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  • Friday, August 18, 2017

    A Barbados Destination Wedding

    Words by Courtney Cox
    Photos courtesy of Gina Francesca Photography

    Max and Amanda hadn’t given the idea of a destination wedding much thought until they attended one. Max grew up on Barbados and it was family there that initially brought the couple to the island. “Shortly after we got engaged, we attended the wedding of Max’s first cousin in Barbados,” says Amanda. “We were enchanted by the beauty and magic of it all and knew that we had to have our wedding there too.” The couple was quickly convinced that a Barbados destination wedding was the right decision for them and, thankfully, their family and friends heartily agreed. There was just one last thing to consider before signing on the dotted line – whether or not Amanda’s grandmother would be up for making the trip. “At 89 years of age, we knew that travelling would be a challenge for her. Before making our final decision to have the wedding in Barbados, we made sure that she would feel comfortable with the trip, since it was important to us that she was there,” says the couple. 

    Once grandma was officially on board, it was full steam ahead. With their destination chosen, the couple next had to conquer the task of finding a venue. Thankfully, the groom’s parents came to the rescue. “After mentioning to Max’s parents that we wanted to have our wedding on the island, they were generous enough to offer their gorgeous home and property for the venue,” says Amanda. “It was a no-brainer.” After all, is there a more meaningful place to get married than at the house you grew up in? Even with family on-island, the couple called-in reinforcements in the form of their wedding planner – Candice with A Jubilee Event.

    “With Barbados being a small island in the Caribbean, there were certain limitations for décor and availability of resources,” says the bride. “Luckily, we had the help of our incredible wedding planner Candice, who lives on the island and has an excellent sense of what would and would not be available to us, and also has the creativity to come up with ideas to work around any limitations.

    “We had the same ups and downs as any other wedding planning experience. We were lucky to have the help of many people living on the island such as Max’s family and our wedding planner. We certainly would have had a much more challenging experience if it weren’t for them.” Overall, there were only a few issues that arose that required some effort or understanding from the couple.

    “[One] issue we ran into that was specific to Barbados was that the outbreak of the mosquito-borne zika virus prevented some of our guests from attending,” reflects the couple. “While we were sad that these guests could not attend, we wholeheartedly agreed that they should stay away from the virus and keep their families safe. The most challenging logistic was organizing transportation for all the guests to all of the events. Our wedding planner communicated with the drivers to pick up different groups at different locations and different times. We assigned one person to be in charge of guests for each van and do a head count, so no one was left behind. The lack of cell service added to the challenge, but overall everyone made it to where they needed to be.

    “There was [also] the added stress of arranging accommodations for nearly the entire guest list, but overall we loved our destination wedding. We arranged blocks of rooms at a discounted rate at three different hotels, with varying price ranges in order to accommodate the different preferences of our guests. We recommended that our guests stay at one of these hotels so that we could easily arrange transportation between the hotels and the various wedding events. We also arranged for discounted car rentals.”

    Come W-day, everyone had arrived safe and sound and ready to celebrate. Amanda and Max are quick to mention the handmade details contributed to the wedding by family members. “Since the wedding was on Max’s parents’ property, they put in a lot of work to make the space suitable for the wedding. Being a Jewish wedding, our chuppah (the traditional structure in place of an altar) was crafted and designed by Max’s mom. We also had a relative construct decorative chandeliers made out of palm tree parts and spray painted to look like coral reef.” 

    While the couple admits they likely spent more on a Barbados destination wedding than a hometown wedding, they believe that it was absolutely worth it. The additional budget went toward pre and post-wedding events and a larger guest list than they originally expected. We asked Amanda what advice she would offer other couples considering or planning a destination wedding of their own and here’s what she had to say:

    “Our best piece of advice when planning a destination wedding (or perhaps any wedding) is to have lots of help. If possible, we highly recommend having a wedding planner assist. This person will be familiar with all of the local vendors and situations that are unique to your destination. Additionally, if you are having a destination wedding, you must be flexible and realize that you may not be able to get everything that you would have if your wedding were at home. At the end of the day, you will be getting a magical wedding that you will remember forever!” 

    Vendors: Photographer: Gina Francesca Photography, Wedding Planner: Candice Coppola with A Jubilee Event, Ceremony/Reception Site: Private Home, Florist: Events and Décor by Giselle, Stationery: Wooden Arrow Paperie, Cake: Annalise Cake Designer, Hair: Naomi Johnson with Krave Hair Studio Barbados, Makeup: Makeup Design by Brittany Tuleja, Gown Designer: Demetrios, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Banana Republic, Bridesmaids’ Clothing Designer: Bill Levkoff, Groomsmen’s Clothing Designer: Banana Republic and The Tie Bar, Rentals: Milestone Events, Band: 2 Mile Hill, Lighting: Best Efex & Catering: Anna Went Catering

  • Thursday, August 17, 2017

    Honeymoon Travel Insurance: 5 Facts

    Words by

    A honeymoon celebrates marriage and the beginning of a new life; for a newlywed couple, it represents the beginning of a lifelong adventure together. And a honeymoon to the islands isn’t just romantic, it’s can also be expensive. According to TripSavvy - Wedding Statistics and Honeymoon Facts & Figures, couples spend an average of $4,500 on their honeymoons and luxury travelers an average of close to $10,000. But, what happens when unexpected weather or a sudden illness threatens a couple’s start to their “happily ever after?” Honeymoon travel insurance can help protect your investment and help newlyweds avoid the financial risks of unexpected disasters while traveling.

    For those planning the ultimate vacation, here are some facts about travel insurance many aren’t aware of:  

    1. You Can Give it as a Gift

    If you have your dream honeymoon on your wedding gift registry, don’t forget to put a travel insurance plan on it as well to protect the valuable investment should something unexpected happen that causes you to cancel. Many people don’t realize that you can purchase travel insurance for someone else, like for the newlyweds or for relatives traveling in for the big day. And, if you’re planning a destination wedding, reminding your guests to purchase travel insurance may be just as thoughtful as a “thank you” note. Travel insurance can protect one’s investment in an expensive trip if unforeseen bad weather or an unexpected illness derails travel plans. 

    2. It Can Cover Road Trips

    The combination of your new husband or wife and the open road is full of possibilities. Often when we think of travel insurance, we think of long flights to exotic places. However, insurance can be valuable in many situations, including a road trip. If any part of your road trip has prepaid, non-refundable components, you should consider travel insurance. In addition, if your health insurance doesn’t cover you while out of network, travel insurance with medical emergency coverage may be a good option. And, if you are still confused by the Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) option with a car rental, many travel insurance plans offer optional car rental coverage, which in many cases is more cost effective than what the car rental companies charge.
    3. It Can Cover You Because of Work

    No one wants work to get in the way of their wedding plans in any capacity, but the truth is, life happens. While most plans will cover you in the event you or your travel companion are laid off, many will also cover for reasons that go beyond this drastic life event. This could include being relocated, an important work requirement (notarized by your employer), if your organization is involved in a merger or acquisition (that you are directly involved in) or if your office is damaged by a natural disaster.
    4. You Can Purchase a Group Travel Insurance Plan

    Group Travel Insurance works the same way as an individual plan, but it covers ten or more travelers on a single policy. For those saying “I do” away or even if you have a group of family traveling together, group insurance offers a great option to insure your guests are covered.

    5. It Can Be an EASY Process...

    Finding the right travel insurance plan doesn’t have to mean sifting through hundreds of offers – perhaps the last thing you want to do after extensively planning your wedding! chooses only the best providers and makes it easy to not only compare plans, but to provide the details you want and need to make the best decisions for you and your travel companions.

    No matter where you chose to take your honeymoon, be it Paris or Pittsburgh, travel insurance can help provide peace of mind that if something does go wrong, either before or during the trip, you’ll be covered.

    Photos courtesy of (in order of appearance): Adobe Stock/Paul Retherford, Adobe Stock/shevtsovy, Adobe Stock/lmfotografia & Adobe Stock/Gina Smith

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