MeiMei Fox: The Life Out Loud: Top 10 Reasons to Elope

November 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

Here are my top 10 reasons why you might consider eloping.

1. You’ll minimize stress.

My girlfriends and I like to joke about “the wedding train.” It’s as though weddings operate with an engine of their own, regardless of how much fuel you choose to put into them. The moment you step on board, budgets, people’s emotions, your time commitments, and everything else associated with the event spirals out of control.

Elopement is one sure-fire way to ensure you don’t end up boarding the Wedding Express. You simply choose your destination, then drive your own car at your desired pace, with minimal stress involved.

2. You won’t hurt anyone’s feelings. Or you’ll hurt everyone’s equally.

No sooner have you announced that you’re engaged, than your mother, your partner’s father, and your ex-best friend from middle school are stepping in with their suggestions of what/when/where and who. First area of contention: the guest list. It doubles. Then triples. Do you really have to invite your second cousin once removed? Your yoga friend who recently connected with you on Facebook? Your dad’s former business partner?

Avoid the problem entirely by not having a guest list. You might offend everyone, but at least you don’t have to play favorites.

3. You can put the money to a good cause.

The moment they hear the word “wedding,” everyone in the service industry–hotel reservationists, photographers, musicians, florists, bands and DJs, designers and printers–begin salivating. Prices double.

Kiran and I spent approximately $300 on our wedding: license; courthouse ceremony provided by a lovely middle-aged woman with a gentle manner; and witness (it turned out that the dog didn’t count, from a legal standpoint, so we had to pay for another woman from the courthouse to attend our service). We are now able to donate several thousand dollars to our favorite causes, like Surf for Life, a San Francisco-based non-profit that’s building a school for underserved kids in Costa Rica and El Salvador.

4. You don’t have to waste time on wedding gift returns.

After my first wedding, I spent a year dealing with gifts that hadn’t been on our registry. It’s the thought that counts, of course, and I appreciated everyone’s generosity. But the black lacquered wall clock in the shape of Thailand that one well-intentioned family friend gave us just wasn’t going to fit with our modern loft décor.

I might get in big trouble for saying this, but oh well, it has been over a decade: I took back what I could, collecting store credits that I later used mostly to purchase wedding gifts for other people. The remaining items ended up at Goodwill, or as office holiday party “bad taste gift exchange” offerings.

5. You say good-bye to heinous bridesmaid dresses.

‘Nuff said.

Read the entire post via MeiMei Fox: The Life Out Loud: Top 10 Reasons to Elope.

Perfect Shirt for Father of the Bride: the Guayabera | Debra Torres

November 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

by debrator on October 8, 2011

Of course much attention is paid to the bride and her gown, but who is also walking with her down the aisle? It can be very difficult deciding on the appropriate attire for the Father of the Bride, especially for a casual wedding. One must seek to obtain both the formality appropriate to complement the bride’s gown, but also highlight the specialness and warmth that just about every father possesses. The guayabera, with its casual and sophisticated air, is a great choice.

The Perfect Shirt for the Father of the Bride: The Guayabera Since many grooms choose the classic white guayabera for their casual or beach wedding, the father of the bride might want to try a pop of color. Below is a picture of Father of the Bride Doug Hunt, from Arizona, walking his daughter Cathy down the aisle at her outdoor wedding. Doug went with a beautiful navy linen guayabera shirt, the Guayabera Marion, with a boutonnierre matching his daughter’s wedding bouquet. What a great look!

Doug Hunt wears the Debra Torres Guayabera Marion at his daughter’s wedding.

Aside from looking chic, another great reason to choose a linen guayabera or Mexican Wedding Shirt is that this classic summer shirt is a timeless piece that can be worn for years after the ceremony! There is something so great about being able to put on an article of clothing that immediately brings back such wonderful memories like a daughter’s wedding, an event sure to rank amongst the most special days of a father’s life.

via Perfect Shirt for Father of the Bride: the Guayabera | Debra Torres.

INSPIRED Destination Weddings

October 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

INSPIRED Destination Weddings

We are so pleased today to announce the launch of our new Facebook page for INSPIRED Destination Weddings.  Do you have an exceptional wedding venue?  We’d love to hear about it.

Advantages to a smaller, intimate wedding

October 19, 2011 § 1 Comment

A wedding doesn’t have to be a mammoth event with 300 guests and a costly price tag. Many couples choose to walk down the aisle and then celebrate on a smaller scale with much success.

Millions of weddings take place across the globe every year. According to the Association for Bridal Consultants, the average American wedding includes 175 guests and the average size of the wedding party is 12 people. Many couples may view these averages and feel pressured to throw a big wedding. But smaller events can be just as much fun and easier on the pocketbook, as well.

One of the more obvious advantages to a small wedding is the cost. Many large weddings cost between $20,000 and $30,000 dollars. A small wedding will be significantly less simply because there are fewer people to feed. Catering costs account for a large chunk of wedding budgets. A reception with only 50 to 60 people may run $1,000 or less.

Another benefit to a smaller wedding is that a couple may be able to afford a higher-priced venue. Maybe there’s that historic castle or high-priced mansion that would be over budget if 200 guests were coming. With a much smaller guest list, the venue might now be affordable. Or, couples can look outside of wedding halls to restaurants for a nice dinner.

Small weddings tend to be more intimate. Couples can spend more individual time with guests instead of having to spread their time thinly around a large reception hall. Special moments, such as speeches or words of wisdom, may bear more significance when the group is intimate.

Destination weddings have become quite popular and are most successful with a small group. Keeping a large guest list in order can prove challenging when travelling, which makes destination weddings ideal for small guest lists. Also, costs will be kept down if the couple is paying the travel fees for invitees.

It’s important for couples to keep in mind that a small wedding is not without certain challenges. Family members and friends may have their own perceptions of what a wedding should be. Once the idea of a small wedding is mentioned, it may be met with some opposition, particularly from parents who want to invite an extended list of friends and distant family members. This can make it difficult to pick and choose who to invite.

Another disadvantage is that large weddings evoke the energy of a big party and can make people less inhibited to celebrate and dance. An empty dance floor at a smaller wedding may be intimidating to guests who will choose to sit and not fully enjoy themselves.

Ultimately, the decision to have a small-, medium-or large-size wedding is entirely up to the couple or the person who will be financing the event. Wedding planning is largely the personal choice of the couple who will be saying their “I dos.”

© Copyright (c) The Regina Leader-Post

via Advantages to a smaller, intimate wedding.

Maya Marriage of Many 12 12 2012

October 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

A Once in a Lifetime Event – Maya Marriage of Many on 12 12 twenty 12

According to the Maya, December 2012 will mark the end of a 5,126-year era, and is a time of renewal, rebirth, renaissance and new beginnings. In honor of this historic moment in time, 12 Productions Belize teamed up with Romantic Travel Belize and Destination Bride to create an epic event designed to bring love from around the world to the epicenter of the Mayan world. The 2012 Mayan Marriage of Many will be a celebration of love with a marriage en mass for 36 lucky couples on the Maya ruins of Cahal Pech on 12 12 Twenty 12.

Each couple will be able to invite 6 of their closest loved ones to witness the marriage and partake in the celebration from December 9th through 13th, 2012. Package prices range from $14,030 to $24,030 depending on the chosen hotel, with other add-on options available and then be whisked away for a tropical paradise honeymoon on the exotic paradise, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

We chose 12 12 twenty 12 because it is not only the last of the alliteration dates for 100 years, but is also a significant number to the Maya as well. The number 12 is believed to be the number of strength, conviction, absoluteness and finality. It is also associated with beliefs of mystery and authority. And since there are 12 chakras in the human heart, the 36 tickets to the 12 12 twenty 12 Mayan Marriage of Many will be the Most Coveted Invitations in the worldwide wedding market!

Each Bridal Package includes the following for two people:

  • Accommodation
  • Transportation
  • Meals
  • Welcome Cocktail & Dinner Reception
  • Orientation Breakfast
  • Rehearsal Dinner
  • Wedding & Wedding Reception
  • Adventure Tours
  • Sunset Cruise & Full Day Snorkel
  • Photography

Bridal Couple Packages:

  • Wedding Package 1: $14,030
  • Wedding Package 2: $16,030
  • Wedding Package 3: $20,030
  • Wedding Package 4: $24,030

US Phone: 215.469.2496

Belize Phone: (011) 501.670.5272

Copyright © 2011/12 2012 Weddings Belize. All Rights Reserved via Maya Marriage of Many 12 12 twenty 12 | 2012 Weddings Belize.

Why Do Weddings Cost So Much?

October 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

My response to the Huffington Post article Strapped: How the Bridal Beast is Bankrupting the Lowly Wedding Guest.  First of all THANK YOU for writing what I have been unable to verbalize or have been afraid to say.  Second THANK YOU for not just calling out destination weddings but domestic weddings too with their excessive financial obligations to guests.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article!

El Portal Sedona Offers Exclusive Destination Wedding Packages

September 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

El Portal Sedona has developed four new wedding packages for indoor or outdoor weddings at the 4 diamond luxury boutique hotel. Located in the historic arts district, the 12 room hotel is located adjacent to Tlaquepaque shopping village and Sedona Spa. The property was designed and built in turn of the century Southwestern design, featuring custom adobe architecture, distinctive stained glass and luxurious finishes throughout.

El Portal Wedding Packages start at $999, and each package includes a two night stay for the bride and groom in a luxurious Garden Room at the hotel. Brides can choose to include in-room hair and makeup, floral creations, musical accompaniment ranging from violinist to native flute, delectable and elegant wedding cakes, and photography. Red Rock Sunset photos create a truly unique wedding memory of exchanging vows in one of the most beautiful natural settings in the world. The hotel’s courtyard is a romantic venue for any wedding, featuring lush plantings, koi pond and grapevine arbors enhanced with twinkling lights.

El Portal owner, Steve Segner, says, “Sedona is the ultimate wedding destination in Arizona, and we are pleased to offer our distinctive setting and custom wedding planning services to discerning brides. At El Portal, our resources and unique knowledge of the area allow us to help brides plan the wedding of their dreams.”

Bridal parties interested in renting all 12 rooms at the hotel can enjoy spacious and well-appointed guest suites that feature patios, fireplaces, entertainment centers and more. El Portal’s wedding planning staff can make all wedding arrangements including custom reception menus from casual to elegant. Concierge services at the hotel will assist in planning weekend activities for wedding guests ranging from spa services to jeep tours or picnics. Segner says, “We want each of our guests to make El Portal their home away from home, especially for special occasions such as weddings. We provide personalized recommendations and services in a welcoming atmosphere that allows bridal parties and guests to relax and enjoy the day.”

Weddings at El Portal can accommodate up to 35 guests. For larger weddings of up to 100 guests, the Segners offer use of their own ranch in Sedona.

For more information on wedding packages at El Portal Sedona, please visit

via El Portal Sedona Offers Exclusive Destination Wedding Packages.

Are destination weddings getting a bad rap?

September 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

I read an article the other day where the writer suggested that a destination wedding is just a terrible thing to inflict on your friends or family and that people who do this are selfish, inconsiderate boobs.  To be completely candid, I’ve read variations of this theme over the years and what bothers me every time I read something like this is the time and energy devoted to such a simple remedy – politely decline the invitation!  Really, it’s that simple.  Why get all worked up over an invitation?  Just say no and leave it at that.

People get married for so many reasons and it’s such a shame that others go out of their way to suggest that if you don’t have your wedding their way, then you’re selfish and inconsiderate.  Honestly I think this is why destination weddings are so popular, people don’t want hear that they have to have their parents’ wedding.  They want a choice and the opportunity to create a unique experience; I completely get this.  And what are the chances that anyone can plan a wedding that makes everyone happy?  Zero.  The kind truth is that someone is going to have a problem with the date, the location and so on.

So what’s the solution?  Plan your wedding around the people who support your vision and don’t worry about the rock throwers, there’s no shortage of them and chances are they wouldn’t come to your wedding even if you did plan it around them.

I do have some tips though on how to keep your destination wedding guest friendly.

  1. Be kind – give your guests plenty of advance notice in order to save money, arrange child care or take off work .  You can announce your intention for a destination wedding without all the details 12 to 18 months in advance.
  2. Be generous – Pay for a portion of your guest’s hotel expense, at least for your “must attend” guests.
  3. Be practical – Keep your destination within four hours flight time and plan a Saturday ceremony so that guests short on time or money can fly in on Friday and out on Sunday.
  4. Be sensitive – Not everyone can attend so plan an at home reception for those guests.  When you send out your formal invites, give your guests the option to RSVP to either your destination wedding or your at-home reception.

What has your experience with less than supportive guests and how did you solve it?  I’d love to hear about it!

Dreams Punta Cana Site Inspection Notes

July 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Seeing a resort with your own eyes is invaluable!  Out of all the resorts I saw in my short stay, Dreams Punta Cana Resort and Spa  is the one I was most interested in seeing for a number of reasons.

Dreams Punta Cana Wedding Gazebo

Dreams Punta Cana Wedding Gazebo

To be fair, I’ve only had two weddings at this resort and the reviews were mixed –  great wedding, great food but we had a few returning guests that gave less than positive reviews on the rooms.  So I really wanted to see for myself and as it turned out, the resort was oversold so no rooms to inspect!  The fact that this resort was oversold in the middle of July speaks for itself, it is the most popular destination wedding property for the entire AMResort brand.  With three weddings a day, wedding planner Yanna Guzman was remarkable poised and a wealth of information.

I viewed all the wedding venues and it’s easy to see why Dreams Punta Cana is popular.  The beach, gazebo and terrace venues are all beautiful.  I was able to see an actual wedding taking place at the gazebo along with a dinner setup on the beach; all were lovely and well executed, every brides dream wedding!

Beach setup

Beach venue - dinner reception

As for the rooms, I understand that there will be some remodeling taking place this November so I’m hoping this will address the condition problems I’ve heard about.

Dreams Punta Cana chairs

Empire Chairs


Onsite Flamingos

They are also be adding a new bridal office that will have table setups and other options on display and this is a great feature for future brides and grooms.

Private dinner setup

Our site inspection concluded with a lovely dinner hosted by Director of Sales, Joan Fernandez.  Thanks Joan for a wonderful dinner!

Zoetry Agua Punta Cana

July 19, 2011 § 1 Comment

I had the opportunity to participate in a series of site inspections on AMResorts properties in the Dominican Republic.  The theme of the site inspection was destination weddings so it was a great opportunity to see a number of venues in a short period of time.  Over the course of the next few weeks I will be posting pictures and adding notes and observations on what I saw during my time in the Dominican Republic.

The first resort was Zoetry Punta Cana.  For those of you not familiar with AMResorts, this is their premium brand and there are two additional properties in Mexico – Casa del Mar and Paraiso de la Bonita.  The Endless Privileges amenities include a number of nice features, my favorites are:

  • no check-in or check-out time
  • unlimited worldwide calling
  • complimentary 24-hour laundry service
  • 24-hour in-suite dining
Zoetry Agua wedding gazebo
Rustic yet elegant wedding gazebo – Zoetry Agua

They are also offering a one-way helicopter transfer when you book a ocean-front suite for 7 nights.  I would recommend this just because of the distance from the Punta Cana airport and the condition of the roads.  They are not dirt roads, which is what I was told, just small and bumpy!  If you have been considering a destination wedding in Costa Rica or Belize and it’s too far or too costly, take a look at Zoetry Agua as an alternative.

Zoetry Wedding Planner
Zoetry wedding planner Susana Beltre

Resort: Zoetry Agua Punta Cana
Wedding Planner: Susana Beltre
Ceremony Venues: Beach and Gazebo
Dinner Venues: 7 elegant reception locations – so many choices!
Capacity: Up to 150 guests
Best Feature:  Only one wedding a weekend!

Pool Area - Zoetry Agua
Pool Area – Zoetry Agua

Enjoy the private 200 yard beach and take a complimentary horse ride.  Or enjoy the large infinity pool.  Either way expect a personalized and relaxing experience.

Wine Room - Zoetry Agua
Wine Room – Zoetry Agua

Enjoy a private dinner in the wine room with your closest friends.

Special thanks to Zoetry Agua GM Luis Fitch, Matthias Hohner – Director of Sales and Susana Beltre for all your kind hospitality during my visit.

If you would like more information about having a wedding at Zoetry Agua, please contact me at

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