Historic Destination Wedding Location: The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa_Exterior Architecture

Historic wedding venues provide epic backdrops for your big day. A place rich in experience, typically grand in design (even if it’s because it’s in ruins), and a sense of place and story that most people want for their wedding. Well, if this fits the bill for you then one destination wedding location in Southern California has got to be on your radar. The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside (not too far from Disneyland if you want to make a day trip) is an old-world gem that is back on the map again. With architecture and design unlike anything I’ve ever seen, setting foot here will take you back to a time and place you may not have know existed.

The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa_Amistad Suite Imperial Presidential

Built originally in 1876, this property has relics from the 17th century and statement pieces from around the world. And it also has a chapel! That’s right, you can get married in a stunning non-denominational chapel for 160 (or opt for a smaller ceremony in the St. Cecilia Chapel for just 15). A big bonus for couples getting married here, I highly recommend a ceremony in the St. Francis of Assisi Chapel, followed by cocktails in a beautiful courtyard framing a fountain, before heading into dinner and dancing in one of eight ballrooms on property.

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Then when it comes time to retire, you and your guests will delight in different rooms for each! No two hotel rooms or suites (out of their 238) are the same, many of which were even designed and built during different eras. For newlyweds, the Keeper of the Inn Suite, the Amistad Suite and Alhambra Suite are most popular. Whereas I stayed in a Mission Room on the top floor, complete with fireplace, high ceilings and a rooftop garden out front and I found it perfectly romantic for any pair in your bridal party.

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And when planning a destination wedding, it’s important to think beyond just the big day. The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa has five spectacular restaurants to choose from. You could host a dozen events here, from rehearsal dinner and welcome party to bridal luncheon and post-wedding brunch and never set foot in the same space twice! But no matter what venue you choose, know the food will be fabulous! Tub-sized margaritas will greet you at Las Campanas, while Duane’s Prime Steak and Seafood Restaurant is ideal for a more formal gathering of the group.

The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa_Keeper of the Inn Suite Bathroom

We mentioned this place has everything you need for a destination wedding weekend right? That includes a world-class spa, Kelly’s Spa, with couples suites complete with fireplaces and tubs for two and for others, a pool and deck where I’m sure an impromptu party or two have taken place. You can also opt in for a docent tour of the artwork and grounds that will give you a little lesson about the history you stand on.

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But it doesn’t stop there. When you’re ready for dessert or want something a little different than wedding cake, ring up Casey’s Cupcakes in the lobby for a selection of wedding themed sweets and even a cupcake injected with ice cream! Yum.

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Something else you might not know about The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa is that the warmth of the team starts with the family that restored it, preserves it, and runs it. It really is a family business here, with the spa named after the Mrs, and the cupcakery created by the daughter of the owners!

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And the owners have done a lot for the community, including creating a Festival of Lights during the holiday season with over 4 million twinkle lights to make for one amazing wedding backdrop. Hint: If you’re getting married in Southern California during the season, a honeymoon or wedding night or two here would be breathtaking, though just remember, during winter you won’t be alone!

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The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa is one of the most charming, unique, and memorable places I’ve stayed – and I’ve stayed a lot of places. We all want our weddings to be unforgettable, and I’m confident no wedding guest or host will ever forget this magical spot.

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For more information about getting married at The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa or for your honeymoon, check out their website here.  And don’t forget to celebrate the season in Southern California at their Festival of Lights this winter!

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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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Overwater Bungalows, Boats + One Amazing Destination Wedding or Honeymoon Location in Mexico

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If you’re looking for a private place to honeymoon with easy access from the US and an expansive destination wedding deck to boot for a grand getaway with all your loved ones, then Rosewood Mayakoba is your answer.

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Set both along the beach in Riviera Maya and the lagoon of Mayakoba, you get the best of both worlds – sun and sand and the tranquil sounds of nature at its finest along the lagoon.

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I had the opportunity to experience this magical place not long ago and it truly does offer honeymooners all you could ask for and destination weddings just what you need.

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There’s a large palapa on the beach perfect for a wedding reception (for up to 300 people!). It’s open air, beautifully created with weddings in mind, comes complete with an outdoor lounge area, and of course, the beach just a step away for a sunset ceremony.

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For a rehearsal dinner or perhaps a party not on the water, the lovely La Ceiba Garden is the place to be. Incredibly unique, this outdoor event space comes complete with an outdoor kitchen, flooring to dance and dine on, a fire and water fountain, and better yet, a fully functioning vegetable garden to celebrate within. That’s right, each morning chefs at Rosewood Mayakoba cultivate and pick what they need to cook with (true farm to table style) and come nightfall, you get to dine and dance under the stars surrounded by the sweet smells of all the local ingredients you could imagine.

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But the best part about Rosewood Mayakoba might just be the overwater suites (I highly recommend those on the lagoon). You’ll arrive to your room by private boat, where you’ll be greeted by your smiling butler, waiting to comfort your every need throughout your stay. You’ll enjoy a plunge pool on your balcony, lounges and dinner area for two al fresco and inside you’ll find a beautifully minimalistic suite complete with telescope to stargaze at night. Choose from one of two showers (indoor and outdoor) or a beautiful footed tub to unwind after a day at the beach or visit to the nearby Mayan Ruins of Tulum.

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Rosewood Mayakoba feels like the ultimate honeymoon hideaway but offers the space, service, and amenities we’ve come to require at a destination wedding. The best of both worlds for nearly and newlyweds.

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For more information, visit Rosewood Mayakoba and ask for Magnolia to assist you in planning your dream destination wedding!

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Luxury Resort for a Destination Wedding in Cancun, Mexico

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Recently I had the pleasure of touching down at the Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach located in Cancun, Mexico, just a quick flight from the US. Cancun is known to be the perfect place to celebrate – beautiful white sands and crystal blue Caribbean waters, a quick trip from the airport and from most US cities, an easy transition into a foreign country where most people in the hotel zone speak English, and of course the amazing hospitality (and food!) of the Mexican culture. And that hospitality truly shines at the Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach.

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Perfect for a destination wedding, they’ve got everything your group could need. For starters, if you want an a la carte dinning option, you’ll find several delicious restaurants (some, like La Joya, with entertainment like mariachi in the evening), but you’ll also have the option of all-inclusive for your guests. So no matter what kind of experience your family and friends expect, they’ve got it for all kinds of travelers…in style. The five-diamond property has over 600 suites and plenty of party space (think wedding ceremony on the sand, cocktails on a deck just steps above, and a reception in several spots – like right back on the beach!). For weddings up to 600 people, they’ve got you covered. But the resort also has ideal intimate wedding options too! I recommend renting the presidential suit and entertaining on the expansive rooftop deck, complete with full size swimming pool and jacuzzi. A great option for a rehearsal dinner, post-brunch, or even a wedding reception with views of the city and sea from high above!

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Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach has it all. Like one amazing spa!!! The Coral Beach Gem Spa is something you do not want to miss during your visit. Unwind after the big day or de-stress before you say “I do” with an indulgent couples massage and hydrotherapy treatment for two. A must do!

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Then when you emerge an even more blushing bride-to-be than before, you just might return to your suite to find a warm bath drawn and rose petals surrounding your space for a special occasion.

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The wedding team at Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach, and the entire staff on property are spectacular! Few places put as much love, heart, and personal attention into your experience, as if it was there own. The Romance and Celebrations Expert, Silvia Gutierrez, is a dream come true, and will not rest until your wedding is just as you imagined it to be.  When you wed here, you know you’re in good hands.

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When you say “I do” to Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach, you say hello to your new family, one that will work tirelessly to make your experience unforgettable. And I assure you, it will be. I know I’ll be back!

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All Photo Credits: Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun

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Honeymoon Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico: Viceroy

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Viceroy Riviera Maya is unlike any place I’ve ever been before. Imagine a secluded spot where the jungle meets the beach and luxury meets the rustic elements of nature. Viceroy Riviera Maya is perfect for the couple who wants privacy, laid back creature comforts of home, and the feeling of being at one with nature all while getting to relax on a white sand beach as you sway from your four poster beach bed and the wind rocks you to sleep.

A true culturally-inspired getaway, you’ll be greeted by the property’s resident Mayan Shaman who offers you an energy clearing to send you into a state of pure relaxation to start off your experience right.

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Then you’ll head to your private villa with patio, sunbathing deck and lounge, outdoor day bed, and plunge pool. Honeymooners can expect rose petal turndown service at night, a soap concierge by day, and outdoor showers anytime you choose.

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The two restaurants on property offer a relaxed atmosphere for some excellent cuisine (don’t miss the ahi tuna stuffed peppers). But I think it’s the staff at this location that brings it home for honeymooners – every single person you meet has an energy that welcomes you home (something they actually say when you arrive).

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If you’d love to immerse yourself in the local culture even further, then you’re in luck – Viceroy embraces it all. For your destination wedding, consider having your union blessed by the Shaman. For the spa lovers, opt for a couples experience in the sweat lodge. Even indulge in local chocolates and customs from the ancient civilization that was once there before us. Or take a tour of their ruins only about 40 minutes away! You’ll feel the Mayan spirit all around you as the property embraces it in more ways than one.

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With only 41 rooms, this boutique hotel is perfect for a destination wedding buyout. Most opt to wed on the beach, but when you take over the Viceroy, the options are all yours! And with many resorts in the corridor nearby, you can always opt to hotel hop to get a bit more privacy from your guests for just the two of you when the big day is done.

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For more information on this fabulous place, be sure to check out Viceroy Riviera Maya.  And if you’re looking to register for your honeymoon to be gifted experiences on location or cash towards your hotel stay, check out Newlywish’s Honeymoons Registry where you can find Viceroy Riviera Maya waiting to be gifted to you by your friends and family!

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