer to just have your reception up there? Dinner in the Sky packages are also available in the 51 countries in which the company, Marriage in the Sky, operates so far.

Ensemble DestinationVows 2017




For couples wanting the ultimate honeymoon and a relaxed island escape, Fiji is a wonderful place to make the most of your time together. Sun kissed beaches, incredible snorkeling and diving, plenty of privacy and secluded islands. The ultimate romantic vacation starts at one of our boutique resorts:

Tokoriki Island, Fiji

Matangi Island, Fiji

7 nights Tokoriki Island Resort in a Beachfront Bure, includes 2 free nights and complimentary round trip helicopter transfers, daily afternoon tea, snorkeling equipment, paddle boards and kayaks. Package from $2399 per person*

7 nights Matangi Private Island Resort in a Beachfront Bure including 2 nights free, all transfers, snorkeling, local village, kayaking and hiking excursions, stand up paddle boards. Package from $2499 per person*

Honeymoon Bonus: Bottle of French Champagne

Honeymoon Bonus: Breakfast in bed one morning Ensemble Exclusive: Pure Fiji skincare gift

For more information

please contact your Ensemble DestinationVows specialist.


*Terms & Conditions: All prices are ‘from’, per person land only based on double occupancy and travel between Tokoriki (SF17006): 1 April and 31 May 2017 or 1 December and 20 December 2017 or 5 January and 31 March 2018. Helicopter transfers are only free when booking 7 nights consecutively. Matangi (SF17007): 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018; otherwise supplements will apply. Book by 20 March 2018. Flights are not included. Seasonal surcharges and additional surcharges apply over weekends, special events and holiday periods. Supplements for mandatory Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve dinners will apply. No refunds or changes allowed, not combinable with any other special or discounted vacation package. Prices may differ when you book your travel and are not guaranteed until full payment is received. All prices are in US dollars and correct at time of print (28 November 2016). All prices, itineraries and routings are subject to change. Please call for our current prices. CST#2001136-50

So, that was Pretty Cool Two hip, hardworking, creatives show how a honeymoon in Bali is done by Nancy Hellmrich

A week after Rick Cohen and Jenny Nellis moved into their tiny Brooklyn apartment – and four years since they first connected at a Flaming Lips concert – Rick took Jenny to the Clover Club jazz lounge and popped the question. Jenny said yes. Michael Arenella’s Dreamland trio broke into “The Wedding Song.” And a couple at the bar bought them champagne.

“I announced to the bar, ‘Hey everybody, she said yes!’ and the band broke into ‘The Wedding Song,’ which was hilarious.” Jenny, a talented Graphics Designer, had worked her way from The Onion, Chicago’s satirical news organization, to an enviable position at New York’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (now Trevor Noah). No stranger to the creative industry himself, Rick had made a name in advertising as an award-winning Art Director for coveted accounts like Dos Equis and Nikon. Careers like that don’t fuel themselves so, after a simple garden wedding with family and friends in Chicago, the couple went straight back to work. Finally, a month later, they found time for a honeymoon. Ensemble DestinationVows 2017


COMO Uma Ubud

COMO Uma Ubud

“Bali was really cool. It was the most relaxing, peaceful place we’d ever been.” Prior to marrying, Rick and Jenny had been no strangers to travel. They’d hung out together in Peru, celebrated their engagement in Curaçao, visited Iceland, Normandy, and Paris, and more. “I don’t know how it came up to go to Bali. We were just like, ‘Let’s go to Bali!’” Once they’d decided on the destination, Rick called an agent. “We need a honeymoon. We’re thinking Bali,” he said. The resulting itinerary included a two-day stopover in Hong Kong. “What did we do there? We mostly ate. We’re big eaters,” jokes Rick. They also found time to see the Big Buddha and ride the tram to Victoria Peak. “It was great,” recalls


Ensemble DestinationVows 2017

Rick, “we loved being in a completely different culture … but we were both anxious to get to the beach.” Nestled in the lush Tjampuhan Valley, the COMO Uma Ubud hotel welcomed the duo with a sun-filled room, voile-draped teak bed, and private infinity pool. “It was gorgeous and there were beautiful flowers everywhere,” Rick coos. “We did the private pool, the main pool, we did all the eating, we had breakfast every morning, we went to the elephant park.” Jenny enjoys yoga and the resort offered free yoga classes, so Rick decided to go along too. “The

instructor complimented me on my Standing Tree pose,” recalls Rick, “and Jenny got mad. Not really, but you know what I mean.” The hotel was also close to Bali’s sacred Monkey Forest, home to 700 macaques, 12.5 hectares of protected flora, and three mid-14th century temples. Locals say a visit there bestows peace and harmony on the visitors. “You go and there are hundreds of monkeys roaming free,” says Rick. “You go to feed them a banana and they steal the whole bunch. It was awesome.”

“We’re starting to plan future vacations around, like, all right, what’s the next property these guys have?” Next, Rick and Jenny checked in to the Belmond Jimbaran Puri, a larger hotel set on a powder-soft beach and the tranquil waters of Jimbaran Bay. “Our villa there was insane. It was twice the size of our apartment in New York. And they have fresh fruit delivered daily – a delicious passion fruit that grows naturally right there on the property.” While reveling in their private paradise all day was tempting, the couple had bigger adventures in mind. After finalizing their scuba certifications, they took a dive trip to the USAT Liberty, a cargo ship that was hit by a Japanese torpedo in 1942. Today, the wreck is home to a healthy coral reef, teeming with marine life. “We also did a surfing lesson, which we were surprisingly not terrible at … and I did kite surfing,” says Rick. “Richard Branson makes it look easy but it’s not. It’s hard.”

Today, Rick and Jenny are back in New York busily advancing their careers and dreaming up where they’ll go next. South of France? Italy’s Amalfi Coast? Greece? With all-consuming work like theirs, they’ve decided travel is a necessity. “You need to have your priorities shocked every six to twelve months. There are other ways of life. It’s that whole ‘you only have one life’ thing.” ❦ Belmond Jimbaran Puri

“You tip the cab drivers a buck and they’re so happy. It’s so easy to make people happy there.” After such a blissful break, returning to the grind was difficult. “Anytime I go someplace super peaceful I think, ‘Maybe I’ll just work in Bali!’ and then I realize all the jobs are service oriented and I’m terrible at that. And then I think, ‘Maybe they need advertising!’ Then I’m like, no, no they don’t, nobody in Bali needs advertising.”

Belmond Jimbaran Puri

Belmond Jimbaran Puri

To book your destination wedding or honeymoon, contact your Ensemble® DestinationVows Specialist today.

Ensemble DestinationVows 2017


LAS VEGAS: The Wedding Capital of the World Thousands of couples visit Las Vegas every year to exchange vows with many styles and options for couples. Those searching for truly unique ceremonies or those planning elaborate and elegant affairs, whether intimate or with hundreds of family and friends by their side, Las Vegas is the ultimate place to promise eternal love. The resorts along the Strip provide stunning ceremony and reception locations to choose from, including traditional chapels, gorgeous gardens, lake and poolside, balconies with breathtaking views, lavishly decorated and specialized rooms, and locations inspired by romantic cities and icons around the globe. Beyond the Strip corridor lies an equally stunning backdrop with options to dress up the area or opt for a simplistic and rustic ceremony. Dried lake beds and desert scenery create a backdrop unlike any other. A quick drive to Mount Charleston yields a lodge themed wedding without the uncomfortably cool temperatures. If adventure is beckoning, nuptials can be shared above the Valley of Fire,


Ensemble DestinationVows 2015

Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon on a helicopter tour complete with celebratory champagne toasts. The options continue with the Neon Museum, which allows lovebirds to exchange vows in the glow of Las Vegas’ most famous and beloved neon signs. Marvelous views wait for couples atop the High Roller, which stands 550feet above Las Vegas Blvd. and is the world’s largest observation wheel. In addition, world-famous chefs and their Las Vegas restaurants cater delicious fare for wedding attendees. Bakers known for extravagant cakes and treats are able and willing to create masterpieces for weddings. These culinary masterminds are known to fly fresh ingredients into their restaurants for mouth-watering bites sure to delight all guests. With endless amenities, styles, locations and options available, Las Vegas has the ability to embrace and deliver each individual couple’s vision of their perfect day. Dream weddings come to life in Las Vegas, a city where anything is possible.

The all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotels of Mexico and the Dominican Republic proudly welcome you to proclaim your love on the picturesque sands of paradise. Customize your wedding experience and infuse your personal style with spectacular collections by celebrity event designer Colin Cowie. Keep the fun in full swing after the wedding with 3 signature Honeymoon Packages including the COMPLIMENTARY HONEYMOON PACKAGE, which comes standard. Or turn up the luxury and select other honeymoon packages. MEXICO






Contact your Ensemble DestinationVows Specialist

Ensemble Destination Vows 2017  
Ensemble Destination Vows 2017