Incredible Destination Wedding Resort: Sea Island, Georgia

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Today I want to tell you a little bit about an amazing spot for destination weddings and even domestic honeymoons too!  I recently had the chance to stay at The Cloister at Sea Island during the Engage!16: Sea Island wedding industry summit and I was delighted to discover a sweet southern property ideal for destination weddings.  You can see all the parties they put on throughout the conference featured in our stories earlier in the week – their catering department sure knows how to give every guest a great time!

The hotel, The Cloister, is part of a larger resort, one that encompasses the small island it sits on – complete with a sister lodge property, golf, shopping and fine dinning and lots of natural wonders to explore.  Located in the south east of Georgia, on the Atlantic Ocean, the property boasts a big beautiful beach, a dock overlooking the marsh lands and epic sunsets every night.

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For couples tying the knot, there’s a beautiful ivy-clad chapel on property to host your ceremony within.  Surrounded by small pathways and old, inviting trees, this spot is idyllic to say “I do” in.  Every turn at The Cloister, indoors and out, has a romance to it that can only be found in this part of the world, and their wedding spaces have it in spades!

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We also had the rare chance to celebrate in the lobby of the hotel, this beautiful two-story space was perfect for cocktail hour, following a would-be ceremony.

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But my favorite part of the property wasn’t the actual hotel itself, though my residence suite was spectacular!  The natural surroundings of The Cloister at Sea Island were absolutely breathtaking.  The serenity around you finds its way within you as a feeling of peace falls over everyone who steps foot on the island.  Nature walks, romantic sunset strolls, and even a kids club to get the little ones in your group out into nature are some of the delightful activities you’ll experience here.  And for groups who like a little more action, there’s also biking, boating, beach and water sports at the beach club, hunting, horseback riding, and fishing too!  The outdoor activities at Sea Island are endless; your group will certainly have a great time, no matter their speed.

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Despite all the modern amenities, the hotel has a nostalgic feeling to it, one rich in tradition (past presidents have stayed here) and an air of formality that is effortless, not stuffy.  The top-notch service, superb food and beverage program, formal (and not-so formal) restaurants give you the opportunity to experience incredible luxury with any style, from pool-side drinks to black tie dinners, and of course outdoor adventure in between.

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But the hotel rooms are so delightful, you might find yourself skipping the expansive spa and fine dinning and ordering in instead!  My residence came complete with a full kitchen, fireplace-clad living room, wrap around balcony, two full bathrooms and possibly the most delightful and cozy hotel room bed I’ve ever slept in.  The rooms at The Cloister at Sea Island are so inviting, you really don’t ever want to (or need to) leave! …But when you do, you’ll find details, like these monogrammed loaves of bread, that really do dazzle you throughout your stay.  Sea Island may not be the traditional barefoot in the sand destination wedding, but we like it that way.

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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

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San Diego Ocean View Wedding Venue: Cape Rey

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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.

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Photos Courtesy of Cape Rey Carlsbad.

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Riviera Maya Wedding Location: Rosewood Mayakoba

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Did you know that there’s a Mexican destination wedding location and honeymoon hotspot that has both beach and lagoon views, overwater decks and private plunge pools, a spa you would marvel at and a culinary program that rivals the best around the world?!  There is such a place, a resort so special, the minute I leave I start to plan my next trip back.  Just 40 minutes outside of Cancun is the Riviera Maya region of Mexico – a lush tropical beach community peppered with luxury resorts and name brand hotels.  And tucked into the heart of Riviera Maya is an area called Mayakoba, a private gated community of sorts, and home to Rosewood Mayakoba – the ultimate destination wedding oasis!

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One of my favorite moments on property is your actual arrival.  When you drive in and check in, you board a private boat which takes you to your lagoon suite (a room category I highly encourage you to request) where you’ll tie up to your own private dock and be escorted in by your friendly, smiling butler.  If you have kids in your wedding group, this is a big hit.  And even if you don’t, it’s still a highlight!

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Just steps from the lagoon suites (or via beach cruiser bike that will be awaiting you outside your door), is the magical white sand beach of Rosewood Mayakoba, complete with an infinity pool and fabulous sunbathing deck with views for days.  The scene here is spectacular – great waters, soft sand, and a hip beachside bar that delivers all you could possibly want in amazing Mexican cuisine, right to your chair.  The attention to detail, even at the beach, is unparalleled at this property.  When ordering a Diet Coke, I discovered my ice cubes were also made of the drink, so in the heat they wouldn’t water down my soda.  Sometimes it’s these little things that make the big difference.  Like watching a Hawk and his trainer enjoy a day on the sand, technically to keep away other birds from getting after your lunch while you nap.  Rosewood Mayakoba has truly thought of everything to ensure your experience is one without a single care in the world.  Staying here feels so good you almost can’t help but feel guilty!

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If you’re a diehard beachgoer then ask for one of their signature beach suites, with plunge pool, giant tub, and some even with rooftop decks ideal for entertaining your destination wedding family when in town.  The sunsets and stargazing can’t be beat from these suites!

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But as I mentioned, I can’t say enough great things about the lagoon suites, you feel so disconnected from the world, so engulfed in nature, it’s the ultimate treat for honeymooners seeking real romance without any effort at all.  Nights on the deck or in your private deck pool are nothing short of spectacular here.

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The spa is also so special at Rosewood Mayakoba.  They’ll treat you to a sugar scrub bath ritual before your treatment and after, be sure to enjoy one of the relaxation areas to completely escape into the juggle of Riviera Maya.  Then head over to the nearby tequila tasting room and meet up with your groom before dinner.

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But the best thing about Rosewood Mayakoba isn’t the amazing food, festive cocktails, incredible event spaced (see our stories earlier this week), spectacular suites or even beautiful beaches.  It’s the people.  You smile and say good morning, afternoon and evening to so many staff members, you feel a little like a celebrity.  The warmth and community you feel from the team members at Rosewood is authentic, inviting, and the best in the business.  You meet as strangers and by the time you leave your butlers, bartenders, and especially the wedding department will be friends.  You’re in great hands at Rosewood Mayakoba.

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For a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon experience in Mexico, a fantastic (and oh-so unique) destination wedding location in Riviera Maya, and for memories that will remain close to your heart forever, say I do at Rosewood Mayakoba.  Based on my personal experience there, I know they will not disappoint even the most well-traveled couples.  I’ve been around the world and back and this place is tough to top…I can’t wait to go back again!

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Photos Courtesy of Rosewood Mayakoba.

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Fiesta Wedding Event Ideas: Rosewood Mayakoba Pre-Wedding Party

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If you’re entertaining the idea of a destination wedding in Mexico, then this story is for you!  On a recent trip to one of my favorite properties in the world, Rosewood Mayakoba, I got to experience a Mexican fiesta rivaled by no other!  The colors, the cocktails, the food carts around the garden, the live mariachi music and the churros, oh the fresh churros!!  This dinner was to-die-for!  And the decor was perfection.  For colorful wedding inspiration, consider a fiesta outdoors among the stars like this one at the famed Rosewood Mayakoba in Riviera Maya, Mexico.  Whether you opt for the idea to be used as a rehearsal dinner or the big day, your guests will love the cultural experience you give them and the celebration that is sure to follow when arriving at a place as decked out as this!

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Events & Weddings in Cancun are credited with these fantastic bars and event accessories that really make a destination wedding in Mexico FUN!  How about a tequila and mezcal tasting during your cocktail hour?  Learn about the local flavors while you delight on the taste!

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Our dinner was under the stars and twinkle lights and was filled with vibrant orchids and flags overhead. Incredibly talented (and equally as kind), local floral designer Vanessa Jaimes Floral Design set the stage for this evening with her beautiful bright pops of color and details throughout.  One of my favorite things about a wedding in Riviera Maya are all the amazing professional talents in the region.  If you wed in Riviera Maya, you will not be disappointed by the beauty your team can create (like this!).

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As guests went from station to station, trying fresh tortillas and churros too, mariachis serenaded us with oodles of fanfare.

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Will you throw a fiesta at your destination wedding in Mexico?  After attending one as fun as this, we sure hope so!

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Photography: Dave Noonan – C10 Studios, Location + Catering: Rosewood Mayakoba, Floral Design: Vanessa Jaimes Floral Design, Furniture, Rentals + Bars: Events & Weddings

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Bridal Shower Hot Spot in Los Angeles: Ciel Spa Beverly Hills

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More than half of all bachelorette parties take place out of town these days; so whether you’re having a destination wedding or not, chances are you might be having a destination girls weekend.  If you are, consider hitting up Hollywood, the perfect place to party, but also to relax, recover, and get ready for the big day.

For a beautiful location for a bridal shower, a spa-themed bachelorette party, or a swanky spot to get ready on your wedding day, look no further than Ciel Spa at the SLS Beverly Hills Hotel.  The all-white wonderland of beauty designed by Philippe Starck has a full service salon by IGK Hair to get you looking your best before your night out and ultra glam treatment rooms to help you recover the next day.

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Located in the heart of where all things in Los Angeles happen, you can walk to restaurants and shops or order in and walk up to your hotel room to retire when you’re done primping and pampering yourself.

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Ciel Spa is also a great gift idea for that bride-to-be getting ready for her big day.  ‘Tis the season for spa gift cards and this is one she’s sure to love.

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Ciel Spa is so pretty, the only downside is you won’t want to leave.  Even the locker room looks like a bridal paradise, complete with fresh flowers and all the spa amenities you could ask for.  And it’s boutique enough that if you want to celebrate with friends, you won’t get lost looking for one another to unwind with.

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A great place for private parties, Ciel Spa is a picture-perfect backdrop to celebrate one very lucky bride-to-be.  Whether you live in Los Angeles or are taking a trip for that once-in-a-lifetime bachelorette weekend, be sure to stop here and recover from all things wedding, before and after the big day!

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