Couples considering a unique wedding venue for a private wedding ceremony and reception may find that a dream location is waiting for them at a romantic inn or bed and breakfast.
How to Decide on Small Wedding Sites
While selecting a small wedding site may imply less planning, perfecting an intimate wedding ceremony and reception requires exceptional attention to detail. Consider the following questions before proceeding with planning a private wedding:
What is the length of the guest list?
What is the wedding budget?
Will the ceremony/reception be held outdoors?
What are the overnight accommodations?
What are the entertainment/music options?
Should a bride and groom find a location that fits their needs, an open and consistent dialogue with the prospective innkeepers is essential. An intimate wedding should be earnestly researched. Engaged couples should visit the location several times before the event to personally experience the food, lodging and overall atmosphere of the inn.
With research complete, the engaged couple can proceed with planning the details of the ceremony and reception. The level of formality for the event directly depends on the number of guests and the preferences of the bride and groom. One of the perks of a small wedding is the option to be somewhat extravagant with food, drink and favors for all the immediate family and friends on the guest list.
Etiquette for Private Weddings
A bride and groom who choose to scale-down their guest list so that they may provide upscale options for their guests should offer the following amenities:
Gift Bags: Comfort your guests upon check-in to the venue with a specialty gift bag filled with all the comforts of home including, water, snacks, bandaids, aspirin, chocolate, mints, antacids, notepads and pens.
Wedding Survival Kit: Guests need to know where they are. Even though they may not ever need to leave the wedding location, it is critical that they know how to reach emergency personnel. Be sure to provide emergency numbers with the complimentary gift bags.
Favors: With a guest list of 50 or less, a bride and groom could embellish on wedding favors. Personalized gifts could be provided for members of the wedding party, including Austrian crystal and stained glass. And child-specific gifts should not be ignored.
Top Shelf Open Bar: Wedding guests expect free alcohol at a reception. Couples should offer a few top-shelf selections for mixers in addition to beer, wine and numerous non-alcoholic options.
Brides and grooms-to-be need to do their research to find the ideal location for their wedding reception. The venue selected should reflect the couples’ unique personalities. At a private affair, wedding guests will enjoy the ability to mingle with the bride and groom. Couples who choose intimacy over pageantry will not only please the invited guests but will find their own wedding experience both enriching and fulfilling.
4 Great US Destination Wedding Locations
You don’t have to go to the tropics or Europe to have a beautiful destination wedding; you can have one right in the United States at one of many lavish resorts that offer wedding services, in addition to a wealth of resort activities that will keep your guests entertained during their stay.
A Romantic Destination Wedding at the Ocean Edge Resort, Cape Cod, MA
If your dream wedding takes place at a historic New England mansion on a bluff overlooking the water then the Ocean Edge Resort may be the venue for you. The resort has several areas where you can hold your wedding and reception including the mansion itself, the carriage house with a wall of glass doors and terrace overlooking Cape Cod Bay, the clubhouse with furnished patio, as well as outside on the tented front lawn or the poolside pavilion.
Guests can feast on a plated dinner service such as grilled swordfish or shrimp stuffed haddock, or a buffet featuring items like horseradish crusted salmon and lobster ravioli. The resort also offers a rehearsal dinner menu and next-day brunch options. They will prepare the wedding cake with a variety of delicious options such as almond cake with chocolate amaretto mousse. If it is just the two of you, they have a special wedding package that includes a ceremony on the beach, a wedding cake for two, and three nights in a signature room.
A Spa-like Wedding at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, Napa, CA
A top destination wedding would definitely be California. For the bride who is looking for a spa-like setting in a warm climate then this beautiful Spanish style resort surrounded by the famous Topa Topa Mountains is a good choice. Continually voted one of the top resorts in the country, the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa offers 220 lush acres, a championship golf course and a full-service spa including bridal makeup and hairstyling.
Brides can choose from many outdoor options for their ceremony and reception including their three-acre hillside herb garden, the lush lawns accommodating up to 450 guests or the private courtyards. On request, they will also provide arches, gazebos and other decorations. You can also rent the Casa Blanca, a private courtyard that houses your entire party in the buildings surrounding the ceremony site, which actress Kate Walsh used for her wedding reception. Alternatively, you could hold a more casual wedding in their Big Red Barn. Guests dine on the inn’s unique and healthy California cuisine featuring local vegetables, herbs and seafood.
Destination Weddings at the Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Kiawah Island, SC
If your ideal destination wedding is a sprawling manor situated steps from the Atlantic Ocean, then the Sanctuary Hotel at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort is one to consider. At this resort, weddings are a specialty. You have a choice of venues at the resort for your ceremony and/or reception including exquisite ballrooms with large verandas, private drawing rooms for smaller ceremonies, oceanfront lawns and an outdoor area for more casual weddings complete with bonfire pits and barbeques.
Guests are offered a plated dinner menu with specialties such as pesto glazed beef filet and caramelized sea bass, or a buffet option that includes dishes like clams and mussels steamed in beer and kettles of blue crabs. They also provide specially designed wedding cakes, rehearsal dinner menus, day-after brunches, and a special “For the Bride to be” spa service.
A Winter Wedding at the Stein Eriksen Lodge, Park City, UT
If you are looking for a snowy winter wedding destination, this luxurious Norwegian style ski lodge surrounded by the Rocky Mountains is where actress Katherine Heigl got married. While the Stein Eriksen Lodge is an idyllic setting for a winter wedding, in the summer months you can hold your ceremony on the grounds with a reception on their plaza terrace. There are also a variety of ballrooms to choose from with their beamed 14-foot ceilings and stone fireplaces.
You can offer your guests a themed buffet such as the Rocky Mountain barbeque buffet featuring braised brisket of beef and cornmeal-crusted red trout or plated dinner services with grilled wild salmon or roasted rack of elk. There are also additional services such as homemade chocolate wedding favors, children’s meals, and a wedding cake designed by their award-winning pastry chef.
All-inclusive wedding resorts are in abundance in the U.S. and any of these fabulous hotels will provide the perfect venue for your destination wedding.
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