Now more than ever, couples are jet setting to paradise to tie the knot on unspoiled sandy beaches. Along with walking barefoot toward your beloved, the perks of destination weddings are endless, yet some are still hesitant to fly south for their celebrations. Before you rule out your dream beach wedding, check out our lists of myths and put your worries to rest.
Myth: They are all the same!
Reality: Destination weddings have evolved far from their cookie-cutter formula of yesteryear. At Iberostar’s resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean, you receive your own wedding planner to help navigate the details through packages or à la carte options. Iberostar offers a variety of hotel options to satisfying different clientele interests and budgets, all within the same complex that the wedding will be held.
Myth: Travel research takes too much time!
Reality: Travel companies such as Apple Vacations relieve you of tedious hours spent online searching for savings. With more than 40 years of vacation planning experience under their belt, their agents are able to bring the deals to you.
Myth: I have to organize travel for my guests!
Reality: Surprisingly, organizing wedding travel can be easy. You and your guests will love the convenience of Apple Vacation’s Group-Ease Program, which makes booking groups of ten or more passengers a breeze! All your guests can book individually and still save using your group’s promotional code. Plus, your guests will love the added convenience of having their vacation all-inclusive!
Myth: Too expensive!
Reality: Destination weddings at all-inclusive resorts are generally more affordable than traditional weddings at home. IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts offers a tier of wedding packages ranging from just $999 to $2,499.
Myth: I won’t receive individual attention!
Reality: While many resort chains focus more on the cash than the couple, you’re guaranteed to be top priority at Iberostar’s luxurious locales, as they only book one wedding per day to ensure that your wedding is their priority.
Myth: What about gifts?
Reality: Registering for additions to your honeymoon itinerary is an increasing trend and getting married in an exotic destination lets you start cashing in on wedding gifts that very night. Check out Apple’s online honeymoon registry and register through Apple Vacations for memorable Iberostar activities such as swimming with dolphins and romantic dinners on the beach or indulgent add-ons like celebratory Champagne and massages in the luxurious spa.
Andy and Ariane had been together for 11 years, living abroad for six. They wanted a wedding that would allow them to celebrate with just their families and dearest friends. At first, their families weren’t sure about the idea of an intimate wedding but once Andy and Ariane got the ball rolling, they all pitched in to help make their day special. Planning everything from the United Kingdom, they had to trust in the Internet to give them the wedding of their dreams – and it worked!
Their wedding included an afternoon tea complete with vintage tea cups lugged all the way to New Zealand on the airplane.
Photographers Coralee & Alex captured every moment beautifully.
Ariane, 34 & Andy, 38
Silverdale, Auckland, New Zealand
Wedding Date: September 15, 2012
Number of Guests: 27
Wedding Cost: $12,000 USD
Wedding Ceremony Location: The Ambers, Silverdale
Wedding Reception Location: Number 5 restaurant, Auckland City
Why did you have an intimate wedding?
I’ve got a huge extended family so we would have to invite well over 200 guests. We knew we didn’t want such a large wedding and didn’t want to offend anyone by cutting the family list down. The only thing to do was to have an intimate wedding with just our parents, our brothers and sisters, and our oldest friends. We’ve been together 11 years so we really wanted to do something that would be a bit more special and just for us. We’ve also been living abroad for 6 years and we don’t go home very often so we wanted to share our wedding day with the people that mean the most to us. We know that big weddings can be really stressful, you have to make a lot of compromises and you don’t get to spend much time with the people who matter. A big wedding isn’t really us – we’re more about having a good laugh and enjoying ourselves. Some people thought we were going small because we were trying to save money but it was more about being able to have everything we wanted and making it a great day for ourselves and our guests.
What are some the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?
Finding a suitable venue for around 25-30 people. We found most venues cater to weddings 80-150 people. We decided we wanted to have dinner at a restaurant with a private dining room but it turned out to be quite hard to find a fine dining restaurant with a room suitable for our number of guests – rooms were either too small or we had to book out an entire restaurant, which would have been too big.
Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?
The family list was easy because we had decided it was immediate family only. Friends list was a little tricky as there were plenty of people we would have liked to have invited but we had to be disciplined and keep it to our very oldest and closest friends only.
Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?
We were lucky in that we were organizing everything from the UK so we didn’t have to deal with any questions from family and friends back home. My extended family has traditionally always held big weddings but a few cousins recently had private or destination weddings to avoid the huge wedding bash – I think this has helped our families become more understanding about small weddings like ours. We also told our parents early on that we would be paying for the wedding ourselves meaning they had no say in the guest list!
What were the highlights of the ceremony?
Walking into the marquee and seeing all our family and friends together. And, seeing Andy waiting nervously at one end! My best memory was holding Andy’s hands and feeling him shaking with nervousness; I wasn’t sure if he’d be able to make it through his vows but he passed with flying colors! I loved our afternoon tea with vintage china and our own homemade lemonade. Andy, his sister and his cousin did an amazing job of setting up the tables in the morning, it all looked really lovely. We organized the entire wedding via email so it was amazing to finally see everything coming together so well.
What were the highlights of the reception?
We loved being able to sit at a single table with all our guests, rather than being split up at different tables. The room looked absolutely amazing! The room was set up with one long table;there were fireplaces at each end and everything was overflowing with vintage bottles, flowers and candles. Everything was sparkling in the candlelight and it felt really cozy and intimate. It was also the first time we had seen the cake and it looked spectacular. I found a lady to help me source 30 vintage teacups and saucers from the UK and we lugged it all back on the plane. These were incorporated in the cake display so it was great to see our efforts paying off!
What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?
Being able to enjoy the day and focus on the people that really matter to us. Our guests really enjoyed it too – they’ve all been to big weddings before but liked that ours was a bit different. Being small made it much more relaxing and enjoyable for everyone. It became a real family day and everyone pitched in and did little things for us that really helped us out. Andy’s sisters and brother helped with washing dishes and other guests helped plate up food. We were so grateful that everyone pitched in without being asked. Because we had a small guest list, we could afford to get basically anything we liked – we didn’t have to compromise on anything. I loved being able to have all the beautiful little details and nice quality things – we had an al a carte meal and we gave all our guests a vintage teacup with a beautiful cupcake to take home along with a tea towel designed by us. There’s no way we could have done that for hundreds of people.
What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?
Make sure you enjoy your day and just do whatever makes you two happy. If you keep it small you can relax and really take in the day. I’ve seen plenty of stressed out couples who don’t get to eat all day, freak out at the bridal party, don’t get to spend time with their guests, have all the worries of speeches and first dance and to top it off, a bunch of ungrateful guests complaining about the lack of food – no one needs that!
Looking for a creative way to display your Instagram photos? Maybe you have heaps of Instagram photos from your wedding on your computer. Why not make photo blocks out of them?
You could even use photos of you and your sweetheart and display them at your wedding.
I have mine displayed on my fireplace mantle. I plan to make a bunch as gifts. So fun!
Here’s how to make them:
You will need:
Size your photos to 2 x 2 inches and print them on photo paper. Cut out each photo.
Use a corner punch to round the corners of your photo if you like this look.
Using acrylic paint, paint the edges of the block.
Using the dry brush technique (this requires removing most of the paint off of your brush), apply paint to edges of photo.
Let dry. Coat photo with Mod Podge.
Once Mod Podge is dry, apply a couple of drops of Diamond Glaze to the photo. Use a paint brush to coat the photo, as well as the edges. This will give a nice, glossy finish to your photo block.
Let dry. That’s it!
If there is any place that epitomizes romance and love it’s Paris, France. With its stunning architecture, old-world charm, history and elegant style, Paris is a dream destination for many couples.
“Everything is in flower, the city is waking up , the days are getting longer and it’s just a really beautiful time to be in Paris,” she says. “Whether your style is soft and romantic or more hip and downtown, there’s a Paris wedding location for you, from private chapels to galleries to quiet gardens.”
Although it may sound dreamy, getting married in Paris might not be the fairytale you imagine. There are quite a few legal requirements and it takes more than a simple phone call to the French embassy.
The process takes some organization and documentation on your part. You will need: to have have lived in France (near the proposed wedding location) for a minimum of 40 consecutive days; two pieces of identification that proved you lived there, such as a lease, utility bill or French social security card; required documents presented to the city hall where you plan to get married, and information on your witnesses. (Go here for the entire list.)
Petyt says many of her clients have a civil ceremony in their home country then a symbolic ceremony in Paris to cut down on the paper work.
In terms of picking a spot for a Paris wedding, The Eiffel Tower may seem like the quintessential icon, as well a Notre Dame Cathedral, but because they are public national monuments they are not often rented out for private occasions. You will, of course, be able to take breathtaking photos near these landmarks; however, a wedding on top of the Eiffel Tower or inside a historical cathedral may not be in the cards. There are many beautiful spots in Paris to choose from that aren’t crowd-filled monuments.
You will have to decide what type of ceremony you would like to have in Paris.
A civil ceremony–legally binding–usually takes place at town hall and is performed by the mayor or legal representative. You can have the civil ceremony in France or your home country. Keep in mind that France is a traditional Catholic country and many parishes are rather traditional and rooted in their communities. A symbolic ceremony is a symbolic renewal of vows after an official civil or Catholic ceremony.
To be married in a Catholic church in France you need: a letter from your home parish priest and Bishop, Baptism and Confirmation certificates and a marriage certificate from your civil ceremony.
Petyt suggests planning 3-4 months in advance for a small elopement and 6 months to a year for a larger wedding.
A small Paris wedding with less than 20 people can cost less than an extravagant at-home wedding, but trying to make it happen for less than $1,000 is a little unrealistic. Additional costs and taxes you may not find in North America may creep up as well. Petyt says the fees for the paper work cost up to 350 euros not including taxes and social charges.
Don’t let the process discourage you. Your consulate–and wedding planner–are there to help you through each step of the way. Weddings take a bit of work no matter where you go, so if your heart is set on Paris, by all means, go for it!
These couples did:
Photo One: Genesis and Kevin’s real wedding in Paris photographed by Amy and Stuart Photography; Photo Two: intimateweddings.com; PhotoThree: oneandonlyparisphotography.com; Photo Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine and Ten: intimateweddings.com
From changing your Facebook relationship status to “engaged”, to Instagramming the ring, social media has likely played a prominent role in spreading your happy news. However, once you dive into the sometimes tangled, World Wide Web of wedding planning, the number of apps available for those approaching the aisle can be overwhelming.
Appy Couple, a new-to-the-scene wedding app, provides multitasking modern brides with an easy-to-use tool that blends the social interaction of Facebook with the organization capabilities of a wedding website. From RSVPs to the registry, travel info to image uploads, Appy Couple glamorously guides guests to your happy ending, streamlining the variety of wedding planning tools — DIY websites, photo sharing apps, social networks and email invitations – into one brilliant mobile location.
After an extremely successful beta run, the app is now open to Apple and Android users with a pre-launch pricing of just $28 for the entire suite (includes a coordinating wedding website, coordinating emails and unlimited guest invites and customization). For the next 24 hours, you can get Appy Couple for only $20 by using the code INTIMATE14 when you check out.
Couples set out on their magical, interactive journey by selecting one of over a hundred chic themes, categorized by color and style (modern, vintage, classic, etc.), and begin building their digital sharing suite with customized widgets, smoothly streamlined for easy access. It can be personalized with uploaded image galleries, songs added straight from iTunes and more, all in a sleek step-by-step guide.
After receiving your unique wedding code, guests can begin interacting on your custom designed wedding page, leaving virtual toasts, uploading images in real time with Facebook, Twitter and email integration, and striking up conversations with other guests through the manageable Key People message boards, ideal for intimate weddings. You can relay information to guests, such as notes on childcare, dress code and accommodations, as widgets keep them updated on weather and travel information from Expedia. Include them in the wedding planning process with polls – merlot or cabernet sauvignon? – or even take meal orders for plated receptions.
Appy Couple truly takes the traditional wedding website to a never-before-seen interactive level. Simple, social and stylish, we finally have an app that synchs with our social media-driven world. Check out the video on how it works: