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Amsterdam A Romantic City

by | Destinations, Honeymoons


Chloe van der Werf

Amsterdam, the Dutch capital. This city is like no other city I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. From the moment you step out of Schiphol airport and take a 20 min car ride (buses and trains are also available) to the city you will understand what I mean. Now, you may have the view that Amsterdam isn’t a very romantic city but push what you have heard/read aside for a few mere moments to let me show you what it can offer.

Amsterdam is made up of Golden Age canals, parks and seventeenth-century buildings and a mind-boggling number of push bikes. Push bikes are the local’s and tourist’s alike main mode of transport. Amsterdam is rather flat other than the curve of the bridges that cross what feels like an infinite number of canals, so bike riding is a breeze not to mention a great and cheap way to sight see. Picture you and your new spouse riding side by side down cobblestone lane ways and winding your way through lush flower and tree-lined parks. You will have no problem finding a shop to hire your bikes from. Just ensure you always lock your bikes up as theft does occur.

With all the exercising you will surely work up a thirst and hunger and Amsterdam will not disappoint. Cafes, restaurants and bars line the cobblestone streets and many overlook the canals where boats spilling with friendly locals and sightseers float on by.

The Bloemenmarkt is a must see if you love all things flowery. These flower markets are the only floating flower markets in the world and are conveniently located in the city centre. I suggest grabbing yourself a beverage and strolling through the markets as soon as they open as to avoid the crowds and you will really be able to take in the amazing aroma on a crisp early morning. While you are there, drop in to one or maybe all of the cheese shops that lay opposite to the market.

Want to learn a little about Amsterdam and Holland’s history? Why not visit the Anne Frankhuis or for a theatrical experience covering 500 years of Amsterdam’s horrible history, check out The Amsterdam Dungeon (word of warning, you may be chosen as a member of the cast!).

The city has many parks to lounge about in and they are perfect for a romantic picnic. Load up your picnic basket with some local cheeses and wine and head to Vondelpark, 47-hectares of english style gardens complete with ponds, footbridges, sculptures and meandering paths. Or if you want to picnic and people watch, Museumplein Square is the place to be, where dogs frolic and people kick about a soccer ball. This large grassy square is surrounded by famous museums such as the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Museum. While you are there check out the famous I AMSTERDAM sign located at the back of the Rijksmuseum. (Hint: The morning or late evening is the best time to see this sign as there are less tourists).

You don’t have to venture indoors to find amazing art in Amsterdam. Graffiti, stencils, stickers and sculpture to name a few can be seen on show around the city. Venture down some of the smaller unknown alleyways to find some real gems!

The city really comes alive in the late afternoon and evening, and it’s no wonder as during the Summer months the sun doesn’t set until 9-10pm. Bars and restaurants spring to life as the sun begins to set and you will be sure to find a place to wind down for the day whatever your mood.

After dinner a private canal cruise and a few glasses of wine or maybe some champagne could be on the cards. Once the sun goes down the city really begins to twinkle. As the many street lamps and lights from the buildings bounce light off the water of the canals, it really is a magical time to see the city and ever so romantic.

Amsterdam isn’t short on accommodation, no matter your budget or taste. Expedia is a great sites to get amazing deals and honest reviews. AirBnB is also a good site to find quirky and cute private accommodation for a longer stay.

Image credits: Talitha Crawford and Chloe van der Werf

Shannon & Joss’ Bohemian Destination Wedding In Greece

by | Honeymoons, Inspired Destination Weddings, Inspired Weddings, Location Europe


Polka Dot Bride

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Shannon & Joss

True to their spirits, Shannon and Joss chose a bohemian destination wedding in Greece for their nuptials. Their love of the water and of the sun led them to invite their closest family and friends for a very special celebration in Santorini.  Chris Spira Photography was there to capture the week’s festivities as they unfolded!

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Shannon tells, “I (Shannon) designed, printed and sewed our invitations which consisted of simply an anchor and our initials on the front and details on the inside of the card (in blue) on kraft paper. I sewed a little detail on the cards with twine & ivory cotton. Within our favors we included printed & sewn cards that read ‘there are tall ships, small ships, ships that sail the sea… but the best ships are friendships, may they always be’ as well as printed on fabric our surprise invitations to the boat cruise the following day, tied with twine as a scroll with little anchor charms.”

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Shannon tells, “One of my best friends is a hair stylist- so Cassie from True Vanity did my hair on the day. My bridesmaids helped me with my makeup which was all MAC products bought over from home.”

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The Babushka Ballerina created Shannon’s gown, she remembers, “I had my gown made by The Babushka Ballerina in Brisbane (QLD, Australia) I had a cropped bustier bodice with a satin and chiffon skirt in ivory & with a two metre extended train. I always loved the idea of having a cropped bodice. A little less formal, a little bit fun and it fit the boho brief I was going for.”

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Shannon and Joss chose Marizan Caves, Oia, Santorini for their wedding ceremony.

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Shannon telling, “Joss has a very strong connection with the ocean and I (Shannon) have always loved the bohemian style. We wanted to effortlessly combine the two to create a casual ceremony.  Our groomsmen with the help of the Staff at Marizan set up our simple ceremony. We didn’t use personal decorations for the reception dinner, but Bronte had it all beautifully lit by candlelight. We re-used some of our ceremony decorations for the boat which included antique alcohol bottles we found at a local op-shop back here in oz filled with wildflowers.”

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Fabio Zardi created the floral arrangements, Shannon remembers. “Everything was done by email and they were so great in advising what flowers could be sourced and appropriate for the climate. We wanted bohemian, romantic, effortless with a cool palette. They used lavender, daisies, million stars, blue stars & more among wheat and millet. Flowers I had never heard of before, nor seen locally. It felt risky but it was worth it, it was the most beautiful bouquet I have ever seen.”

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Shannon’s bridesmaids wore different cream dresses while the groom wore Wayne Cooper . Shannon notes, “We wanted to keep the guys quite casual. Joss wore navy Chino’s by Wayne Cooper and a long sleeve white linen shirt.”

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As the suns set, the couple adjourned to  Katharos Lounge at Katharos Beach for a private dinner noting, “We found our reception venue whilst casually looking at venues over Facebook – Katharos Lounge was our dinner reception venue. We booked a private table and selected many shared tapas plates. Bronte (owner and chef) and I discussed the menu via email & confirmed the day prior. The food was beyond outstanding! And was a great way for our guests to try lots of foods they hadn’t eaten before. We had an open bar and the crew made delicious cocktails all night. We had a table with a perfect sunset & the bar supplied great jazz/soul music which made way for some sexy dancing!! Was a very memorable experience! ”

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But day two held even more in store for the guests of this special wedding – a surprise cruise on the Bella Aurora! Shannon explains, “Our guest favours included the card, fabric invitation to the surprise cruise as well as a little Santorini donkey souvenir we picked up the day prior from the street stalls. We also used the two days prior, equipped with a 4 wheeler, took Polaroid pictures from all over the island and popped them in the little white bags as well.”

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Lixoudis Bakery created a beautiful wedding cake, Shannon telling, ” We used Lixoudis bakery in Fira for our wedding cake. Vasiliki answered my emails promptly and everything was easy. As I was indecisive on the flavours & style, she encouraged we visit her within the 2 days we had prior. So glad we did – we taste tested the Greek sponge and end of story. We had a three tier nude chocolate/vanilla sponge with cream & fresh strawberry filling. Vasiliki had our consult and wedding with delivery booked in even though we weren’t able to wire her a deposit beforehand.

The delivery to the boat was prompt before we arrived & I cannot speak more highly of the service! We used a wooden cake topper which had engraved our first initials separated by an anchor which we found from the Etsy store Timberandstitch. And two engraved spoons created by ‘House Of Bec’ scouted from instagram that read ‘You me and the Sea’ and ‘Joss & Shannon Greece, 2014’ ”

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Congratulations Shannon and Joss! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you also to Chris Spira Photography for sharing today’s wedding with us!

Photographer: Chris Spira Photography / Bride’s Dress: The Babushka Ballerina / Bride’s Shoes: Forever Soles / Groom's Attire: Navy Chino’s by Wayne Cooper / Flowers: Fabio Zardi / Ceremony Venue: Marizan Caves, Oia, Santorini / Reception Venue: Katharos Lounge at Katharos Beach / Boat Cruise: Bella Aurora / Cake Baker: Lixoudis Bakery / Cake Topper: Timberandstitch / Engraved Spoons: House Of Bec / Engagement Ring: Greg Riddleston of the ‘Gem Shack' / Hairstylist: Cassie from True Vanity

New Zealand Honeymoon Getaway – South Island

by | Destinations, Honeymoons


Chloe van der Werf

The South Island of New Zealand is absolutely breathtaking. As I sit here listening to the rain on my tin roof, finally a respite from the heat, I think back to the near month I spent in New Zealand many years ago and the beauty of this island is still fresh in my mind.

The island is made up of many gorgeous lakes, glaciers and awe-inspiring mountains. Not to mention the lush rainforests and rolling pastures where lambs frolic.

One of my dream honeymoon locations is tucked away amongst the rugged snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps, where the lodge lay on the shore of Lake Wakatipu. Blanket Bay Lodge celebrates the fine art of pure relaxation. But how could you not be relaxed in such a magical location?

Blanket Bay offers couples the ultimate all-inclusive honeymoon package. It features five nights in your choice of the luxury lodge or chalet suite. Upon arrival you’ll both be greeted with flowers and Amisfield Arcadia Methode Traditionelle. Breakfast will be served to you each morning and a five-course dinner in the evenings. On an evening that you fancy you’ll both enjoy a private candlelit dinner that will be served in the exclusive Wine Cave. One lunch is also included on a day of your choice.

Blanket Bay also caters to guests that enjoy a bit of adrenaline. Trekking, skiing, heli-skiing, jet boating, kayaking, fishing, horse riding, trips to the world-famous Milford Sound and 4WD tours just to name a few.

Now if this doesn’t quite cut it Blanket Bay has designed an over the top honeymoon picnic edition (at an additional cost). A helicopter will collect you both from the lawn of Blanket Bay and usher you off to a choice of spectacular mountaintop locations all overlooking Lake Wakatipu for an incredibly romantic and memorable gourmet champagne picnic.

When you have finished either a romantic and relaxing day at the lodge or back from an exhilarating adventure a games room, heated pool, Wine Cave, Lake View Dining Room, open fire place or at Blanket Bay’s Spa will be waiting for you on return.

Whether you want to lounge around reading by an open fireplace overlooking the lake and surrounding snow-capped mountains or get out and about and get your adrenaline pumping, you’ll both be sure to have an unforgettable time on your New Zealand honeymoon getaway.

Images provided by Blanket Bay

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