According to census.gov, there were over two million weddings in 2011! With spring and summer steadily approaching, destination, particularly coastal weddings, are a hot item. Planning a wedding can be challenging enough, and choosing a venue at coastal location can come with the need to travel, while weather is often an unpredictable variable that can require a back-up plan.
Location, Location, Location!
The location of your venue will set the overall style and mood. A yacht club or coastal resort sets a formal tone, while a lakeside boardwalk or a sandy beach creates a more casual vibe. Think about how many guests will be attending and how big or small your venue needs to be. It's important to think about who your guests are and choosing a style and location that accommodates them. If children are attending, thinking about the safety of your venue is extremely important. Luckily, many marinas and boardwalks lining beaches are equipped with guard rails, safety poles like bollards, and railings. But more unpopulated, exotic locations aren't as likely to have these features. How many people can your venue hold? Beach weddings are relatively small.
Do Research and Start Early!
Part of finding the right location for you and your guests is doing your research. Know how popular your venue of choice is, how far in advance it should be booked, and what type of regulations, laws and permits exist in your location. Public beaches often require detailed reports of the items and equipment planning to be used. What are the clean-up options for your location? How is parking? Will the climate affect preparation like food, the need for a canopy or the way your guests dress?
How You Dress
Humid beach and lakeside climates are not always the best for hair and makeup. You and your bridesmaids may be sweating, so remember that when picking out the fabric of dresses and suits. Find a stylist that understands how to do hair and make up for humid weather.
Let People Help You
Delegate work to people whose opinions you respect and trust. Hire someone who is familiar with the town and can guide you to the best of the best and give you insight into venues and locations that only a local may not know.
Outdoors means you're at the mercy of Mother Nature so keep flexibility in mind as things may happen. Have a worst-case scenario back-up plan if the weather does not permit you to move forward with plan A. But remember, this is supposed to be the happiest day of your life! If things happen, don't sweat it! What's important is that you're celebrating and officiating the love between you and your partner in the company of your closest family members and friends.
Photo: Real Weddings Anna and Hannah, photography by Torie McMillian Photography; Real Weddings Jerry and John, photography by Karen Lisa Artistic Photography
Choosing an engagement ring is one of the toughest things a person might ever have to do. That may sound a bit dramatic, but if the time has come for you to pick one out yourself, you surely understand. From understanding what makes a quality ring, to looking through the thousands of available options, to narrowing down what's best for you and your partner, there are simply endless factors to consider. The whole process can be a bit overwhelming, whether you're shopping at the local jewelry shop, or online.
One thing that can help a bit with this daunting step in your relationship is identifying current trends in engagement rings. Of course, this doesn't mean that you'll have to go with one of these trends when picking out your own ring, but they can still give you a sort of starting point for reference in your decision. With that said, here are four engagement ring trends we'll be seeing in 2013.
1. Alternative Stones By now, most of us have caught a glimpse of the famed sapphire engagement ring that Prince William gave to Kate Middleton in England. Many credit this ring's beauty and fame with the current trend toward alternative stone in engagement rings. Diamonds remain the most traditional options for these precious rings, but don't be afraid to get creative if an option such as sapphire, ruby, emerald, etc. feels appropriate!
2. Vintage Styles Vintage style is not always easy to define, but some of the tendencies of these rings are larger stones, more ornate settings and bands, and additional diamonds. Vintage rings always seem to be in style, and 2013 will be no exception when it comes to choosing an engagement ring.
3. Eternity Rings Often used to commemorate an event later in a relationship—a special anniversary or the birth of a child, for example—eternity rings are now becoming somewhat trendy as engagement ring options. These rings are set with small diamonds all the way around, an arrangement meant to symbolize continuity and eternal devotion. It's a bit of a different option, but eternity rings are becoming more popular for engagements.
4. Fancy Diamonds Just as colorful alternative stones are becoming popular options, fancy diamonds are trendy, too. A "fancy" diamond is one that primarily shows its natural color. Most diamonds have at least some small trace of colour, though it is usually undetectable by the naked eye. Fancy diamonds are rare alternatives where the natural colour is prominent. These are beautiful stones, and their use in engagement rings has become very stylish.
Hawaiian Airlines is bringing a little love into the air for those planning their destination wedding in paradise. They have recently launched their Wedding Wings program, which offers perks to HawaiianMiles registrants who are tying the knot (which is free and easy to sign up for). Couples will receive a 10 percent discount on their roundtrip fare when they book the flight for their wedding, as well as a five percent discount code to offer each of their guests to make the destination wedding travel friendlier on the wallet. (Bonus: if 25 of your guests take advantage of the airfare discount to attend the ceremony, you will qualify for a complimentary one-way upgrade to First Class!)
“Hawai‘i is the most magical place to tie the knot and our Wedding Wings program helps make it a reality by reducing travel costs and also minimizing the stress and hassle that comes with coordinating travel for a destination wedding,” said Avi Mannis, Hawaiian’s vice president of marketing. “We designed this program to be in tune with the needs of today’s busy couples, and make it much easier—and even fun—for them to stay connected with family and friends in planning their big day in Hawai‘i.”
They also make it easy to keep guests in the loop with your own secure travel portal that allows you to personalize with messages and photos, upload your guest list and email attendees directly with discount code invitations, and invite, track, and coordinate their bookings. You can even arrange for your guests to be greeted with a fresh flower lei upon their arrival to the land of aloha.
Though Hawaii currently only recognizes civil union ceremonies, it is extremely LGBT-friendly with a recent poll showing that 55 percent of voters approving of same-sex marriage, including Gov. Neil Abercrombie.
What was once a fall getaway for urban dwellers fleeing the city, as evidenced by the hundreds of Gilded Age homes that are sprinkled throughout the idyllic New England town, Lenox, Mass., has become a year-round destination, particularly for weddings.
The Cranwell Resort and Spa, photography by Michelle Girard Photography
(Middle and above): Edith Wharton's estate, The Mount, and grounds.
Many of the 19th century mansions which housed the vacationing elite and fondly dubbed as “cottages,” have been revamped and turned into bed-and-breakfasts, restaurants and venues. I had the opportunity to get a peek at the fabulous offerings ranging from farmhouse rustic (the Stonover Farm had me swooning), to quaint comfort, such as the recently renovated Ralph Lauren-styled Kemble Inn. Couples can take advantage of the Old World estate at the Wheatleigh or indulge in opulence at The Cranwell Resort, while literary lovers can marry in Edith Wharton’s home featuring picturesque grounds at The Mount.
The Kemble Inn, photography by Studio SMC Photography
Jacob's Pillow, photography by Eric Limon Photography
And though this Berkshire hamlet has a historical background, Lenox has become a cultural epicenter thanks to its proximity to Tanglewood’s alfresco concerts, Shakespeare and Company and the annual Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and Berkshire Theater Festival. Of course, because of the town’s dedication to the arts, this puts a damper on the summer season as a wedding destination (many of the venues don’t book weddings between the months of June and August because of the seasonal boom). However, it’s hard to dismiss the culture that continues to hover in the air year-round, and when the actors, dancers and musicians have retreated, the cultural sites make for truly unique venues for those who want to give a nod to the arts during their I dos.
The wedding toast is one of many memorable moments throughout your weddingday, and though we can’t guarantee it’ll be blunder-free (your college bff never was great at public speaking), you can be sure to toast in style.
Fashioncraft, a manufacturer of wedding goods such as favors, place card holders and barware, has recently added several chic same-sex designs to their stemless wine glass collection.
“Many of our friends and family at Fashioncraft are a part of the LGBT community. It became clear to us that an event to share a couple’s love, should reflect their personality, no matter what their preference. We hope to help in this pursuit by including the perfect products to enhance every couple’s event and make their day extra special,” explains Laura Mansdorf, the art director of Fashioncraft.
“In the end, it’s about the desire to make a commitment to the person one loves and have friends and family share in this joyous event.”
Completely personable, you can handpick the design and color, and customize with your names and wedding date—the hardest decision is picking red, white or sparkling.
Estimated retail value is $1.50 each, plus an approximately $35 setup fee. You can purchase these designs at the following retail sites: