Brenda's Wedding Blog | Fresh Ideas for Creative Weddings
061416-southern-wedding-party-confetti.jpg

wedding blog + planning guide for creative weddings | inspiration for DIY Brides

Brenda's Wedding Blog is your online resource for planning your dream elegant wedding. Helping you find the "wow" in weddings.

Posts tagged destination weddings
Under the Sea Wedding Inspiration : The Little Mermaid Gets Married

Today's styled shoot from Tab McCausland Photography is absolutely beautiful. Her idea behind the shoot is so fun - what would it be like if the Little Mermaid got married. And, that gorgeous brooch bouquet? The idea behind that was that the mermaid would have all her trinkets together in a bouquet instead of flowers so it could go, well, under the sea. I LOVE IT!

Wedding Vendor Credits
Photographer: Tab McCausland Photography // Equipment Rentals: A Chair Affair, Inc. // Cake Designer: Anna Cakes // Lighting: FyerFLy // Linens and Coverings: Over The Top Linen Inc // Invitation Designer: Pretty Peacock Paperie // Reception Venue: Paradise Cove Orando//

Submitted via Two Bright Lights
How to Plan an Unforgettable Bahamas Destination Wedding or Honeymoon

Today we are joined by Jackie, my travel editor, with her Top 4 Ways to Plan an Unforgettable Destination Wedding or Honeymoon in the Bahamas.


Did you know that out of the 700 islands in the Bahamas, there are 16 that you can easily visit and explore? Most people are familiar with the big resorts and hotel chains of Nassau and Paradise Island, but there are so many other amazing places that will give you an incredible and authentic experience of the Bahamas. Whether you are looking for a truly unique and intimate destination wedding or a memorable honeymoon, you can find it all in the Bahamas!

I had the pleasure of visiting the Bahamas during their “16 Weddings, 16 Islands, One Priceless Day” promotion, a contest with a prize package for 16 lucky couples to have the wedding of their dreams on one of 16 beautiful islands.

If you are thinking of having a destination wedding, or even planning a romantic getaway, I am here to share with you a few great ways to make your experience unforgettable!

First let me share a little bit about these 16 islands, otherwise known as the Family Islands among Bahamians. Beyond Nassau and Grand Bahama, they include: the Exhumas, the Abacos, Acklins Island, Cat Island, Inagua, Ragged Island, Crooked Island, San Salvador, Andros, Eleuthera, Harbour Island, the Berry Islands, Long Island and Bimini. Each island boasts different kinds of wildlife, natural features, and many different ways to prepare a conch salad {a local favorite dish}. The best reason to get out of Nassau is truly to take advantage of all of there is to see and do that doesn’t involve unlimited pina coladas or a buffet. While I wasn’t able to visit all of the Bahamas Islands during my trip, I will share with you a few of my favorite highlights!

marker-number-1-2015.jpg

Although Grand Bahama Island is one of the largest and most populous islands, you can still have a wonderful experience having an intimate honeymoon or fantastic wedding there. One of the best ways to get married in Grand Bahama is to say “I Do” in the company of some flippered friends. If you love dolphins, this is the place for you! At Enchanted Encounters at The Dolphin Experience, couples can arrange both a pre-/post- wedding encounter with these friendly dolphins as well as coordinating a dolphin kiss when you have yours on your big day. What a special and memorable way for you and your guests to commemorate your wedding!

If getting up close and personal with a different kind of water-loving mammal is more your thing, hop over to the Exhumas for a one-of-a-kind experience swimming with pigs. That’s right - these cute little piggies love to swim and will come out to your boat to greet you, provided of course there’s a treat in it for them. No one knows quite how these wild pigs ended up in the Exhumas, but splashing around with them will make for a one-of-a-kind honeymoon adventure. If you’re a couple that enjoys wildlife, bird-watching, and exploring, then be sure to visit the Exhumas for the getaway or honeymoon of a lifetime.

Do you prefer to have more of a party atmosphere for your wedding? Look no further than the island of Eleuthera. The Bahamas has a long-standing festival known as Junkanoo: think Bahamian Mardi Gras. The traditional celebration of costumes, music and parades typically happens around the Christmas holiday, when even businesses will shut down for several days prior to hand-build their costumes and instruments. There are strict rules for teams participating in the parade, but one of the most important ones is to have fun! Don’t worry though if your wedding plans are for a different time of year: you can hire a Junkanoo band to jumpstart the party at your wedding whenever you like. Not only will you and your guests have the opportunity to participate in a local, cultural tradition but you’ll also be talking about this day for years to come.

Tranquility and rustic charm are the highlight of Andros, a large but underdeveloped island just a short ferry ride east of Nassau. If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or post-wedding wind-down, consider a jaunt to Andros. The pace of life is easy, the beaches are stunning and the vibe is calm and quiet. You can take a leisurely kayak trip and paddle out to some of the smaller cays around the island to explore on your own. If underwater exploration appeals, then spend an afternoon exploring a couple of Andros’ blue holes – a system of deep underwater caves. Snorkeling is also one of the best ways to observe the abundance of marine life around Andros’ extensive reef system. For a true experience of rest and relaxation surrounded by a mostly untouched landscape, Andros is the place to be.

The islands of the Bahamas are some of the best neighbors the US can ask for, and have so much to offer. If you are looking for a you-can-only-find-it-here kind of experience for your destination wedding or honeymoon, you should truly consider the Bahamas. From the food to the culture to the people to the array of natural settings, you will surely find a place to make lots of memories with the ones you love. Happy wedding and travel planning!

All photos provided by “The Islands of The Bahamas

3 Truly Unique Wedding Experiences in Jamaica

Happy Friday and welcome to the last of our series on Jamaica! We hope you've been enjoying following with our destination wedding and honeymoon highlights in the Montego Bay area thus far {see Part 1 and Part 2 here}. We've got a few more to share with you today, and then some fun eye candy to share with you next week on facebook {follow us here so you don't miss it}, courtesy of some of Jamaica's best wedding vendors.

In our last post we explored some of the really wonderful all-inclusive resorts that would be perfect for your extra-relaxing honeymoon, or your easy-going destination wedding. But, if you are looking for a truly unique experience in Jamaica - something a little more personalized and with as many options as you can dream up - we've got some great choices for you!

If you like the convenience of a resort but without the all-inclusive package, and access to more amenities, the Half Moon is the place for you. The property is so vast that you'll need to check out a bicycle or hop on a golf cart to get around! But, at the Half Moon there is everything you could need - stunning ceremony locations, 4 and 5 star restaurants available for your private reception, a golf course, an equestrian center, and an award-winning spa available to pamper newlyweds and bridal parties alike. The rooms and suites are set up cottage-style so you don't have to worry about having too many neighbors bothering you, and for larger groups, the Half Moon also has 2 cottages and several villas available. Perhaps one of the crowning glories of the Half Moon are their over-water cabins which can be requested for spa services. It doesn't get more blissful than having a relaxing massage to the sound of the waves, and should you choose, a glass of wine or even a candle-lit dinner to follow. If you are truly looking to pamper yourself, or splurge a little on the Caribbean wedding of your dreams, the Half Moon is truly a special place!
Have you dreamed of having your wedding ceremony on a secluded property, with just you and your guests? Have you ever wanted to take a trip that included a personal chef? Well, I'm sure one of the Villas by Linda Smith will be the perfect choice for you! With over 25 properties in the inventory, ranging from 1 to 9 bedrooms, there's something that will fit everyone's taste and budget. Each property has, at minimum, either a pool or a beachfront location (many have both!), as well as a chef and/or housekeeper. Some include admission to larger resort properties, giving guests access to golf courses, restaurants and beach clubs. These villas are cozy, comfortably and tastefully decorated, and very well-appointed with things like wi-fi and flatscreen TVs. And, the staff chef will prepare whatever you like! However, I'd recommend requesting some local specialties like pumpkin soup and this spectacular lobster dish. The villas can be rented for week-long stays or more, either for group or family vacations or wedding parties - some properties can accommodate weddings of up to 150 guests. With reasonable rates, you can host your guests and celebrate your wedding festivities with them all week long in your own private piece of heaven at the Villas by Linda Smith.
And finally, for a wedding you can truly make your own, consider hosting your ceremony and reception at one of the area's great houses. These large estates {many of which were former sugar plantations} are available to host private events. Many of these properties have sweeping and spectacular views of Montego Bay like the Greenwood Great House we visited, and beautiful gardens and lush grounds to provide a stunning backdrop for your wedding. You have many options to choose your caterers, entertainment, lighting, ceremony set-up and reception style to have a truly personalized experience! The great houses in Jamaica offer the intimate feel of hosting your wedding at villa but at a beautiful, historic venue that can become a canvas for your creativity.
Whether you're looking for an intimate destination wedding venue, a luxurious honeymoon or even trying to plan your next family vacation . . . Jamaica has something for everyone. We hope you have fallen in love with Jamaica as much as we have and that you've booked your tickets already! Now that you've checked that off your list, we've got one last treat for you. Stay tuned for some great Jamaica-infused destination wedding inspiration and eye candy that will be happening over on our facebook page next week. Be sure to * like us on facebook * if you haven't already so you will not miss great decor, flowers, gowns, and more . . . basically everything you'll need to make your day one to remember in Jamaica.
Top 3 Locations in Jamaica for Destination Weddings and Honeymoons

Welcome to Part 2 of our series on Jamaica! So you've decided you want to book a destination wedding or honeymoon in the Caribbean, and you're excited about all that Jamaica has to offer. What's next? Well, today's post will give all of you engaged couples plenty of resources and inspiration for planning a destination wedding or honeymoon in Jamaica! If you are looking for a truly memorable wedding and/or honeymoon experience, Montego Bay has lots of options for you!

We visited several resorts that would make a great venue for a destination wedding or honeymoon. The resorts featured in today's post are all-inclusive, which makes it super easy and affordable for you and your guests! Once you arrive, all you have to think about is whether to spend the day at the pool or on the beach. You don't need to worry about carrying around cash or credit cards - you can relax, sip and snack all day!

All-inclusives are a great choice for those planning to invite families with kids to their destination wedding, as most have on-site activities for kids and some even have their own kids clubs where you can drop the little ones off early in the day and get them in time for dinner. Are you looking for a more relaxing, kid-free environment for your wedding or honeymoon? Montego Bay has adults-only properties as well as several large properties that offer adults-only accommodations in addition to more family-friendly ones. Do you know what else makes all-inclusive resorts an excellent choice for a destination wedding?
— Affordable wedding packages
— Perks based on the size of your group
— Can start your honeymoon right after your wedding without having to pack your bags

Here are just a few of the options we recommend in the Montego Bay area:

[1.] The RIU Montego Bay is a large property that is family-friendly and offers something for everyone. For those wanting a more intimate experience, the neighboring RIU Palace offers an adults-only experience with access to the RIU property. Wedding packages at the RIU start at just $600 for the couple and up to 10 guests with a minimum booking of 5 rooms for 3 nights! Yes, that's a whole wedding - ceremony (yes, on the beach), semi-private reception, cake, and the bubbly . . . Truly an affordable and elegant experience!
[2.] For a unique, adults-only wedding experience or a relaxed but fun honeymoon, the Sandals Royal Caribbean has it all! Ever wanted to get married on your own private island? Well, Sandals can offer you the next best thing! Couples can rent out the Sandals' offshore island for their wedding ceremony and reception! Even though it's just a five minute boat ride from the main property, it will feel like your own! For your honeymoon you can even book a spa treatment (or two) on the offshore island to get a truly romantic experience. With affordable packages and the option to customize your whole wedding beyond the pre-set package options, the Sandals is an excellent choice. Basic wedding packages start at $500 for up to 8 people - free if the minimum stay is met!
[3.] For those looking for more variety and a more upscale experience in Montego Bay, the Grand Palladium properties have so much to offer! The Lady Hamilton side of the resort offers a more adults-only atmosphere while the Grand Palladium Jamaica side is more family-friendly. The resort boasts 10 dining options - both a la carte restaurants and buffets, and the individual restaurants can be reserved exclusively for your wedding reception. There are multiple ceremony locations throughout the property as well, whether you desire sand under feet or a lush tropical garden. You and your guests will have endless opportunities to discover all of the fun things to do at the Grand Palladium during your stay! The Palladium offers several packages for the couple who wants to splurge a bit more, starting at $1050 for an intimate wedding experience for two.

All-inclusive resorts in Jamaica are a great option for simple yet elegant weddings. But, if you are a couple that is more into having a truly one-of-a-kind experience, stay tuned for the third post in our Jamaica series where we'll highlight a few unique venues that can be rented our for your wedding or your honeymoon! ~ Jackie
5 Things You Must See and Do in Jamaica When Planning a Destination Wedding or Caribbean Honeymoon

Have you been thinking about having a destination wedding?
How about a Caribbean honeymoon?
Maybe even a little romantic getaway?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, but aren't sure where to go . . .
well, I've got a great series on why Jamaica is the perfect location for you.

5 Things You Must See and Do in Jamaica When Planning a Destination Wedding or Caribbean Honeymoon | as seen on www.brendasweddingblog.com
Today, I'm happy to welcome Jackie {my marketing manager} to the blog who will be taking over for the day with all things tropical . . .

Hi everyone! I'm sure you have already broken out your sweaters and started stocking up on pumpkin spice lattes in honor of fall, but I'm excited to share a little piece of tropical, island goodness with you to keep that summer feeling going a little longer.

I recently spent 5 days in Jamaica exploring the Montego Bay area, and I'm thrilled to share with you all of the wonderful experiences and places that will create a most memorable destination wedding or honeymoon! But, first I'd like to share a little bit about Jamaica - the island, the culture and some of the unique experiences you can enjoy during your visit.
If you live in the Tri-State area, Jamaica is very easy to get to . . . just a short three-hour flight and you're there. Jamaica is also an affordable destination with each part of the island offering something a little different from the other, so you can even have your wedding in one part of the island and your honeymoon in another. Montego Bay is a particularly great destination because most hotels and resorts are only a 15-20 minute drive from the airport. That means you can be on the beach with your umbrella drink in hand in no time! Not only is Montego Bay convenient to the airport, but there's a large variety of accommodations available for everyone! From all-inclusives, like RIU Montego Bay, to private villas to small boutique-style hotels, Montego Bay has it all. Especially if your destination wedding will include families with younger children, Montego Bay offers lots of family-friendly places to stay and things to do.

Montego Bay has stretches of beautiful white sand beaches and is about as picturesque as you can get for the Caribbean. Located on the north coast of the island, the bay is sheltered from the sea so the water is clear and calm - perfect for floating the afternoon away or splashing with the kids in the gentle, rolling waves. You can also do all sorts of fun water sports like kayaking, paddleboating, windsurfing and snorkeling - many of which are included with your hotel or resort stay! The temperatures stay in the low- to mid-80s year round, and though it can get humid during the rainy season (August - early November), it's an ideal climate for soaking up some sun on the beach or lounging by the pool. Ahhh.....

If you are looking for some special activities to add to your Montego Bay memories, there are so many to choose from! Here are just a few that I experienced, which made the trip so wonderful:
Martha Brae River Rafting in Jamaica : a great honeymoon activity | as seen on www.BrendasWeddingBlog.com
[Number 1:] Just a 30 minute drive east of Montego Bay, you can enjoy a relaxing bamboo raft ride for two down the Martha Brae River. The rafts are all made by hand, and piloted by friendly guides who will tell you anything you'd like to know about Jamaica and Montego Bay. Jamaica is one of the few islands in the Caribbean to boast a river, so this is truly a unique experience! {see Martha Brae Rafting here}

[Number 2:] About an hour's drive from Montego Bay, you'll find two fun activities, both of which were the highlight of my trip! First, just over an hour to the east, you can visit Dolphin Cove Negril where you can learn about and even swim with dolphins! These gentle, playful animals will kiss you and take you along for a little ride. It is a truly memorable and fun experience for kids big and small!
[Number 3:] About an hour's drive west, you can visit Rhodes Hall Plantation where you can make another kind of animal friend. Here, you can spend a few hours horseback riding through a gently rolling trail that takes you through mangrove forests and even a dip in the water. A really unique way to experience all the beautiful scenery Jamaica has to offer.
[Number 4:] And for a truly romantic evening with your special someone (the perfect addition to your honeymoon itinerary or pre-wedding activities), spend an evening taking in a Montego Bay sunset on a Champagne Sunset Dreamer Catamaran Cruise. Drinks and a buffet of tasty snacks are included, not to mention the spectacular view! Oh, did I mention the soundtrack for your evening is provided by a talented jazz musician? I can't think of a more perfect way to end a day.
[Number 5:] If you're looking to hang where some of the locals do, I found a few spots in Montego Bay you're sure to enjoy! Jamaica is full of good food and great meals - Scotchies in Montego Bay is a local favorite for authentic Jamaican food: pimento wood grilled jerk chicken and pork, tasty sides and of course, ginger beer! And, if you're looking to spend an afternoon or evening sipping a Red Stripe with some locals, check out Beth's Summer Breeze Beach Bar {photo from this location is the very first one shown in this post}. The atmosphere can't be beat, and Beth is just a wonderful host.

So, are you ready to book your destination wedding or honeymoon?

Stay tuned for the next post where I'll share some of the amazing resorts in Montego Bay that are waiting for you!    ~ Jackie