Bruges at Night – Magical! Photo Courtesy: Neil
Imagine travelling to your wedding destination wearing your wedding dress onboard a horse drawn carriage, over cobbled stones, down narrow lanes and past canals to meet your groom and say your vows in an ancient medieval building.
If you’re looking for the ideal, fairytale wedding destination then look no further than romantic Bruges. Often referred to as the “Venice of the North”, Bruges is full of charming canals, spectacular medieval architecture, cathedrals, windmills, chateaus and atmospheric narrow cobbled lanes making it the ideal location for a peaceful, quaint wedding.
The Lake of Love
Bruges is an ideal location for romance because of its picturesque streets, and cosy quiet little pubs, cafes and restaurants. Nestled in a central location in the Belgian city is the aptly named Minnewater (The Lake of Love) where you can see swans serenely swimming on the water all throughout the year.
The lovely swans of Bruges have a legend attached to them. The people of Bruges executed a town administrator, Pieter Lanchals, belonging to the court of Maximilian of Austria in the year 1488. In retaliation, Maximilian punished the population of Bruges by making it their obligation to keep swans on their lakes and canals forever as a swan was featured on the family coat of arms belonging to the executed administrator!
The canals of Bruges are a lot cleaner than those found in Venice and weave throughout the city throwing reflections of the grandeur of the architecture into their still waters. The prominent medieval belfry sits in the centre of Bruges, if you climb the 366 steps you can look out over the whole city.
Bruges has become a more popular tourist destination since Colin Farrell’s 2008 movie ‘In Bruges’. Bruges is beautiful all year round but it is now busiest during the summer and winter months when tourists come on their summer vacations or to visit the Christmas markets in winter. So perhaps the most peaceful time to get married in Bruges would be the spring or autumn months.
A Romantic Experience
A horse carriage on the cobbled streets of the main Market Square. Photo Courtesy: Arnie J
Visitors to Bruges can enjoy the city at their leisure either by bicycle, by canal boat or by horse drawn carriage. For the ultimate memorable romantic experience you could even take a champagne hot air balloon ride over the historic city at sunset.
No wedding in Bruges would be complete without giving out Belgian chocolates as wedding favours and serving your guests a selection of some of the 350 renowned Belgian beers in branded glasses to celebrate.
To have a civil marriage in Bruges either you or your partner must have been living in Bruges for at least 3 months (just one of the requirements). But if you get married in your own country it is possible to then have a ceremonial marriage wedding in Bruges.
If you’re looking for a romantic fairytale city to tie the knot in, then Bruges ticks all the boxes.
David and Cara Wedding on the beautiful shores of Turks and Caicos – Photo Courtesy: David Berkowitz
Coco Chanel said: “Luxury is not all about money…it’s all about style”
Planning your wedding will be one of the most important things you ever do and, of course, you want to pull it off with style and finesse to make it the most memorable day of your life. Choosing a luxury location for your wedding can transform it from run of the mill to out of this world immediately. So, while luxury may not be all about money, it can cost a lot of money to pull it off. One way of saving and ensuring a luxurious setting for your nuptials is to get married abroad. Marrying abroad can reportedly save you up to 40% on an equivalent wedding at home.
Here I’ll look at some of the dream destinations around the world that tick all the boxes in terms of luxury, beauty and romance.
Turks & Caicos
This collection of 40 islands and cays offer exquisite and natural beauty alongside the magnificence of French, Italian and Caribbean architecture all in one place. There are many award winning luxury hotels on the islands as well as private villas along the white sand beaches. Whatever your style, be it on the beach or in a hotel, the ceremony and reception will be naturally luxurious in this breathtaking setting. Weddings here can be a big celebration; the locals love a party, so if you do too then feel free to make as much noise and fuss as you like with music in the street, bells and honking horns. More intimate affairs are easily accommodated in the gorgeous secluded gardens around the islands. Couples who’ve packed their sea legs can even take a boat out and be married, floating in the azure blue of the Atlantic Ocean.
Another island destination that boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Sardinia sits in the heart of the Mediterranean, closer to Tunisia than to its mother country Italy. Lonely Planet calls it ‘Italy’s forgotten island’, which is great for anyone looking for a quiet location rather than one where you’ll be competing with tourists. However, Sardinia’s reputation as a quiet island of fishermen and farmers suits the privacy desired for a luxury wedding. Oristano, on the Western coast, has plenty of 5 star villas, castles and palazzos to play host to the grandest of weddings.
A Wedding Party at the entrance to Charles Fort, one of the best-known historical attraction in Kinsale - Photo Courtesy: Manuel Martin
Kinsale is a small seaside town in the southern-most county of Ireland, Cork, known for golfing (e.g. the internationally renowned Old Head Golf Course), yachting and 5 star getaways. It has also been voted the Gourmet Capital of Ireland so you’ll be sure of top class food at your reception. There are a number of private estates in the area that will give you luxury, privacy and access to some of the most beautiful countryside and coastal views in the world. Old 18th century houses have been well preserved and the extensive estates kept intact. Old world opulence in the architecture and unfaltering Irish charm and hospitality will make your wedding a day to remember.
Perth vineyards and wineries make perfect wedding venues for outdoor weddings with the added benefit that the table wine will be a higher calibre. Perth city centre also lends itself to celebrations full of glitz and glam. The Hyatt Regency Hotel and The Crown Metropol, both situated along the Swan River, are excellently appointed to cater for the wedding of your dreams. Perth presents the perfect balance of urban convenience and coastal beauty.
The Cotswolds, England
Sian and Paul Wedding at The Cotswolds, England – Photo Courtesy: Jennie Rainsford
Any lady who’s grown up dreaming of a princess wedding will adore The Cotswolds, in South West England, which contains a mix of grand English stately homes, castles and quant cottages that transport you back in time. Several venues here have been voted the most luxurious places for an English wedding. Barnsley House, for example, has fabulous luxury facilities like a spa, swimming pool and private cinema which the wedding party can use exclusively during their stay. The region is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which the local community works hard to preserve.
The cherry on the cake is the perfection in every detail. Use a wedding planner who is well acquainted with your chosen location or search for the best local suppliers yourself. Lastly, hire a great photographer too, for example, film wedding videos in Perth, that ensure every detail of your luxury wedding is caught on film to show to children and grandchildren in years to come.
Graceland Wedding Chapel, Las Vegas – Rock Star Jon Bon Jovi was married here. Photo Courtesy: Time Anchor
Getting married in Las Vegas has gotten a lot of flak; thanks to many high-profile nuptials performed there that quickly end up in divorce. From Britney Spears and Kevin Federline, to Axl Rose and Erin Everly, through to Carmen Electra and Dennis Rodman, Vegas has gotten a not-so-savory reputation as far as the first stop to a life of wedded bliss goes.
Another bad rap that Las Vegas has had to deal with through the years is how its weddings up the cheesy, sleazy factor. Nevertheless, over a hundred thousand weddings are held in Las Vegas yearly. For celebrities and ordinary Janes and Joes alike, Las Vegas is still a desirable wedding destination for many reasons. The biggest one would be for convenience; many wedding chapels compete for the chance to marry couples in a speedy conveyor belt-like manner.
Another good reason is the cost – those on a budget can easily ease into a Vegas wedding without worrying about burning a hole in their pockets.
So how can you put the class in a Las Vegas wedding without falling for the cheap and tacky trappings that seem to plague it?
Right: A Drive-Thru Wedding Package in Las Vegas – Photo Courtesy:istolethetv
Cut the cheese
Assuming you’re getting married in Las Vegas because of budget constraint, you can still keep your nuptial ceremony classy by avoiding the cheesy, show-business type stuff that’s supposed to be fun, but do not reflect you or your significant other’s personality. So if you aren’t a fan of Elvis but you both love the rock ‘n roll, don’t forget that you’re in a place that’s known for both, so you can always choose the latter as theme.
Consider an Al Fresco ceremony over a closed-door one
Left: Venus Garden at Caesar’s Palace Outdoor Wedding Chapel, Las Vegas. Right: Krystal and Ryan are all smiles just after saying their vows at this beautiful venue. Photo Courtesy: Jimmy G
The venue of you wedding contributes significantly to the overall look and feel of your wedding, so choose wisely. Many “love chapels” are available in Las Vegas, waiting to churn out another batch of newlyweds on a daily basis. However, there are now open-air venues there which get rave reviews from couples and their guests who opt for them. Do a bit of research about them if you want an Al Fresco wedding with a Las Vegas budget. That way, you can still get married in this exciting, always-awake place without the theme park vibe of most of its wedding venues.
Shop around for a minister
Licensed ministers are a dime a dozen in this busy state. Their manner of speaking, dress, and general behaviour are usually dictated by the motif of the venue they are assigned to, so expect an Elvis impersonator in an Elvis-themed love chapel. To keep your wedding personal and significant, why not hire your own minister? You can either scout around in Las Vegas for one, or bring your own as part of the wedding entourage.
Put in some personal touches
Left: Alice getting married at a Lakeside Wedding Venue in the Summerlin suburb of Las Vegas. Right: The Lakeside Wedding Venue. Photo Courtesy: Eric Chan
As with any other wedding, plan yours and don’t go for template themed ones you aren’t too crazy about. Unless it’s a drive-through wedding you are going for, in which case being classy isn’t likely to be a priority, set aside ample time to plan how yours will look, feel, sound, and taste like. Consult a wedding planner if your budget can accommodate one. A Vegas-based coordinator can help you narrow down the choices for catering, tux and gown rental, bridal car providers, wedding cake designers, venues, etc. Doing this can help you come up with a wedding that is close to your heart…and budget!
Author Sharon Sussman has become Brilliance’s very own wedding expert, owing her experience to the couples she has worked with over the past few years. Aside from writing about bridal and wedding topics, she also contributes guest posts about diamonds, gems and jewelry – her main expertise.
There are many tough decisions to make before the big day rolls around, not the least of which is choosing from Australia’s most romantic venues. Selecting a wedding venue can be a bit complicated, but here are some of the country’s most optimal venues from each state.
Choose any one of these wonderful Australian wedding venues listed below and make your wedding real special for you and for your guests.
Australian Capital Territory: Cockington Green Gardens, Nicholls
Photo Courtesy: Cockington Green Gardens
This location is the ultimate storybook setting, and the Gardens set aside their Garden Wedding Area to add a bit of extra romance and privacy to a nuptial event. Bride and groom take their vows beneath a garden rotunda within sight of a waterfall and an arched bridge.
New South Wales: Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney
Photo Courtesy: ARIA Catering at Sydney Opera House
Couples who wish to wed in one of the world’s most iconic structures jump on the opportunity to commit to one another under the arches of the Sydney Opera House. Wedding parties can contact ARIA Catering to take advantage of one of four venues at this location, each with its own unique view of Sidney Harbour.
Northern Territory: Longitude 131, Yulara
Photo Courtesy: Longitude 131°, Australia
It’s not difficult to see why Longitude 131 calls itself the luxury outback wedding resort. For couples who want the guests to experience some of Australia’s true wilderness without having to stint on luxury, this is the optimal venue. The resort offers a number of options for parties, including private tents atop an isolated sand dune or beside a lagoon pool closer to the actual resort.
Queensland: Cloudland, Fortitude Valley
Cloudland is truly one of the country’s most unique venue spaces. The restaurant is undeniably modern; it’s lavish yet understated, and provides couples with six venue options. Each space can host anything from a luxurious sit-down dining affair to mere reception cocktails.
South Australia: Silvestri’s of Claredon
Photo Courtesy: Silvestri’s
The garden at Silvestri’s is a bit of Italy come to South Australia. It was built especially for the purpose of hosting weddings, and is suitable for events large and small. In springtime, the garden is a wash of white buds, and in autumn it becomes a canopy of red leaves.
Tasmania: Home Hill Winery, Ranelagh
Wedding within a winery – Heady! Photo Courtesy: Home Hill Winery of Australia
Couples who wish to take their vows in an outdoor setting will appreciate the unique venue offered by Home Hill Winery. During colder months, couples often opt to set up their ceremony inside the actual winery, framed by oak barrels and lit by rows and rows of candles.
Victoria: The Melbourne Aquarium, Melbourne
The next best thing to hosting a nuptial celebration beneath the waves is hosting one at this gorgeous five star event venue. The happy couple who celebrates their wedding here will also enjoy a complimentary room in the Rendezvous Hotel, a bottle of bubbly and a box of chocolates.
Western Australia: Cable Beach Club Resort and Spa, Broome
This trendy resort in Broome offers beach wedding ceremony parties – the quintessential romance-by-the-sea. This locale does more than provide a beautiful beach backdrop: wedding guests will be impressed by Cable Beach Club’s tropical and luxurious accommodations.
For more information on planning a wedding in Broome, contact the planning professionals of Broome Weddings.
Beautiful bride Susan with her bridesmaids at the Omanu Beach, Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand – Photo Courtesy: Ronnie Macdonald
New Zealand is a great place to plan a destination wedding. Not only are there hundreds of great activities for your guests to do before and after your wedding, but there are also many different types of fun, exciting, beautiful, traditional and unique locations to hold both your wedding ceremony and your reception. The top New Zealand wedding venues include churches, water locations and gardens.
Whether you are looking for a Gothic chapel or a traditional English cathedral, New Zealand has something for you. You are going to find the best selection of churches in Christchurch, New Zealand. Here you can select from dozens of church options.
Your first church option is the Ark Angel Chapel. This chapel is designed to look just like Noah’s Ark. This is a great option for unique weddings.
Your second church option is the Stone Church. Located in Cashmere Hills in Christchurch, Stone Church is a great option for people who are interested in performing their service in front of a beautiful stained glass alter.
Your third church option is St. John of God. This is the perfect venue for a traditional English wedding ceremony. Here you can make a grand entrance as you walk down the 20 meter isle.
New Zealand has a number of great water site venues that you can choose from. Your first option is to get married on the water.
- You can easily rent a private yacht or book a service aboard a luxury cruise liner.
- Your second option is to plan a beach wedding ceremony. Select from oceanfront, lake front or river front beaches.
- Your final option is to book a venue at a wilderness lodge that is near a body of water like the Furneaux Lodge near Marlborough Sounds.
Your third venue option is to book a location at one of the many beautiful gardens located in New Zealand.
Your first option is to book your wedding at the Arbour Lee Gardens. This location has several water features and acres of gardens.
Your second option is to book your wedding venue at the Arts Centre. This Gothic Revival building is a great backdrop to your New Zealand wedding.
Your final option is to book a wedding venue at one of the local vineyards.
Wherever you decide to have your wedding, either hire a local photographer who appreciates the beauty of this glorious country or ask a friend who is great with a camera to take photos. You will want to capture your special day in its entirety.
Learn more about the wonderful places you can have your NZ Wedding!
Who says a rugged desert landscape can’t be the stage for a dream wedding destination? Look at this happy couple getting married in the magical Nevada Desert close to Las Vegas.
A Wedding Far Away
If private elopement is not your kind of thing, you might want to join thousands of couples who plan destination weddings to make their special day memorable. A destination wedding is actually a great way to save some money as it allows you to combine your wedding ceremony and reception in one place. It is also typically a small gathering where you can invite close family members and friends to fly with you and your spouse-to-be to enjoy a unique and memorable ceremony of oneness in another place. Not sure where to start with your wedding plans? Take a look at these destination wedding trends to get some ideas how you can get started with your own.
Latest Destination Wedding Trends
When it comes to the latest destination trends, it appears that most couples prefer to focus on their personalities coupled with some traditional and contemporary elements. However, extreme romance is still there and extravagance is kept at a minimum to ensure that guests feel comfortable.
- Fabrics make the difference. In order to add a flare of vibrancy and festivity to the wedding, many couples choose to decorate their wedding venues with layers of fabrics. This allow for better use of open spaces such as beach fronts and is also seen as a cost effective solution compared to shipping flowers to decorate the whole venue.
- Exclusive resorts. When it comes to reception venues, many couples opt for secluded areas that can only be reached by boat. The seclusion of the place adds to the romantic vibe of the whole event and also lends a sense of exclusivity.
- Hiring local musicians. In order to capture the complete essence of their wedding’s destination, many couples choose to hire local musicians to play live in their wedding ceremony. This is actually a great thing to do as it helps set the tone of the ceremony itself.
- Group adventures. Rather than confining their guests in their assigned rooms, many couples who chose to have a destination wedding also set up adventure activities that they can enjoy with their friends and families. For instance, those who have their wedding on a beach also schedule an hour or two of water-based activity like a surfing lesson or diving lessons for their guests. Some even go on a canoe trip, trekking or cycling.
- Same color, different shade. As mentioned earlier, personal style overshadows tradition in current destination weddings. Hence, instead of letting their bridesmaids don the same length and color of frocks, some brides allow their bridesmaids to choose their own dress style and shade, as long as they are from a pre-selected palette.
Article by Robert Kirk who works for Frox of Falkirk, a Scottish based company who specialize in mother of the bride outfits.
Are you planning a dream destination wedding in Lake Tahoe? There are many decisions to make, from the food to the flowers to the photographer and on and on. With so much on your plate, one thing you shouldn’t have to worry too much about is where your guests will be staying. Before you run to the nearest hotel, give some thought to vacation rentals as alternate lodging for your wedding guests. Here are just a few of the many reasons why Lake Tahoe vacation rentals are a great idea.
If you’re planning a destination wedding, you’re probably envisioning your closest family and friends spending time together celebrating. When wedding guests have more space than just a box of a hotel room, then private gatherings are all of a sudden a possibility. How about sunset cocktails or a late night glass of wine? Vacation rentals will allow your guests to spend more quality time together.
Whether you’re planning a summer or winter (or somewhere in between) wedding in Lake Tahoe, your guests might want to make a real vacation out of it. For some people, this might stretch their budget, but a vacation rental could make an extended trip a reality. Your wedding guests can join together to split the cost of a bigger rental, maximizing the value out of their trip. By having families, couples, or groups of friends all pool together their funds for a rental, the shared value is guaranteed to be better than what you would get at most hotels.
Comfort and Convenience
When you ask people to travel for your wedding, you want them to be comfortable. A vacation rental provides all the conveniences of home, from kitchens to laundry facilities to living spaces with big fireplaces. You could surprise your family members by stocking the fridge at their vacation rental or sending over champagne to thank them for coming. A rental will also give your family members privacy, allowing couples and families to have their own private time too.
The Big Day
Vacation rentals can be very convenient on the big day. Spend the morning getting ready with your bridesmaids with all the space and comfort you had envisioned for your big day. With multiple bathrooms to use to get ready and plenty of space for hair and makeup, everyone will be ready right on time (ideally!).
Vacation rentals aren’t just handy for before the wedding; they’re handy for after too. Not ready for the party to end? Take the festivities back to a rental! Pop another bottle of champagne and keep the dancing going. Or simply gather with your best friends or family to reflect on the memorable day. If people have a place to gather, they will be less likely to just retire to a hotel room and go to sleep.
Start the Honeymoon Early
Another benefit is starting the honeymoon early. Choose a luxurious rental with a soaking tub for two, a steam shower, a fireplace, or whatever else will help set the romantic mood for the newlyweds. After all, who wants to get on a plane the day after their wedding? When you wake up, you will already be in a gorgeous destination. Rentals will also allow you to spend more time with friends and family after the blur of a wedding is complete.
Make Some Memories
No one wants their wedding to just blend in with all the others. Ten years down the line, you want your nearest and dearest to recall the details of your big day. Choosing vacation rentals will set your wedding apart from all the other cookie cutter weddings. You will always remember the fun you had in your elegant home away from home in Lake Tahoe, and odds are your wedding guests will too.
Laura Hoot is a freelance writer and content manager for HomeAway. She manages HomeAway’s Travel Ideas site as well as a full house with three dogs, a cat, two chickens and a baby boy. She’s written for USA Today’s travel site, GirlsGetaway.com, Cheapo Air, Travels.com, Trails.com, eFilmCritic.com, The Budget Fashionista, Travellogged.com, and many more sites.