Win a Dream Honeymoon to Martinique

Are you torn between deciding on a romantic honeymoon in Paris or a relaxing week on the beach? We know it can be difficult decide if you want to spend your first days together as a married couple soaking in French romance or with the sand between your toes, but what if you could have both? Well, you actually can if you visit Martinique. Martinique is a little piece of France in the Caribbean. This seductive French island is the perfect honeymoon spot for couples looking for an insanely romantic experience with all of the wonders of the Caribbean. We recently took a trip to the absolutely extraordinary island of of Martinique, and we experienced the best the island had to offer! Keep reading to find out how you could win a trip for two to Martinique!

The first night of the trip, we stayed at the beautiful Hotel Plein Soleil in Martinique which is nestled amid a lush tropical garden. We loved this hotel as each room is part of a colorful villa with their own private pools and decks. Our favorite detail was waking up in an open air bedroom outside steps away from your own private pool.

The following day was simply magical, as we started out the morning at Le Francois Marina sailing on a beautiful catamaran visiting ilet Loup-garou, a turtle reserve, ilet Chancel, an iguana ilsand, and more of the absolutely stunning landmarks that make Martinique so magnificent. Martinique has so many options for adventurous couples from sailing, kayaking, canyoning, horseback riding to golf.

Our second night was spent at La Suite Villa, which was a lovely boutique hotel on a hill overlooking the island. The views were spectacular. The hotel has its own restaurant, and dinner from a French and Creole master chef at the Le Zandoli was definitely a highlight of the trip!

And the next day was spent exploring the natural wonders of the island, sightseeing the rainforest and waterfalls on the island. This would definitely be at the top of our list if we were honeymooning here! Everything was so lush, green, and absolutely unbelievable.

The last day we spent in beautiful Martinique was at Le Cap Est Lagoon Resort and Spa, which has direct access to a secluded beach and guest can enjoy a soothing full service spa. Le Cap Est Lagoon overlooked the most delightful, private beach steps away from each room.

For your chance to win a dream honeymoon to Martinique, CLICK HERE! Thank you so much again to the French Tourism board and Martinique Promotion Bureau for inviting us to visit Martinique!

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12.22.14 / Featured, New Sponsor Blog

Intimate Spanish Villa Destination Wedding

There are destination weddings and there are destination weddings in Spain… Joanna and Matt’s wedding at a villa in Spain is absolutely breathtaking and we imagine their guests loved spending the weekend in the countryside outside of Barcelona while celebrating Joanna and Matt’s marriage. Keep reading for more about this intimate Spanish villa wedding from Kristy, the photographer, and Joanna, the bride.

From Kristy Ryan, the photographer:

Joanna and Matt’s wedding was one of my favorites to date.  It was everything a wedding should be, filled love, laughter and dear friends.

This stylish and fun-loving London couple knew that they wanted a laid back wedding that reflected their easy-going nature. Casa Felix in Spain was the perfect location and set the tone and style for the whole affair.  They invited 45 of their closest friends and family to spend the week together at this magical location. 

This rustic villa was built in the 11th century and was set in the picturesque countryside outside of Barcelona, surrounded by vineyards and enclosed with a stone wall for complete privacy. Everyone enjoyed the warm weather by the pool or day trips to near by cities and wineries.  The evenings were spent together eating lavished spreads with fresh food from the market, as one of their guests was a top chef. 

The colour palette of the villa and abundance of Lavender made deciding on color scheme and décor easy for the couple. Lavender was in her bouquet, their emblem for the invites, website, thrown as the walk down the aisle and gifts for the guests.

The couple knew they wanted a buffet dinner so guests could really mingle.  Paradise catering made the most visually beautiful and creative buffet spread I’ve ever seen.  They hired a live Jazz band, which fit the atmosphere perfectly and when the sun went down they had a DJ to keep the party going.But one of the most heartfelt moments that really stood out and a favorite of the bride was a group of guests learned how to play and sing ‘Hey Ho’ by the The Lumineers.  They sang at the end of the ceremony with all the guests joining in.  It was so joyous and beautiful. I was tearing up while taking the pictures.

To quote the bride, “It was the best day of my life. That’s cheesy, but it was. I’ve never smiled so much in my life. It was romantic, hilarious, magical, boozy, filled with dancing and sun! Surrounded by the best people I know!  What could be better!”  I have to agree…it seemed perfect.

Venue: Casa Felix, Olivella Photography: Blush Wedding Photography | Hair and Make-up: All Dolled Up Studio Videography: Kismet Creative | Band: Mirat Jazz Catering: Paradis, Barcelona  Wedding Dress: Pronovias  (embellished by bride) | Day After dress: Truvelle | Jewelry: Jeweliette | Suit: Simon Carter

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12.22.14 / Featured, Real Weddings, Real Weddings Blog

Peaceful Morning of Wedding Inspiration

We often encourage brides to take a few hours the day of their wedding to relax, take time for themselves, and most importantly soak in the day before the madness of the wedding begins. Lauren Balingit and Kelly Lenard were inspired by something similar in their recent trip to Montana. Keep reading about their inspiration for this lovely outdoor lake session.

From Lauren:

Kelly and I traveled to Montana a few months ago, and we were touched by the abundance of peace we felt.  Kelly and I were really inspired by the idea of taking time for yourself before your wedding day. Among all of the stress that planning a wedding can bring, we feel that you don’t need to relax only after the ceremony is over, but before it even happens. Your last few days of single life go by so fast, so take a few hours, or even a day to breathe and soak in such a special time preparing to marry the one you love.

Photography: Lauren Balingit | Floral design and styling: Kelly Lenard of Intertwine | Vintage clothing pieces: Gossamer Vintage | Model: Amy Orchard

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12.19.14 / Featured, Wedding Ideas, Wedding Ideas Blog

Relaxed Autumn Vineyard Wedding

It may be cold, dreary and dull outdoors now, but winter means we’re starting to see fall weddings roll into our inbox. This relaxed autumn vineyard wedding from Ben Christensen make us want to snuggle up with a blanket and a nice bottle of wine outdoors. Keep reading for more from the bride about her beautiful fall wedding.

From the Bride:

Erik and I met at a dive bar exactly two weeks after I landed in San Francisco from New York City. I know neither of us were expecting much out of the night by way of romance (the theme that night was “Booty Bassment”), but the unlikely locale ended up setting the scene for a rather fateful evening. Erik walked up to me and introduced himself and we ended up talking for the rest of the night. He called (called! not texted!) a few days later to ask if he could take me out; he was a total gentleman. About two years later we were engaged.

We knew from the beginning that we wanted to have the wedding in northern California. It is where our relationship had began and grew, plus it is insanely beautiful. Erik is from Michigan and I am from North Carolina, so we knew many of our guests would be traveling long distances to attend. For that reason, we set out to make the entire weekend as organized and enjoyable as possible – we wanted our friends and family to really feel like they were on vacation.

Planning began with choosing our venue, which ended up being the most difficult part of the entire process. I swear the Bay Area has one billion amazing (albeit expensive) places to get married. Fortunately, we were already friends with our wedding planner, Gillian Shenon, as she had been my sister’s roommate the year we got engaged. Gllian helped us navigate city vs. wine country vs. redwoods vs. seashore. We wanted to make logistics as simple as possible for our guests, so it seemed like the city was the best answer, until we saw…Campovida.

Campovida is an organic farm and working vineyard in Mendocino County about an hour and a half north of San Francisco. I am telling you there is no place more beautiful, nor run by more kind people. The day we signed with them, Anna, the owner, cut us a bouquet of asparagus right from the garden. She also let us taste lots of wine, of course. 

After securing the venue, finding the rest of our vendors happened quickly and naturally – it honestly felt more like stumbling upon new friends. I saw some of our photographer Ben Christensen’s work online, was stunned, realized he lived in California, and immediately called him. We met our incredible florist, Ellen Kyle, through a close mutual friend, and after one meeting, I knew I could trust her completely to just do her thing. We were led to Vinnie Esparza, our DJ, by a couple we met at a party, and Gillian hooked us up with our caterer Sage. A coworker told me about Kim at Bright Room Studios for our invites, as well as Cathy Haebe our cake baker. I was even able to convince our band, Windy Hill, to help me plan a surprise serenade for Erik.

Erik and I were so impressed with everyone’s professionalism and attention to detail. All of our vendors went above and beyond, and we feel so indebted to them for pulling off such an amazing event, as well as to our family and friends for providing so much love and support. The weekend was perfect. We didn’t know we could be filled with so much joy and gratitude.

Photographer: Ben Christensen | Venue for Ceremony and Reception: Campovida, Hopland, CA Wedding Planner: Gillian Shenon | Caterer: Sage Catering | Floral Design: Ellen Kyle| Cake Design: Cathy Haebe, kneadtomake | Band: Windy Hill | DJ: Vinnie Esparza | Makeup/Hair: Meaganne McCandess | Bridal Dress: Nicole Miller| Reception Dress: Reformation | Bridesmaid Dresses: twobirds Bridesmaid | Groom’s Suit: Canali  | Engagement Ring: Tiffany & Co. | Bride’s Wedding Ring: Gabriela Artigas | Groom’s Wedding Ring and Bridesmaids’ Bracelets: Erin Diane  | Invitations and Day-of Paper Goods: Bright Room Studio | Save the Dates: Paperless Post

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12.18.14 / Featured, Real Weddings, Real Weddings Blog