By: Tracey Manailescu
Guess where we were last week? On a VIP Familiarization trip to St. Lucia with Sandals!
It is so important to visit the properties you want to deal with, so you can share accurate information with your couples when planning a destination wedding or honeymoon with them. I know the service they can expect, and can help point the couples in the right direction for resorts best suited to meet their needs.
I co-produced our 5th "Wedding Professionals International Conference" at Beaches, Turks & Caicos in 2009, and coordinated a Destination wedding last New Year's Eve at Sandals Royal Bahamian in the Bahamas.
The only Sandals properties I have yet to see are Antigua and The Exumas.
What a beautiful island this is. As soon as the plane got close to landing I was hooked. The mountains, the lushness, the stunning water all make St. Lucia a couples paradise. I experienced it with 4 other females, but I imagined what it could've been with my hubby there, LOL!
We were picked up from the airport in an Escalade. Yup. That's right. Then whisked away to Sandals La Toc with Gravol down the hatch. (Really readers, don't be a hero. You will need Gravol for the winding roads and mountainess hour-drive to the resort.)
We were greeted at Sandals La Toc by our Butlers in the Butler's lounge, who took us to our own 2 level suites. (Mine just happened to have 2 doors because one opened directly out to the ocean!!!) This came in really handy for me during my stay, because I woke up early several days and went walking along the beach with no one else around. That was dreamy, I tell you...
The food was very tasty as more spices and flavour were used. We met so many wonderful people through the week, whether they were driving the shuttles, cleaning the rooms, in the restaurants, Red Lane Spa and management. There is a genuine kindness and warmth to the people of St. Lucia. This does not just apply to staff, as we saw with the few locals we met on the beach and on a snorkelling trip. (Yes, the beaches in St. Lucia are public.)
Sandals really utilizes the location of the resorts and gives you breathtaking views at every angle. We were given the chance to experience Red Lane Spa at Sandals La Toc. (Let me insert here that I have been to Red Lane Spa every single time I have been to Sandals or Beaches. Whether it was for FAM's, two personal vacations, or our 5th annual Wedding Professionals Conference, as I mentioned above.) The experience is always the same... that awesome signature scent of lemongrass as soon as you step in the doors, clean and up-to-date equipment, and most importantly, attentive & professional staff who make you feel relaxed and literally in good hands, LOL! I got a 50 minute "Spa Margarita Mani" and a 60 minute "Spa Pedi-Colada". Oh yeah!!!!
La Toc is for lovers. Newlyweds or honeymooners can really take advantage of the nooks and crannies to steal kisses and they won't mind all of the uphill climbing to get from one end to the other, which is great for the bottom half. For others, you can always get a shuttle which drives by every 5 minutes, no worries! The resort is quieter as well, unless you go to the piano bar to listen to some great music and maybe dance a bit if you are so inclined after 11. *Not best suited for couples with mobility issues.
Halcyon is much smaller and more intimate. This is best suited to couples who want to get away from it all and just relax and enjoy each other. It would also be great to have a larger wedding party here to really connect and spend time with loved ones, or a group of friends that you enjoy spending time with and can really be together for most of the vacation. A more mature couple who just want to relax would be ideal.
Grande St. Lucian was my personal favourite. This is where I would vacation with my husband. We get bored easily and need to see variety and like to people watch. Lots to see and do. More people, in a more lively atmosphere. I am 100% a beach person, and the beach here was absolutely stunning with the views of the mountains behind it. (All 3 had great beaches I have to add.) Free shuttles for tours to downtown Rodney Bay ran out of this resort. Horseback riding right on the beach, and horses roaming freely on the other side of the property was nice to see.
Sandals Weddings by Martha Stewart have made some adjustments, which is great to see. Couples are now allowed to change up the decor so they can personalize their wedding a bit more with the options available to them. You are no longer limited to set packages. Any staff we asked about this, said it has made a big difference to the couples.
We were invited to watch this wedding above at Grande St. Lucian.
A great time with some great peeps! Thanks Sandals :)
Tonight, ABC's 7th Bachelorette, the energetic and vivacious Ashley Hebert, goes to Savusavu, Fiji Islands for a special date.
The date will include a Seaplane charter to Namena Island near the Marine Park where the couple will enjoy a beach picnic for the day, followed by a romantic dinner arranged by the resort amid a 90-acre virgin Fijian rainforest at dusk. The Bachelorette and her date will greet each other under the canopy of rainforest trees, in a candle lit setting for two. The couple will dine Fijian style on the woven tapestry, seated closely together and savor a succulent menu of beef fillet and walu fish.
If the Bachelorette’s date accepts the invitation to spend the night in the Fantasy suite, they will enjoy a stay in the Kavika Falls Villa, a 3,500 square foot luxury villa perched along the hillside of a lush virgin rainforest, with chilled champagne and expansive views looking out to the Koro Sea, providing the ultimate in privacy. The villa comes complete with two bedrooms in the main house, two master bedroom suites, one on each side of great room, with interconnecting walkway verandas. This stunning private Fijian style Villa highlights fine linens, tropical furnishings, and a cascading waterfall through the entire villa with infinity edge swimming pool.
Your Destination Wedding or Honeymoon couples can also experience the “made for television” special date and experience their own special time together with the resort’s new package:
The package is based on space availability and is available from July 18, 2011 to March 31, 2013.
ABOUT KORO SUN RESORT & RAINFOREST SPAThe rural and pristine location offers you the genuine warmth and friendliness of the Fijian people. Koro Sun Resort & Rainforest Spa offers a truly native Fijian experience, dedicated to adventure, rejuvenation and romance. 29 enchanting bures and luxury villas are private, exclusive, air-conditioned, and offer vivid views of the ocean and reefs beyond. Your stay is all-inclusive with three gourmet meals and afternoon tea (excluding beverages) and activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, biking, tennis and golf.
From the meticulous attention you receive from the wonderful staff to the spectacular lush grounds, Fiji is yours to discover.
The Bachelorette airs on Mondays at 8/7 Central on ABC. For more information on The Bachelorette, visit http://abc.go.com/shows/the-bachelorette .
By: Tracey Manailescu
We had the pleasure of hosting a WPIC networking night with The Cancun Travel Advisory. (Which is a Destination management Company out of Mexico).
Cakepops by: Lottie and Lil
This is a wonderful opportunity to get the best locations for private rehearsal dinners, ceremonies and reception venues that are out of the ordinary. Also great for tours and excursions for the guests and the couple.
Unless you live at the location or have traveled and studied it for these type of Events, you cannot possibly know about these top knotch locations.
Working with a DMC can be great for a Destination Wedding Coordinator, as you can work as a team to ensure your client is getting the best of both worlds.
By: Tracey Manailescu
This is our 4th time attending the Destination Weddings & Honeymoons Media and Market Event produced by Destination Weddings & Honeymoon Magazine (3x in NYC and 1x in LA). The reason we keep coming back to this event?
The answer is quite simple...Education on Destination Weddings!
The event was held in the Grand Ballroom at The Plaza Hotel.
27 companies were represented this year. We were happy to see some of our favourite Resorts in attendance. I personally have stayed at 3 of the resorts in attendance & loved my experiences at each of them. Palace Resorts, South Seas Island Resort and Boca Raton Resort & Club
A ton of facts and figures were given to each attendee in the Readers Survey. Thank you!
See you next year!
by Monica Hill, WPICC, DWC
Instructor at WPIC and Owner of Aisle Plan Your Day in Edmonton, AB
On April 12-15TH, 2011, nine destination wedding planners from, The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada, travelled to the sunny island of Barbados.
This beautiful little island is nestled against the Atlantic Ocean and the Carribean Sea, where the sparkling turquoise waters captivated us the moment our plane flew over the island. From the rolling hills, to the gorgeous beaches & stunning coastline; we truly found a special place in our hearts for the Island of Barbados.
Upon arrival to the airport, our group disembarked the plane on the airport tarmac. [Which to me; signifies the true meaning of a Caribbean adventure!] Our group was then greeted by the fabulous, Amina Dawe, of Platinum Service. We were given VIP service through Customs at the airport and then escorted to a private limousine for our group transfer to Almond Casuarina Resort [Our Host resort while in Barbados].
We were then escorted to our gorgeous oceanfront rooms; after a very simple check-in process with the hotel; in which upon arrival to our room we were treated to fruit & cheese trays in the room along with a “swag-bag” full of exciting goodies for us to enjoy on the trip!
After familiarizing ourselves with the beach and enjoying some local cuisine; we then proceeded to the cocktail reception at Almond Casuarina Resort in which we were greeted by Sue of Soulmates Barbados. After some cocktails and appetizers, we then proceeded to dinner at Enid’s Restaurant for a delicious a' la Carte Menu.
We started off Day-2 in Barbados with a presentation by the Barbados Tourism Authority in which they outlined the specifics and legalities of weddings within Barbados. We then proceeded to a site tour of two Almond resorts: Almond Beach Club & Almond Beach Village. Both properties were very gorgeous with a limited number of room categories, while offering great pricing and amenities for guests. We even had the chance to visit with the local police authority and take some pictures through our tour.
After our site tours of the Almond properties; we then embarked on our next great adventure with “Cool Runnings” Catamaran Cruises. It was a fun filled day on the ocean; including swimming with sea turtles, snorkeling over a shipwreck and enjoying delectable food & dancing aboard the Catamaran boat.
Day 3 was truly one of our favorite days! We started our guided tour of Barbados with visits to some local landmarks.
We had the opportunity to visit Codrington College which is located in The Parish of St. John. This location overlooks the magnificent Atlantic ocean and it is the oldest Theological College in the Western Hemisphere and very important the Heritage of Barbados.
We then proceeded to St. John Parish Church which is considered to be the most English of all Barbadian churches. This church is over 150 years old and is situated on the edge of an 800 foot cliff overlooking the east coast of Barbados.
Visiting some of these landmarks sure opened up the possibilities to some fantastic wedding venues for our destination wedding clients and allowed us the opportunity to experience some of the history in Barbados.
We then proceeded to view the Crane Resort. This resort originally opened in 1887 and has since then expanded to a premiere, luxury beachfront resort. This particular property holds the distinction of being the oldest operating hotel in the Caribbean. Ground floor suites feature “infinity pools” while all two-bedroom residences on the upper floors feature individual plunge pools. This resort was nothing short of spectacular and is a true luxury oasis for guests.
We then proceeded to the Fairmont Royal Pavillion for a site tour and personalized WPIC menu sponsored lunch. This resort truly boasts an unrivalled beach-front presence with all rooms providing exquisite ocean views. There are 72 guest rooms, including brand new beachfront Junior Suites. The rooms boast soft-toned interiors and have glass front balconies for an uninterrupted view of the ocean.
Planning the wedding of your dreams, or the perfectly romantic honeymoon, can be easy as saying ‘I do’ as Barbados has a long tradition of hosting weddings and honeymoons. And with recent legislation eliminating advance notice requirements to marry on the island, this allows couples to marry as soon as a license is obtained. Whether you are looking to have a traditional ceremony in an old country church, on a beach at sunset… the choices of romantic settings in Barbados are endless.
By: Tracey Manailescu
Check out this fantastic new trend in Europe! Now this is something that excites me!!! Talk about a Restaurant with a view...
How exceptional would your intimate Engagement Party, Rehearsal Dinner or Wedding Reception be at one of these places featured below?
Be aware that this is not for the budget concious couple. If you want a truly memorable wedding festivity like no other, then keep reading!
"Combining ground breaking design, fantastic cuisine and stunning locations, The Cube by Electrolux is taking fine dining to a new level. Travelling across Belgium, Italy, Russia, Switzerland and Sweden, two spectacularly designed restaurants will be popping up at some of Europe’s most famous landmarks, inspiring guests with wonderful meals, events and once-in-a-lifetime views."
The Arc de Triomphe -Crowning the beautiful, 30-hectare Parc du Cinquantenaire, the Arc de Triomphe is the perfect home for The Cube in Brussels. Erected in 1905, the intricately carved arch commemorates the 50th anniversary of Belgian independence in 1880. The Cube’s location atop the arch will offer diners once-in-a-lifetime views over the park and the Brussels skyline beyond.
18 dining spots are available at each sitting and includes a 3 course lunch, or 4 course dinner with wine and champagne, of course! Prepared by renowned Chefs.
The Cube by Electrolux will ill offer tailor-made recipes using locally sourced ingredients and all prepared on state-of-the-art Electrolux appliances (of course!). When dinner is served the concealed dining table will drop from the ceiling, and then raised again for after dinner drinks and socializing.
By: Tracey Manailescu
I was watching a show on television a couple of weeks ago, and this ultra cool store, The Booty Parlor, came up as a hotspot for celebrities to bring their A-Game to the bedroom. So of course, I wanted to share with you!
The Booty Parlor was founded in 2004 by married couple Charlie and Dana B. Myers. Their premise behind the company is that 'confidence is the sexiest thing a woman can have'. The store has been featured on just about every magazine and tv show out there (for the right market).
Products range from sweet and flirty, to down-right naughty!
The Booty Parlor Blog is full of great tips and expert advise to spice up your life! Tips such as how to be a better flirt, how to turn your bedroom into a sexy boudoir, etc.
How great is this for those of you who want to ensure your wedding night will never be forgotten!
Myers has added to the allure of The Booty Parlor by writing a book, The Booty Parlor Mojo Makeover: Four Weeks to a Sexier You released on January 25th, 2011.
Signing off, because I am going shopping!
*All photos are from The Booty Parlor website
*Also posted on The Wedding Planners Blog
By Tracey Manailescu
You do not want to miss this blog posting, LOL!
Thirty year old Chen Wei-yih, from Taipei, Taiwan has decided that she is tired of waiting for Mr. Right, and is taking matters into her own hands.
On November 6th, 2010 she is going to marry herself in a lavish ceremony and reception with thirty of her closest friends and family members. She has bought her wedding gown, rented a reception venue and yes, hired a Wedding Coordinator.
by Guest Blogger, Carolyne Allen, WPICC of Simply Fabulous
Who knew that a trade show targeted at Meeting Managers would be so valuable for Wedding Planners? I certainly didn't when I registered. The only reason I registered for IncentiveWorks is because I have been working as a Meeting Planner for the past few years (weddings is a new direction for me).
So, early on the morning of Tuesday, August 18th I went to my first workshop at IncentiveWorks. Great workshop, but I was still wondering if I should even be there. Then… I saw 2 familiar faces walking ahead of me. It was Danielle & Tracey!
I was so excited to see them; I forgot their names for a moment! But, I am so glad I spoke to them because I left our conversation feeling very encouraged and pumped to visit the rest of the event. They let me know I was definitely in the right place and it would be great for developing my business. So, I'm going to share some highlights with all of you.
First, I must mention an amazing keynote speaker - Simon Sinek - who spoke on Tuesday morning. Session topic - “Start with Why?” As I walked into the auditorium, I wondered, “Why What?” I left thinking, “Oh Wow!” Here's the gist of his presentation. We need to find out why we do what we do - right from our core - in order to then figure out how we do it, and what exactly we will do (our “product” so to speak). So, in context relevant to us, why have we chosen to work in the wedding industry as planners, decorators, etc.? Why do we put so much time, energy and love into our careers? If you really sit and take a moment to think about it, the answer isn't really that easy. So, there's your homework…why? If you'd like more information on Simon and his message, visit www.startwithwhy.com
The second day of Education sessions another amazing keynote speaker - Gary Vaynerchuk - brought down the house with his hilarious and down-to-earth presentation about the way Social Media has changed the way we must market ourselves.
Décor Trends: We are seeing a lot of leopard print accents; purples, reds, mixing metallics; the roaring twenties, the 50's, pinups, boudoir photo shoots (great for bachelorette parties); lots of bling! Designing Trendz was showcasing their new mini pancake maker!
Destinations: Many resorts and tourism boards were present, which provided great contacts for Destination Wedding Planners including several WPIC friends and Partners such as:
Gina Tsirmpas, from Sandals
Debbie Cotton-Burinski from Air Canada Vacations
Steve Koth from SuperClubs Breezes
Venues: There were several great venues from all over Canada at the trade show, who were really excited to find out that there were also Wedding Planners in the crowd. Some venues in Toronto that stood out to me are:
The Fifth (formerly Easy on the Fifth) in downtown Toronto. With its rooftop terrace, and several different private rooms, you can get really creative using the space.
Bram & Bluma Appel Salon - who would ever think of going to the Toronto Reference Library for an event? They recently (in the last few years) opened a great event space that is definitely worth checking out.
Berkley Church - what a cool venue, that allows you to byob. And, for small events of about 10 guests there is a tree house that overlooks Taddle Creek.
As of now, I'm just compiling a list of all the venues I really liked, with contact names. The three I've listed are not even the tip of the iceberg! It may take a few weeks to finish, but I'll be happy to share it with anyone interested.
So, if you have not been to IncentiveWorks I strongly recommend checking it out next year. It's great not only for building relationships with vendors, but the workshops are very much worth your while.