Friday, April 8, 2011

Have Registry Will Travel


I've discovered a new way to travel.....register for it!

Because lets face it, I really don't need another waffle iron.

A honeymoon registry is similar to a traditional wedding registry, in which you sign up for the gifts you would like to receive for your wedding. But instead of asking for a set of glasses or a waffle iron, you build a registry with your anticipated honeymoon activities and experiences. Most of the providers are travel agents as well so you also benefit from their travel advice and booking skills. For a service fee, you create your own website with your story and planned itinerary. Then your guests can give you the gift of adventure and memories that will last a lifetime. What a fabulous idea! I want to go on a honeymoon now! And it's perfect for those of us that do not need to stock our kitchen and linen closets. So pack a bag and dream of the perfect honeymoon to come!

Here is a sample of what a registry looks like:
_____________________________________________________________________
Hotel in Positano: Nestled in the hills above the Mediterranean, this incredible hotel in the village of Positano offers unforgettable views and daily yatch trips along the coast for hotel guests.
Cost Each $100.00
Still Need 0
Give Fulfilled
Tickets for Pompeii: Two passes for Pompeii will allow Nicole to live her dream of being an Archaeologist, at least for a day!
Cost Each $15.00
Still Need 0
Give Fulfilled
Cooking class in Positano, Italy: While visiting the Amalfi coast we will learn how to make fresh mozzarella and even Limoncello! Salute!
Cost Each $75.00
Still Need 0
Give Fulfilled
Boat ride through Positano Harbor The best way to take in the views of the towns built into the mountainside is by sea. We'll tour the Grotta dello Smeraldo, a cave system, and Li Galli, 3 islands linked to the legend of the Sirens.
Cost Each $25.00
Still Need 0
Give Fulfilled
Limoncello in Positano A hallmark of the Amalfi Coast, Limoncello is a must have while in Positano.
Cost Each $20.00
Still Need 0
Give Fulfilled
_____________________________________________________________________

Here on some honeymoon tips from Traveler's Joy:

Planning

  • Agree on your honeymoon budget.
  • List ideas for possible destinations; gather brochures; consult a travel agent; and search guidebooks, magazines and the Internet. When you decide on a location, purchase a guidebook to study your destination in detail. This will also help you customize your honeymoon registry.
  • Check the Internet for special events at your destination during the time of year you will be traveling.
  • If making flight connections in Europe, bypass major airport hubs such as Charles de Gaulle in Paris and Heathrow in London. Instead, switch planes in less trafficked Dublin, Brussels, or Zurich.
  • Fly on a small, low-cost air carrier such as JetBlue or Southwest. For a directory of U.S. carriers, try ReidsGuides.com. For European carriers, check out Air-Ticket-Cheap.com.
  • If you have an evening reception, plan your departing flight for mid-morning or early afternoon the next day to allow yourself ample time to rest. Better yet, give yourself a full day between your wedding and honeymoon departure to say thank you and goodbye to your friends and family that attended.
Reservations and Traveling
  • Keep your honeymoon under wraps, at first. Some companies will try to charge you more, reasoning that you'll want to splurge on this special getaway. Once your reservations are finalized, share the reason for your trip. You might receive complimentary champagne on the plane or an upgrade at your hotel.
  • Many honeymoon destinations offer all-inclusive packages that can reduce the overall cost of your trip. When you inquire, ask specifically whether taxes, gratuities, and alcoholic beverages are included.
  • Once your honeymoon flights are booked, go to SeatGuru or SeatExpert to help find the best two seats on the airplane.
  • Shop around before you book your rental car. Get an estimate from one company away from the airport. If you decide to purchase rental car insurance, which can be pricey, check first to see if you're covered by your credit card or personal auto insurance.
  • If you plan to travel internationally, be sure to leave yourself ample time to get a passport, this can take 6-8 weeks. If you already have a passport, check that it is not expired. In addition, some international destinations require that your passport not expire within 3-6 months of your return date.
  • When checking in at the airline desk, mention that you are on your honeymoon. Complimentary business or first class upgrades are possible if there is availability.
  • Slip an easily compressed duffle bag into your suitcase. If you learn your luggage is too heavy when you check-in with your airline, you can quickly repack and avoid fees of up to $150.
  • Check the weather report for your destination.
Banking and Communication
  • Give your itinerary and telephone numbers to a family member or anyone else who might need to contact you in an emergency. Be sure to remind them that the information is for emergency use.
  • Learn your bank's ATM and credit card fee structures for international withdrawals and charges. The New York Times Travel section has great articles on the best strategy to minimize fees. Packing the Right Credit Card, How to Beat the Euro, and How to Get the Best Exchange Rate.
  • Alert your credit card company and bank of where you are traveling, the duration, and if you are going to be charging a large amount. This will help prevent your credit card from being rejected due to automatic fraud deterrents.
  • If you are traveling internationally and plan to call home, set-up a Skype account so your calls are inexpensive (or free). All you need is a Wi-Fi connection. The New York Times Travel section reviews some popular methods. Calling Home for Even Less and Staying in Touch Internationally, on the Cheap.
Upon Arrival
  • Book your activities and adventures after arriving at your honeymoon destination-not before you leave. Often local tour operators will offer better rates.
  • Don't pack too many activities in your schedule so you have plenty of time to relax!
  • Withdraw money at a well known and established local bank's ATM.
  • Contact hotel concierges to remind them that you are honeymooners and request suggestions for special tours or events. Many hotels enjoy pampering newlyweds with special attention.
  • Pay with a credit card. Often you'll get the lowest possible exchange rate, and you'll be protected from unauthorized charges. Caveat: Some banks tack on conversion surcharges of up to 3% so check with your credit card company.
During the Honeymoon
  • Take photos of the two of you enjoying the activities your guests purchased from your honeymoon registry so you can include a photo in your thank you card.
  • Head off the beaten path. Ditch the "hot" touristy districts and seek out a small neighborhood for a more affordable (and often more authentic) dining experience.
  • Beware of cover charges at restaurants. At some places in Italy, for example, a 15% service charge is automatically added to your check as soon as you sit down at a table.
  • Visit small neighborhood markets instead of big, flashy shopping venues. That authentic tapestry or handmade jewelry will cost less, and you'll have a more authentic local shopping experience.
  • Keep a journal together so you'll remember all of the activities, romance, and funny moments during your trip.
  • Relax and enjoy this once in a lifetime vacation!
There are several companies offering this service, some that I have found are
Travelers Joy
The Big Day
The Honeymoon
Honeymoon Wishes
Honeyluna

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Oh, How I Love a Mansion Event....

...for the rich, prestigious, stately appearance,

for the elegance, for the intimacy, for the flow of a well executed event.
As a premier caterer, I have the incredible fortune of working in amazing venues, but a mansion is a truly special and magical place to host a wedding. Three of my favorites are located in Southeastern, CT: Eolia Mansion at Harkness Park in Waterford, The Brandford House in Groton on the University of Connecticut's Avery Point Campus, and Wadsworth Mansion at Long Hill Estates in Middletown.


I grew up close to the incredible mansions in Newport, RI, and marveled at the sophisticated architecture, breath-taking grounds and posh interiors. I always wondered what it would be like to step back in time and entertain in such amazing surroundings. Years later, I find myself planing amazing events and executing fairytale wedding receptions as a caterer. The mansions mentioned above are extreamly reasonable to rent as well, as the fees associated with them are a fraction of their Newport counter parts, with many of the same amenities.


Aside for the old world elegance, fantasies and dreams that surround the venue, I truly love the flow and intimacy of a mansion event. Many mansions have multiple rooms to entertain in. Couples who desire the vision of a mansion event sometimes fear the seperation of guests. The reality of the seperate space is that it creates a flow that encourages guest to participate in the event instead of remaining idol in thier seats. In the simplest design, we maintain a social space or a location where all guests can gather for the introduction of the wedding party, the bride and groom's first dance as husband and wife, speeches or toasts. This social space is typically set up with small clusters of seating or high-top tables. In this setting, your guest are more ingaged and feel more a part of the surroundings and event.


The other rooms in the mansion, in addition to their architectural interest, can be designated for other portions of the reception; cocktail hour, food and dessert stations, dining areas or a photo booth space, to name a few. Guests can experiance a great station-style service or a finely-executed plated meal in one space then be asked to share in the celebration in the social space. Whichever style or layout you choose, mansion events should flow seamlessly (with the help of a wonderful caterer to execute the meal and overall event, of course!) If the vision for your wedding is an intimate fairy tale setting, I highly recommend the mansions; I promise you will love it as much as I do!