http://www.vacationswithflair.com Thu, 12 Apr 2018 02:14:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://www.vacationswithflair.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/cropped-VWF_LOGO-32x32.png http://www.vacationswithflair.com 32 32 Save-The-Date Etiquette: What Are My Options? http://www.vacationswithflair.com/save-the-date-etiquette-what-are-my-options/ Fri, 17 Nov 2017 20:06:41 +0000 http://www.vacationswithflair.com/?p=5145 Whether you were just engaged or he popped the question years ago and you’re finally getting around to planning the big day, sending out wedding announcements to friends and family is a very exciting time! For many, this may be the first formal notice of your engagement and upcoming ceremony. But while you’re tearing through Pinterest dreaming of elegant typeset and gorgeous floral prints, you may find yourself getting a little overwhelmed.

Why do couples send out save-the-dates? What is the difference between this and a formal invite? What is the best way to go about this process? These are all common questions for first-time brides and grooms. Save-the-dates are traditionally meant to simply inform your future invitees of your wedding date so they can more easily plan to attend. Although it is technically proper etiquette to send out a save the date 6 or more months ahead of time, and then an invitation 8 weeks before the wedding; the happy truth is that it’s ultimately up to you.   The truth is, if you are planning a destination wedding, waiting until the “proper” time – 8 weeks prior – to send anything out is WAY TOO LATE!   Your guests should be booked and paid in full by that time.   So, a Save the Date helps give your guests time to plan.

Maybe you and your special someone are short-term planners, and the wedding is only a couple of months away. Or perhaps you’re on a budget, you’ve invited 300 people to the ceremony and feel faint at the thought of yourself sending out two rounds of cards to all those people. In situations like these, some couples opt to skip the save-the-dates and go right to the invitation. Otherwise, a save-the-date is the perfect way to quickly give your guests plenty of notice for your upcoming nuptials while you get started on the hors devoirs menu, hand-picking the right shade of green, and deciding whether you want begonias or roses in your bouquet (go for the begonias!).

   

There are a few instances which especially require save-the-dates, as this helpful article in the Knot explains. If your big day is during a high-travel time of the year, such as a holiday weekend or popular summer vacation times, it is an expected courtesy. Luckily, there are more than a handful of options in this day and age by way of both electronic and paper invites.

Some people even decide to create a Facebook event, which is a great way to keep track of who you’ve invited and receive confirmation instantly, and can be equally as beautiful with a creative eye. There are also several sites that offer the option to send your invite electronically, which is a great way to be environmentally-conscious and enjoy extra sending convenience. Many of these even offer bonus features, such as the ability to collect addresses of guests as they R.S.V.P., and free design templates.

Paperless Post is one of the best sites to find these often overlooked conveniences. Offering both paper and online invites, the company works with leading designers including Kate Spade and Oscar de la Renta to create stunning invites both online and on paper. Offering around 3,000 free invitation designs and premium templates rivaling the best in the business, Evite is another great option for the technologically inclined. Celebrations is a third, equally wonderful site that not only offers beautiful invites, but tons of inspiring, must-try event ideas that will give any celebration that extra wow-factor. Greenvelope and Punchbowl are two more that made our short list for gorgeous and easy online and print invites.

Whether you need a follow up invitation is completely up to you!   We support your style!   These days, you have tons of options.

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When is the best time to book your honeymoon? http://www.vacationswithflair.com/when-is-the-best-time-to-book-your-honeymoon/ Sun, 05 Nov 2017 21:39:42 +0000 http://www.vacationswithflair.com/?p=5153

The question that we hear most often is: “When is the best time to book your honeymoon?”

Air is published about 10 months before departures.  Once it’s published, it has different fare codes.  The cheapest codes sell out first, which is why the longer you wait these days before purchasing a ticket, the less options you have.  Airlines don’t add more planes or seats to a route (Chicago to Cancun for instance) when it starts to fill up and sell out.  Popular routes these days can fill up a month before your departure.

But what if I purchase my honeymoon package so that the air is good, and the hotel ends up going on sale later on?  If you booked this on your own, you are probably out of luck.  Vacations With Flair helps clients deal with this question all the time.  No problem!  If a hotel drops in price after we book it, we’ll do the work of getting a price match.  No extra work involved for you!  Our clients get the benefit of “last minute” deals without having to wait last minute. We offer payment plans, so deciding earlier is better. No time clock ticking in the background. We are expert at planning romantic travel and want nothing more than to help happy couples plan their honeymoon. That is why our honeymooners are the happiest of all!

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How to keep your Maui, Hawaii honeymoon reasonably priced http://www.vacationswithflair.com/maui-reasonably-priced/ Sat, 04 Nov 2017 23:28:21 +0000 http://www.vacationswithflair.com/?p=5142 I personally think everyone should visit Hawaii at some point.  It’s such a special place.   There is no passport requirement and is unlike anywhere else in terms of culture.  However food prices can vary widely and has the potential to add up quick.  If budget plays a role in your Hawaii decisions, I’m going to give you a few useful tips to help you save big bucks on your next trip.

1.  Get a car. 
Not only will you want to explore and drive the island, but this allows you to drive to local supermarkets and stock up on snacks.  We purchase drinks, breakfast foods and snacks.    Unless you are staying in Waikiki (where you won’t need a car), the car rental will probably price out as good or better than a taxi anyway.

2.  Plan ahead

Most hotel rooms have tiny fridges in the room.  Unlike a Vegas hotel, your Hawaii hotel fridge will probably be empty or just have water.  Use it!  I pack a beach bag (or soft sided small cooler) and bring a few drinks to the pool or beach with us.

Think about breakfast before you leave home. Maybe you like instant oatmeal or granola bars, etc…  Bring them from home!   Tip: pack them in a ziplock bag in case they break open. Even the cheaper hotels will charge $30 per person for their breakfast buffet.  I love a good hot breakfast, but this is an easy way to save $300 per couple on just a five night stay.

3. Eat off the resort.

Best tip!  Eat where the locals eat in Hawaii.  You’ll know, because there will be a line to get in.  Ask the concierge or staff at your resort where they eat when they go out.  Check out the OpenTable app.  Drive outside of the tourist zone to see real Maui.  When you do, you may be eating breakfast with chickens at your feet, but hey- that’s real Hawaii!  And, you’ll have saved a bundle!  Or, choose something familiar and head to the nearest Starbucks or Jamba Juice.

Aloha!

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Real Wedding: Travis & Ashley at Azul Sensatori Resort http://www.vacationswithflair.com/real-wedding-travis-ashley-azul-sensatori-resort/ Fri, 21 Oct 2016 20:30:25 +0000 http://www.vacationswithflair.com/?p=5316 This couple was so fun to work with!   They chose the Azul Sensatori in Riviera Maya for their group Destination Wedding.    Here’s Ashley’s thoughts on the process..

“We didn’t want the hassle of having to deal with decorations or any of the other normal things that come with a wedding, so a destination wedding was perfect for us. Angee at Vacations With Flair was absolutely amazing.  She helped us from picking out the perfect resort and perfect destination, to what paperwork we needed to file when we got back into the States. I did not have any stress that I feel a bride has on her wedding day (my husband went four-wheeling and jet skiing the morning of the wedding) because Angee was there to answer any questions throughout the process and even on my wedding day. I will definitely be recommending Angee for any couple deciding on a destination wedding, or even just a vacation. I will always use Angee for our travel arrangements in the future!”     ~ Ashley & Travis

azul sensatori destination wedding         azul sensatori destination wedding

 

   

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Real Life Destination Wedding at Secrets Maroma http://www.vacationswithflair.com/melissa-eddys-destination-wedding-secrets-maroma-cancun-mexico/ Thu, 06 Oct 2016 16:04:52 +0000 http://www.vacationswithflair.com/?p=5149

“Working with Angee and Vacations With Flair was such a great experience! Anything that I had questions about or needed she handled for me! It really took the weight off of my shoulders when having to plan a destination wedding! She was able to answer all my questions and if she wasn’t sure she was prompt in finding out the answer for me! I really feel that not only is she amazing at helping plan a destination wedding but any travel arrangements! I will definitely use her for my travel in the future!!! She was so great to work with and I feel like I gained a wonderful friendship with her!”  

-Melissa Kubic

The Process

My first call with Melissa and Eddy was about a year before their wedding date.  They had tons of awesome ideas.  But also lots of questions.  It had gotten a little overwhelming.

On their wish list was an amazing beach and reasonable prices for their guests.  Most importantly, they wanted a destination that was memorable and unique.

I got to work and found the perfect options to present Eddy & Melissa.     These were extremely personalized recommendations, as I used their “wish list” as the criteria.

Their Destination Wedding Resort

They chose Secrets Maroma in Riviera Maya!

Secrets Maroma is tucked away on one of the most pristine and famous beaches in all of Mexico. It was the perfect setting for their beach ceremony.  Guests were excited to travel to this Adult Only All-Inclusive resort.

Amazing Experience

From the beginning I could tell that Melissa would be a sweet and thoughtful bride. I knew I was right when she told me she had special gift bags prepared for her out of town guests as a welcome treat as they arrived to Mexico. She had them filled with snacks, goodies and sunscreen. Such a great idea to welcome your friends and family to your destination wedding, don’t you think?

She does, however, come with a cautionary tale. For the groomsmen she had purchased a fun thank you gift.   Gun shaped lighters.  As she was going through customs in Mexico, the toys set the scanners off.  Her luggage was searched… thoroughly.  Even though she was able to prove that these were fake guns, officials confiscated her gifts.

As she told me the story, Melissa was laughing and said “Oh Well”.  This, in a nutshell, describes why I loved working with this couple. They kept their sense of humor above all and didn’t sweat the small stuff.

Melissa and Eddy, I wish you years of love and happiness together.

 All pictures are from the wonderful Katelyn Turner

 

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Antigua – Top 3 reasons to go! http://www.vacationswithflair.com/top-3-reasons-love-antigua/ Wed, 05 Oct 2016 20:04:22 +0000 http://www.vacationswithflair.com/?p=5139 Thinking about a beach vacation?  Take time to look at Antigua.

1.  Outstanding Resort Options in Antigua

No matter what your budget is, you’ll be able to find something wonderful on this island.   There are a few chain resorts.  But the real beauty of Antigua is that the majority of the resorts are smaller boutique properties.  Gems just waiting to be found.  I am not going to tell you that every single one of them are the same – quite the contrary!   Each of them are uniquely different, with distinct personalities.

You won’t find the big box hotels here.  But you will find everything from villas, rental homes overlooking the ocean, Beach bungalows, luxury properties with amazing service, culinary themed resorts, spa properties, and more.  As a travel agent who has visited and worked closely with Antigua resorts for years, I deeply believe there is something on this island for every taste and budget.  The more adventurous travelers might prefer researching and choosing their own “off the beaten” path vacation spot.   Others prefer to consult with an expert who can answer questions firsthand.

2.   The People of Antigua

Antigua is worth visiting simply for the people who live there.  I find it amazing that each resort I visit in Antigua, the management brags first about the staff.  With good reason- the people of Antigua are so lovely. They are accommodating, caring, and truly wonderful hosts.  It’s probably the reason that these small hotels tell me that their guests return every year.

3.   The Beaches of Antigua

365 beaches on the island of Antigua.  All of them public.  Go explore them!

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Waking up in the Caribbean http://www.vacationswithflair.com/waking-caribbean/ Wed, 05 Oct 2016 19:43:51 +0000 http://www.vacationswithflair.com/?p=5136 One of the best reasons to honeymoon in the Caribbean?    Morning sun on the beach, before the day heats up.

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Choosing the right resort for your Destination Wedding http://www.vacationswithflair.com/choosing-resort-destination-wedding/ Wed, 05 Oct 2016 19:34:30 +0000 http://www.vacationswithflair.com/?p=5130 The best part of my job is helping couples decide where to hold their destination wedding.  Since every destination is different and each resort offers different venues and packages, it can be an overwhelming decision.    Just saying “Beach Wedding” gives you thousands of options to choose from!   Never fear- help is available!    Knowing the answer to the following questions will give you a good start in being able to narrow down the options.  Keep in mind that deciding what you want involves knowing what you don’t want for your destination wedding.

destination wedding
Moon Palace Cancun destination wedding

What kind of ceremony location do you want? Beach?  Garden?   Gazebo?  Do you need a chapel or chuppah for a religious ceremony?   Do you envision a private ceremony or are you fine with a venue next to the end of the main resort pool?   This is probably the biggest question I ask my couples.   Most resorts have fantastic website pictures of their ceremony locations, but sometimes they may have cropped out the onlookers at the pool thirty feet away.   If this is a concern for you, it’s better to find out beforehand.   There are resorts with private, out of the way sites to hold your ceremony and reception.   These options are not the cheapest, but it’s worth knowing your options.   Even at the cheapest venue, you’ll feel like you’ve overpaid if you didn’t get what you wanted.

Anything Special going on?   Is your wedding involving an ethnic or religious ceremony (Indian, South Asian and Jewish included) where special meals and arrangements need to be made?   This fact alone may narrow your options in a big way if you answered yes to this question.   You definitely want everything to run smoothly, so avoid all resorts that cannot handle your needs.

What do you want to wear?   Sand is best for barefoot or flat shoes.  The resort can accommodate you with a runner if you really want something solid to wear heels, but it’s going to be wood slat and easy to catch a really high heel on.

Other great questions to think through include budget, transfer time from the airport, food & restaurant preferences,  and group amenities.    You may want to consider hiring an expert who would work for you-  as opposed to the hotels.   It’s a huge benefit to have someone who can compare all the hotels to make sure you get exactly what you want.   Your experience and memories are too important to risk.

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This one thing is ruining wedding photography http://www.vacationswithflair.com/one-thing-ruining-wedding-photography/ Wed, 05 Oct 2016 17:39:06 +0000 http://www.vacationswithflair.com/?p=5124 Wedding ceremonies are full of short lived memorable moments. That’s why professional photographers and videographers exist.  To capture those moments.

These days, wedding guests are snapping pictures too.  We love our phones!

Last weekend I went to a wedding where the minister asked everyone to put our mobiles away. It had me thinking…what are the pros and cons of using your cell phone during a wedding ceremony?

Pros of using your mobile during a wedding ceremony

Capturing the event

Using your mobile device during a wedding ceremony can be useful for your memories of the event.  Most of us want instant pictures to post, right?  After all, if it’s not posted, it didn’t happen!

Communication

The other advantage of using your mobile phone during a wedding ceremony is for communication. Let’s face it, yes we are a society obsessed with tweeting and instagramming, but sometimes we need to be accessible for any emergencies.

Cons of using your mobile during a ceremony

Disrupting the shot

Using your mobile can be a huge distraction.  Mostly often when the couple is walking along the aisle and the guest start moving for the shot.  You’ve seen them- guests who decide to stand up on their seat, reach their arm into the aisle, raising their phone above others’ heads, etc….    Instead of getting the perfect shot of the bride as she comes down the aisle, the professionals end up being blocked by 100 i-Phone users.

Getting distracted

Using a phone during a wedding ceremony can also be a great distraction to you and those around you). It IS an unavoidable fact: The very act of Instagramming or tweeting takes us of the moment, even if it is just for a split second.

Bottom line – using a mobile during a ceremony requires a balance. Be present and enjoy the moment.

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A fun boutique hotel in Antigua http://www.vacationswithflair.com/antigua-inn-english-harbor/ Wed, 05 Oct 2016 16:51:47 +0000 http://www.vacationswithflair.com/?p=5120 We arrived tired from a long day of traveling.  Antigua’s heat in June can get to the high 80’s and I wanted some air conditioning.

The staff met us at the door with a cold towel and beverage and quickly checked us in.  Any  stress I had from travel quickly melted away, looking out on the view.   The Inn’s main building and one restaurant is up on a hill.  You don’t want to walk it-  it’s pretty steep.  That hill, although a bit cumbersome, is part of the charm.  It gives guests an amazing view of the Harbour, beach and the stunning blue ocean.

The hotel shuttle drove us around to our Jr Suite and my jaw dropped!   Their entry level category is stunning!   It has an enormous balcony with high quality furniture outside.  Inside, there’s a sitting area with a four poster bed.  In the bathroom, the towels and bathrobe are Frette.

The Inn at English Harbor, Antigua has very large rooms

What stands out here is the quality.   This is a property that will appeal to travelers who appreciate detail and craftsmanship.  It is small, less than 30 rooms, so it is quiet.  Guests get quite a lot of attention here – we did not once feel overlooked or like just another guest.  We had such personalized attention, it was fantastic!

Inn at English Harbor, Antigua

What to do here?  The beach will be healing, with it’s white sand and turquoise water.   The Inn has a boat that you can use as a water taxi to reach English Harbour.  That’s a very fun area in season (not so fun out of season- everything closes down in summer months).  Antigua has several boat festivals here a year, and yachts come in from all over the world.  This area buzzes with energy.  The shops, restaurants, and atmosphere make this area worth checking out.   You can stay in that area, but I wanted a beach.

We ate several meals at the Inn and enjoyed them all.  I was able to get room service, amazing wine, and WiFi in my room.  The Inn has a massage room, library, gym, and lots of little sitting areas.    Most impressive were the pictures of past guests-  if it’s good enough for the Prince of Monaco, it is good enough for me!!

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