I INVITE YOU TO INDULGE IN THE DOLCE VITA LIFESTYLE.

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

How to set your own trend for your Destination Wedding!

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Tell your own story:

Customize everything you can. You’ll be able to set your own trend for your destination wedding and reflect your unique personality. Continue reading

Love, Italian Style!

  1. 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.

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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  1. 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.
  2. 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

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Nevis, the new, hottest destination for couples seeking elegance and romance!


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Why Nevis?

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.

Who Nevis?

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.

When Nevis?  

Perfect time Nevis , December to early April.

What Nevis?

Top Romantic Activities on Nevis

  • Sunset Cruise

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  • Nevis Peak Hike
  • Botanical Gardens on Nevis

  • Private dining in the Mill at Montpelier Plantation & Beach

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  • Private picnic at Lovers Beach
  • Funky Monkey off-Road Adventure in a 4×4 wheeler, with picnic
  • Exploring Nevis out by bike

Where Nevis?

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

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  • 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.

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  • Thomas Anglican Church
  • Cottle Church- Ruins of an Anglican Church built in 1824 by John Thomas Cottle

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  • Various stunning beaches on Nevis

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  • 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

 

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Greece Honeymoon

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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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

 

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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!

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Greece was truly one of my most fulfilling and memorable travel experiences ever!

 

 

 

Runaway Bride Destination Weddings has partnered with Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways to create an extraordinary and unique destination wedding experience for brides and their grooms.

Kimberly Richmond and Nancy Barkley, A-List destination wedding experts, offer brides a wedding experience in unique settings and service without limitations.

What does this venture mean for brides and grooms?  Finally, Destination Wedding Experts offering a hands-on approach while providing creative customization of every event with flawless execution and 5-star service.  Couples will have a dedicated team adept at handling the unique nuptial “tasks” from honing in on the perfect flower arrangement in a remote destination to navigating the requirements for a legally-binding union far from home. The partnership will benefit couples who are looking for personal, intimate service, as opposed to generic on-line “destination wedding sites” and “cookie-cutter weddings.”

Destination weddings can be stressful, so you are invited to Run Away with them, place your “wish list” in their capable hands and allow them to stage your dream wedding.

Both Kimberly Richmond, owner of Runaway Bride Destination Weddings and Nancy Barkley, owner of Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways started in the Destinations Wedding business the old- fashioned way – by planning their own destination wedding.  Kimberly and Nancy realize the importance of working with someone you trust and this partnership promises to make your wishes come true.

Leave it to the Experts:

Runaway Bride Destination Weddings is a boutique destination wedding company specializing in luxurious hideaways all over the world. They represent select properties in unique locales and partner only with exclusive venues.

Services are customized for each individual, starting from the first meeting with the bride and groom, through the “Big Day.”

Runaway Bride Destination Weddings personally researches every destination they book and hand picks every vendor they propose. Because of their established relationships in each destination, they are able to obtain “preferred pricing,” which in turn, assures you the best “bang for your buck.” Their “quality, versus quantity” philosophy defines their approach and validates them as veritable connoisseurs of the places they recommend.

Runaway Bride Destination Weddings will guide you every step of the way, allowing you and your groom to be “guests” at your own wedding, while leaving the tedious details behind.

Contact information: http://www.runawaybridedestinations.com k.richmond@runawaybridedestinations.com

Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways is a leading full service travel agency which has built a valued reputation based on expertise, attention to every detail and unrivaled customer service. They specialize in Destination Wedding, Honeymoon, and Luxury Travel.  Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways is committed to their clients and will provide you the best travel experience available. Travel with Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways and you will quickly become accustomed to an exceptional level of service at competitive prices.

Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways go the extra mile for every single client. By leveraging their buying power of partners they are able to offer superior value added amenities, upgrades, and more. Rely on their team of travel experts whose combined in-depth destination knowledge offers more than 75 years of travel experience.  Most importantly, they are here for you, before, during, and after the trip!

Contact Information- http://www.honeymoonsandgetaways.com   nancy@honeymoonsandgetaways.com

Planning your Destination Wedding

So, you want to have a Destination Wedding? Something different, unique, nontraditional, that is great. However, do your guests want to be part of a Destination Wedding? This is the first dilemma when you decide on having your wedding in a different country or state.  Aunt Sue, who does not have a passport or has never been on a plane, does not want to fly anywhere, yet alone to a country where she does not speak the language.    Brides and Grooms, my first piece of advice is to make a list of absolutely “must be there” guests and make sure they can attend. The last thing you want to do is get six months into the planning and then have somebody back out.   Of course, I have planned Destination Weddings, with the above being the very reason for the couple chose to have a Destination Wedding, knowing Aunt Sue will not go- if that is the case, then carry on and have your Destination Wedding, you know your family and friends best.

Location, Location, Location- where to have your Destination Wedding?   A lot of this depends on where you and your guests are physically located and how far you would like your guests to travel.   If you are traveling to another county, researching air lift helps prevent many troubles before they begin.  Also, looking at a map helps the geographically challenged, trust me, one cannot drive to Hawaii.

When to have your Destination Wedding?  Mother Nature is an important part of the wedding party.  The Caribbean is a popular choice for many couples, with summer being popular because children are out of school and summer usually provides more vacation time for guests.  However, summer starts Hurricane Season in the Caribbean, so it is advisable to plan on a different time.   In this situation, advance planning is key to allow guests enough time to request off. You can perhaps take advantage of long holiday weekends that will not be during hurricane season, or typhoon season or  weather events at your destination.  While on the topic of children, if you would like an adult only event, the same rules apply to a Destination Wedding as a local wedding.  Save the Dates and invitations should be address only to those who are invited, meaning if the children names are left off, they are not invited.

So you have the date, you have the location, what type of wedding are you going to have?  Legal, religious? Symbolic.    For legal weddings, many countries require you to be in their country a certain amount of time before wedding and have blood tests taken locally as well as papers translated.  For religious, it is not always easy to find say a priest or rabbi in certain areas.  For many the religious ceremonies, it is less complicated to fly, your rabbi with you to perform ceremony.  All of this can be done when planned ahead of time.  Also, just because you have chosen an exotic destination, you can still walk down a literal church aisle.  Many venues provide a traditional chapel at their location.   If choosing a legal ceremony, I find more and more brides getting married legally ahead of time and doing symbolic ceremony at location (which can look exactly like a legal ceremony) if you do not wish your guests to know, they will be none to the wiser.

Regardless of when you have to arrive at your destination for residency requirements, please allow yourself an extra day, especially if you are flying.  Weather and flight cancellations can delay travel and giving yourself extra time can avoid a problem before it happens.  Also, I do not suggest shipping your wedding dress, EVER, I cannot tell you the horror stories of dresses being caught up in customs.  Same goes for gifts you bring on the flight for guests.  Ideally, purchase locally or bring with you unwrapped.

Being a bit of control freak myself and having planned my own Destination Wedding, I quickly learned you need to let go of some of the control.  So, if you are a hand-on bride, be forewarned, to avoid a lot of unnecessary stress, give up of some of the power.  If at all possible, I always suggest visiting the destination you have chosen and meeting all the players that will be involved in your wedding.  If this is not possible, make sure you work with reputable travel and wedding professionals who provide references and then call the references that are most recent.  Once you are comfortable that your Destination Wedding Team is prepared to handle everything, introduce them to your Decision Making Team.  Establish an initial conference call. Discuss the entire wedding process and establish a realistic time line for everything involved for your wedding and who will be doing what.    From there, you can send pictures and detailed description of exactly what you are envisioning for flowers, table settings etc.  Just like communication is vital for your marriage, it is very important with your wedding planner.

Have your Destination Team recommend a local photographer at your destination that has knowledge of the local area, for some great unique photos you will always cherish.    Always have a Plan B for wedding location.  You do not want to think of inclement weather for your wedding day but it happens, and having an alternative location selected ahead of time will help you avoid undue stress.

This is your day, decide on exactly how both of you envision it, communicate it with your Destination Wedding Team and let them take it from there.  When planning a Destination Wedding, try not to get caught up in making everything perfect, role with whatever comes your way and it is your wedding day and it will amazing!

Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways,  Destination Wedding Specialits have been planning unique, one of a kind weddings for over 20 years.  Visit their website at www.honeymoonsandgetaways.com  Facebook at www.facebook.com/honeymoonsandgetaways  or call them today at 877 – 793 – 4808.

Marry in Querétaro or Michoacán , Mexico

“Welcome Home” is often how I am greeted when traveling to Mexico.  This honestly rings true as the warmth and hospitality of the Mexican citizens make you feel immediately at home.  You will leave Mexico sharing their passion and love for their country looking to return again soon.

“Honeymoon” a period of harmony immediately following marriage.  I cannot think of a more beautiful and breathtaking place, for newlyweds to take their first journey as husband and wife, than to Mexico.  There are so many wonderful choices in Mexico to start your honeymoon trip, I would like to begin with the beautiful Colonial towns of Mexico, specifically Michoacán and Queretaro, where I had the privilege of traveling to this summer.

Travel with your soul mate to the soul of Mexico, Michoacán.  When you arrive to Michoacán it will be like taking a step back in time to Old World Europe and traditional Mexico.  Here you will discover formerly housed convents, glorious haciendas, and Spanish palaces.  Your first trip as husband and wife will be to a truly magical place.

Morelia, the capital of Michoacán is not only a stunning colonial city but has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site with its architecture dating back to the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.  These grand buildings house many of the hotels that you will stay at.  The focal point of Morelia is the cathedral with soaring twin spires, located in the middle of the main square and heart of the city.  On Saturday evenings, the Cathedral is gradually lit up with awe inspiring results.

In Tzintzuntzan, you will visit the former Covent of St. Francis.  This monastery thrived for over one hundred years, before being converted into a school.  This ancient convent is  now open  to the public and  much of the original two-story quadrangle remains, and fragments of original frescoes over 400 years old can still be seen in the large arched entryway

So close to Morelia is Patzcuaro, one of the four Pueblos Magicos (Magical Towns) in Michoacán.  Patzcuaro means “Doorway to Heaven” because the ancient population believed the entryway to heaven was near.   Its focal point is the Plaza Grande, showcasing the statue of Bishop Vasco de Quirogas.

If adventure is more your style, enjoy zip lining, kayaking, mountain biking, hike, golf or visit the youngest volcano in the world – Paricutin.  One can tour the Don Vasco Route that will navigate you through historical zones that will thrust you into the magic of thousand year old traditions.

Magnificent, Magical, Mystifying, Miraculous, Majestic, in my opinion, they all describe Michoacán.

Multicolored mosaics that maintain authentic traditions, sunsets upon splendid architecture, preserved in its original beauty since viceroyalty times are for you to experience in Queratro, a treasure in the heartland of Mexico, which is a short two hour drive, away from Michoacán.

I have to agree with the cover of a pamphlet I was given while in Queretaro.  “Explore the Unexpected” I did not expect Queretaro to be a romantic destination, I was so wrong.  Magnificent colonial buildings filled with fine art galleries, museums, elegant restaurants and sidewalk cafes, and artisan’s shops.  Country Estates, gardens and vineyards , world class musicians, National and International cuisines and long established wine producing in the valley running from San Juan del Rio Ezequiel Montes, need any more romance?

Queretaro is a state of vice regal and baroque sceneries.  Michoacán is a magical place rich in nature wonders, traditions and architectural beauty.  Both are the ideal destination for the honeymoon of your dreams.

I truly enjoyed every magical moment of my trip to Querétaro and Michoacán and was touched by every person I met.  It is my hope you will honeymoon to the romantic colonial jewels of Mexico and experience the enchantment as well.