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Shambhala Byron Bay – Finding A Special Place

by | Destinations, Honeymoons

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Francesca
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COMMENTS

Shambhala is a special place. A mythical kingdom that only those with the power, desire, or belief can find. Sounds like love doesn’t it?

2 550x269 Shambhala Byron Bay Finding A Special Place

Byron Bay may not be the typical honeymoon choice of many, and that is what makes it so ideal. The laidback, loved up nature of the people, the spakling scenery, the happy vibes are all there – without the inflated tourist chic and sparkling facades of so many honeymoon resorts.

3 550x269 Shambhala Byron Bay Finding A Special Place

Located a fifteen minute walk along the white sand of Byron’s Main Beach, on to Belongil Beach, east of the town is Shambhala Byron Bay, a beautifully designed collection of four apartments in a rainforest meets beach paradise. In terms of its offering it is somewhere between a rental and a resort, without the connotations that the latter implies. There’s a small gym, a yoga studio, sauna, steam room, and Jasmine, the owner, designer, and clear lover of the place, has paid careful attention to ensuring that all a honeymooning couple’s needs are met.

Well, not all…

The air is certainly relaxing here. Designed around the basic principles of feng shui no doubt has a calming and content effect. If it all sounds a bit wishy washy, it’s worth considering what the core of feng shui is. Using and working with space and energy to allow its inhabitants and the place they inhabit to flourish. A home, hotel, workplace, or any physical form should enhance life, not threaten it, and so the right layout and materials give people the best support – ideal when starting a new life!

Cabana Dining 1 550x269 Shambhala Byron Bay Finding A Special Place

1 550x269 Shambhala Byron Bay Finding A Special Place

Besides, it looks beautiful. Jasmine’s ‘interest in all elements of design, from the ‘esotoric’ to the practical’ is evident. It literally is a treehouse, as in a house in the trees, leafs and foliage spreading around, the whisper and rustle in the leaves in harmony with the ocean only metres away. A private gate to the beach leads you on to the stretch of sand that leads east towards Byron and right towards the National Park. Stones line the walkways, water trickles through, and sweeping metal curves guide without being glaring. Buddhist statues, rose quartz and amethyst guide the way, lit at night and infusing with the scent of incense. Elevated boardwalks lead you from one part to another, each able to exist uniquely and being a retreat in itself, but also working harmoniously.

The metaphors for marriage come thick and fast here…

Timber staircases connect the inside to the outside, the upstairs to the downstairs, in wonderfully natural linkage of changing textures and scenes that enhance creativity. It’s seamless, outdoors becomes indoors, and as you wander barefoot, padding the wood, feeling the environment, you see and flow through it all. Despite it all being part of a rhythmic whole, there is space and privacy and it’s rare to hear or see other guests.

Shambhala3 550x412 Shambhala Byron Bay Finding A Special Place

There are four cottages at Shambhala, each with Sanskrit names. The two bed Shanti, which in Sanskrit translates as rest, peace, calmness – and bliss. The largest space, Sarita, means flowing. Firey and independent Shiva inspired the name of the solo apartment. The one bedroom two storey Samadhi, the name being a Sanskrit term that refers to a higher level of concentrated meditation resulting in a state of bliss, truth and wholeness, coming from the word sam, meaning ‘together.’ Daybeds on which to snuggle, decks on which to chat, each space is created for a purpose and fulfils that purpose with zen.

Shambhala is romantic, heavenly, a place to be and feel. But it’s stylish rather than schmaltzy, a unique chic and contemporary elegance combined with its use of the surroundings.

Shambhala is also available for vacations, retreats, and general getaways.

Images via Shambhala

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Ms Gingham says: Doesn’t this look like a peaceful paradise? 

About Francesca: Francesca Baker is a freelance writer currently wandering the world with her eyes wide open and scribbling about. Partial to music, reading, culture, walking, cycling, wine, crazy events, smiling, and life, you can read her musings here and follow her on twitter.

Karla and Corey’s Vanuatu Destination Wedding

by | Honeymoons, Inspired Destination Weddings, Inspired Weddings

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Polka Dot Bride
0
COMMENTS

inspired destination wedding027 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

Karla & Corey

When Karla and Corey chose Vanuatu for their destination wedding, they surprised their guests by not having a “traditional” wedding and rather, chose to make a holiday out of it. The incredible backdrop that the islands of Vanautu provided served as the backdrop for their wedding day as captured by Kellee Walsh.

Of how they met, Karla tells, “We met in high school. I didn’t understand what the fuss was all about when this guy from QLD started school in Yr 9 and some girls had a crush on him. 3 years later, I caught on.”

inspired destination wedding003 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding005 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

The couple’s stationery was designed and made by The Wanderlust Creative. Karla remembering, “My closest friend designed our wedding invitation, that was a generous gift.”

inspired destination wedding006 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding008 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

Karla’s strapless wedding gown was made by Heidi Johansen, Karla recalls ,”I designed my dress and the dress maker used her grandmother’s wedding dress lace and used it on my dress, she also embroidered our wedding date inside my dress.”

inspired destination wedding011 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

Karla and Corey were married at Cathedrale du Sacre Coeur, Port Vila, Vanuatu. Karla tells, “The church was a little tricky to research – as google images could only supply so much images of churches in the city. We were limited with Catholic churches, as we wanted to transport our family and friends as comfortable as possible so that was easy for us to eliminate.”

inspired destination wedding012 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

Karla walked down the aisle with the couple’s son Bailey to a song played by a friend. She tells, “Our Friend, Jason Macdonald (Corey’s Music TAFE friend in high school) sang and played the guitar for us. He did an acoustic version of “Follow” by Sevendust (one of our favourite bands since high school – a surprise from me to Corey.) It was beautiful to see Corey, holding back his tears when he saw me and our son Bailey (who gave me away).”

inspired destination wedding013 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding014 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

Fr. Diosdado Haber performed the ceremony, Karla telling, “ We flew our family priest so he could conduct the traditional Filipino ceremony.”

inspired destination wedding015 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding016 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding018 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding019 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding021 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding023 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

Of their photographer, Karla tells, “Kellee is one of the best storytellers. I was star struck to actually meet her and have her capture our fine day!”

inspired destination wedding024 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding025 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding026 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

Making the most of Vanautu’s natural wonders, Karla and Corey had wedding photos taken at Mele Cascades, walking there after the ceremony. Karla remarking, “‘I wanted something different with our wedding images so I suggested why not walk all the way to Mele Cascades waterfalls. Kellee was a trooper and risked her precious camera equipment as we walked up to the waterfall! (it was such a great and memorable experience) I didn’t mind getting the wedding dress dirty, You only wear it once, Right?! ”

inspired destination wedding030 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding031 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding032 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding034 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding035 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

The couple added traditional Vanautu customs to their day, Karla telling, “We had the traditional church ceremony in the morning and we wanted to do a destination wedding appropriate theme! What better way than to have a lagoon blessing. Swapped the veil for a lei and arrive in style on a canoe! With the Conch shell horn being blown across both ends of the lagoon (where Corey was and another “Chief” that steered the boat! I wanted flowers trailing from the tree to jazz up the lagoon. With petals trailing (it was supposed to be tossed, but never happened!) Local flowers were used and created by Kim from Rhizome Flowers.

inspired destination wedding037 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding040 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding041 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding042 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding043 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding045 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding046 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding048 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding049 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

Most of the wedding, including the reception and accommodation took place at Holiday Inn, Port Vila, Vanuatu. Karla telling, “It was meant to be a holiday for my Mum’s 60th Birthday – and we hi-jacked it) It took less than 6 months of research and Skype to get my idea across! (it’s something they’ve never done before) And I work in the wedding industry, so I wanted to make sure I wanted to make the most of things while being realistic with resources at the same time.”

inspired destination wedding062 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

The reception was decorated by candlelight, provided by Karla who explains, “I took advantage of everyone’s hand carry(on) and made them carry the hanging glass votives from Sydney to Vanuatu! (and I gave them as a gift to the events co-ordinator and I told her, I don’t want them coming back to Sydney!) It will be a first for them to have such an amazing prop for future events! ”

inspired destination wedding050 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding063 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

A fun take on the traditional guest book was using Jenga blocks, Karla telling, “We used Jenga blocks for our family and friends to write on instead of guest books – It’s more fun! (we just couldn’t imagine whipping out a guest book and reading it over and over again) At least family and friends get to play Jenga to entertain themselves!”

inspired destination wedding051 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

“We wanted everyone to eat together, so they made it possible to have a large, banquet style seating arrangement with no table placings. It was “First in, best dressed” approach on seating! Kids were thrown on a separate dining table so they could all run amuck! An advantage of just having family and friends to your destination wedding – you can give them the shortest notice if there are any changes made! (like we told them over dinner that the bus will be ready at 8:30am for a 9am ceremony!)”

inspired destination wedding053 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding054 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

“We wanted it as easy and laid back as possible. (It was a first for some to go overseas and sometimes the climate was a shock to them). We weren’t fans of “Formalities” it’s just FAMILY!”

inspired destination wedding055 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding056 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding059 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding061 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding065 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

inspired destination wedding066 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

Of their first dance, Karla recalls, “Our first dance was sung by my Brother-in law’s sister and Jason. “Without you” – Brooke Fraser We didn’t want people watching us dance the entire song, so we invited everyone else to dance along with their partners and kids.”

inspired destination wedding067 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

“As part of the RSVP – we asked for guests to dedicate “LOVE songs” to take control of our reception music – BOY did we get a mixture of songs! We decided not to have any bridal party – as we wanted ALL FAMILY members and Friends involved in the wedding!”

inspired destination wedding068 Karla and Coreys Vanuatu Destination Wedding

Congratulations on your marriage Karla and Corey! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you also to Kellee Walsh for sharing today’s wedding!

Photographer: Kellee Walsh / Bride’s Dress: Heidi Johansen / Bride’s Shoes: Ozsale / Bride’s Jewelry: Mum's earrings (heirloom) / Groom’s Attire: Gibson / Hairstylist: Dextrous / Makeup Artist: Dextrous / Flowers & Decor: Rhizome / Styling & Coordination: Janelle Tokon, Holiday Inn, Port Vila / Invitations & Stationery: The Wanderlust Creative / Ceremony Venue: Cathedrale du Sacre Coeur, Port Vila, Vanuatu / Ceremony Officiant: Fr. Diosdado Haber (Family priest based in Sydney) / Ceremony Musicians: Jason McDonald / Reception Venue: Holiday Inn, Port Vila, Vanuatu / Cake Baker: Au Peche Mignon / Wedding Rings: MY TIN Jewellers (02 9724 3331) / Transport: Evergreen Vanuatu

The Floating City: Venice

by | Destinations, Honeymoons

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ms Chevron
1
COMMENT

Venice Honeymoon1854 The Floating City: Venice

Ever since I saw The Tourist I have wanted to go to Venice. There is something appealing about a city built entirely of islands separated by winding canals yet linked together by footbridges.

What I didn’t envisage for our day trip to the floating city was that a marathon would be on. That meant no public transport, expensive taxis, and an unfortunate incident on the ferry (note: always ask where to validate your ferry ticket, regardless if you’re told to just ‘hop on the boat’). Nevertheless, after an eventful morning, we dropped our luggage at the hotel and headed into San Marco to a festive crowd, sweaty runners, and bountiful gondoliers willing to negotiate their price for a ride.

Venice Honeymoon1851 The Floating City: Venice

We wound our way through the masses, over footbridges, and into a number of shops with offerings of glass blown figurines and venetian masks. Some of the masks were so delicate that you’d be better posting one home than risking it in your suitcase. We did try a thick slice of amazing caramel nougat, whilst fending off the nearby pigeons. Those things are relentless!

Venice Honeymoon1853 The Floating City: Venice

Venice Honeymoon1852 The Floating City: Venice

Venice Honeymoon1855 The Floating City: Venice

I was advised by a number of friends to simply ‘get lost’ in Venice. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly enjoy being lost. However, I took their advice onboard, and we wandered aimlessly. Venice is laid out similar to the Yin and Yang symbol, with San Polo the ‘yin’ and San Marco the ‘yang’. The Grand Canal runs through the middle of them, with the Rialto Bridge being the main crossing from one side to the other. Once you have this picture in mind, then it’s not too hard to determine your position if keeping close to the Grand Canal.

After watching the last leg of the marathon for a bit, we decided to head back to our accommodation – the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice, located on Giudecca. This place oozes service before you even check in. For starters, they were kind enough to hold our luggage whilst we explored Venice in the morning. They offer a complimentary shuttle boat for hotel guests to/from St. Marks Square (San Zaccaria) and to/from “Zattere” – this was extremely helpful and we made use of the service a few times. Once we arrived, doors were held open to greet us and our bags were brought to our room at no additional charge. It’s these small things that make your time just that little bit more special.

Venice Honeymoon1858 The Floating City: Venice

We had been travelling for three weeks by the time we reached Venice, so were desperately seeking a massage to erase the long flight and foreign beds. Hilton Molino Stucky just so happened to have a spa onsite, and lucky for us, had a special offer for 2 hours complimentary use of the sauna, steam room, and spa, along with your massage…. ahhh, pure bliss. Sometimes, it is very worthwhile having an incredible hotel – the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice was one of those times.

Venice Honeymoon1857 The Floating City: Venice

Venice Honeymoon1859 The Floating City: Venice

Venice Honeymoon1856 The Floating City: Venice

There was nothing that I could fault at this hotel – everything from the spacious bathroom to the ridiculously comfortable bed, the homely lounge area to the gourmet breakfast the next morning. Not only would I recommend staying at the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice, but I would choose to stay there again myself. Our last evening in Venice proved memorable as night fell with Venetian lights dancing over the Grand Canal as we sipped on cocktails. Perhaps it was a little movie-like after all.

Images by Ms Chevron and Hilton Molino Stucky Venice

 Swirl divider102 The Floating City: Venice

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