New Laguna Beach Wedding Location: The Ranch at Laguna Beach

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Tucked away just 350 yards from one of Southern California’s most pristine beaches is a hidden hideaway unlike anything else in the area. Laguna Beach may be know for its boutique surf hotels and mega luxury resorts but at The Ranch at Laguna Beach, we discovered something a little bit different.

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A brand new hotel, The Ranch was once a Girl Scout retreat before its current owners developed the canyon into a summer camp-like luxury resort fit for the kid in all of us and the grownup with ultra high standards. I got the chance to visit The Ranch recently and as a Southern Californian, this might be the best weekend getaway or staycation around.

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You’ll disconnect with little to no cell service as you unwind in a cabin-like building adorned with swanky suites and incredibly comfy beds. The rooms were designed by the local trending home store, Tuvalu Home Environment, and the result will make you want to move in.

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The food is outstanding, the ranch hands as they call them (the crew that will drive you from place to place via golf cart) couldn’t be more friendly, and the golf, if you partake is pretty special, complete with wild deer on the course.

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But it’s the wedding venues at The Ranch at Laguna Beach that are truly jaw-dropping. Imagine guests in a rally of golf carts out to a clearing deep in the forest where a wedding deck sits, surrounded by vast trees and beautiful gardens, with twinkle lights all around. It’s rustic glam at its finest, with all the amenities, service and cuisine you can expect from a five star hotel.

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Or say “I do” on the golf course, under trees lining the 1st and 9th fairways before moving into the ballroom to dance the night away.

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No matter where you wed at The Ranch at Laguna Beach, you’ll find total privacy, a rare connection with nature in the Orange County area and the best of both worlds on land and sea (your ranch hand can easily cart you out to the ocean for a welcome party, late night fire pit experience, or just a day at the beach).

The Ranch at Laguna Beach is brand new, so while it may be Southern California’s best kept secret for now, it’s too good to be for long.

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Yellow and Blue Destination Wedding Back Home in Iowa

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Caitlin and Brad held their destination wedding back home, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where they returned from Tennessee to tie the knot.  They selected a ceremony site very near and near to their hearts, the same place Caitlin’s parents, both sets of grandparents, and one set of great-grandparents wed. So this family tradition continued with a destination wedding this time around!

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The bride shared a bit about their big day details with us – which was all about family and only fitting for this darling couple. “We incorporated a lot of tradition and history throughout our day in different ways, making it even more meaningful for us and our families.”

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“We danced to ‘Forever Like That’ by Ben Rector – the acoustic version. We had both been taking lessons for a while and didn’t want anything too choreographed. Our dance instructor helped us with a styled intro and ending, and Brad led a waltz through the rest of it…impressing our guests, especially his mom!”

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Congratulations to the newlyweds!

Destination Wedding Photographer: Emily Crall Photography

Wedding Vendors: Ceremony Venue: St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Reception Venue: The Celebration Farm, First Dance Choreography: Fred Astaire Dance Studio Memphis, DJ: Unique Events of Iowa, Florist, Cake Designer + Catering: Hy-Vee: Davenport Utica Ridge, Officiant: Msgr. Thomas Zinkula, Hair Stylist/MUA: Blaze Salon, Invitations: Zephyr Weddings

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Incredible Cancun Wedding Location: Nizuc Resort & Spa

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Have you ever been in a hotel room that you just didn’t want to leave? I’ve been lucky enough a few times, but never in one that I loved so much I didn’t want to leave it the entire time I was at the hotel! Well, until now. Nizuc Resort and Spa, located just on the edge of Cancun, Mexico has plenty to keep you busy but the rooms are so spectacular, you don’t ever want to leave to do any of it!

I recently touched down into one of their Garden Pool Villas, and they are, as they sound, complete with a pool inside the walls of your villa! With glass walls that open up the bedroom into the exterior, outdoor living rooms and showers, and a private pool for each, this truly is indoor-outdoor living at it’s finest. There may have been an indoor shower too, but why use it when the outdoor rain shower is calling your name?! Turn on your tunes (your iPhone connects with the speaker system throughout the villa property) and soak in the tube drawn for you by your butler and life doesn’t get much better than that (especially for honeymooners).

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But Nizuc goes beyond just epic hotel rooms. The property is ideal for destination weddings too! With incredible infinity pools and decks perfect for private parties and a beach property fit for a fabulous Mexican fiesta, you can say “I do” indoors in their massive ballroom space overlooking the lagoon or outdoors in one of their iconic Caribbean wedding locations.

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And no matter which venue you opt for, you can count on the weddings staff taking exceptional care of you. You may stay up late celebrating, but I witnessed them staying up so much later, just to make sure every detail was absolutely perfect for the pair tying the knot.

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From a fabulous spa to a to-die-for daily breakfast buffet (complete with guacamole, of course), to complimentary paddle boarding, snorkeling and kayaking on its two beaches, Nizuc has it all. And once you’ve done it all, remember it also has oodles of romance with fire torches burning nightly, sunken lounges among the water installations, and the utmost of privacy in your villa, whether in the garden or overlooking the ocean from high above.  This might just be the sexiest hotel on earth!

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Terra Nostra

If you want a modern, sexy place to honeymoon or host a destination wedding, then look to the outskirts of Cancun to Nizuc Resort and Spa where you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a place that couldn’t possibly be so easy to get to – just minutes from a major airport but miles from ordinary.

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For more information and to plan your wedding, check out Nizuc Resort & Spa.

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Tropical Wedding Inspiration Shoot in Miami

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Today’s tropical wedding inspiration comes to us from our friends at Alorè Event Firm who designed a tabletop look to share at The Walton House in Miami, Florida (where they have parrots to party with!).  These tropical wedding ideas work well in the Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, and even South and Central America where you’ll find oodles of parrots in the wild.  If you want a colorful big day, then consider this style as described by Alorè Event Firm.

This tropical oasis was created at The Walton House with the vision of Creative Director, Anna Noriega from Alorè Event Firm to embrace the true live nature component the venue had to offer. The use of palm leaves to cover tent poles was incorporated with draping to bring the outside in. The unique array of colors, succulents, summer blooms, tropical foliage, moss and not to mention mega Chandelier and Parrots gave the design an incredible “wow factor”.  

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Destination Wedding Photographer: Soul Echo Studios

Photo Shoot Team: Location + Parrots: The Walton House, Design and Florals: Alorè Event Firm, Linens: Nuage Linens, Tent and Draping: Rumbas Party Rental, Chandelier/Lighting: Kaleidoscope Event Lighting, Chairs & Table: Hitched Event Rentals, Parrots Courtesy of: Creature Features, Charger Plates: Atlas Party Rentals

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Temecula Wedding Location: Pechanga Resort & Casino

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Did you know that Southern California has a wine country?  And a beautiful one too!  Temecula is home to rolling hills, boutique wineries, and even a fabulous resort to call home for your destination wedding!  Set just outside of the wineries, a few minutes from the vines is Pechanga Resort & Casino, the perfect place to wed when heading south for an outdoors wedding in wine country.  I recently got to test drive what a wedding would be like here…and let’s just say, I’ll be back!

You may think you want to say “I do” among the grapes, but once you set foot on Pechanga’s private garden ceremony site, you may think again.  A beautifully manicured lawn and garden with a raised platform just for you, your ceremony point will be protected by trees yet overlook the beautiful golf course and valley beyond.

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Then head to the patio nearby for a fire pit-clad cocktail hour (perfect for s’mores) and enjoy a jaw-dropping setting complete with old-fashioned bridge just beyond, where most brides and grooms can be found taking portraits in a place unlike any other.

For dinner, dine under the stars or indoors at Journey, a swanky restaurant the property shuts down just for you and 180 of your closest friends and family.  You’ll enter by a large, two-story stone fireplace and head into a space that’s already dressed up so you need not do much to make it picture-perfect.

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Then it’s time to eat.  And eat you will!  The food at Pechanga Resort & Casino is something to write home about.  Wow, it’s better than good.  Your first meal as newlyweds will be one you remember.

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But a destination wedding to Southern California’s wine country isn’t all about the wedding day.  What I love about Pechanga is all there is do on property AND nearby.  You can take your guests to a comedy show in their comedy club instead of hosting a stuffy rehearsal dinner.  If there’s a concert in town, you can catch that too in their theater.  If you like to gamble, there’s a major casino on property.  And if you don’t, it’s housed a shuttle ride away from the wedding space so you’ll never even know it’s there.  But if you do like to play a little, might we suggest a family round of bingo or a poker tournament for your group?  Pechanga can set up gaming activities for your group too – even lessons for those needing a little help!

Then don’t forget to arrange a shuttle to the wineries for some tastings along the way and perhaps even a day after trash the dress session!

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The rooms at Pechanga Resort & Casino are lovely, the staff knows their stuff, the activities are endless, and the wedding spaces and menus are surprisingly unique and delightful.  Home run if you’re looking for a domestic destination I do and a wine country that’s a little more relaxed with a lot more to do.  Oh, and did we mention Pechanga is undergoing a 285 million dollar expansion and renovation?  That means this time next year, you’ll find even more to do on property with even more luxury at your fingertips.  Booking now means getting in before it’s booked later.

{Photos: Image 1: Pechanga, Image 2, 3, 6: Hulse Photo, Image 4, 5: Jenna Joseph Photography}

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