Getting Married in the Mountains: The Ritz Carlton, Bachelor Gulch

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Winter may be behind us but if you’re considering saying “I do” in the snow, then now is the time to shop for next season! But where to host that quintessential winter wedding?  One with roaring fire pits, s’mores among friends, and a casual, relaxed elegance that makes everyone feel welcome?  Consider a domestic destination wedding in Colorado – Bachelor Gulch to be specific. Tucked into its own mountainside in the Vail Valley, you’ll find The Ritz Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, a giant log cabin of sorts (with seven miles worth of logs to build its beautiful structures!). A skiers dream, this property sits halfway up the mountain and at the base of a lift, for ski in and ski out celebrating.  Visiting here is an experience surrounded by the beauty of nature no one in attendance will ever forget!

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Sun or snow, no matter the season, you can say I do outdoors on their skiers bridge, overlooking a gorgeous valley view and just steps from the grand Ritz Carlton ballroom (that seats up to 350) to wine and dine indoors when the deed is done. But before you do that, you’ll want to stop by the outdoor terrace for cocktail hour complete with the scent of a fresh burning fire pit and Aspen trees all around. I recently experienced one such wedding and it was magic on a mountain – the meal even incorporated smoked local meats like bison and elk cooked out back on property for guests to enjoy! Colorado has a bounty of local meats and veggies to delight the biggest foodies in your bunch, and some pretty great craft cocktails, local breweries and even distilleries too! No matter your tastes or your season, the amazing culinary and events team on property helps you design a menu unlike anything you’ll experience anywhere else.

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And speaking of season, The Ritz Carlton, Bachelor Gulch isn’t just for winter weddings, in fact, they are most popular in the summer and fall months when it comes to tying the knot in nature. So if sunny 80 degree days are more your style, then settle in here like the original bachelors of the area. Beautiful wildflowers spring up everywhere (or leaves turn to gold in the fall season), giving you a picture-perfect backdrop that needs little décor for a wedding ceremony.

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No need to be a skier to fall in love with this place, your group can hike, bike, star gaze with a guide as you roast s’mores, white water raft by day or spa instead – they truly have it all!  …Like this gorgeous indoor grotto, available for all hotel guests to use in that spa!

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What better way to bond and merge two families together than in the beauty of nature paired with the creature comforts of The Ritz Carlton! For more information on getting married in the Beaver Creek area at The Ritz Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, be sure to check them out here. I’ve been in winter and in summer and know I’ll be back soon to experience another season at this spectacular spot!

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All Photos Courtesy of The Ritz Carlton, Bachelor Gulch.

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Palm Desert Destination Weddings at Omni Rancho Las Palmas

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If you’re looking for a beautiful destination wedding venue in Southern California that’s kid-friendly, oodles of fun with plenty of event location options, then look no further than to Palm Desert at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa.  We had the recent pleasure of checking out the property firsthand and oh what fun!  The resort has over 465 rooms and suites to service your large (or small) party and several spectacular sites for your ceremony and reception (like this lawn overlooking a pond and the golf course).

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Or perhaps perch your party atop the roof for a view of the mountains and the resort below as you dance under the stars and celebrate in total privacy!

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The resort is just 20 minutes from the airport and about 20 minutes from the town of Palm Springs – for those of your guests who want to get out and explore the city, nightlife and shopping.  Of course, it’s not far from amazing shopping in Palm Desert too with great restaurants like the Tommy Bahama Restaurant to host your rehearsal dinner or post-wedding brunch if you want to get off property.

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But there’s really no reason to leave!  The Omni Rancho Las Palmas has a lovely spa with a variety of amenities and services to treat you and your bridal party before and on your big day (we recommend spending the afternoon lounging at the spa pool for a little more R&R and privacy away from the other guests).

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There’s also the entertaining Splashtopia waterpark on property for the kids and kids in all of you who want to float down a lazy river or splash on a few slides in the sun.  If your group has children, ask for rooms near this part of the resort.  For adults only, opt to be closer to the spa and lobby areas (which have great curb appeal and outdoor fire pits to enjoy at night with a glass of wine as you reflect on your wedding weekend).

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Needless to say, the resort really has it all for a destination wedding group.  But it’s actually the team behind it all that gives this place that something extra.  Pam Olson, the resort’s Catering Sales Manager is your go-to gal for all things wedding at the resort and we promise you’ll fall in love with her too as she dedicates herself wholeheartedly to making your big day the best it can be.  You get the sense that the entire staff lives like this – with open arms, warmth, kindness and dedication to your event so no detail is left undone and no guest leaves without feeling like they’re leaving home.

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For more information for your honeymoon or destination wedding, be sure to check out the Omni Rancho Las Palmas.

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Caribbean Club – Caymans Islands Destination Weddings + Honeymoons

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If you’re looking for a luxury property where all your friends and family can fit with the ease of living like you’re at home (but with the service of a special resort), then check in to the Caribbean Club, a boutique hotel on the sand of Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands.

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With only 30 villas on property (each three bedrooms – with the ability to make them smaller), you can have the run of the place for your wedding weekend or simply stop here for your honeymoon and feel like you’re the only two people on property.

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Each villa comes complete with a full kitchen, living room, washer and dryer and more!  All the creature comforts of home without all the work!

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The friendly staff on property can even stock your fridge before you get there so should you want snacks, drinks or even cook while you’re there, everything is at your fingertips!  And fear not, if you prefer someone to cook for you, they can bring in a chef or you can order room service from this award-winning hotel.

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My favorite part about the property is the beach.  It really doesn’t get much better than this.  White sand, picture perfect waters, the ideal water and air temperatures and gorgeous backdrops for your wedding photos too!

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But the Caribbean Club prides itself on more than just luxury on the sand.  With a world-class restaurant, Luca, even your most foodie of friends will delight in your wedding night dinner (and hopefully indulge in their massive delish spread that is the Sunday brunch – a must do!).

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From the fantastic food to the stunning views and relaxed accommodations, we adore the Caribbean Club for a destination wedding group (and honeymoon too)!  Thanks to Danielle and her team for an amazing experience on property, we are already dreaming of coming back soon!

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All Photos by Carla Ten Eyck

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Disney Aulani Resort Weddings

Disney Aulani Resort HawaiiIf you’ve been following us over at Bridal Bar for a while now, then you’ll know I’m pretty much a total kid when it comes to anything Disney.  Now I don’t wear princess purses to work mind you, but I (and the entire team over here) are die-hard Disney fans.  So when we heard that Hawaii was going to be home to the latest and greatest Disney property, we had to investigate.  The Aulani Resort, located on the island of O’ahu, in a beautiful beach and marina community called Ko Olina, is a brand new (we’re talking opened weeks ago), sprawling property ideal for a destination wedding with lots of kids (or kids at heart).  Perfect for the active group, they’ve got world-famous Hawaiian Island snorkeling (really fab), sport fishing, golf, spa, pool, sun, sand, and plenty of characters and kids activities to entertain the little ones during an adult-only reception or throughout the entire week.

Tip:  Be sure to check out the snorkeling in their salt-water lagoon, the only one in Hawaii!

disney aulani resortOf course you don’t have to geek out and go totally Disney for your big day if you don’t want to, but if you love Walt and friends like we do, then don’t forget about their Alfred Angelo designed bridal gown collection to match your reception theme (or inner princess) – the sky’s the limit with Disney Wedding options, if you want them!weddings at disney hawaii resortBut I think what I love most about this resort for weddings is that it allows us kids at heart to incorporate elements of our favorite childhood memories into our big day, but it doesn’t have to be an event that is too themed.  Your big day can be a luxurious destination wedding that you share with friends and family (ask about the Makaloa Garden pictured above – beautiful!)…and perhaps you can sneak in a photo op or two with some old theatrical friends.

To take a closer look at Aulani’s wedding and honeymoons offerings, check out the Disney Wedding Site.

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La Costa Resort Weddings

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San Diego is said to have, arguably, the best weather in the country, making it a great option for an accessible and perhaps more travel-affordable destination wedding.  It’s also my hometown so I’m slightly partial to properties there.  The city really is the epitome of relaxation and boasts numerous luxury resorts that rival any far away destination spot. The north county located La Costa Resort and Spa is certainly one of them.destination san diego weddings

The La Costa Resort has a striking Spanish style design, befitting of its Southern California roots.  Most famous for its spa destination, the vast property is an excellent option for destination weddings of any size, especially those with kids (the resort is complete with a kids camp, pool area and arcade).  This unique spot is one you never have to leave and you and your guests will feel totally fulfilled.  Golf for the guys, tennis for ladies, spa and shopping, pool time and nature walks, and of course fantastic restaurants and even fireside dinning with your own private staff, should you wish.san diego resorts and spas

If you’re looking to unpack and unwind without ever leaving the wedding property, then La Costa Resort could be just for you.  And for those of you who like to venture out every once and a while, San Diego summers have the Del Mar Fair, the Del Mar Racetrack, the beach, the harbor, and lots more to entertain you with – just outside the property’s gates.

When to Go:  San Diego has pretty spectacular weather year round but we suggest late summer when the race track comes to down.  Just one more group activity to enjoy with your guests!

Travel Tip: Rent a car!  While the resort is its own self-contained city, San Diego has so many sites to see within 30 minutes of the property that you’ll be thankful you have the freedom to venture out.

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