After spending 3 days in Lake Como, located in the foothills of the Italian Alps, I quickly learned why JFK said “It is the most beautiful lake of the world” Forming an upside-down Y, Lake Como is an hour’s drive … Continue reading
Lying back in a wooden rowboat together and entering the magical Blue Grotto in Capri Italy.
Romantic sunset gondola ride on the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy.
Wine pairing at a family run winery in Sicily.
Exploring Montenegro with its twisting byways, Byzantine architecture, and pitched mountains plummeting straight into the Adriatic Sea.
Walking the medieval walls that surround Dubrovnik and then exploring what lies within the white old city.
Visiting Split Croatia with its bustling harbor lined with cafes and Diocletians’ Palace in the center of town.
Strolling through the streets of Rovinj, Croatia where hints of Italy are everywhere, in the signs, in the language, in the cuisine, thanks to having spent more than 500 years under Venetian rule. Romantic, quaint, and captivating, it’s Istria’s most beloved town.
Trip of a lifetime, you bet! Memories that will last forever, indeed! Can you experience this? Absolutely, call Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways today! 215-793-4808
- Learn from the celebrities. Many engaged couples want to emulate the lavish celebrity weddings held overseas in some of the world’s most romantic locales. These types of celebrations are not necessarily out-of-reach of the average couple—ask local tourism boards or suppliers to recommend wedding and reception venues. You might be surprised what’s available.
- Italy reigns. No surprise, Italy continues to be at the top of the list of wedding locales, with its culture, stunning landscapes and rich history—not to mention the excellent cuisine and wines. Venues range from luxury villas to medieval castles, renaissance palaces to ancient monasteries. One of the most desired locations is Chianti, in the Tuscany region, known for its stunning rolling countryside, vineyards, medieval villages and Renaissance churches.
- Take over an entire property. More couples are choosing to buy out an intimate venue for a weekend for the exclusive use of the wedding party and guests. During a buyout, all hotel amenities (including restaurants, lounges, spa, etc.) are open only to the wedding party and guests, assuring an exceptional, unique, unforgettable and private celebration.
- Eloping is still an option. Perhaps surprisingly, more brides and grooms are choosing to run away secretly to get married. But make no mistake, this is no hurried affair, it is a sophisticated event — just one without invitations and guest lists. Today’s elegant elopements often include elaborate photo shoots in gorgeous locations and stunning wedding gowns.
- Fuse cultures and religions. The trend toward interfaith or multi-cultural weddings shows no signs of slowing down. You can help your clients combine and personalize the ceremony with different traditions, foods, dance, music and attire. They can recite vows in multiple languages, before officiants of differing religions. Such joint ceremonies can honor both religious and ethnic traditions.
Nancy Barkley/Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways/215-793-4808
Cortona in Tuscany, Italy is perhaps best known as the setting for the book and movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” Cortona is among Tuscany’s loveliest destinations offering astonishing landscapes and romantic backdrops.
Couples seeking to get married at an intimate and elegant country house rich of flowers and perfumes, La Corte dei Papi is the perfect choice. If looking for exclusivity you may reserve the entire estate for your guests.
And because your wedding will last more than one day, the hardest choice you will have to make is choosing from all the amazing activities available to your guests. On site cooking classes? Walking or cycling the countryside? Or personalized private tours to Pienza, famous for its cheese, Montepulciano and Montalcino, known all over the world for its wines Nobile and Brunello. You can visit Siena and San Gimignano, true historic and landscape treasures on the foot of Chianti.
Or perhaps your guests will just want to stay in their rooms? Why? This XVIII century country house was completely restored with luxury and wellness in mind. The spa suites offer a private spa for 2 people with a Turkish bath provided with 4 multi-sensory showers.
Couples choosing to marry at La Corte dei Papi will receive attention to every detail, superior professionalism and discretion from the staff. You will have a chef preparing each recipe with quality and elegant presentation for an ultimate dining experience. La Corte dei Papi is the absolute perfect location for your destination wedding which guests will be talking about for years to come.
Nancy Barkley, Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways, 215-793-4808
Visualize yourself getting married in the jewel of the Caribbean, where royalty and dignitaries choose to stay, truly one of the most legendary destinations, Half Moon Bay, Jamaica. Having just returned from this magnificent resort, I can confirm that getting married at Half Moon Bay will be a dream come true.
Half Moon Bay offers brides and grooms breathtaking backdrops to choose from. Oleander Terrace offers the music of the Sea and prime beachfront location. Sunrise Beach, a spectacular half mile curve of beach sheltered
by the offshore reef offers a quintessential toes-in-the-sand ceremony experience, especially at dusk when the constantly shifting hues of the sky and sea add a memorable backdrop. Or perhaps the elegant Sugar Mill Restaurant overlooking Half Moon’s beautiful golf course.
Your guests will be treated luxuriously in 5 star accommodations on private estate of 400 acres all fronted by two miles of private beach. The hardest choice they will have to make is what fine dining restaurant to choose from and will they either enjoy the 18 hole championship golf course, Equestrian Centre, thirteen tennis courts, and a variety of water sports including a private Dolphin Lagoon or spend the day at the spa?
Words do not do justice on how beautiful Half Moon Bay is, so you will need to experience it for yourself and I promise you will have the perfect destination wedding.
Nancy Barkley/Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways/215-793-4808
Nevis offers near perfect weather, luxurious indoor and outdoor space and stunning ocean views. Couples can choose from picturesque churches, historic plantations, soft, sandy beaches or beautiful tropical gardens. Nevis is truly one of the world’s premier Caribbean wedding destinations.
Nevis is for the couple looking for privacy and exclusivity. Nevis is a unique, elegant, romantic location for a destination wedding, honeymoon or Anniversary trip. If it is Romance Related, that is who it is for.
Perfect time Nevis , December to early April.
Top Romantic Activities on Nevis
- Sunset Cruise
- Nevis Peak Hike
- Botanical Gardens on Nevis
- Private dining in the Mill at Montpelier Plantation & Beach
- Private picnic at Lovers Beach
- Funky Monkey off-Road Adventure in a 4×4 wheeler, with picnic
- Exploring Nevis out by bike
Top places to get married on Nevis
- The 18th lawn of the Four Seasons Golf Course- A tropical setting just beyond the 18th hole between the green and the sea
- Botanical Garden of Nevis- the natural beauty of the one-of-a-kind Garden will make your dream wedding come true
- Avenue of the Palms at Nisbet Plantation – This iconic venue among an avenue of coconut palms with a backdrop of the ocean.
- Thomas Anglican Church
- Cottle Church- Ruins of an Anglican Church built in 1824 by John Thomas Cottle
- Various stunning beaches on Nevis
- Nelson Wedding Site – British Admiral Horatio Nelson married Fanny Nisbet on this site in 1787.
Your wedding day is one of the best days of your life, choose Nevis ……unspoiled, unpretentious, and unforgettable.
Nancy Barkley/Lifestyle Specialist Honeymoons and Destination Weddings/ Certified Nevis Romance Specialist
Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways / 877-793-4908
My Jordan Journey.
For those of you who are ready to explore a destination unlike any other in the world, I welcome you to Jordan. I have been home just 2 weeks and still cannot stop telling people about this extraordinary country that exceeded every one of my expectations during my visit.
Jordan is a country located on the east bank of the River Jordan. Almost half of Jordan is covered by the Arabian Desert. It is a country covering an area of 35,637 square miles, comparable to the size of Indiana. Jordan offers a diverse terrain and landscape usually found only in larger countries.
Our host, the Jordan Tourism Board, met us at the airport. While they were processing our Visas, we easily checked in with friends and families at home thanks to the WIFI at the Amman airport. Once outside, we were escorted to our lavish tour bus, equipped comfortable seating, WIFI, and TV channels at our fingertips.
On our first full day we visited Jerash, located about 45 kilometers from Amman, and considered to be one of the largest and most well-preserved sites of Roman architecture in the world outside Italy.
Their state of preservation is absolutely remarkable.
Wine making in Jordan? Yes indeed! And that is where we went that evening, In Amman, the place to go is The Winemaker, a boutique wine tasting venue that carries the international award-winning St. George wines. The winemaker himself is Oscar Zumot, who pioneered the modern era of winemaking in Jordan. Our wonderful evening of wine tasting was paired with a delicious Jordanian dinner.
Next day we headed south to the Eastern Banks of The River Jordan, known as Bethany-Beyond –the -Jordan. The baptism of Jesus, by John the Baptist, most likely took place on the Jordanian side of the Jordan River. Pope Francis visited Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan in May 24, 2014 . “The place where we are meeting commemorates Jesus’ baptism,” the pope told an assembly at the Church of the Baptism of Jesus (of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem). “Coming here to the Jordan to be baptized by John, Jesus showed his humility and his participation in our human condition.”
We then drove a short distance to Mt. Nebo. After 40 years leading the Israelites in the desert, Moses stood on the summit of Mount Nebo and viewed the Promised Land of Canaan — after having been told by God “you shall not cross over there”.
We were very fortunate to have a clear day, and saw the panoramic view seen by Moses : The Dead Sea, the Jordan River valley, Jericho, Bethlehem and the distant hills of Jerusalem.
We then continued south to the “Lost City” of Petra. Literally carved straight into red, white, pink, and sandstone cliff faces, the prehistoric Jordanian city of Petra was “lost” to the Western world for hundreds of years.
Located amongst rugged desert canyons and mountains in what is now the southwestern corner of Jordan , Petra was once a flourishing trading center and the capital of the Nabataean empire between 400 B.C. and A.D. 106.
The city sat empty and in near ruin for centuries. Not until the early 1800s did a European traveler disguise himself in Bedouin costume and penetrate the mysterious locale.
In 1985, the Petra Archaeological Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, and in 2007 it was named one of the new seven wonders of the world.
Words can not describe this amazing “rose red city” , so I hope my pictures help.
The following day we went to Wadi Rum, a protected area covering 720 square kilometers of dramatic desert wilderness in the south of Jordan. Our scheduled 2 hour jeep tour was cut a little short because of upcoming sand storm, but so much fun none the less as we waited for it to pass in tent. While inside we were served delicious tea and explained and demonstrated the different scarf garments by extremely hospitable Bedouins. After a traditional Jordanian lunch, camel ride time, where Lawrence of Arabia once frequented.
Wadi Rum attracts more and more adventure seekers, offering some of the finest rock climbing in the world and is a spectacular place for desert trekking and safaris (camels, horses and vehicles)
Last day, getting down and dirty in the Dead Sea.
- Dead Sea is neither dead nor a sea. It’s actually a lake sandwiched between Israel and Jordan.
- The Dead Sea’s salinity averages between 33.7 to 35 per cent — nearly ten times higher than the norm, making it one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world.
- The lowest point on dry land, located 423 metres below sea level.
- The sea’s main source of water comes from the Jordan River and receives very little rainfall.
- The water’s saltiness makes it denser than the human body allowing everyone to float no matter what your body type.
- It’s said that the salty waters and mineral-mud work wonders for people with skin conditions or sore joints.
- Aristotle, the Queen of Sheba, King Solomon and Cleopatra were all familiar with the healing properties of Dead Sea water and mud. King Herod & King David both used the Dead Sea as a spa and retreat
After I floated in the Dead Sea for 15 minutes it was time to test the famous Dead Sea mud. The staff at the Mövenpick Dead Sea Resort & Resort caked on layers of the thick mud and told me to wait 20 minutes before rinsing off and the offering me plush towels.
I was sad to leave, and I would love to go back as there are many things to still explore. Who would like to join me?
Nancy Barkley Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways 877-793-4808
Planning a wedding can be overwhelming. If you then add a foreign country to the mix things can definitely start to get a little crazy. While destination weddings conjure up thoughts of exotic, dreamy locations the reality is there is a lot of leg work that needs to be done before you get to that magical day. To help get you there without a hitch we’ve put together our top tips to planning your special day.
Having Time on Your Side
Planning a destination wedding takes time. To ensure your venue choices aren’t limited and that your wedding is scheduled during the season with the best weather conditions allow yourself plenty of time. Your guests will need time as well, to accommodate this it is essential that you send out Save the Dates as soon as you have the location and date selected. If neither is set in stone, an estimate will suffice. For instance the month or year and the city/country are enough information for your guests to decide whether they will be able to attend.
Avoid Doing it All on Your Own
If you are tying the knot at a resort, as part of your package the resort will most likely provide you with their resident wedding planner who will take care of most things. Local based wedding planners will have relationships with suppliers in the area and will be able to source the best deals. However it is also a wise move to enlist the help of a wedding planner from your area who specialises in or has experience with destination weddings. The two teams of wedding planners will then be able to liaise with each other ensuring that your dream day is made complete. Securing local suppliers can be difficult especially when time differences or language barriers are an issue, hiring a wedding planner will ensure that you remain stress-free throughout the entire process. This does not by any way mean that brides cannot plan a successful destination wedding without a wedding planner. If you do happen to have room within your budget however it will just make things run a lot smoother.
Doing Your Research
Your wedding guests will be far more dependent on you for an overseas wedding than they would for one at home. It is important to work with a travel agency that specializes in Destination Weddings, like Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways, who will do extra research and work for them. They will negotiate hotel contracts, secure airfare, transportation, and activities for them to do in the area. It’s a good idea to have planned group activities to keep your guests occupied and make a full week or weekend of festivities for your guests to mingle with one another. This is key is to make your wedding a celebration unlike any other.
If you have your heart set on a particular photographer or hair and makeup artist discuss with them the possibility of travelling to your wedding. Try and negotiate with them the additional rates or whether they would just want you to cover the costs for their airfares and accommodation. If they can drive to your venue, it is not unheard of for vendors to charge a set rate based on the distance they are required to travel so keep this in mind. For overseas weddings, if you have had bad experiences with makeup artists in the past or are not entirely comfortable with the thought of having not had a trial beforehand consider creating your own look. Perhaps have a session with a makeup artist who can teach you some tricks for perfecting a bridal makeup look. Then have at least one practice run of doing your own makeup in the lead up to the big day. Another alternative is to ensure you arrive at your destination a few days in advance and to schedule in a trial so you can have a test run and make any tweaks to the look before the big day. One more idea is to bring all your own makeup products for the makeup artist to apply. This way you can guarantee the foundation will suit your skin tone. If your wedding destination is quite close to you, for instance driving distance it’s a good idea to go and meet with local suppliers and schedule in trials, consultations and tastings with your wedding reception venue in the one day.
Understanding the Reality of a Destination Wedding
It is best to understand that in the event of a destination wedding there will be quite a few close family and friends who will have to decline your invitation. This is merely the harsh reality of a destination wedding however it can keep your costs and guest list numbers down. If by chance there are certain family members or friends that you simply can’t imagine your day without who are unable to attend due to financial reasons, consider setting aside some of your budget to offer to pay in full or partially pay for their accommodation or flights. While some guests may be put off by this, insist that you can’t imagine your day without them and that it is already taken care. If they are still hesitant you will have to respect their wishes. Other guests may decline your invite as they are unable to take time off from work in this instance try and ensure you select a convenient time of year that will suit a majority.
The Art of Travel
When it comes to selecting your bridal attire, wedding stationery and any other elements you wish to bring with you it is important to consider how you will transport such items. Perhaps you pay for extra baggage or split items amongst guests and the bridal party. Ensuring nothing will get damaged in transit is paramount to avoiding any unnecessary wedding day dilemmas. To do this meticulous planning will be vital. No bride wants any unwanted surprise in the lead up to her big day.
It is recommended to refrain from requesting gifts from guests who have made the effort to travel to attend your big day. If by chance you are given gifts you will have to figure out how you will get these home, perhaps look into the option of packaging them up and shipping them back separately or ensure you have left room in your luggage just in case. Doing this ahead of time will eliminate potential stress.
It’s always nice to put together welcome gifts for all your guests. They can be as extravagant as you like however just simple baskets of goodies is more than enough. For instance in tropical locations provide your guests with sunscreen, insect repellent, band aids etc. – essential items they may not have thought of. Your guest will love this personalized added touch.
While planning a destination wedding can definitely be more difficult, working with a Travel Agency that specializes in Destination Weddings, Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways will definitely make it stress free.
‘Kristi Charter is an experienced freelance writer with a breadth of knowledge across an array of subjects. Captivated by the wedding industry, Kristi is currently the Content and Social Media Coordinator at Giant inviations. http://giantinvitations.com.au/
There is a reason Greece tops Lonely Planet 2014 Best of Europe Top 10 List. This country, which resembles a huge post card, is one of the most romantic places in the world to honeymoon.
I would like to share a glimpse of my recent trip to Athens this past May.
Athens, a contemporary city, combines the present and the past in a unique way. Modern restaurants with famous chefs, lovely nightlife and various cultural events run every day and still the Athenian past is obvious in every corner. The history of the Acropolis of Athens is long, when democracy, science, philosophy and art flourished leading to its creation. The Acropolis and the Parthenon in particular, is the most characteristic monument of the ancient Greek civilization.
Santorini is one of the most sought after destinations in the world, and I had the opportunity to experience 5 star hotel accommodations while staying at Mystique. Mystique is a stylish property built on Oia’s most famous cliffs offering amazing views of the Aegean Caldera.
The rooms, which are built in a cave offer seclusion, tranquility and spectacular bathrooms that directly look out to the sea affording jaw dropping views. If you do choose to connect to the world and not hibernate, the complimentary WI-FI works great.
The Asian Spa at the Resort offers both unique and memorable spa services that can be experienced in their spa, or in your room.
The Santorini Wine Adventure allows you to discover the most distinct wineries and traditional cellars in Santorini through a unique wine tasting journey. During the 4 hour tour of the Santorini country side you will visit the most distinct wineries on the islands where winemaking dates back more than 4, 0000 years. The volcanic land gives special features to the wines. And you will experience an adventure of flavors winding through traditional villages and dramatic landscapes with hillsides covered in vines.
I hiked the 12 km from Oia to Fira, along the brow of the Caldera and met a lot of friendly travelers from all over the world making the same hike.
There is no better way to discover the volcano, hot springs of Thirissia island then by way of catamaran. We explored the craters of one of the most important volcanoes in the whole world and Thirissia island while the chefs on the catamaran prepared us a gourmet lunch.
I spent an extremely educational afternoon at Akrotiri , one of the most important prehistoric settlements of the Aegean. The first habitation at the site dates from the Late Neolithic times (at least the 4th millennium B.C.). The large extent of the settlement (ca. 20 hectares), the elaborate drainage system, the sophisticated multi-storied buildings with the magnificent wall-paintings, furniture and vessels, show its great development and prosperity.
I then departed for Mykonos, a 3 ½ hour journey by speedboat and was transferred to The Rochari Hotel, located in a very convenient location just a few minutes’ walk to the town center and the old port of Mykonos. My terrace offered a stunning view of Mykonos and the Aegean Sea.
Mykonos is famous for its giant whitewashed windmills and chapels scattered along the countryside, divine sandy beaches, unique Cycladic architectural style, wild, cosmopolitan nightlife, endless entertainment opportunities, yummy local delicacies and countless gastronomic restaurants
Mykonos is also an island jetsetters frequent for the unbelievable upscale shopping and nonstop partying .
However, when you do wish to relax, visit Psarou beach which is guarded by locals and VIP visitors where crazy partying is frowned upon! It is actually an attractive -not too small, not too big- beach with clear waters, umbrellas and sun beds and a place for boats and private yachts to anchor. Psarou beach has a restaurant, a traditional taverns, a cafe-bar, and even a sushi bar for the most demanding! For those who are more active, Mykonos offers a variety of water sports. From snorkeling to water ski and from tubes rides to parachute each one of you can find something interesting!
Greece was truly one of my most fulfilling and memorable travel experiences ever!