BY JANET STEINBERG


 

 

                      – 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 wedding 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 “summer 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.