Create inspiration boards, share ideas with your friends and wedding vendors, get feedback from brides like you, and lots more!
Not sure how to trim down your wedding budget? No one will notice if you don'thave these extra wedding frillsBy: Sharon Naylor
Photo by Festivities Event
EXTRA CEREMONY DECOR: Skip altar flowers, pew decorations, swags of fabric and a custom-designed aisle runner to save a bit. Besides, your guests will spend the majority of the wedding at the reception.
VANITY RECEPTION DECOR: Do you really need to splurge on having your names spelled out in roses on the lawn? Do you need silk table runners, imprinted with your names and wedding date? Probably not, even if you really, really want it. Skip a custom-designed monogram projected on the dance floor in favor of clustered candles and votives to provide the same glowing ambiance.
AN ORNATELY DESIGNED CAKE: Don’t spend hundreds of dollars on sugarpaste flowers, butterflies, piped-on pearls or a replica of the lace pattern on your dress. The amount of labor the cake requires generally determines its cost, so opt for sleek, clean lines and minimal extras.
SOUPED-UP INVITATIONS: Check out a discount site like invitations4sale.com for 40% off, or use software and paper from mountaincow.com to make your own items for much less.
HIGH-END TRANSPORTATION: It’s expensive to rent limousines, classic cars and party buses, plus overtime charges can pile up. Instead, decorate your own or your friends’ cars, convertibles or even minivans for fun rides to the ceremony and reception. If you can't live without the limo, hire just two: one for you, one for the parents.
OVER-THE-TOP ENTERTAINMENT: Generally speaking, DJs cost significantly less than bands, but if you insist on live performance, look for a group with just three musicians who can play different instruments. Or program your iPod with your favorite tunes—just make sure the venue is equipped with good speakers.
FRIVOLOUS FAVORS: Treat your guests to edibles, like cookies or chocolates, with DIY labels that show guests how much time you (and your fiancé) put into them. Or try packets of flower seeds from Home Depot or Lowes—they retail for around $2 each. Feeling gratuitous? Make charitable donations in your guests’ names, providing is a tasteful and cost-effective solution to what to give.
By: Caitlin Zentgraf
Whether you’re traveling halfway around the world or to a neighboring state, getting your wedding dress there safely is a top priority.
Traveling By Plane
Most airlines advise not to place valuable items in checked luggage, therefore, a carry-on or protective garment bag are your next options. (Tip: Fold layers of tissue paper into your wedding dress. This will help keep the wrinkles and discoloring away.) Check with your airline’s policy on bringing a wedding dress on board. They may allow you to store it in a closet or overhead bin. However, you can’t always rely on the flight attendant to store it properly in a closet or overhead bin. Consider purchasing a plane ticket for your wedding dress or better yet -- if there are open seats on your flight, it doesn’t hurt to ask the flight attendant if you dress can fly for free.
Traveling by Car
You don’t want your wedding dress squeezed between loads of luggage in the trunk. Instead, drape it flat across your luggage in a protective garment bag.
Unpacking Your Wedding Dress
If you pack your wedding dress in a carry-on or protective garment bag, bring a travel steamer. (Tip: Test on white fabric before you use. You’ll want the steam to come out clear, so it doesn’t stain the fabric.) If you can’t bring a travel steamer, hang your wedding dress in the bathroom, turn the shower on full blast with hot water and watch the steam eliminate any wrinkles.
Your wedding reception is the ultimate party. It’s a celebration of love and commitment, shared with those who love you most. Plus, it will most likely be your only opportunity to laugh and dance and nibble on delicacies while garbed in the finest clothing your credit card can finance. So you want everyone to have a great time. And in your efforts to make your guests happy, you should not overlook the seating chart. No one wants to end up sitting alone, shut out of the conversations around them. And while you may be friends with a couple long since broken up, just because they want to support you doesn’t mean they want to sit together. If your guests are at ease at the reception, the party will thrive.
The Wedding Reception Must-Haves: Before You Begin
Before making any seating-placement decisions, be sure to know your venue’s floor plan, your guest list (after the RSVPs return), and the shapes and sizes of the tables you’ll be using. Most venues should be able to provide you with a plan of some sort. Take note of where your head table will be, where the dance floor is, and if tables will have to be moved to make room for dancing. Also be prepared for changes to your reception up until two weeks before the wedding, as your guest list will most certainly change.
Wedding Receptions: When You Don’t Need a Seating Plan
If your wedding reception has less than 20 guests, or if your guests all know each other, you can get away without a seating chart. Of course, if there’s no formal sit-down meal, you can also choose to just have casual seating arrangements without place cards. You may still want a head table set apart, along with a table designated for elderly guests or those in need of special consideration.
The Wedding Reception: About to Begin
This is one part of the planning that suits parental (and parent-in-law) input. It’s likely that the parents will know some guests better than you and may have some inside knowledge of family politics. So if anyone knows not to put Uncle Bob next to Great Aunt Sue, they would. Once you have your planning team, choose your method of chart making. Today, there are endless creative options when mapping out seating charts. Some like to physically move around cards or strips of paper with each guest’s name scrawled across them. Others use labeled poker chips. For the technologically savvy (or those without huge solid surfaces to sprawl out plans-in-the-making), spreadsheets are a great option. Wedding-planning software is the new thing; use a simple program to design (and redesign) your layout. Be flexible and creative as you start out.
Before you seat your guests, seat yourself. There are no longer any steadfast rules for seating at the head table. You may want your entire bridal party with you; you may opt for just the maid of honor and best man. Determine if you want the maids on one side and the men on the other, or if you want them paired. And since it’s your wedding, you can switch it up with parents and grandparents at the table, or just a sweetheart table for the two of you. Find an arrangement that best suits you as a couple, and try to make sure you’re visible to guests who will undoubtedly want to be staring at you and taking your picture all evening. The rest of the seating will revolve around the placement of this table.
Parents and Family
The general rule is to place family closest to the head table. Depending on the size of your wedding reception, you may place all the parents together or divide them by family. If your parents are divorced, consider letting each parent host his/her own table. You don’t want to promote awkwardness. Have your parents and grandparents closest to the head table, with the rest of the family spreading out from there. Don’t feel obligated to keep family groups strictly together; cousins may prefer sitting together rather than with their parents. And your aunts and uncles may prefer sitting with their siblings over sitting with their adult children. Instead of a table consisting solely of one family group, find a way to promote some interfamily mingling.
Wedding Reception Special Considerations
Consider the needs of your elderly, disabled, and super-young guests as you plan your seating. If tables will be moved to make room for the dance floor, try not to seat those who require seating at those particular tables, as you don’t want to displace them. Make sure that guests using walkers or wheelchairs have easy access to their tables and the exit. When in doubt, inquire in advance as to how you can best serve their needs.
If you choose to have children at your wedding reception, you have a few options. You can seat them together (strategically supervised), hosting them at a fun kids’ table. This can be a relief to parents and other guests who don’t want to babysit all evening. Offer little activities to keep them occupied and involved. Some would warn against this, especially if the children are young, loud, or unfamiliar with each other. You don’t want a crowd of kids distracting the rest of the guests. Seating them with their parents might be more favorable. Just make sure that you keep guests who are unimpressed with little ones at a different table. Kids fit in best with people who love kids.
Friends will make up the majority of your remaining guests. For starters, divide these friends into groups: coworkers, college friends, neighbors, etc. The trick is finding a balance between seating groups of friends together and encouraging mingling with new people. If you have a group of inseparable friends from your school days, by all means, seat them together. But if the group is too large for their own table, divide them into half tables, seating them with other guests. Never place a sole outsider with a tight-knit group. You want to make the evening comfortable for everyone; avoid situations where people will feel excluded. If you have a friend coming who doesn’t know anyone, try to introduce him or her to an outgoing friend before the wedding. When you do seat strangers together, match them according to similar interests. You may be tempted to play matchmaker with a singles table. Be careful. It’s probably best to have a mix of couples and singles. Yes, you can be strategic. But don’t be so obvious that it’s uncomfortable. Single people at weddings are very aware that they’re single. You don’t need to remind them.
Let Them Know
Once you have a plan, you need to determine how you’re going to inform your guests of this perfect seating arrangement. The more formal the reception, the more specific you’ll end up being. Some insist on individual place cards at each table, with chair assignments (not just table seating). In this case, you’ll seat dates next to each other, alternating males and females at round tables. Rectangular tables often have dates facing each other. In most cases, you’ll be assigning people to tables. Near your venue’s entrance (or in a very obvious place), have a list of your guests in alphabetical order. Some have a literal list; others use this as an opportunity to be creative. You want to make it simple for guests to find their names; a table number, then, will be associated with each name. Resist the urge to pin up a map of the reception venue with names scattered on it. You don’t want a crowd of people swarming at a chart, desperately trying to find their places.
After you’ve finalized your plan and created place cards, let it go. People will sit and eat and have fun; don’t stress once it’s out of your hands. Have some extra tables and chairs available in case you have more guests than anticipated, set out a table for the DJ and photographer, and watch your loved ones mingle and celebrate your awesome commitment to the love of your life.
As your wedding day approaches, reviewing your choices and making decisions can be a bit confusing not to mention nerve-wracking. Your wedding day naturally brings on traditional thoughts and sentimental feelings, yet the independent woman in you wants to show off your contemporary side and your own special style.
When putting together the final touches of your reception, it may be tricky to express your unique personality and still please family and friends. So as you sample the dishes in deciding on a scrumptious feast, choose the right lighting and décor, and audition the best bands, you might also want to make sure that the bar can accommodate your guests with the classic as well as the most delicious and up-to-date libations.
The Whisky Sours and Harvey Wallbangers are standards for Aunt Hilda and Uncle Rex, but check with your bartender about ordering the newest and hippest liqueurs, cordials and other “malternatives” so that no one is disappointed.
Though it may seem like a daunting task, it’s well worth it to know your crowd and provide your guests with modish martinis and the coolest concoctions. Along with the right entertainment, satisfying the indulgences of your “jet set” can make or break your event. You may even get the credit for turning your family and friends on to their new favorite party drink!
Don’t know where to start? Well, you came to the right place.
To make things easier for you, we dropped in on Zachary, Sarah and Raschele at the Revolution Rock Bar in Boston’s financial district to conduct some research. While it was a tough assignment, we managed to compile a list of seven signature cocktails we believe will satisfy a variety of tastes and will keep your wedding reception talked about for a long time to come.
For those who may need a little pick-me-up at the beginning of the night, an Espresso Martini will definitely do the trick. If you like the taste and smell of coffee, this drink is perfect! Combine Stolichnaya coffee-flavored vodka, Kahlua, Bailey’s Irish Cream and espresso. Then add ice cubes, shake and strain into a glass, and top it off with 4 floating coffee beans. After drinking one of these, you’ll be wide awake and raring to go!
A lighter concoction that is sweet and tasty is a tall drink called the Lemonhead. To make it, add a splash of sour mix, a splash of Sprite, and a splash of pink lemonade to Smirnoff Citrus and a little Triple Sec, then strain it all into a chilled and sugar-rimmed glass.
One of the “berry” best drinks we sampled was called the Purple Haze. A wonderful blend of Stolichnaya Raspberry, Chambord, and cranberry juice topped off with a floater of champagne guarantees this drink to go down smooth but provide a pretty potent punch!
Another stand-out was the Berrytini. Now growing in popularity, this drink is made with Stolichnaya Raspberry, Sour Apple Rum and white cranberry juice. Shake and strain the mix into a martini glass, and you are in for a velvety treat.
A favorite of all of the cocktails tested was the Blaze of Glory (and not just because it’s also a song by Jon Bon Jovi)! It’s made with Effen Black Cherry Vodka, Chambord, Triple Sec, a splash of cranberry juice and sour mix. One rockin’ sip and you’ll be in heaven!
But we have to say that the drink that got the loudest applause was the Watermelon Martini. This combination of Midori, DeKuyper Watermelon Pucker, Citron Vodka and sour mix is the perfect choice for those who don’t like an overpowering taste of alcohol but still want the effect. Finally, there’s a martini that is classy, strong, and mouth-watering.
Last but not least we tasted the White Chocolate Truffle. This incredibly delicious, lip-smacking, dessert-like cocktail is made with Vanilla Vodka, Bailey’s Original, Frangelico, Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, a splash of Kahlua, espresso and a little milk. As innocent as this drink tastes, don’t be fooled. It’s delicious decadence with a big bang!
We believe our picks for top honors will make your wedding reception an event to remember. However, for those who don’t like to take chances, some honorable mentions guaranteed to taste yummy and sound your alarm are the Mojito, the Margarita (available in many flavors), the Kamikaze, and the Woo Woo. And though they may not be new new, these cocktails are still tried and true.
You asked and now he's answered! Read on for Celebrity Wedding Planner David Tutera's thoughtful suggestions and advice for the lovely ladies of Project Wedding. Don't miss him on WeTV's "My Fair Wedding," airing Sundays at 10 p.m.!
My friend Amy is engaged right now and is in a terrible situation with her parents. Her parents had a really nasty divorce about 10 years ago and absolutely HATE each other! Their wedding will be the first time they have seen each other since the divorce, and Amy is really stressing about them getting into a huge fight at the ceremony or reception. Have you encountered a situation like this before? Do you have any tips on how to handle this? - Kelly
Feuding parents are a common problem in the bridal world. For your friend's situation, I would recommend that she set up a private meeting over coffee and tea to sit with her parents (together or separately - whichever she feels will be the most helpful) and talk about the wedding and any concerns or expectations she has. If her parents have any special requests, such as the need to be seated at separate tables (or separate corners), this will be a good time for them to bring up those concerns as well and set the ground rules. This way everything is out in the open, the air is clear and your friend can focus on herself and her new husband instead of her parents' feud on her wedding day! Her parents should want the same thing for her as well.
How would you word invitations where the bride's parents are divorced and her father and his wife are paying for the wedding (mother is not remarried) ... the groom's parents are both deceased but he has a step-mother? Thank you! Alison
To show that while the bride's father and stepmother are paying for the wedding but she is only Mr. X's daughter, the invite should be worded as: Mr. and Mrs. Thompson request the honor of your presence at the marriage of Mr. Thompson's daughter X to __________etc.
What advice do you have for those of us who are done with our own wedding planning, but still addicted to the whole thing? Since my wedding I have wanted nothing more than to become a wedding planner. However, I'm being told by friends and family that it's a big mistake. What are the pros and cons of actually becoming a wedding planner?
If you have finished your own happily ever after but still have wedding fever, start or join a wedding blog! Wedding blogs are so popular right now and there are hundreds of sites dedicated to giving brides-to-be planning tips, tricks and advice. If you are looking into becoming a planner, do your research on what it takes to plan and execute someone else's big day; it is very different than planning your own! Dealing with clients and the behind the scenes work can be difficult and often very stressful but I love being able to create and share in the most special day of someone's life. It is a very time consuming profession but if you love it, you are sure to succeed. Start small and see if this industry is for you, good luck! You can also try to get an internship with a wedding planning company so that you can get the feel and see if it's right for you.
My fiance and I made a rule because most of his family members just "date" around and have a new girl/guy every week, so do you think its rude that if they haven't been "seriously" dating for over 4 months that they don't get a "plus 1"? This rule goes for everyone on our guest list, not just his side and keep in mind that this mostly goes towards the people that are between 20-27 years of age. We can't afford to pay for their weekly fling ;) -BlingBride22
Deciding who will receive the coveted "plus one" is a tricky situation. Many guests look forward to bringing a date to a wedding and many guests won't feel comfortable dancing or mingling by themselves. For the bride and groom however, this means having a potential stranger at a very personal event and for brides on a budget it can be tough to swallow.
The best thing to do is to be as generous as you can but create a blanket rule, as you have done, and stick to it. You want your loved ones to relax and enjoy themselves, but it is important to draw the line somewhere. Remember, you know your guests best of all and you need to feel comfortable.
Who should be invited to the rehearsal dinner? We have a bridal party of 10, plus us, our parents, grandparents ... that makes 17 total. Then are we supposed to invite spouses or significant others of the BP, out of towners, the priest? This is going to total upwards of 30 people! Then to do it again the next night with even more people = lots of $$!! ---FSUKristi
Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner is hosted by the groom's parents. The bride, groom and both sets of parents and grandparents attend, as do any immediate family members and their partners or spouses. The officiant and his or her spouse are invited, as are the wedding party members and their spouses.
Beyond that, the guest list for the rehearsal dinner is up to the host and hostess.
It is nice to invite out of towners as they have traveled a long way to attend your event and should be welcomed to the wedding with a dinner. If you want to keep the guest list a little smaller, host a cocktail party for out-of-towners and keep the rehearsal dinner to just those actually appearing in the wedding (and their spouses of course).
What do brides need to know about having a destination wedding outside of the country, and what are the best ways to save money on a DW? (ie - getting hitched in the states the day before and having a "vow" ceremony) -Crystal from Houston, Texas
Destination weddings are a great way to have a personal and unique wedding where the emphasis is on relaxation, celebration and shared experiences. Brides should be aware that due to all the transportation, guests will likely need to take off of work and spend a considerable amount of money to attend your event so understand if guests are not able to make the trip.
The easiest way to plan a destination wedding is to select a location like a hotel or resort that includes an event coordinator in your package. These professionals are extremely helpful in finding local vendors and helping you plan your travels, so take advantage of them! To help cut costs, choose an over the top location like an Oceanside ceremony or an ornate ballroom; this will save you money on expensive decorations!
Usually, on the night of the rehearsal dinner or early wedding day morning, the exchange of gifts takes place. The bridal party typically receives a token of gratitude, and the bride and groom also give gifts to one another. So, as if shopping for the love of your life wasn't hard enough, what could you possibly get him for his wedding present?
Photography by: Michael Moss
Hopefully, I can shed a bit of light on the subject and get your creative juices flowing.
Wedding Present Brainstorming for Him
Your future husband certainly has interests, which you should take full advantage of when it comes to locating his wedding present. What activities do you see him participating in? Is he completely obsessed when football season rolls around? Perhaps season tickets would be perfect for his wedding present.
Tap Into His Interests
Is your groom a technology fanatic, keeping his eye on all the latest gadgets and constantly tinkering with his iPhone? Take this fascination to heart and seek his wedding present at the local electronics shop, like Best Buy or Apple. Does he like to play video games? Well, then you're just in luck because there is a plethora of gaming accessories and software to consider. Keep a look out to how he reacts when a commercial for a new release is mentioned on TV.
Take Advantage of His Hobbies
Hobbies will come in handy when choosing his wedding present as well. Tap into the kinds of things that make him happy and you'll never go wrong. Perhaps he's a Babe Ruth fan and collects old baseball cards. What about his poker playing with friends over the weekend? Does he like to tune-up classic cars? Do you have a master griller in the house? Then, a new grill, personalized poker set, or vintage rookie cards from eBay might be just the kinds of things to consider for his wedding present.
The Music Man
For the man who enjoys his music, consider the joy of owning an MP3 player or iPod. Today, you can even combine music, movies, and phone use into one by choosing an iPod Touch - a product much similar to the iPhone.
Straight From the Heart
Sometimes, you just want to choose his wedding present because of sentimental reasons. Framed photos of the two of you together; a slideshow consisting of special moments; or a memento from the past can all become touching, heartfelt presents for your groom. Monogrammed or personalized or just plain shiny, a gold money clip is another great way to present your fiancé with a cherished wedding gift.
Not crazy about wedding cake? Serve up one of these delicious alternatives at your receptionBy: Kristen O'Gorman Klein; additional reporting by Emily Gardner
Maybe you’re not a fan of cake. Or maybe you love cake so much that you can’t choose just one type. Whatever the reason, couples today are looking beyond the traditional wedding cake when it comes to choosing reception desserts. Here, five options we love.
Cupcakes are a fun alternative to wedding cake. And they have a real advantage when it comes to picky eaters: You can mix and match a wide variety of flavors so that there’s something for everyone.
Another plus: Cupcake towers become instant décor and focal points of your reception room. “We typically work closely with the event coordinator to create something cohesive to the overall theme through color, aesthetic and quantity,” says Jenine Cravatt, president of Cupcakes Couture of Manhattan Beach, CA. “This includes not only designing the desserts in a specific color and design, but also incorporating props, linens and stationery pieces that fit in with the overall feel of the wedding.”Ice Cream
Guests of all ages will love a make-your-own-sundae bar. Splurge on gourmet ice cream for a truly memorable dessert. We love Cowabunga Ice Cream (and not just because of the name!), which is based out of New Jersey and ships nationally. Their secret recipe ensures that the ice cream isn’t over-aerated, resulting in creamier, denser ice cream than the competition. Their inspired flavors include New York Cheesecake, Cake Batter, Rice Krispy Treat (vanilla ice cream with marshmallows and rice krispies), Almond Joy (coconut ice cream with almonds and dark chocolate chips), and Red Velvet.Dessert Shots
These delectable treats are as beautiful as they are delicious! Choose varieties like strawberry shortcake, chocolate mousse, New York cheesecake, key lime pie… any dessert you’d like can be turned into a dessert shot. Create an impressive arrangement of dessert shots on a side table with 3 or 4 varieties. Guests will love how easy they are to eat while walking compared to a slice of cake on a plate. These creations are from the lovely ladies at Cupcakes Couture.Mini Desserts
As the last course during your reception, serve a platter of mini desserts—bite-size cheesecakes, French macarons, dessert shots, cookies, meringues, and cream puffs—to each table. Make sure there’s enough to go around! We recommend picking 4-5 items and serving large enough quantities so that all guests can have a taste of each if they desire. The treats pictured here are from Cupcakes Couture.
Do you have a major sweet tooth? Consider a dessert bar, which gives you (and your guests!) a chance to have a little bit of everything. Offer up bite-size treats, like mini cupcakes, cheesecakes, French macarons, creampuffs, cannolis, brownie bites, and chocolate-covered strawberries.
Choose your all-time favorites, or opt for the best of the season with these recommendations from Cupcakes Couture:
Summer: Fruit tarts, sponge cakes, and truffles featuring bold fruits like passion fruit, cherries, grapefruit and peaches.
Spring: Spotlight the season’s best fruits with desserts including citrus, melon, apricot, strawberry and pineapple. Another favorite: Creampuffs.
Fall: Pastries featuring rich flavors like pumpkin, apple pie, ginger spice and cranberry.
Winter: Think comfort: winter mint and rich chocolate.
You take your hobby seriously. Your spouse shares your obsession. Lolling on the beach sounds boring, and you can’t imagine what could keep you busy for a week on a traditional cruise. Well, take heart: There are honeymoon options out there to fit both your personality and your passion, so you can both spend your time doing what you love best. Here are just a few of the possibilities:
Following a spring wedding, what could be more fun for fans than a honeymoon full of baseball games? You could pick a location where spring training is in progress and hang out for a week, attending games, seeing the sights, and enjoying the weather. Or take the first steps toward a lifetime goal of attending a game in every Major League stadium. Granted, this can lead to a hectic schedule and a lot of traveling, but start with one area of the country and add more stadiums on future trips. Be sure to bring your camera to document your experience, and budget some extra cash for souvenirs (and peanuts and Cracker Jack!).
If riding the rails is a source of fascination for both you and your partner, consider a journey by train. The possibilities are almost endless, and you can enjoy luxurious surroundings almost anywhere in the world. Consider Rovos Rail in Africa, where you can book a luxury suite aboard the train; a Romance by Rail vacation on VIA Rail Canada, where the staff will even serve you breakfast in bed; the elegant Palace on Wheels train through Rajasthan, India; or take Amtrak’s Coast Starlight line from Los Angeles to Seattle for spectacular scenery. You can also take a series of shorter train rides, stopping off between routes to sightsee and wine and dine.
You’ve watched all those poker tournaments on TV and even joined in some hot games yourself. Now you and your partner can combine poker and traveling for an exciting honeymoon adventure you won’t soon forget. Poker cruises are all the rage right now, and most feature poker seminars, poker lessons, tournaments, and a separate poker room where you can play until dawn. Check out the World Poker Showdown for cruises and affordable poker in the Caribbean, or Card Player Cruises, which schedules poker cruises from Alaska to Southeast Asia. If you get tired of playing cards, disembark when the ship is docked and act like regular tourists!
If you’re not content to stop dancing after your first dance as man and wife, keep on dancing through the honeymoon! Options include programs such as Ballroom Vermont, where you stay at a lovely hotel and take ballroom dancing classes every day in foxtrot, waltz, swing, rumba, tango, and cha-cha. You can also get private lessons. Dance Camp Las Vegas is another possibility, where you’ll spend a week at a Vegas hotel and enjoy intensive dance instruction, plus a show with dance professionals and competitions. If you’d like to dance while afloat, investigate dance cruises, some of which have a particular focus such as swing or line dancing.
Surely you’ve heard of geocaching by now, and you may even be hard-core fans, so pack up your GPS system – and extra batteries – and head out for a geocaching honeymoon. You can pick one general location to geocache (San Francisco, for example) or try your treasure-hunting skills at several spots around the world. You can even geocache from a port where your cruise ship docks. Need details? See www.geocaching.com for instructions, clues, and upcoming worldwide geocaching events. For some heavy-duty caching, plan to attend GeoWoodstock, the once-a-year gathering that has become the world’s largest geocaching event. (This event is usually held in May, and the venue changes from year to year.)
We all like to eat, but what could be more romantic than a culinary honeymoon where you do the cooking? Contact a major cooking school in the United States or abroad, then sign up for a cooking class. For example, the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City offers three- to five-day classes in everything from pastry making to ethnic cuisine, and you can spend your time off seeing the city. Or book a reservation at a culinary resort such as the Inn at Essex in Vermont, home to the New England Culinary Institute. Luxury cooking vacations are also available, so you can learn to create the cuisines of Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, or Thailand by traveling there and sampling each city’s culture along with its food.
In most parts of the world, food and wine go naturally together, but if you are a connoisseur specifically interested in wine, there are plenty of honeymoon options available. Check online for a list of fabulous wine cruises around the world that include wine education, private winemaker dinners, wine tasting, and visits to top-rated portside wineries. Or plan your own trip to one of the world’s best-known wine regions: Napa and Sonoma, California (be sure to take a ride on the Napa Wine Train); Tuscany, Italy (time your visit around one of the local festivals); the Marlborough region of New Zealand (known especially for its Sauvignon Blanc); France (you can use Paris as your home base); Argentina (see the Mendoza Province wine country); or South Africa (plan to stop in Stellenbosch, Paarl, or Constantia).
If we don’t have to convince you that birding is a fabulous way to spend your time, then a birding honeymoon is for you. You can do it practically anywhere, so it’s easy to combine a birding trip with sightseeing and exploring the local cultural attractions. You can get an all-inclusive package to a foreign destination or sign on with a stateside birding tour group and add some more North American species to your life list. WINGS Birding Tours offers worldwide trips plus specialized excursions like the Birds and Music tour to Austria, the Birds and Shakespeare Festival tour to Oregon, the Birds and Art tour to Provence, and the Birds and Medieval Monasteries tour of Romania. Accommodations are not likely to be luxurious, but they’ll be comfortable and you’ll have a blast.