"If a June night could talk, it would probably boast it invented romance."
- Sir Bernard Williams, English philosopher
From weddings to honeymoons, vow renewals to anniversaries, more and more couples are opting to celebrate their special day in the breathtaking setting of their dreams. In today’s world, there are endless romantic possibilities no matter your style or budget.
The trick to finding your perfect celebratory location is in its timely planning. Start planning as soon as possible. As Billy Crystal (Harry) said to Meg Ryan (Sally) in When Harry Met Sally: ”When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
So start planning as soon as possible for your romantic celebration. Perhaps you’ll opt for one of the destinations of couples I encountered as they created their memories of a lifetime in a variety of starry-eyed settings around the world.
|BEAUTIFUL COUPLE ON ST. MARK’S SQUARE IN VENICE|
DESTINATION WEDDINGS: Having a wedding away from home base is a relatively new trend for tying the knot. A destination wedding will take a couple to some enchanted place that they choose for their wedding festivities. Then, when all is said and done, and all the guests have gone home, the couple is already in the dreamy place where they want to spend their honeymoon. Magically melding the wedding and honeymoon venue is often a timesaving, stress-saving, money-saving plus for the newlyweds.
MACKINAC ISLAND, Michigan’s crown jewel, is a popular destination for a wedding. Mackinac (pronounced Mac-ki-naw) is no ordinary island. An abundance of horse-drawn carriages await visitors to this island where motorized vehicles are not permitted.
CARRIAGE RIDE TO WEDDING CEREMONY ON MACKINAC ISLAND
A horse-drawn carriage, driven by a liveried coachman, conveys guests to the iconic Grand Hotel. As you wind your way up the bluffs, the stunning Victorian architecture will take you back to another century. And what a grand hotel it is! This circa 1887 island jewel, set on a bluff above the historic Straits of Mackinac, might well be the most enchanting destination in Michigan. This stately Grande Dame’s 660-foot covered porch is bedecked with 43 white Grecian columns, 180 geranium-filled flower boxes and 88 rocking chairs. It is a pristine reminder of the elegance and glory of a bygone era.
|MACKINAC’S GRAND HOTEL|
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS was the site chosen by Fran and Jon for their wedding…just because they love the city. Chicago, "that toddling' town" is now fully grown into a sophisticated metropolitan area that rivals any major city in the world. Teeming with life, the vibrant "Windy City" exudes an excitement all its own. Twenty-nine miles of lakefront form the front lawn of what has become one of the world's greatest cities. This "stormy, husky, brawling city of big shoulders", as Carl Sandburg called it in 1916, might well be the most apple-pie city of all the country's major metropolises.
|FRAN & JON EXCHANGE VOWS AT WALDORF ASTORIA CHICAGO|
NEW YORK, NEW YORK, a city so great it says its name twice, was the destination choice of Rachel and Andrew, both of whom grew up in mid-western cities. In New York there are endless possibilities for the dream wedding of your choice. Nothing is impossible in NYC. From east side to west side, whatever you might imagine in your wildest dream can be arranged for a wedding in “The Big Apple”. As the popular 19th century song "The Sidewalks of New York" states: “East side, west side, all around the town…Boys and girls together…Tripped the light fantastic, on the sidewalks of New York.”
|ANDREW & RACHEL TRIP THE LIGHT FANTASTIC ON THE SIDEWALKS OF NEW YORK|
CELEBRATIONS AT SEA: Ships play a major role for couples on their happy occasions. More and more lovers…from young…to middle-aged…to seniors…are opting to celebrate their honeymoons, vow renewals and anniversaries, on the high seas.
HONEYMOON AT SEA: Young honeymooners Marla and Jason, being very budget conscious, choose a moderately priced Costa cruise ship for the Mediterranean honeymoon cruise of their dreams. It took them from Italy to Greece, Istanbul to Dubrovnik. Twin sons later, they are still talking about their honeymoon cruise of a lifetime. Their one extravagant splurge was to spend one night prior to the cruise at the fabled Cipriani hotel in Venice, Italy.
|CANDLELIGHT DINNER FOR HONEYMOONERS MARLA AND JASON ON MED CRUISE|
Dubrovnik, the jewel in the crown of the impressive Croatian coast, was one of the highlights of their cruise. With its 1185 islands, islets and reefs, this “Pearl of the Adriatic” is a city where every stone is steeped in history but it is also a pulsating city that is alive in the present. In this ancient walled city, perfumed by sea air, there is a confluence of the past and the present. Dubrovnik is a unique blend of European flavors and a city of fascinating diversity, rich in history and culture. It is a museum in and of itself. One of the most romantic cities in the world, Dubrovnik is what Europe used to be.
|THE HONEYMOONERS IN DUBROVNIK|
VOW RENEWAL AT SEA: After 35-years of marriage, Barry planned to surprise his wife Susan with a vow renewal party aboard a Silversea ship. When a group of invited guests arrived in the designated lounge, they were greeting by a waiter serving flutes of champagne. After a bit of socializing, the Social Director asked everyone to take a seat and she called Barry and a surprised Susan to the front of the room.
“We are gathered here”, the social director began, “to witness the renewal of the Wedding Vows of Susan and Barry who stand before us. They, nor we, are the same people we were years ago. Time has brought experience, growth and maturity, so it is fitting from time to time husbands and wives renew the promises of loyalty and love that began their married life and which, today, take on an even deeper meaning….” The ship’s captain had the couple repeat their vows. First, tears…then smiles…and then the kiss! Corks popped from bottles of Dom Perignon, bubbly flowed, and luscious hors d’oeuvres were served.
|SUSAN AND BARRY’S VOW RENEWAL CEREMONY|
ANNIVERSARY AT SEA: Anniversary celebrations aboard ships have become favorites of the silver-haired set. (Well, the men have silver hair, the women…not always.) It’s a point in life where people begin to say “what the heck…why not?” Budget is of less concern than it was in the early days of the marriage, hence many opt for their significant anniversary celebration to be on one of the upscale cruise ships.
CRUISE-AHOLIC SENIORS TOAST A SIGNIFICANT ANNIVERSARY AT SEA
Once aboard their Crystal ship, Doc S and his wife (in her 1988 wedding dress) experienced the luxuries of a private yacht, the amenities of a country club, and the fine services of an exclusive hotel. They basked in the sumptuous surroundings of their ocean-view suites where they indulged themselves with lavish Bulgari amenities and bedding of their choice. They were pampered by butlers who polished their shoes while they were out exploring the world, they sipped champagne as the sea caressed the ship, dined en-suite if they so desired, and were wrapped in a warm feeling of home upon the sea.
HONEYMOON ON LAND: Liz and Andy live in South Florida. Therefore, unlike most northern couples, they wanted no part of sun and beach for their November honeymoon. Instead they chose to honeymoon at the Chanler Hotel in northeastern Newport, Rhode Island. Fall winds, cool weather, and bulky sweaters were a treat for them. Newport, Rhode Island, a beautifully preserved walking-city with an architectural tapestry dating back to the 17th century, pays homage to the past as it celebrates the present. Newport became a summer refuge for the nation’s elite. Their “summer cottages” were, in reality, the grandest of grand mansions that outdid one another. Newport’s dramatic 3.5 mile Cliff Walk winds along the island’s southeastern edge, bordered on one side by the massive “sumer cottages” and on the other side by granite cliffs and the pounding surf of the Atlantic.
|LIZ AND ANDY SNUGGLE FOR WARMTH ON NOVEMBER HONEYMOON IN NEWPORT|
No matter the choice of your celebratory venue, it is sure be a great one. There is only one prerequisite duty. In the words of George Bernard Shaw: “I know of only one duty, and that is to love.“
JANET STEINBERG is an award-winning Travel Writer, and International Travel Consultant with THE TRAVEL AUTHORITY in Mariemont, Ohio. She is the winner of 46 national Travel Writing Awards.