Santorini

Santorini – The Sunset Capital Of The World

Santorini

Capturing stunning photos is a passion of mine, so my recent trip to Santorini, which I call the sunset capital of the world was a photographer’s paradise with some of the most awe-inspiring views you could ever imagine!   It has unquestionably lived up to the reputation that Instagram reveals as being one of the most photographed places in the world – but its more than that.  When you come up, close and personal to Santorini – it actually takes your breath away!

Santorini

Santorini is a volcanic island located in the most southern part of the Cyclades – a set of islands in Greece, surrounded by the serene Aegean sea and featuring superb views of the Caldera and the volcanic landscape.  The notorious blue dome churches placed around the island and the white buildings strategically built on the edge of the cliffs are Santorini’s most historical features.

Santorini

With such beautiful backdrops, charming cobbled streets and some of the most scenic hiking treks, it was quite surprising to see a succession of fashion conscious women wearing high heels and dressed in their finest couture – what were they thinking I thought?  However, on closer inspection, I discovered they were quite right to do so!  If you are going to be taking a photo of yourself in the most scenic location, of course, you need to dress the part and in your finest!  The flow of lace, chiffon and silk in vibrant shades along the Caldera viewpoints was almost like a movie scene – some would say pure theatre.

Santorini

Santorini

It doesn’t end there!  Apart from the fashion shoots, Santorini is a unique and popular destination wedding location, with brides and grooms flocking to the quaint villages, rooftops and balconies, along with their very own personal wedding photographer in tow.  It was quite endearing to see the couples take that all-important and exclusive dream wedding photo.  Everywhere I turned, there was another wedding shoot, with brides holding onto their long trains, glistening sequinned gowns and precariously balancing on clifftops – all in the name of that one shot, that no one else has!

Santorini

Santorini

I can certainly see why the wedding industry has overwhelmingly taken Santorini by its horns – or should I say its views!   It is the biggest selling point, but also not forgetting the glorious sunsets among the traditional church settings.  Exchanging vows in this beautiful island with the Caldera backdrop and the crystal clear waters of the Aegean sea is probably the most magical moment for many couples who decide to chase that ultimate photo-shoot wedding.

Santorini

Santorini

Something I found fascinating was The Red Beach – it was an astonishing sight, located in the village of Akrotiri at the most southern part of the island.  It was quite a rare and unique vision of a beach that was created by the aftermath of the volcanic eruptions. I have not seen anything like it, but it is an admired place of depth and real character.

Santorini

I stayed in the majestic village of Imerovigli, sometimes referred to as the balcony of the island, being 350 metres above sea level – almost as if its touching the clouds.  It is a place of wonder and it was not uncommon for me to sometimes just stop and stare.   The night views are incredible too, looking over Fira, the nightlife capital of Santorini.  I can truly say the village of Imerovigli created on the edges of the cliffs had all the views you could every wish for.

Santorini

Santorini

Santorini

Santorini has been a incredible experience and journey for me, and although I do tend to get swept away taking so many photos, there were moments that I stopped to reflect on the island’s radiance, beauty and to take part in the traditional applause for the most vivid and spectacular sunsets I have ever seen.

Photos by Sinni Kumar

Destination Wedding

Why Do They Call It A “Destination Wedding” And Not A “Marriage”?

Celebrate the difference between a wedding and a marriage!

Destination Wedding
Photo by Simon Duggan

You are engaged! Congratulations!  You want to get married in your dream destination overseas, so why does your wedding planner insist on calling it a wedding ceremony and not a marriage? Well they are not being picky, a wedding and a marriage are actually two different things!

Destination Wedding
Photo by Jason Rodgers

A marriage is a legal contract

A marriage is a legal contract, historically, it was a record that could be used to prove amongst other things, legitimacy and inheritance. Nowadays, many couples are not religious or are of mixed religions so contracting their marriage by the minister of one particular faith is not an option.  In this instance, they may turn to a registrar to marry them.  The registrar will usually also offer a non-religious wedding ceremony but this may fall far short of the ceremony of your dreams, and most certainly will not be on a palm tree lined Mediterranean or Caribbean beach!  So what are your options?  Interestingly in some countries, including Scotland, Humanism is recognised as a faith and so a Humanist wedding ceremony is also recognised as legal marriage and can include personalised vows and rituals. But for many newly engaged couples the prospect of a romantic wedding ceremony in warm sunshine, on white sand or surrounded by olive groves is far more appealing.

Destination Wedding
Photo by Jason Rodgers

The wedding ceremony is where the memories are made

These days, it is becoming more common to go through the quick legalities of registering your marriage in your own country then concentrating on creating the wedding ceremony of your dreams, at your dream destination, with an independent celebrant who will weave into your unique ceremony, your values, your love story, your own vows and whatever rituals are important to you. Without question, the wedding ceremony is where the memories are made!

Destination Wedding
Photo by Jason Rodgers

Have your wedding cake and eat it!

So yes, you can have your wedding cake and eat it too!  You can combine a legal marriage in your own country, then pull out the stops and have that full-blown destination wedding with an awesome, totally personalised celebrant-led wedding ceremony with hand-fasting, heartfelt vows and amazing romantic  photos of you walking into the sunset.  So really, there is a difference between a marriage and a wedding and if I were you, I would take full advantage and totally celebrate and take advantage of the difference!

Destination Wedding
Photo by Jason Rodgers

Bride Icon would like to say thank you to Debbie Skyrme who is a former UK Deputy Superintendent Registrar.  As a wedding celebrant in Southern Spain Debbie crafts bespoke, unique ceremonies for each couple in dream Andalusian destinations.

Destination Wedding
Photo by Simon Duggan

Follow Debbie on Facebook and Instagram: celebrantspain
www.celebrantspain.es
info@celebrantspain.es

Destination Wedding
Photo by Simon Duggan

Photos by the kind permission of the photographers.
Simon Duggan  – Instagram: SDugganPhotography
Jason Rodgers – Instagram: jasonrogers_photographer

Sandals Barbados

Sandals Barbados – A Honeymoon Fit For Royalty

Sandals Barbados

It was the wedding of the year when Meghan Markle found her Prince Harry now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. With the eyes of the world watching the colourful display of pomp and pageantry in Windsor Castle, the only other question on everyone’s mind was where would they head to their honeymoon?

With their love story played out to the millions watching, it was only inevitable to imagine they would head somewhere that entwines love and luxury, together with pure relaxation and tranquillity beyond their dreams.  So it was only fitting to say Sandals Barbados with their picture perfect setting would be the ideal place to continue their enchanting romance.

Sandals Barbados

A honeymoon set in the luxury Sandals resort in Barbados promises pure opulence with accommodation across 3 villages promoting world class cuisine, a private butler service and unlimited long stretches of sandy white beaches to unwind and enjoy the Caribbean sun and surf.  Renowned world-wide as the resort made for love, Sandals Barbados creates experiences of exotic bliss and romance under blue skies and sunshine.

Sandals Barbados

The newly opened luxury resort in Barbados is amongst one of the world’s most popular locations for couples travelling to their honeymoon. Voted a ‘Top All-Inclusive Resort for Honeymoons’ it is apparent to see why it is such an admired destination for couples. Combined with lush green gardens and beautiful white sandy beaches, there are a range of luxury accommodations that offers spacious rooms or suites aptly named Love Nest Suites®.

Sandals Barbados

Fully equipped with all the mod-cons for lavish living and choices of being situated on cliff-tops overlooking the crystal blue sea, or unwinding with a cool drink by the sparkling sun-kissed pools – Sandals Barbados provides the ultimate indulgence for complete relaxation. However, if you are a couple that has a keen sense of adventure, then look no further with complimentary scuba-diving (for certified divers) to view the most spectacular encounters with nature through the vibrant coral reefs, or perhaps a spot of sailing, water-skiing or kayaking are all available right on your doorstep!

Sandals Barbados

So if you are after a piece of paradise that exhibits luxury on a grandeur scale then Sandals in Barbados is the place to be.  If you are planning your whole wedding and honeymoon here in this glorious destination, Sandals Barbados provides a supreme wedding package with their very own wedding planners to create your own unique wedding setting with a very personal and unique touch to what you want.

Sandals Barbados

Bride Icon has teamed with I Own Luxury to bring together luxury holidays and wedding services.  With over 10 years experience in the industry I Own Luxury is an establishment that brings luxuriant brands to luxuriant people.  Each member of I Own Luxury gains more than just deals and offers – they embrace an elegant lifestyle tailor made to their way of life.  I Own Luxury offers their members and organisations associated to them a premier service on the following:

* Holidays * Flights * Hotels * Bespoke fashion designers * Wedding services * Personal shopping assistance * Yachts & Super cars * Full chauffeur services * Close protection security services * Guest list and table services in top clubs, bars and restaurants plus loads more!

So book your holiday in Barbados today with I Own Luxury – and don’t forget to quote our special code IOL/BI 

Email address: info@iownlux.com
Website: www.iownlux.com
Contact number: 0203 504 1545

Sandals Barbados

Photos courtesy of I Own Luxury

iceland

The Natural Beauty of Iceland – Honeymoon Destination

icelandIceland has become a popular getaway destination in recent years, purely because of its stunning natural beauty and diversity of landscape. The Nordic experts over at Baltic Travel Company have put together a list of reasons why you have to visit Iceland.

The Northern Lights

Iceland’s placement on top of the world ensures that it’s the best place to catch a glance of the awe-inspiring Northern Lights. Most commonly seen from September until mid-April, it is one of the world’s most famous natural occurrences to view and only the lucky few get to have a full show of them.

 

 icelandThe Blue Lagoon

Set in the heart of the Icelandic landscape, the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is one of the most visited attractions in Iceland, and rightly so as it is quite magnificent with its aqua blue water and naturally high temperatures, guaranteed to relax you.

 The Icelandic Whales

Whale watching in Iceland is famous for the sheer fact that you are almost always guaranteed to spot one of these magnificent creatures off the coast of Reykjavik. There are many different tours which offer various different types of sightings dependent on how keen you are to see them.

The Roads

Famous for the vast open spaces and winding roads which go on for miles, curving around stunning natural landscape and rock formations. Iceland is a great place to hire a car and take a long road trip stopping off at different places as you go.

icelandThe Unusual Architecture

Iceland is special because of its unique, if slightly derelict feel. Heading into the famous town of Reykjavik, you will be immersed in brightly colored buildings and quaint little pubs filled with bustling locals. If you want to delve into local life, head down to the pubs to try one of Iceland’s fine craft beers.

The Wildlife

Not only are the whales a sight for sore eyes, but Iceland boasts some other amazing wildlife, such as Puffins, very pretty and colourful sea birds which can be found nesting on the edges of cliffs.  If you are lucky enough to get close enough to them you will notice the different patterns on their beaks which give them their unique look.

 

 IcelandThe Icelandic Glaciers

Just when you didn’t think Iceland could offer anything more, you find yourself immersed in its stunning glaciers. Known as the ‘Land of Ice & Fire’ because of the number of glaciers and volcanos within the country, Iceland really does offer it all. With over 10 different glaciers to visit, you may find it hard to narrow it down to the ones you want to see.

The Food

The cuisine of Iceland dates back for centuries, with key elements being lamb, dairy and fish, this is because of the vast amount of Ocean surrounding the country. Modern Icelandic food includes local ingredients such as salmon, trout, crowberry, Icelandic moss, wild mushrooms and an array of dairy products.

The Mountains

Much of the Icelandic landscape is consumed by mountains that even the most confident of mountaineers would find it a little daunting. With various breathtakingly beautiful types, some much larger and covering a lot more ground than others, you are spoilt for choice on hiking trails.

The Volcanos

One of the main reasons people visit this dramatic landscape is to witness one of more than 15 volcanos across the Icelandic landscape, with all of them offering varying looks and scales. Many are open to hikes whilst others are noted as too hazardous to get close to.

Find more details on www.baltictravelcompany.com

 

Cape Town

Things To Do Honeymooning in Cape Town

Cape Town

Cape TownCape Town is one of the most stunningly beautiful places on earth- so it’s no surprise that hundreds of newlyweds flock here each year. From its iconic and domineering Table Mountain, to its fantastic beaches and surf, there really is so much on offer in this wonderfully diverse City. The experts at Cape Portfolios have listed below their top must do & see things in Cape Town.

Visit the Cape Peninsula

Visiting the Cape Peninsula is a must to for anyone visiting the area who has a little more time on their hands, there are many tours you can book on which will take you to the main attractions of this dramatic coastline such as the famous Cape of Good Hope, Cape point and the fantastic Boulders beach home to the African penguin colony where you can get up and close to the wildlife. You can also do a self-drive tour if you want to spend a little longer in these areas.

cape town

Take a romantic visit to the Cape Winelands

If you’re a bit of a wine connoisseur and have enough time on your hands, why not head about an hour’s drive from Cape Town where lies the Cape Winelands, which you can either self-drive or take a guided tour. Some of the best vineyards in Cape Town are Tokara, Kanonkop, and Delaire Graff Estate. Located in the Constantia Valley, only about 20 minutes outside of Cape Town is the oldest wine producing estate in South Africa, Groot Constantia, which is definitely worth a visit for a romantic day out.

Cape Town Cable car up table mountain

Possibly one of the most popular attractions in Cape Town, and one if it’s most celebrated features is the iconic Table Mountain. The rocks of the mountain are approximately 600 million years old, and are 6 times older than the Himalayas. Whether you choose to climb the mountain, take the cable car, or appreciate it from afar, this is undoubtedly the most popular must do attraction in Cape Town.

cape townVisit the beautiful beaches

Cape Town is home to some of the most picturesque beaches in the world, each with their own unique advantages. The beaches along the False Bay coastline boast warm water and good swimming conditions; the Atlantic coast water is much colder but always gives off a spectacular turquoise glow. A few of the more popular beaches to visit are Milnerton Beach, Camps Bay Beach and Boulders Beach.

Enjoy the fantastic cuisine

Cape Town is known for its amazingly delicious and diverse cuisine. The South African cooking mainly consists of chicken, game, tomatoes, lemons and limes, as well as corn in form of breads and flour, beans as well as ginger, chili and spices. A few of the best restaurants to visit are The Pot Luck Club, The Hussar Grill Mouille Point & the Chefs Warehouse & Canteen.

Enjoy some evening Jazz

When once it thrived in the 50’s, Jazz is no longer limited to dark, Smokey basement clubs and is celebrated across the world. Cape Town jazz culture has become huge over the last decade and boasts a variety of jazz clubs and events, including the much anticipated annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival. A few of the best places to enjoy some authentic Jazz are The Alliance Française du Cap, The Piano Bar, Kaleidoscope Café all located in central Cape Town- perfect for a night out on the town as newlyweds.

Cape Town Go on a couples safari

The fabulous thing about this area is that it is just a stone’s throw away from the real Africa where you can see the wildlife in their natural habit- and there is nothing more spectacular than this we can assure you. There are many different safari tours and operators to choose from who will pick you up from your accommodation and take you to the various different safari areas.

Cape Town Visit Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

Cape Town’s tourism Centre is located within the fantastic harbour setting opposite Table Mountain, this is where the old historical harbour town meets modern shopping, fine dining and leisure. The V&A Waterfront’s stunning setting has been enticing visitors for years thanks to its status as Cape Town’s leading shopping and entertainment destination. When you visit be sure to watch the street performers and musicians which draw the crowds as well as bustling craft restaurants and markets.

Get to know South African history

If it’s a bit of historical digest you seek whilst in this authentic City, then you must head to Robben Island and the District Six Museum to explore South Africa’s period of apartheid, which came to an end in 1990. The award-winning community museum, District Six educates on the time when the ruling government declared the area ‘whites only’ and over 60,000 of its residents were forcibly taken from their homes.

Go swimming with sharks

Not for the faint hearted, but something that visitors love to try – Shark diving is a popular choice for many travelers to the area. South Africa has an incredibly diverse shark population with a quarter of the world’s shark species dwelling in South African waters. Many tour operators offer shark swimming tours, with them depending on how brave you feel as well as your swimming ability. Adrenalin junkies will want to journey to Gansbaii, the white shark capital of the world- perhaps you may want to watch whilst hubby takes the plunge!

Cape Town