When it comes to destination weddings, you can’t go wrong with a Ritz property.
The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua on the Hawaiian island of Maui is a shining example of that.
It’s sophisticated and upscale, yet retains that island charm.
Nestled within a pineapple plantation, the location offers several unique spots for ceremonies and receptions.
From casual to elegant, whatever your style you’ll find the beauty of the islands comes through.
No passport required!
The Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands is a tropical paradise with the added bonus that wedding ceremonies here are as legal and binding as if they took place in the United States.
Temperatures here are perfection — between 70 and 90 degrees!
Two idyllic oceanfront ceremony sites are available.
And of course, the service is first-class Ritz all the way!
Located on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Dana Point, Southern California, the St. Regis Monarch Beach has something for everyone.
A Forbes Five-Star AAA Five-Diamond resort, it also features Spa Gaucin, which was named one of the Top 25 Hotel Spas in the World by Travel & Leisure.
The property features three amazing pools and architecture complete with a grand staircase perfect for any grand wedding entrance!
And Robert Trent Lone’s award-winning golf course keeps this hotel on par with anyone’s idea of excellence!
The W Retreat and Spa on Vieques Island ranks #4 of 318 hotels in Puerto Rico.
It has a long list of awards to its name and is tailor made for destination wedding couples who are outdoor enthusiasts.
Yet if it’s pampering you want in between adventures, it has that too. It’s a real life Fantasy Island experience from the moment you arrive…
To those romantic getaways for just the two of you on the isolated sands of the beaches just outside your door.
The Villa Antiche Mura is located on a cliff in Sorrento, on the bay of Naples with a stunning view of Mount Vesuvius. This once-private villa is now available to make anyone’s dreams of an Italian wedding come true.
The villa can be rented for your exclusive use; pricing is comparable to wedding locations in the States and it’s just an 11-minute by walk from the hotel where your guests will stay. For the complete experience, complete your reception meal (the villa culinary staff will create whatever menu you choose) by toasting with a glass of Limoncello.
Officially, Limoncello is made from lemons that come from Sorrento. In fact, the European Union has even granted Sorrento with a ‘Protected Geographical Indication’ (which is similar to the official wine regions of France) along with an official seal (“Limone di Sorrento”). These lemons are a particular strain that thrives in the coastal region. Generally, lemons thrive best in hot and sunny climates, but these lemons thrives in the coastal region, with the lemon trees in Sorrento yielding 4-5 crops of lemons each growing season. A great trip for you and your guests would be a visit to the facility where Limoncello is made!
But, the villa is so beautiful, you might find it hard to muster the energy. No matter! Whether you go off on adventures, or stay on site, your time at the Villa Antiche Mura is one you and your guests won’t soon forget.
STRIKE A POSE!
Next up on our Hot List of venues for destination weddings is the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas. The city has something for everyone and for the couple looking for a modern, high-tech, sleek experience, the Mandarin Oriental offers that and then some.
The gaming-free hotel offers the latest in technology and yet is also LEED certified sustainable. Its beautiful ballrooms offer the perfect backdrop for any design you choose for your reception. Stunning!
And the property’s restaurants, bars and public space offer spectacular views in which you and your guests can enjoy conversation, music and one another.
And when you are looking for a little time alone to relax and recoup, the Mandarin Oriental offers a state-of-the-art spa as well as yoga, Pilates and other fitness classes. Or, celebrate with your friends and family at the poolside cabanas in which the hotel can arrange lunch, cocktails, or even a pedicure party.
Situated three floors above The Strip and featuring floor-to-ceiling windows with automated blackout shades and an intimate outdoor patio, the Oriental Ballroom is a breathtaking venue. Divisible into three sections, it is suitable for all kinds of events and seats up to 480 guests for dinner. Adjacent to the ballroom lies a grand pre-function foyer perfect for drinks receptions. Other function space is equally beautiful. See Mandarin Oriental for more.
Finally, what helped get Mandarin Oriental on our Hot List was that for couples who get married here a complimentary honeymoon night and a host of other benefits at its venues worldwide is included.
Stay tuned to find out what international property is next on our 2013 Destination Wedding Hot List!
And so it begins!
Starting today, we will be posting all of our 10-venue Hot List for 2013.
The Hot List contains the venues that we believe are on the short list for wedding couples this year and next as they being to explore the globe for the perfect destination wedding venue and destination.
We announced this list when we spoke at Event Solutions Idea Factory in Las Vegas and are now going be divulging it to you — one a week.
Photo: from left to right, three of the four Wedding Destination Gurus: Natalie Vishny, Kevin Covey and Laurie Davies. Not pictured: Susan MacDonald.
In no particular order, we are highlighting each venue on our list. The first is the Four Seasons, Bali.
THE FOUR SEASONS, BALI
Both of these locations are perfect for the couple that want to bless their wedding day with serenity and peace.
Aside from the amazing location, expert staff and high-end amenities, what set this venue apart for us was The Love Compendium. Upon arrival, couples receive their Love Compendium – a deck of cards, each containing a guide to 10 experiences on the island.
Each day you choose from one of these cards and the Four Seasons team creates an amazing experience for you alone, or for you with your guests.
One of these experiences might be a five-course gourmet feast for two served in setting of such romance that you will have to pinch yourself to believe you are really there.
Or have your guests awaken at dawn and experience Bali with the rising sun. Start with a sunrise meditation, then learn the art of Balinese cooking, and finally take in a magical Balinese spa therapy.
The venue creates the perfect balance of spirituality and love in concert with nature; lasting memories for you and your guests.
Finally, the wedding day arrives. Perhaps you opt to have it right on the beach…
Or at a hillside site, overlooking the water for a stunning view.
Whatever card you pick from the Love Compendium, by choosing The Four Seasons Bali you have hold the winning card.
Watch next week for the next venue on our 2013 Hot List!
The Destination Wedding gurus
Natalie, Kevin, Laurie and Susan
Photos courtesy of The Four Seasons Bali website
The St. Regis Deer Valley truly lives up to the company’s luxurious standards. The resort’s appearance garners rave reviews and is a perfect location for Mountain Destination Weddings!
Laurie’s Tip: One of my favorite adventures was riding in the Hot Air Balloon with www.morningstarballoons.com Make sure you book your reservations with Morning Star Balloons weeks before your wedding and if possible, plan your balloon day a few days before leaving. Remember: if the weather isn’t cooperating in the morning, the balloon won’t take off so having a few extra days to try again is really important. Up, Up and A Way!
Susan’s Tip: Flying into the Salt Lake City, Deer Valley is a quick forty minute drive. The hotel can arrange transportation for you. No matter where you are traveling from, you can be on the slopes for a full afternoon of skiing, play golf nearby, sightseeing from the aerial tram, hike or mountain bike there is no end to activities you can enjoy at this fabulous resort. Experiencing the sunrise over the mountains from a hot air balloon is a must! Don’t miss out.
Natalie’s Tip: No need to leave the property to get amazing food! The tasting menu and J and G Grill is a perfect suggestion for not only the regular lunch menu, but for all types of events during a Destination Wedding weekend.
If a private event is on your weekend itinerary, make sure to book the gorgeous wine cellar!
It doesn’t take much to create a spectacular centerpiece for your wedding when your background has natural beauty! For a summer wedding , I suggest using the elements around you, like bark nestled around a vase, and of course, tons of candles. Every table always has a standout element. In our case, it
is the pleated skirt rosettes that were sewn on the back of the chair sleeve. When it comes to a winter wedding I suggest an elegant touch like white fur chiavari chair sleeves , and combining the natural
elements like wrapped sticks and a gorgeous napkin ring to tie it all together.
Once you arrive at The St. Regis, Monarch Beach in the California Riviera, you’ll immediately relax. The property has everything from 5* food to incredible activities for all!
- Natalie’s Tip: For the couple who places food as your first priority when planning your Destination Wedding, I definitely recommend trying Stonehill Tavern’s Tasting Menu. The experience in this restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean is perfect for a rehearsal dinner or another event during your destination wedding stay.
- Kevin’s Tip: When choosing your reception location, choose a venue that has built in décor. At the St. Regis Monarch Beach, there are amazing sweeping staircases and existing structures that are absolutely breathtaking. Whether you add to the structure itself with floral or fabric, it is completely up to you. You can save on some of the décor with a location that has built in beauty.
- Laurie: Make sure you plan a day to shop in the quaint community of Laguna Beach, just 10 minutes north of the St Regis. The town is known for its local artistry including specialty shops with world famous art galleries, hand crafted jewelry and beach clothing including the Wyland Gallery.
- Susan’s Tip: St. Regis Monarch Beach offers incredible activities at the Resort. Monarch Beach offers one of the most spectacular beach restaurants in southern California http://www.stregismb.com/monarch-bay-club-dining Located just steps away from the sand and surf you can enjoy fine dining in the club house or outdoors on the patio while improving your suntan. Relax on the beach in the afternoon!. The hotel will provide beach chairs and umbrellas. There is even a surf butler ,if you would like to take a surfing lesson. Perhaps a round of golf on their award winning course suits you! Clubs are available to rent, if you didn’t bring your own. The hotel complimentary shuttle is available to take you to all of these activities.
Your Destination Wedding wouldn’t be complete without a toast to your incredible experience! From The Destination Wedding Gurus to you, we wish you a long and happy life together.
Luxury meets nature at The St Regis, Bahia Beach, Puerto Rico!
Once you step onto property there’s really no reason to leave. The property has everything from Five Star lodging, dining and service to incredible activities for all! Check out our Destination Wedding Gurus St. Regis Bahia Beach Visit and read our tips for your trip.
- Natalie’s Tip: Have lunch at Molasses! I can’t get the local flavors in many menu items out of my mind. The standout favorites were the Whole Snapper, Crab Alcuppurias and the Molasses Mofongo. The Virgin Pina Colada and the fresh grapefruit juice were delicious.
- Susan’s Tip: There is so much to see and do at this fabulous property! Miles of pristine beaches, an activity center that will provide hours of fun, an award winning golf course and the most lush green nature trails with tours given by the resorts own on site Biologist. Visits to the Rain Forest, the phosphorous pools that are so spectacular at night or wonder through Old San Juan for a bit of shopping and sigh seeing. All in all this is a perfect location to entertain you and your wedding party.
- Kevin’s Tip: When it come to the wedding décor for Puerto Rico, I would highly suggest incorporating local tropical flowers that are grown on-island. These include beautiful heliconias, birds of paradise, hibiscus, bouganvilla, torch gingers palm leaves or even elephant ears. You can create stunning centerpieces with these durable flowers and most importantly: they won’t wilt in the heat.
WHO ARE WE?
We’re four high energy, unique individuals with over 60 years of experience in the Hospitality and Event Industry. Our combined strengths make us your dream team. We travel to the finest destination wedding spots all over the world highligting perfect destination wedding locations, and creating videos showcasing the best of the best.
Two phrases that best describe Laurie are the “Energizer Bunny” and “Ms. Quick Wit”. When you meet Laurie, you instantly like her. She grew up in Wisconsin, and her Midwestern values of hard work are apparent in everything that she does. At 19, she headed out to Cal State Long Beach with ambition and she never looked back. Her 30 years in the Hospitality industry began as a manager at the Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel. There she was taught the importance of details and to always exceed the clients’ expectations. Laurie is very involved in her community, politically, socially and spiritually. Laurie is a natural ambassador, always looking for ways to make others feel welcome when she is around. In her free time, Laurie loves to travel, work out, spend time with her husband and girlfriends, and spoiling her baby dog, Daisy.
Susan has never thought of life as a one-way street. Instead she sees it as a winding road that takes many interesting twists and turns before bringing you right back where you started, having grown spiritually and intellectually along the way. Her first love was as a Flight Attendant with a major airline, a career that offered travel, adventure and meeting new people. All things Susan loves to do. She met her husband, who was a pilot on one of her flights, and together they raised four children. She found purpose and enjoyment volunteering with several philanthropic groups while her children were growing up. Her church life was also very important and she found a niche with the Wedding Committee. Creating fashion shows, luncheons and church events and being a part of the hospitality industry all came together and the creation of SuMac Productions, which came into being 20 years ago. Now, joining forces with three other outstanding Wedding Planners, she finds herself back traveling again helping couples find their perfect wedding venue.
Natalie is a loving Event Planner, wife, mom, and friend. Natalie came to the event business naturally 10 years ago, because she has always been the “Martha Stewart” in every city she has ever lived. The best party of the season has always been at Natalie’s house! She was inspired by her creative parents and siblings, and has learned the Event Planning business from the best caterers, event professionals, and restauranteurs all over North America. She’s a lover of all things creative, and a natural in the kitchen. That shows as she takes incredible pride in every detail of each event that she produces. She believes in “Paying it Forward” and helping others by mentoring and accepting any interns ready to get their feet wet in the industry. Besides being a Master Canner, she loves to spend time at the kitchen table with her family, cook, read, shop, garden, kayak and volunteer.
Kevin is a sought after celebrity planner, a husband and a father to his adopted twin boys and his three dogs; a dachshund,a chihuahua terrier mix and an English cocker spaniel. Inspired at the age of 10, Kevin began assisting his mother with wedding planning for the family’s church in Anaheim, California. A spark was ignited for all things creative. Kevin developed a passion for entertaining and often created elaborate parties for his family and friends. During college, he acquired a theatrical background in lighting, costume, make-up and set design. Kevin has always had a love for live theatre and has performed in many shows such as “Midsummers Nights Dream”as the character of “Flute” and the “Little Shop of Horrors” as “Seymour”. Kevin has used his theatre experience in creating fabulous weddings in Southern California and Beyond. When he is not planning over the top weddings or on the stage, he is having a fabulous time with his children at their favorite hotspot: LEGOLAND.
THE TRUTHS AND MISCONCEPTIONS OF DESTINATION WEDDINGS IN MEXICO: THE GURUS’ LUXURY AND SAFETY TRAVEL TIPS!
So… Why is Mexico getting such a bad rap these days? The misconception that Mexico is unsafe because of isolated incidents of violence associated with drug trafficking exists because of the constant images and stereotypes bombarded at us through media outlets. It is important to research the areas of travel, of course, but we’d love to share our recent trip to some incredible sites in Mexico.
Destination Wedding Gurus, Kevin Covey and Susan MacDonald, just got back from a trip to Puerto Vallarta and we are excited to share our experiences. From the moment we stepped out of the airplane, we were quite impressed with how lovely the airport was. It just completed a renovation not too long ago. It was quite easy to get through the airport, get our bags and find our shuttle transportation and enter PARADISE. Within 15 minutes we were at our first Destination: The Westin Resort and Spa in Puerto Vallarta. www.starwoodhotels.com/westin/property/overview/index.html?… We enjoyed the glorious pools, wonderful margaritas and had a delicious dinner on the sand in a cabana while watching the solar eclipse. We were impressed with food presentation and the service. We expressed to a server at the Westin how wonderful and genuine his service was, and that we wish that we could bottle up his energy. The server stated that their service comes from the heart , not from the wallet, and this was quite obvious to our Gurus.
On Day two, we took a shuttle downtown to enjoy a day of shopping at the local stores and NEVER once did we feel uncomfortable roaming around the cobblestone streets. The weather was also quite lovely, and since we went at the end of May, the weather was perfect: not too hot and the humidity wasn’t bad at all. After our shopping spree, we had lunch at a fabulous restaurant called La Palapa. www.lapalapapv.com If you are looking for a restaurant that will not disappoint, we have found it. The mango salsa is delightful! You have to try their seafood enchiladas. Kevin and Susan are still dreaming about those yummy enchiladas. That evening, we took a shuttle to the St. Regis Punta Mita Resort www.stregispuntamita.com, which was 45 Minutes away from the Westin. It was a lovely drive where they checked out the local areas again never felt uncomfortable what so ever. When they arrived at the St. Regis Punta Mita, we were greeted by a yummy cocktail and a cool cloth and then spent some time relaxing, soaking up the sun and eating the most glorious cuisines and hanging out in the spa. This is one resort you do not want to miss. The gurus were so impressed with the service and food execution and the warm hospitality. Can’t wait to return to our home away from home.
To Find Some Additional Five Star Properties in Mexico, check out this site: http://www.fivestaralliance.com/luxury-hotels/11/north-america/mexico
First thing to remember: Tourism is an extremely important component to the Mexican economy, and the Five Star Luxury list wouldn’t be part of a list of hot destination spots without reason. Mexico generates about 22 million international visitors annually, and we’re happy to be among those who consider Mexico a best kept secret in the luxury world.