Palm Springs Wedding Location: The Parker Palm Springs

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If you want a swanky place to wed in the desert of California, then your search may have just ended here.  One of our favorite places for a destination wedding in Southern California is sunny Palm Springs, and one of the best hotels in the region?  The Parker Palm Springs.  Beautifully manicured grounds, delicious cuisine, fire pits and places at every turn, a spa worth writing home about, and a retro chic style unique only to The Parker is what ultimately sets this special spot apart from the rest.

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Even the front drive is memorable – a giant decorative wall that you almost tuck into to get inside and check in for a relaxing, old world experience.  Once you get past all the eye candy in the lobby (where I highly suggest you return later to enjoy a drink by the fire), your room will be nestled away in one of several buildings that you’ll get to via a secret-like winding path.  What I love about this property is that it’s not small, 144 rooms, big enough for a large wedding party, but it feels incredibly boutique, without the hustle and bustle of a large resort.  But if you want big, they’ve got that too – with reception lawns large enough to fill a small county fair (they’ve built one for a private party before, complete with rides and all!).

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Weddings at The Parker have several options – outdoors under the stars of course (if it’s not too hot in the summer months), and two beautifully appointed ballroom spaces that need little else to dress them up other than the elegant decor already inside.  The Mafiya Suite, which is perfect for parties of 100 or less, has beautiful high ceilings, grand windows and drapes, and even makes for an intimate indoor ceremony site when need be.  For larger weddings, the Grand Ballroom can hold up to 200 for dinner and dancing and has a private indoor / outdoor space for when curfew calls.

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The Parker has charm, sophistication, and playfulness – including a spiked lemonade stand on property with a bike and cart for poolside delivery – all that you’d want in a Palm Springs wedding.  And with so many party places on property, you’ll never have to leave when celebrating your destination wedding weekend.  Shhh…that includes the spa too!  One thing not to miss is a day at their stunning spa, which, for just the right occasion, has been known to host a party or two.

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For more information on getting married at The Parker Palm Springs, check out their dedicated weddings site here!

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All Photos Courtesy of The Parker Palm Springs.

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An Intimate Destination Wedding Location in the Woods

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If you’ve got a small wedding party and are planning on getting out of town with just a select few, then we’ve got a great spot for you! Consider Colorado for your elopement or intimate destination wedding – at a quaint, historic cabin called Anderson’s Cabin at The Ritz Carlton, Bachelor Gulch. I had the lucky pleasure of spending an evening here and it’s unique to any place I’ve ever celebrated before. This oh-so special spot was actually Anderson’s home, and he was one of the seven original settlers (or bachelors as these men are known) in the area. He built his log cabin where The Ritz Carlton now sits. So they’ve honored their past, preserved the property, and turned it into an events-only space for small celebrations and family gatherings (complete with modern restrooms just out back).

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With a beautiful wildflower lawn growing outside much of the year, you have a picturesque ceremony location with the valley of Bachelor Gulch on one side and the ski slope covered mountain on the other. Then, head inside for a food-centric celebration and dinner with the best chefs at The Ritz Carlton. For your menu, I suggest keeping it in theme and opting for local meats like bison, lamb, elk, and venison. You can even prepare it yourself with a raclette dinner and encourage your guests to experience the finer style of rustic living while melting your own gourmet cheese and topping your made-to-order meats with a variety of homemade sauces. Not your style?  You can also opt for a fondue experience, après-ski celebration, and many more ways to indulge on the mountain.

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When dinner is done, retire outdoors once more to the fire pit just off the deck and enjoy stargazing and s’mores while the party plays on.

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Anderson’s Cabin at The Ritz Carlton, Bachelor Gulch has rustic charm, relaxed elegance, and an intimate home-like feel that makes for a perfect small celebration space. Pair that with the service and menus of The Ritz Carlton and put it just steps from the main property for ease of travel and you’ve got the perfect combination for an elopement or intimate wedding. Consider calling Anderson’s Cabin home for your wedding and you won’t ever want to leave (trust me, I campaigned to stay the night!).

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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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Getting Married in San Diego: The Lodge at Torrey Pines

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Looking to plan a wedding with that vintage craftsman vibe? Perhaps at a property with rustic elegance and a masculine touch overlooking the ocean for your destination wedding?  Have you considered Southern California for a domestic destination I do with sunny skies and near perfect weather year round?  If you want to get away for your wedding, and you want to enjoy the great outdoors but the finer things in life too, then take a look at The Lodge at Torrey Pines in San Diego, CA (La Jolla to be exact).

You might know the name for the historic championship golf course it sits on (great for the guys in your wedding party), but The Lodge is so much more than just great golf and cliffside views of the Pacific…it’s the perfect place for a winter wedding without the snow!  I recently got an insider’s look into planning a wedding at The Lodge at Torrey Pines, and from start to finish, it was a fantastic experience.

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The fireplace-clad suites, stained glass windows and Tiffany lamps in the lobby create this old world feeling for guests to get lost in.  A great place to easily unwind, your wedding will have a relaxed grace to it and a style that’s set apart from other properties around the country.  You can even play croquet on the lawn overlooking the water and golf course, a spot which also doubles as a ceremony lawn for your nuptials.

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The staff at The Lodge at Torrey Pines is one that will welcome you in like family.  The property has 170 rooms and suites, but it feels much smaller than that, in part due to the friendly faces who work there that you’ll see daily.  And their wedding and catering department is no different, you’re in great hands here (ask for Molly!).  You may find yourself enjoying Chef Jeff’s fine cuisine in a private dining room during your tasting when he pops by for a laugh and nice visit.  And when that visit is done, the gentlemen at the front drive will bid you farewell by name and welcome you back each time as if it was your own home.

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One of the unique elements of the property is the location – perched high on the cliffside of the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla, CA, it means there’s typically a nice mellow breeze, leaving the groomsmen and guests in a state of perfect temperature for that outdoor ceremony (instead of those unsightly sweaty wedding photos).  If the fog rolls in for your wedding, your photos will be nothing short of magical, but chances are you’ll find sunny skies and weather that’s just right for celebrating.

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With multiple locations to wed, you have the choice of a garden ceremony or my personal favorite, the Arroyo Terrace, looking out over the 18th hole and ocean beyond that.  It also makes for a fun cocktail hour with vintage lawn games, a perfect fit for this property.

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Then for dinner, head inside to one of the beautiful ballrooms, like the Maurice Braun Ballroom which comes complete with a fireplace and chandeliers that look like craftsman lanterns.  It can accommodate weddings up to 220 guests, so you don’t have to cut that destination wedding headcount to wed here!

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With great outdoor spaces attached to the ballrooms, you’ll find that your wedding at The Lodge at Torrey Pines truly feels like a lodge experience.  If you want a residential elegance to welcome your guests to on your big day, then look no further, you’re home.

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For more information about getting married at The Lodge at Torrey Pines, be sure to check them out here.

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Where to Wed in Maui: Montage Kapalua Bay

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Ever called a hotel home before? Well, when you check into your residence at the Montage Kapalua Bay, that’s exactly what you’ll do. They don’t have your run-of-the-mill hotel rooms, they have residences, that you live in, indulge in, rest and relax and even celebrate in, when you touch down on Maui for your destination wedding or honeymoon.

Recently I traveled to the island to experience what Hawaii has to offer us mainlanders looking for an exceptional destination wedding. And it’s called the Montage. A boutique property, with just 50 residences (all suite like homes with full kitchens, dinning rooms and living rooms too – though it’s your massive deck or garden patio you’ll spend the most time in), the property has the offerings and options of a large resort without the crowds or craziness of one. Of course it has its multiple infinity pools, several dinning choices (the Cane & Canoe Bar is a must for a nightcap), and a spa that can properly service the most discerning massage guest.

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And the spa, let me tell you about the spa. If you’re honeymooning or traveling as a pair, the Maui Romance Couple’s Package is a must! It begins with a coconut milk bath for two complete with fresh fruit platter and personalized service in an outdoor private bath, followed by a pair of massages that have notably been called the best on the island.  The best part?  They even take place in a private outdoor hale (house) treatment room!

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But really it’s the wedding staff, the wedding dining, and the wedding locations at Montage Kapalua Bay that make this property so memorable for what we do. Imagine an intimate dinner for 16 guests or cocktails for 40, in small structure perched on volcanic rock with crashing waves below, incredible sunsets on the horizon and whales breaching the waters within earshot outside. This is their intimate events only space appropriately called The Cliff House. Whether you’re hosting dinner for two, a rehearsal or welcome party, wedding cocktail hour, or even an intimate wedding, it’s a truly magical place to celebrate in Maui.  Unlike anything I’ve dined in before, The Cliff House is an idyllic place to celebrate just about anything!

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For larger parties, the Namalu Lawn or The Point with beach to your left and tide pools to your right makes for amazing places to ceremony, celebrate, and even dine under the stars. For late night dancing and parties, retire to their 120 person capacity ballroom with walls that open up for indoor/outdoor living.

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Now matter where you decide to celebrate, I can assure you, then menu will take your breath away. From local lobster to bread made fresh daily with purple Moleki potatoes that is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced – the menu is memorable, and the food will not disappoint even your biggest foodie in the bunch. And the cocktails are just as special! Be sure to order from their secret cocktail menu, a favorite being the 1944 Mai Tai, that now may not be so secret, but something so good deserves to be shared.

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Planning a destination wedding at Montage Kapalua Bay is a breeze, something you’ll enjoy like the trade winds, thanks to Katie Cotton and her team who treat your party as if it was their own. My only disappointment? Leaving.

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For more information on getting married at Montage Kapalua Bay, be sure to check them out here. And don’t be shy about staying on for your romantic Hawaiian honeymoon too!

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