If it's your wedding dream to pledge your forever love on the sandy shores of a beach, it will take some planning. Preparing for the trip is just as vital a part of making your wedding day perfect as preparing for the ceremony itself. When it comes to packing, how comfortable and memorable the wedding is will depend on what items you bring. Here are five must-haves for a destination beach wedding.
From running around pulling together last-minute details to exploring the locale post-wedding, having shoes that provide a comfy home for your tender toes is a must. Shop for shoes that are comfortable and versatile so you can wear them when running to the store or walking along the beach. Pack more than one pair to ensure you have choices for each day, and should one pair get wet you have a fallback.
The whole point of going to a beach is hanging out on the shore. Instead of filling your suitcase with clothes you'd wear every day, put extra effort into your bathing suit packing choices. Purchase a collection of new bathing suits, including one in a bridal-appropriate white. For when you are walking along the beach or touring the little street shops nearby, you'll want a cute cover up. Pack a collection of classy cover-ups, giving you the coverage you need to feel comfortable while still keeping you beach appropriate.
Many destination-wedding couples elect this wedding option because they share a love of experiencing new places. Equip yourself with a tool to use in exploring the location in which you land by taking a filled-to-the-brim tour book. While you likely wont have time to tour the locale before your wedding, after your ceremony you will find yourself with more time to look around.
A sunburn can instantly ruin your perfect wedding and honeymoon. Prepare yourself to fend off the sun's rays by packing sunscreen of at least 45 SPF and using it religiously. Pack some aloe lotion in case some of the suns rays do manage to penetrate your layer of protection. Slathering on this cooling lotion can immediately take the sting out of your sunburn, making it easier to handle.
Pack something that will help you take a break from the hectic wedding planning and post-wedding celebration. Tuck your eReader or a collection of traditional paperbacks into your suitcase. If you wear contacts, consider prescription sunglasses. You can order custom frames and lenses from online retailers such as Vision Direct, and you can even get fashionable brands like Ray-Ban and Oakley. Each time you need to unwind, take your reading material and venture to the beach for some ultimate relaxation. When you run your toes through the sand while reading your book and you will feel your stresses melt away. —Caroline Spencer
Top photo: Jerry and John married on the beaches of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Read their Real Wedding feature here. Photo by Karen Lisa Artistic Photography
We've been writing about gay and lesbian weddings at Equally Wed Magazine for more than three years, but we have yet to see a man in a wedding dress. It's not that it hasn't been done for fun at a Pride festival or a drag show, but on an elevated level, we've been seeking to illustrate how gorgeous a man can look in a wedding gown. James, a professional model at Let's Pose Studios in Cornwall, England, had a similar dream.
"This shoot was something I wanted to do for some time as I've always dreamed of my own perfect wedding," says James. "Wearing a stunning white dress like this also gave me an idea of how special it can make you feel once the makeup and hair is complete. If I choose to wear a dress on my own day, it would have to be a high-end one by my favorite designer Vera Wang."
What do you think, guy readers? Would you opt for a wedding gown on your wedding day? Butch lesbians certainly wear suits deliciously well, and I think James does a marvelous job of rocking a frock. –Kirsten Ott Palladino
In honor of Cinco de Mayo, we rounded up a festive collection of margaritas that will spice up or sweeten your wedding reception cocktail offerings. Layers of fun ingredients such as toasted coconut, fresh strawberries, pisco, blood oranges and even vodka make these twists on the original margarita worth raising a glass to. Cheers!
South American Margarita Instructions: 1 1/2 ounces KAPPA Pisco 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge 1/2 ounce agave nectar 1 ounce fresh lime juice
Method: Shaken, strained over fresh ice into rocks glass, garnish lime wheel.
Van Gogh 'Rita
Instructions: 2 ounces Van Gogh BLUE Triple Wheat Vodka 1/2 ounce triple sec 1 ounce sour mix 2 ounce soda 2 wedges of lime
Method: Pour the Van Gogh BLUE Triple Wheat Vodka and triple sec in a glass over ice. Top with the sour mix and soda and garnish with two lime wedges.
Blood Orange Margaritas from Smitten Kitten Note: If you don’t have triple sec or cointreau, simple syrup will make for an equally sweet but less boozy result. Serves 2, but only if you share.
Ingredients: 1/2 cup blood orange juice 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice 3 tablespoons triple sec or cointreau, or more to taste 7 tablespoons white or “silver” tequila Lime or blood orange slices for garnish, plus some of those drink umbrellas
Method: Mix. Fill two glasses with ice and divide between them. Garnish. Drink and daydream.
Ingredients: 2 ounces Grand Marnier 1 1/2 ounces silver tequila 2 ounces lime juice 2 ounces coconut water 2 ounces cream de coconut 2 1/2 ounces strawberry simple syrup [recipe below] Lime and fresh strawberries for garnish Salt, sugar and toasted finely shredded coconut for the rim
Method: Rim the ridge of your glass with a lime wedge and dip in a mix of margarita salt, sugar, toasted coconut [I used about 3 tablespoons salt to 2 teaspoons sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons toasted coconut]. Fill the glass with ice. In a cocktail shaker, combine tequila, grand marnier, simple syrup, coconut water, cream de coconut and lime juice with ice, and shake for about 60 seconds. Pour over ice and squeeze in lime slices and add a few strawberries. A slight bit of separation may occur from the cream de coconut, so shake well!
For strawberry simple syrup: combine equal parts sugar and water, bring to a boil and let sugar dissolve, then turn off heat and let cool completely. Combine 1 cup simply syrup and 1 1/2 cups slices strawberries in a blender and blend until combined. I don’t mind strawberry seeds, but if you’d like you can strain the mixture over a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds.
The popular cable network TLC is often the first channel people think of when it comes to shows about weddings. Their smash hit "Say Yes to the Dress" has changed the entire experience of shopping for a bridal gown. However, that's not the network's first experience with the wedding industry.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the network also has broadcast the series "A Wedding Story" since 1996, and airs a wedding competition show called "Four Weddings" where brides compete to have the best wedding in order to win a lavish and exotic honeymoon with their new groom. Many brides use services such as Cable.tv to find a provider that will offer these types of shows to them.
These are just a few examples of the types of TV shows that have inundated the airwaves, and the impact on the industry has been big.
Do Wedding Reality Shows Affect the Wedding Industry
Brides and grooms want what they see on TV, and that's expensive. This means the cost of the average wedding in the U.S. has gone up considerably. While brides and grooms are spending more money on their dresses and unique venues, they're compromising in other areas. For instance, according to the New York Times, photographers are finding that more brides are turning to amateurs who are familiar with high-end digital cameras to take pictures at their weddings. As more people want digital files rather than photo albums, photographers have found that profits are dwindling, and the competition is becoming fierce.
Brides and grooms expect their wedding vendors to be nothing short of miracle workers, and to pull off the same last-minute changes that they see on bridal shows. As months of wedding planning are edited down into a 30-minute or one-hour series, seemingly last-minute snafus are fixed in a matter of seconds on TV. Brides and grooms, not necessarily taking into account the magic of television, expect their vendors to do the same. This isn't always possible, which can lead to disappointed, frustrated and sometimes angry brides.
These TV series have given brides the idea that they're the star of the show that day, and many brides emulate the controlling, picky women that they see on shows such as "Bridezillas." Wedding-themed shows broadcast brides as the princess for the day. She is planning the wedding of her dreams that she has been waiting for her entire life, and the TV bride appears entitled to have whatever she wants on that day. Her bridesmaids are her minions, and her mother is like her slave. Because of this, it's becoming more and more common to see real-life brides behaving this way as they want to feel that same sense of glory that comes with being on a TV show.
Quite frankly, Americans are obsessed with TV weddings — whether they are fake or real. In 2011, literally billions of people around the world turned into the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, who then become the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. This wedding changed the trends of the time immediately, with many women opting for classic ballroom gowns with sleeves and elegant hairstyles complete with tiaras. While the experience of planning a wedding in the U.S. has changed drastically because of the popularity of bridal shows, many industry professionals aren't necessarily complaining.
In a way, these shows have served as a promotion for the industry and have allowed them to expand their horizons to capture brides who may not have been interested in a lavish affair if not for these types of shows.