Wedding Welcome Bag Ideas: Engage!16 Sea Island

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Photography: Laura Dee Photography, John Cain Photography, Love Life Images, Joel Callaway Photography, Carla Ten Eyck, Paul Morse Photographs, Genevieve De Manio Photography

Location: Sea Island Resort, Branding + Signage + Furniture, Displays + Accessories: Beachview Event Rentals, Floral + Garden Displays: Vine Garden Market, Products: One Love Organics, Mel Boteri, Lolli and Pops, Solemates, Design + Gift Curation: Gifts for the Good Life, Videography: Elysium Productions, I Do Films 




The Best Places to Safari on a Honeymoon


Planning your honeymoon should begin by looking at the top of your travel bucket list and checking the box!  This is no ordinary vacation, nor should you treat it as such.  What have you always wanted to do together that perhaps you’ve never done?  Where do you want to go that you’ve never been?  Where can you find romance, relaxation, and a bit of adventure all-in-one with something for both of you to enjoy?  Have you considered a honeymoon on safari?  Chances are it will be a new experience for you both and even if not, no two safari experiences are the same.

You’ll find peace and quiet, privacy, relaxation and romance, but you’ll also find adventure, a connection and bond with nature, and based on my personal experience, an awe-inspiring set of memories you’ll never forget!  A safari is truly a once-in-a-lifetime incredible experience!  But where to go and what to?  How do you plan that unforgettable trip?  We chatted with safari and honeymoon experts, DK Grand Safaris to get the scoop on where and how to plan the perfect safari vacation for newlyweds.


A trip to East Africa is a must according to DK Grand Safaris.  You can visit the Masai Mara Game Reserve, a world-renowned safari destination and even end on a beautiful beach so you get the best of both worlds (just in case that tropical honeymoon sounds good to you too).

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For a jaw-dropping sight courtesy of Mother Nature complete with natural romance all around, make sure to select a safari with a stop at Victoria Falls, where the boarder of Zambia and Zimbabwe forms.  Talk about a romantic walk in the park!


Or maybe a sweet hot air balloon ride for two is more your speed.  Then experience the Masai Mara from above with views you can’t get any other way and you won’t soon forget.


And if seeing the famous “Big Five” is at the top of your bucket list, then DK Grand Safaris also suggests the Masai Mara for a great chance of catching them all.  They recommend you “focus on the private conservancies, and if you’re visiting between the August to November migration, your chances of seeing lions on the hunt are high.”

Or consider the private reserves that border famed Kruger National Park, specifically Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve.  DK Grand Safaris say leopards are fairly common here and you’ll often see the Big 5 in just a couple of days.

One more recommendation for checking the Big 5 off your bucket list?  “Private game reserves in the Eastern Cape as well as the far northern Madikwe Private Game Reserve offer fantastically easy Big 5 game viewing in a malaria-free, family-friendly environment though it should be noted that leopards are extremely elusive in these reserves.”


Or visit one of the new seven wonders of the world.  You can experience the famous wildebeest migration complete with millions zebras, elands, and topis.  You can do this two times during the year either in the Serengeti National Park (in Feb/March) or Masai Mara Game Reserve (in July-Sept) and you’re in for a NatGO-style real-life movie!


You can plan a safari experience that suits your needs to take you just where you want to go for as long as you see fit.  So determine in advance just how much time you plan to spend in the great outdoors and select a safari that runs the right amount of time for you – between one day and two weeks typically.  DK Grand Safaris suggests a minimum of 7 to 10 days for a great range for honeymooners.  Remember, you’ll have a bit of wedding lag and jet lag to start, and you’ll be traveling between locations so this ensures plenty of time with the animals too!  But whatever suits you best, they can customize accordingly!


Then for a bit of a beach honeymoon mixed with the adventure of a safari, head to the East Africa Indian Ocean at the end of your journey and experience calm blue waters and all the beach sports you can imagine (and let DK Grand Safaris do all the planning for you).


DK Grand Safaris has something for everyone looking for that ultimate safari honeymoon experience. From meals to lodging to touring the Serengeti, they’ve curated packages to ensure you have the best possible safari experience…and if you don’t see one that’s just right, they’ll customize for you too!

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Colorful Villa Wedding in Costa Rica

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Jill and Adam opted for a destination wedding high in the hills in a private villa in beautiful Costa Rica.  Jill shared with us the story of how a destination wedding ended up being just the right fit for them.

People often say that wedding planning was one of the most stressful times of their lives, I however do not feel that way. After we got engaged, Adam and I looked at venues locally, but nothing had the luxurious and romantic feel that I wanted to surround myself with on my wedding day. One night, Adam suggested a destination wedding, at first I scoffed at him, but I quickly got on board as it is so “us”. So instead of having a big, boring cookie cutter wedding, we turned it into a trip of a lifetime not only for us, but also for our family and friends.

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I had always wanted to go to Costa Rica, the culture, activities and overall vibe of the country seemed like it would be the perfect match for Adam’s and I adventurous side. Some quick Googleing led me to Villa Punto de Vista. I cannot say enough wonderful things about this house and the staff. The owner David, is attentive and has built a magical place that I will always remember.

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Once we booked the venue everything else fell into place. Some more Googleing led to me the most incredible wedding planner Tropical Occasions. Together Aimee and Karen make the perfect team. Karen’s no nonsense approach makes planning easy, she is the person you want to have by your side on the big day because you will not have to worry about anything.  She has every detail covered and is always three steps ahead of you. She is responsive, kind and truly one of the best in the business. Aimee is creative and brilliant and has this way of taking what you imagine in your head and making it come out even better. She instantly understood what I wanted and was able to make it happen and stay on budget! My wedding was truly more than I could have ever expected, every detail was perfect.

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Once the couple enlisted the expert guidance, planning and design from Costa Rica’s longest running destination wedding planners, Tropical Occasions, owner Aimee Monihan began the design process.

Jill was so amazing to work with. When we initially spoke about the look of her wedding she used words like “happy, natural, fun & colorful. She also made it clear she wanted it to feel like a wedding taking place where it was taking place. Costa Rica, in the jungle at a gorgeous Ultra Modern Luxury estate.  So as the designer for my company I was smiling ear to ear. First I was just happy to not have to design another rose gold and blush wedding and I had been wanting to do something just like she described at this house.  So we dove into a color palette of the colors of the Costa Rican sunset. Vibrant and deep Fuchsia, Orange, Yellow and red’s.


We introduced elements like beautiful exposed Costa Rican grown teak wood tables. Matched with Modern Ghost Chairs with a bright colorful tangerine orange cushions (Design tip! – you need these in tropics cause you will literally stick and sweat like crazy in a ghost chair). We found a fun yet modern runner to match the seat cushions and blend beautifully with the colors of the floral.

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The altar was natural and kept it classic with covering the already existing structure and we had a great leaf garland to again bring in all the green jungle surrounding the setting.  We love to re use as much as we can with our designs from ceremony into the reception- BIG DESIGN TIP- re use, re purpose your floral from ceremony in your tables. We do this all the time, allows our clients to save $, us to feel better about being sustainable in our designs and above all your look is automatically cohesive!

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The flowers were by far my favorite part to plan and Jill let me have carte blanche as far as what they would look like. I used lots of fun textures, deep to bright colors and fun details here and there. The mix included Floral in the sunset palate using Mokara, phalenopsis and dendrobium orchids, Roses, Coxcomb, Orange and yellow Gloriosa’s,  sweet pea, Snap dragons, Tulips & Lisanthus. We also added in texture with Succulents, Artichokes, air plants and a mix if green leaves from Tropical, to coffee, to citrus, to echo a bit of the foliage growing all around the setting in Costa Rica. Flowers were put into different sized Teak wood boxes to compliment the tables. We as well with all our events feel that like the Bachelor there is no such thing as too many candles… so we added lots of candles from votives, to floating and as well LED flickering in glass hurricanes. Design tip #2 for the tropics.  Use as much LED as you can. Every says they want open flame… but when you use an abundance of candles and its already 80 degrees… its like a campfire next to you in a already hot climate!)

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The design in the end was a complete reflection of our clients. I did not realize that when Jill described her perfect wedding the words she used were a reflection of who she and her husband are. FUN, Beautiful, Natural, Happy and colorful to their beautiful shining souls. Planning and designing this event for them was our great honor. They were the types of clients that remind us that we are so blessed to do what we do and meet and help great people like them!!


From the bride: For anyone who is thinking of a destination wedding, do it, it will be so much more than you ever expected. Thank you Aimee, Karen, Natalie, Madi, David, and all of the others who helped make this the most beautiful wedding, I cannot thank you enough.

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Congratulations to the newlyweds!

Destination Wedding Photographer: Madison Baltodano Photography

Wedding Vendors: Wedding Location: Villa Punto de Vista, Manuel Antonio, CR, Wedding Planner: Tropical Occasions, Event Designer: Aimee Monihan, Tropical Occasions, Wedding Coordinator: Karen Ogden, Tropical Occasions, Hair/Makeup: Jasmine Rodriguez, Florist: Stylos y Flores, Caterer: Citrus, Officiant: Marcelo Galli, DJ: DJ Doug Gomez, Dress: Allure Couture C261, Sposabella Bridal, Feasterville, PA, Veil: ABusyMother/Etsy, Bride’s Shoes:  Shoes of Prey, Garters: Millieicaro, Groom’s Suit:  Tommy Hilfiger, Macy’s, Grooms Men Ties: The Tie Bar, Groom’s Cufflinks: BackZeroDesign/Etsy, Groom’s Men Attire: Tommy Hilfiger, Macy’s, Bridesmaid Dresses: Adrianna Papell, Nordstrom, Bride’s Rings: Ritani, Groom’s Ring: Handmade by bride, Ring Bearer Box: LittleWeeShop/Etsy, Bridal Party Robes: Silkandmore/Etsy, Chair Back Sings: ZCreateDesigns/Etsy, Table Runners: Carousel Designs, Invites: Winsome Blooms, Wedding Paper Divas, Wedding Welcome Bags: White Apple Threads/Etsy, Costa Rica Map Guest Sign: Embie Designs/Etsy, Cake Topper: Better Off Wed/Etsy, Bridal Dress Hanger: WhiskeynWeddingBells/Etsy, Mr & Mrs. Champagne Flutes: SweetWaterWorkshop/Etsy


A Romantically Pink Wedding in Corfu, Greece


Michele and Sebastian said I do on the beautiful island of Corfu, Greece in a picture-perfect and romantically pink destination wedding. The couple’s wedding planner, Anna from Rosmarin Weddings and Events gave us some insights into their gorgeous big day and how they selected this spot from around the world.

When Michele and Sebastian started to think about their wedding their first and ultimate decision was to have it somewhere abroad, next to the sea, where could come all their close friends and relatives to share this day with them. There is one more reason for that because basically couple lives in Paris but originally Michele is from Lebanon and Sebastian from Poland so there were not so many days in their life when their families collected together.


Michele and Sebastian were considering a Catholic ceremony and from the beginning their choice was directed to amazing Santorini or Mykonos. But there were not any opportunities to have a Catholic ceremony there. This is how Corfu became one and only in final most right choice for the couple. Corfu Island is very famous about it’s history and heritage and stay a bit apart about culture, architecture from other Greek islands which we’ve used to see. And the reason of that was big influence of Italy, which is close to the island. There are a lot of Catholic churches and for the wedding was chosen Cathedral church of Saint James and Christopher in the historical center of Corfu town.

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Michele knew from the beginning that event styling should be very elegant with touches of chic. That’s why she chose pink and gold as main wedding colors. Reception dinner took place at the beachside restaurant – Piedra del Mar with perfect collaboration of Venetian Well restaurant who provided really elegant and gourmet catering.

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Gorgeous wedding cake was made by Cake Boutique and really exceeded couple’s expectations. 


Congratulations to the newlyweds!

Destination Wedding Photographer: Elias Kordelakos

Wedding Vendors: Wedding Planning + Styling: Rosmarin Weddings and Events, Reception Venue: Piedra del Mar, Catering: Venetian Well restaurant, Cake: Cake Boutique, Bridal Hair + Makeup: “Nicoletta” salon


San Diego Ocean View Wedding Venue: Cape Rey


If you’re looking for a wedding venue with an epic ocean view but barefoot in the sand isn’t exactly your style, then consider Cape Rey Carlsbad in sunny San Diego, where the weather is {almost} always perfect, the beach is just 150 steps away, and the ceremony site overlooks the big blue Pacific Ocean.  The Cape Rey Carlsbad is one of San Diego’s newest hidden gems for weddings, with a fantastic ceremony lawn and garden, a great outdoor entertaining space for cocktails and even dinner beneath the stars, and a mega ballroom that’s pretty enough to satisfy the most discerning couples.

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Besides the beautiful event spaces you have to choose from, a highlight from my recent visit was the food.  The trendy lobby bar and restaurant, Chandler’s Restaurant, a local favorite, is also the catering department for weddings.  That means you’ll get a fabulous restaurant-quality meal for your first as newlyweds!  The fresh seafood, local fare and great wine selection give you and your guests a great culinary experience to remember.  (And the bar scene during off wedding time is pretty great too…)

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The Cape Rey Carlsbad has a relaxed beachy vibe while staying true to its hotel roots to give you a great and well-rounded weekend experience when you visit.  The property is small enough to feel intimate when you run into your wedding guests in the lobby or by the pool, but large enough to house weddings with up to 650 guests, so you can invite just about everyone you know!  It really is the best of all worlds here and you can’t beat San Diego for a domestic destination wedding spot!

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And if you just got engaged, then even better news – book Cape Rey Carlsbad by March 31, 2017 and receive $1000 off your ceremony fee PLUS 15% off their evening wedding package prices.  Mention this offer when booking and be sure to get your amazing savings!  For more information, be sure to visit Cape Rey Carlsbad.


Photos Courtesy of Cape Rey Carlsbad.