Wedding Wednesday

Stunning views of Big Sur's cliffs can be seen throughout the property.

This week we’re taking a behind-the-scenes look at the Ventana Inn & Spa in Big Sur, which hosted billionaire Sean Parker’s nuptials this past weekend. Parker, of Napster and Facebook fame, wed singer-songwriter (and baby momma) Alexandra Lenas in a ceremony at the resort on June 1. Situated on more than 200 acres of picturesque oceanfront land, the property looks like a rustic cabin nestled in the woods — making it a gorgeous setting for a wedding. And Parker isn’t the first big-wig to notice that fact either: Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied tied the knot here last year (albeit in a much more low-key ceremony). Find out what makes Ventana so swoon-worthy — and get details on Parker’s $10 million wedding — after the jump »  Read More »

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The Standard appears to sprout right out of the West Village, making it perfect for the quintessential NYC couple.

On this Wedding Wednesday, we’re showing off our West Village neighbor, the luxe Standard New York from renowned hotelier Andre Balazs. Balazs capitalized on the popular, elevated High Line park that opened in the summer of 2009 when he debuted this feat of design prowess: His 338-room hotel is propped up on huge concrete stilts so that it straddles, and hovers above, the park. For this, the Standard has garnered the praise of architecture critics, who marvel at how, from inside the building, one seems to be floating in the air.

The interior design is just as striking as the architecture, featuring hip, modern furniture and open bathrooms with deep soaking tubs or huge rainfall showers which, surrounded by clear glass panes instead of shower curtains, create the impression of bathing beside the Hudson River. Plus, floor-to-ceiling windows offer stunning views of the city. (The windows also offer views from the outside in, making for some interesting exhibitionism, if couples are into that sort of thing.)

For a wedding, The Standard’s unique architecture makes for a truly one-of-a-kind ceremony. This is a dream location for the stylish couple (with deep pockets) looking to indulge in the impeccable, but laid-back, city-chicness that is the Standard. Possible ceremony and reception spaces include the High Line Room, which features a covered terrace overlooking High Line Park and the Hudson River, and a stunning, exclusive rooftop space (which might require that the happy couple have some celebrity connections). Still, service at the hotel is never stuffy, nor short of excellence. Check out more wedding inspired photos of The Standard New York here >> Read More »

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Built in 1900, this neoclassical mansion is the perfect place for a true Southern wedding.

The upscale, 48-room Mansion at Judges’ Hill is steeped in Southern history, making it an ideal spot for a wedding, darlin’. Housed in the neoclassical Goodall Wooten House — dating back to 1900 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places — the hotel combines old-fashioned charm with modern comforts. And the mansion, with its columned facade and wide veranda, looks like it was picked up from a storied estate and dropped on the residential street southwest of the University of Texas, just a 5-minute drive from downtown Austin, where it sits. The common areas maintain the elegance instituted by the entrance with hard-wood floors, coffered ceilings, white wainscoting, rich rugs, and original artwork. The library, a small room off the bar, is cozy, and the dining room features pretty crystal chandeliers. The rooms are perhaps a bit less impressive than the public spaces; they’re quaint, but not quite luxurious.

But for weddings, the Mansion pulls out all of the stops. The staff, which has coordinated many a wedding in the past, is dedicated to making the bride and groom as relaxed as possible on the big day. They assist couples with menu planning, ceremony and reception set-up, and ceremony personalization so you’ll leave your own stamp on the Mansion’s grand backdrop. There are eight reception sites available, the most popular being the grand ballroom (seats 50 to 250 guests), the Goodall Wooten House (seats 50 guests), and the central courtyard. See more wedding-inspired photos of the Mansion at Judge’ Hill here »  Read More »

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The pool area is an inviting, romantic spot ready to be transformed into a picturesque reception site.

Owned by the same couple for decades, the historic Gallery Inn is a charming boutique hotel in Old San Juan, perfect for an intimate exchanging of “I dos.” Run like an informal B&B, guests at the Gallery Inn are greeted by name, much of what the restaurant serves is grown in the garden, and no two rooms are the same (though they do share lots of Spanish-style charm). But also like a B&B, the hotel lacks amenities such as TVs and a fitness center. The property’s main draws include the convenient Old San Juan location, ocean views from the wine deck, and the artsy, laid-back feel. The pool is also a picturesque spot: Built around ancient walls that have stood on the property for hundreds of years and featuring two water falls, the space is utterly unique. The innkeepers are both artists, and it’s evident they put thought into every detail of the restoration — expect beautiful old-world details like brick floors, wood beam ceilings, rich rugs, sculptures, and antique knickknacks.

Weddings at The Gallery Inn are as unique as this eclectic property. The inn’s dramatic spaces — including the candlelit Sunken Wedding Garden, panoramic rooftop deck, and Ventian-style music room — serve as the romantic backdrops for wedding parties. Weddings held here can be intimate affairs of just ten people or large parties of 150 guests (though with just 26 rooms on-site, some attendees will have to seek lodging elsewhere). An on-site event coordinator will aid couples in customizing a menu, arranging table settings, and selecting florists, photographers, and musicians. Check out more wedding inspired photos of The Gallery Inn here »

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This romantic boutique in California's Sonoma County is perfect for an intimate — and luxe — exchange of "I dos."

The Kenwood Inn and Spa is an award-winning boutique that’s a popular spot for tying the knot. Located in Sonoma County, the hotel evokes Tuscan charm from every nook and cranny: Lush gardens, European-style courtyards, and exquisite fountains and pools provide gorgeous backdrops for a wedding, and the 29 private and spacious rooms, individually decorated with romantic Mediterranean-inspired decor, are furnished with cozy fireplaces, quality Italian linens, oversized showers, and personal balconies (some with stunning vineyard views). Extensive freebies (such as in-room drinks and gourmet snacks), plush robes, and an ultra-luxurious spa help ensure that guests feel pampered — particularly important for the bride before her big day. The hotel’s restaurant serves local cuisine using ingredients from nearby ranchers, cheesemongers, and farmers, meaning a delicious feast is in store for all of your wedding attendees. Overall, it’s one of the most romantic boutique picks in Sonoma Wine Country.

The hotel is extremely well-equipped to help couples plan their nuptials, offering the ideal setting for everything from intimate gatherings to fairytale-like receptions for up to 100 guests. An on-site wedding coordinator will help design your unique experience at one of four venues: the lovely Centro Court, the large Pool Courtyard, the intimate Wine Bar, or the Tuscany Room. In addition, treatments at the hotel’s award-winning spa can be arranged in advance (the hotel is known for its vinotherapy services) and menu tastings with the hotel’s executive chef, pastry chef, and sommelier will assure every dish tastes delicious. For more wedding-inspired photos of the Kenwood Inn & Spa, click here »
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The Red Inn in Cape Cod is a lovely spot for a beachy New England wedding just as fall approaches.

The Red Inn is where history meets luxury in the Provincetown area of Cape Cod. A local hot spot thanks to a delicious seafood restaurant, the inn draws visitors from far and wide looking to get hitched in a cozy beachside locale. Even Franklin Delano Roosevelt saw fit to visit this tranquil spot. The rooms — of  which there are only eight — have upscale, beach-chic decor, and some offer romantic fireplaces. But all of them exude a touch of whimsy and romance, with expansive decks overlooking the water.

Couples can choose to wed in the gardens, on the waterside deck, or in any space of the inn’s intimate interiors. Staff can coordinate tent rentals, floral arrangements, musicians, cake design, and menu customization. They have a good selection of vendors they’ve worked with in the past, but couples can bring in their own choice of vendors as well. Just remember that because of The Red Inn’s small size and legitimate cool factor, it tends to sell out fast, so book early (especially if you want your bridal party to be able to stay at the hotel). Check out more wedding-inspired photos of The Red Inn here »
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This beachfront gazebo at the Grotto Bay Beach Resort in Bermuda is the perfect place to exchange intimate "I dos."

For an intimate destination wedding, Bermuda’s Grotto Bay Beach Resort is an excellent option. With lush grounds and enchanting grottos, the property provides a beautiful natural backdrop for a blissful ceremony — without busting the budget. Unlike many other properties on this island outpost, the hotel’s room rates are affordable, especially considering the bevy of amenities guests can indulge in: a private beach with a shipwreck dive site just off the coast, three restaurants featuring excellent local fare, and a quaint, island-style spa. Rooms may be small and a bit dated, but they all feature private balconies with stunning ocean views.

In addition to the gazebo seen here, couples can choose to wed on the hotel’s lawn overlooking the water, or directly on the beach. The hotel will set up an aisle and wedding arch, as well as provide a one-tier wedding cake and two bottles of bubbly for the bridal party. Music, floral, and photography arrangements are available, but are not included in Grotto Bay’s standard wedding packages – allowing for customization, but also tacking on extra fees. But no matter what you choose, this venue is a beautiful — and affordable — choice if you’re considering tying the knot on Bermuda’s pink sandy beaches (and you should). Check out more wedding-inspired photos of Grotto Bay here »

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Rotunda at the Pierre

An Iconic Affair: The Rotunda at the Pierre.

Hosting a wedding on a near weekly basis, The Pierre has extensive experience with nuptials. The iconic hotel offers six lavish venues for the ceremony and reception — including the beautiful Salon, complete with rotunda and trompe de l’oeil paintings. It’s no wonder that celebs such as actress Mary Tyler Moore, journalist Barbara Walters, and reality star Ramona Singer have said “I do” at the hotel. Offering a taste of classic New York grandeur, The Pierre boasts top-notch accommodations and exceptional white-glove service, so be prepared — weddings at The Pierre do not come cheap.

Thankfully, inspiration comes free. Indoor wedding venues, such as The Pierre, are often expensive, but couples can tie the knot in certain areas of Central Park — right across the street from the hotel — for a lot less. Or if you don’t want to risk the possibility of rain on your big day, have a friend take cute photos of you and your honey in the park for your ”Save the Date” notes; this will save you some cash so you can splurge on a ceremony at The Pierre. After all, few hotels in New York City have more experience – or more class — than the gorgeous neo-Georgian hotel.  See more wedding-inspired photos of The Pierre here » Read More »

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Balcony at the Piedra Room at Nautra Cabanas

A Hammock for Two on the Balcony of Natura Cabana's Piedra Room.

For the laid-back, eco-friendly couple, the Dominican Republic’s Natura Cabanas is an ideal boutique resort for a destination wedding or honeymoon. Located on a gorgeous private beach (one of the best on the north coast), this intimate property consists of just ten eco-sensitive bungalows located inside a safe, gated community. Wedding guests will most likely want to come a few days early in order to enjoy the excellent, fresh food, daily yoga and Pilates classes overlooking the ocean, and fabulous spa. The hotel definitely has a bit of a rustic vibe — after all, there are no TVs or ACs in the rooms [Ed. note: So no excuse for "cold feet"!] – but that’s the point at this family-run affair. Weddings can accommodate  up to 70 people and are quite affordable. Couples can opt to wed either on the beach or in the “yoga temple,” which offers great views and some relief from the Dominican sun. For food, which is always above-par at Natura Cabanas, couples can choose between an international or Dominican buffet, with various beverage options. Plus, the resort can take care of all the little details as well, from decorating the honeymoon suite with flowers and champagne to arranging hair, make-up, and mani/pedis at the spa. Check out more wedding-inspired photos of Natura Cabanas now »

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Gazebo at The Kahala Hotel and Resort

The Diamond Head Gazebo at the Kahala Hotel and Resort fits 150 guests. The Koko Head, located nearby, can fit 300.

When done right, there’s nothing better than a destination wedding: The gorgeous scenery, unique setting, and vacation-like vibe will stay with your guests well past the walk down the aisle (no matter how much they indulge in the post-nuptial cocktail hour). And if you have your eye on Hawaii, few places do a better job than the Kahala Hotel and Resort in Oahu. A celebrity retreat since 1964, the Kahala might be the best hotel on the island, with a more ”laid-back luxe” than “pretentious glitz” vibe that will help to calm your nerves before the big day. Plus, the hotel can handle everything for the bride and groom — photographers and videographers, musicians, decorations, and food can all be arranged by the on-site wedding manager — with your input, of course. Additional fees do add up if you choose to bring in ”non-recommended” vendors, but with a gorgeous ceremony location at spots like this beachfront gazebo, your wedding photos will be breathtaking. The Kahala’s Kissing Point, however, may be the most picturesque spot to snap a shot. Check out more wedding-inspired photos at the Kahala now »

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