Make Your Destination Wedding Amazing with Colin Cowie

Do you dream of sun, sand, and surf for your wedding day? Do you want luxury accommodations, a choice of lavish and innovative wedding packages designed by one of the world’s foremost authorities on wedding planning, and no hidden fees? Then look no further than The Hard Rock Hotels in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

Hard Rock Hotel Wedding

Known for their quality guest service, tranquil surroundings, electrifying entertainment, and stunning event spaces, the All-Inclusive Hard Rock Hotels in Mexico and the Dominican Republic have partnered with celebrity event designer Colin Cowie to make your destination wedding dreams come true.

Hard Rock Hotel Wedding

Starting at $1,500, each of the 9 Colin Cowie wedding collections include everything you need for your wedding day, and the hotel wedding specialists will coordinate every detail so you don’t have to.

Hard Rock Hotel Wedding

Newlyweds looking for the ultimate honeymoon experience can take advantage of the exclusive honeymoon collections, also inspired by Colin Cowie. Relax and indulge with a couples massage, breakfast in bed, champagne and so much more! And if you book a minimum 5 night stay at any All Inclusive Collection property within 24 months of your wedding, you’ll receive 2 additional complimentary room nights.

Hard Rock Hotel Wedding

To make planning your destination wedding and honeymoon even easier, Apple Vacations will take care of your travel arrangements and legal requirements, put you in touch with an experienced wedding planner, help you with your bridal registry and even find you great ways to save money.

Sponsored Post.

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DIY Jack O’ Lantern Fruit Cups

jack o lantern orange

These adorable Jack O’ Lantern Orange Fruit Cups would be perfect for a fall wedding! They’re healthy, inexpensive, and a cinch to make!

To make these Jack O’ Lantern Orange Fruit Cups, you will need:

  • an orange
  • blackberries
  • raspberries
  • other fruit of your choice
  • a knife

Gather your washed fruit.


jack o lantern orange

Cut the top off of your orange. We used a big and juicy naval orange.

jack o lantern cup

We cut the bottom of the orange too, so that the orange wouldn’t topple over. Don’t cut too much off or the juice will run out of the bottom.

jack o lantern orange cup

Cut out small triangles for eyes.

jack o lantern orange cup


pumpkin orange cup

Cut a small triangle for the nose and make a smiley mouth.


Use your knife to cut the orange away from the peel. We also cut it into four sections.

halloween orange cup

Scoop out sections of orange. Keep the sections to add to your fruit bowl.


This is how it should look when the orange has been removed.

jack o lantern orange cup

Add fruit.


How’s that for an easy and adorable fall wedding treat?

jack o lantern fruit cup


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Lewis and Niccola’s $5,000 Georgian Bay Cottage Wedding

Today’s couple, Niccola and Lewis, both work for NGOs in Africa, and witness poverty and struggle on a daily basis. Because of this, holding a large and lavish wedding didn’t feel right for them. Preferring a small and intimate affair instead, the couple were wed in a simple ceremony by the lake on the bride’s mother’s island in Georgian Bay while their immediate family (and dogs) looked on, and their two photographers, Jennifer and Hugh, captured every beautiful and emotional moment.

Georgian Bay Wedding

Niccola, 27  & Lewis, 36 

Dolphin Island in Nares Inlet, Georgian Bay, Canada

Wedding Date: September 1, 2013

Number of Guests: 14 (including bride & groom) + two photographers! 16 total

Wedding Cost: $5,000

Wedding Ceremony Location: Bride’s mother’s Island in Georgian Bay

Wedding Reception Location: In the main cottage

wildflower bouquet

barefoot bride on the rocks

groom by bonfire

bride and groom in the woods

wild flowers

dog by the water

Private Island wedding

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

It was for a multitude of reasons. I have loved big weddings of my friends, but always knew I would have a small one. Part of it is my not having enough interest to plan a large wedding, part of it is not being convinced it would be a good use of our resources. My husband and I both work for NGO’s in Africa. We see, on a daily basis, poverty, disease, and struggle. We are so humbled by what we have and how lucky we are, I would have difficulty in justifying having a lavish wedding. It is not in our personalities. The irony of this though, is that Africans have HUGE weddings. It is the event of a lifetime, and no expense is spared.

wedding guests arriving by boat driving theboat private island cottage groomsmen arriving by boat pregnant bride sitting on bed bride hugging friend friend helping bride with headband bride's blue dress blowing in the wind bride on cottage deck

What are some of the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?

Very few, which was one of the highlights. We definitely underestimated how much time-intensive cooking would be required (it was a two day affair). It was more than we realized, and definitely added stress to the cooks (my brothers and mum) that we didn’t anticipate.

groom buttoning his cuff parents pinning boutonniere on groom groomsmen drinking beer

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

Once we made the decision that it was only going to be immediate family members and their significant others, it became incredibly easy.

Georgian Bay Groom Georgian Bay bride bride and groom portrait group portrait on rocks

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?

We did. Friends were of course very understanding because it was so clear-cut; just family. However, we had to stick to just immediate family because the island can only sleep so many people.

wedding guests walking on rocks bride and father walking arm in arm groom's parents embracing bride and father walking down rocks out door wedding ceremony

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

There were too many to count. It was held at my favorite place on earth – at the front of my mum’s island, where the horizon and water stretch out as far as the eye can see. The gentle lapping of waves, combined with the occasional call of loons and seagulls creates an atmosphere I’ve never been able to match anywhere else in the world. There was nowhere else I would have rather been. I was barefoot, the dogs were running around hunting in puddles, and the most important people to me in the world were at my side – my parents, my brothers, and my husband. I started crying the moment it started, but so did everyone else. It was beautiful and such a happy time.

outdoor Georgian Bay wedding ceremony barefoot bride at wedding ceremony wedding ceremony by the lake georgian-bay-intimate-wedding-niccola-and-lewis-37 bride and groom at wedding ceremony tearful bride at wedding ceremony

What were the highlights of the reception?

Our ‘reception’ was so casual. We all walked back from the front of the island to the main cottage, signed our marriage certificates, took communion, and then had champagne and hors d’oeuvres (foie gras on toasted baguette). We all just hung out in the late afternoon sun, incredibly happy, talking. It was perfect.

popping a bottle of champagne champagne toast bride and groom in cottage pouring champagne wedding guests on cottage deck

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

It was incredibly relaxed, with much less pressure to ‘make sure everyone is happy’ the way one worries at bigger events. You are able to spend time with everyone, and truly celebrate with everyone. People are more comfortable showing emotions and sharing stories.

Georgian bay cottage

cooking in the cottage

setting the wedding table

wedding guests sitting around cottage table

wedding guests at dinner

cottage wedding reception

What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?

Stand your ground – there will probably be people who wished it would be a bigger wedding. Have fun with the menu – small weddings allow you to put more thought into what you eat, as you don’t need to worry as much about the cost of each plate per head. If you plan on doing the cooking in-house, make sure you have a plan. It is very hard for one stove to produce a meal for more than 12 people without food going cold. Because you are probably doing everything yourself, make sure you have a few people ready to run errands at the last minute – there will be things you forgot (for us, it was ice).

toasting the bride and groom


Floral: The flowers were picked wild on the island by my brother’s girlfriend Sasha, who has a masters degree in botany. She made beautiful arrangements, including my bouquet and small wildflowers on the sweetgrass head piece I wore.

Food: The food was a collaborative effort, everyone helped in giving ideas on the menu and picking things up, and my brothers and my mum – who are fabulous cooks – prepared everything by hand. We focused on sourcing all of the food locally, from biodynamic organic farmers. For the wedding dinner we had local wild mushroom soup to start, followed by asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, with filet mignon, wild rice, roasted greens. All of the meat came from Marlon’s Meats, a fantastic organic butcher in Toronto.

Cake: The cake was a 3 tier lemon cake from Dufflet, served with local berries we picked up at the farmer’s market.

Photography: Jennifer Moher and Hugh Whitaker.

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Allison and Cameron’s Rustic Texas Barn Wedding

Despite what they say about everything being bigger in Texas, Allison and Cameron decided to keep things small when it came to their wedding day in the Lone Star State. With just their children, their families, and their closest friends in attendance, the couple exchanged their vows in a heartfelt outdoor ceremony before celebrating with a fun-filled barn reception. And while they may have gone small with the guest list, like true Texans, they went big on everything else!

Special thanks to Allison Jeffers for sharing their special day with us.

Texas barn wedding

Allison, 25 & Cameron, 37

Sisterdale, TX

Wedding Date: June 27, 2014

Number of Guests: 20

Wedding Cost: $17,000

Wedding Ceremony Location: Sisterdale Dancehall, Sisterdale, TX

Wedding Reception Location: Sisterdale Dancehall, Sisterdale, TX

chalkboard wedding sign wedding coaster bride by the window colorful wedding bouquet ring bearer peeking through doors outdoor wedding ceremony chalkboard wedding sign

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

This was the second wedding for both of us and we both have children from our first marriages. We wanted it to be small and intimate and mostly just include the children and our close families and friends.

wedding dress hanging up outdoors wedding prep area bride's pearl earring bride's lace booties ring bearer taking photo ring bearer and flower girl bride lounging on chaise

What are some of the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?

Finding vendors that will cater to smaller weddings; most say 50+ people and we weren’t even close to that. And how much money to spend – really how much do you need? We went back and forth on so many things.

bride and groomkissing bride and groom embracing

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

No, not at all. We knew who we wanted there all along.

wedding portrait groom dipping bride

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?

No we didn’t. Everyone understood our reasons and if they didn’t, they didn’t express their opinions to us.

rustic wedding program rustic outdoor wedding ceremony doors wedding altar flowers fabric wrapped wedding ceremony chairs ring bearer and flower girl walking down aisle bride holding son's hand at wedding ceremony

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

We wrote our own vows. It was very romantic and I don’t think there was a dry eye there! Also, the heel of one of my shoes broke as I was walking down the aisle. I had to balance myself on one foot the whole time! Then after the ceremony, my husband carried me back down the aisle.

outdoor wedding ceremony outdoor wedding ceremony rustic outdoor wedding ceremony bride and groom first kiss bride and groom walking down the aisle groom carrying bride

What were the highlights of the reception?

Cameron’s daughter Maci, 11, gave a speech about how happy she was to have a new stepmom like me! It was absolutely the sweetest thing ever and made me cry! Also, the chicken dance was a hit with everyone! I think everyone in attendance did that one!

barn wedding venue chalkboard wedding sign bride and groom chairs garden rose wedding centerpiece wedding flowers rose wedding centerpiece wedding napkins

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

It just felt more romantic and special having everyone you love and care about right there sharing your special moment.

barn wedding reception venue bride and groom dancing wedding cake bride and groom feeding each other cake

What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?

Don’t stress about your guest list and who will or won’t be there. It’s about you two and your desires. Everything will work out in the end and will be so worth it!!

bride and groom kissing


Catering: Fritze’s BBQ and Catering

Flowers: The Rose Petal

Cake: Sophie’s Bakery

Wedding Gown: David’s Bridal

Venue: Sisterdale Dancehall

Photography: Allison Jeffers Wedding Photography

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The Masquerade Ball Wedding

If you’re looking for a sophisticated idea for a fall or Halloween wedding, then look no further. The masquerade ball with mysterious masks and a dark color palette is an elegant option. This mystical theme not only looks amazing, but also provides an abundance of fun for you and your guests. From guessing who is underneath the mask to impressive eerie decor.

For a vintage take on this theme, go for unusual masks teamed with a lace dress and light brown suit. Great for weddings in old warehouses or lofts. A candlelit reception will definitely up the scare-factor as well as providing some serious mood lighting. You can still use classic floral arrangements with this darker theme, such as whites and pinks. Gold and black are a stunning combo, especially for weddings around Halloween.

A scary yet grown up treat in the form of a delicious burger! Get creative with your menu and steer clear of the witches fingers and creepy eyes in favor of clever themed options like this.

A laser-cut black mask with a lace dress and Gibson Girl style hair has a vintage influence.

Capture the essence of the nostalgic smoke machine in a glass, with a spooky cocktail. A signature drink with a difference.

Another option for a masquerade themed table, is by going for a slightly cleaner approach. Team gold and black with white accents and mini gold pumpkins. If you’re going for wooden tables, this will work well; especially in a barn setting. Black candle holders were made for a masquerade ball and you can use any combination of candle colors to match with them. Glitter and feathers as cake decorations will complement the design of your masks.

When it comes to selecting masks, there are many references to help inspire you. Venetian, 18th Century and Mardi Gras are fun styles to choose from. Or you can design and customize them yourself. Black bridesmaid dresses will complete the look especially when paired with deep plum bouquets.


Photo one: selectstudiosphoto.comPhoto two: brookelynphotography.comPhoto three: bradleyjamesphotography.comPhoto four: stylemepretty.comPhoto five: meghansavage.comPhoto six: mathieuphoto.comPhoto seven: jophotoonline.comPhoto eight: toa.stPhoto nine: rusticwhite.comPhoto ten: carmensantorellistudio.comPhoto eleven:;

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