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Images via Central, photographed by Ken Motohasi

So you’re known by your friends as the couple who knows a thing or two about food? When you go somewhere new, are you looking to try a culinary experience second to none? Well, we sure do have a treat that will set your love for food to a whole new level.

Indulge in a foodie’s dream honeymoon and set your sights on some of the world’s best restaurants. We’ve got the scoop on two worldly menus that will not disappoint.

Central – Peru 

Central Restaurant is located in Lima, Peru and is where you’ll find unique ingredients coupled with culture, tradition and history. Follow a journey from below sea level to sky high with produce reflective of Peru’s gastronomy in recent years. Your meal will take you through up to sixteen ecosystems found within Peru.

Taste exotic vegetables, fruits and herbs that you wouldn’t come across in other parts of the globe. What is more, Central is listed as the 5th best restaurant in the world and chef Virgilio Martinez was featured on Netflix’s Chefs Table series.

Images via Central, photographed by César del Rio

Mugaritz – Spain

Coming in at number seven of the world’s best restaurants is Mugaritz in Gipuzkoa, Spain. It’s only a twenty minute drive from the resort town of San Sebastian and is the perfect place for a honeymoon feast.

Images via Mugaritz, photography by Jose Luis Lopez de Zubiria

The experience at Mugaritz is completely unique. You’ll enjoy a tasting menu of 20 creations that will awaken your senses not only to exceptional taste but to new aromas, textures and flavours. And if you’re lucky and your timings right, Chef Andoni invites 10 lucky diners in the month of April to taste the new seasons menu before it is released to the public.

Both Central and Mugaritz are a dream experience for any foodie, check them off your global hit list and take your culinary experiences to new heights.

Ms Zebra: Any foodie will love the experience of either of these incredible restaurants! Thanks Bec for the hot tips!

About Bec Lawrence: I’m an animal lover, sustainability advocate and natural landscape enthusiast. On a good weekend, you’ll find me hiking with my two adorable beagles and my equally adorable husband.

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Charlene & Leon

I don’t think, this Wednesday, that we could be sharing a wedding more full of colour, more full of culture and more full of community than Charlene & Leon’s. There are no less than three beautiful wedding gowns, 253 (yes, that’s Guinness World Record breaking!) flowergirls and 600 witnesses to the vows unfolding,

These two Aussies even kept a little nod to home, inviting photographer Sunlit Studios and cinematographer Lemon Tree Film House asking them to capture their day that not only celebrated Japan, but their own life together.

These two met while at university! Charlene sharing “We both lived in an off-campus accommodation site for Brisbane university students. I lived downstairs and he lived upstairs across a courtyard. We could communicate with our light switches!”

Leon decided to pop the question on the couple’s anniversary. “We were celebrating our seventh anniversary in Yakushima” remembers the bride. “A beautiful rainforest island in Japan. After hours of trekking, we entered the cave-like remains of a huge 3000-year-old tree called Wilson’s Stump. Looking up from the interior to the sky, the outline of the trunk naturally forms the shape of a heart. We stood there looking up in awe while rain poured down on us. We were soaking wet but we didn’t care. At that moment, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him!”

Although a Guinness World Record was underway, for Charlene and Leon, this wedding was more about community than record-breaking, in the bride’s words “The best part about planning this wedding was doing it with the Hita community. They really took care of me when I was living there and we still have a really strong relationship! The idea for the Guinness World Record actually came about after the earthquakes that hit the year prior to our wedding. The Guinness World Record attempt and wedding plans became a community-led project, as a way to spread joy, raise funds and awareness for earthquake relief efforts, and shine a light on Hita and it’s beautiful people.”

Leon remembers “Listening to the music and seeing the huge line of flower girls heading my way built up the moment for me. I was watching them all go by, and then there was a break in the line. I knew she was next, but it just hit me so suddenly when I finally saw her. I was thinking, “Wow, here she is…here comes my WIFE”.”

Each of the 253 flower girls carried their own rose petals. “The petals scattered by the flower girls came from leftover flowers from a larger florist – we didn’t know the exact kinds we would receive until they arrived! They turned out to be a lovely mix of pink, yellow, and red rose petals. On the morning of the wedding, a group of local parents and other volunteers pulled the roses apart and placed the petals into paper cups for the flower girls to carry.”

Charlene walked down the aisle with her father to the Wedding March.

From the flower girl dresses to the decor, it was all handmade! Almost everything was DIY, from the flower girl dresses to decorations, to entertainment (our friends sang and performed music), to food and cake! We had a huge team of people from Hita helping us to plan this wedding!” tells Charlene.

Of their ceremony, performed by the couple’s friend, “Our ceremony was short but full of love. We had the support of about 600 people around us as we said our vows. It may seem like a lot of people, but it felt very close! We made our vows to each other with an “I do” and then Luchi asked, “Do you, the families and friends of Charlene and Leon, promise to support and uphold them in their marriage now and in the years to come?” and then everyone replied, “We do” in unison. I remember being reminded at that moment of all the wonderful people around us. I looked around at the flower girls, our friends and family, and back to my husband. It was a really special feeling.”

And of course, there had to be a celebration of the many, many flower girls! And somewhat of a tradition began! Charlene explains “Alana and Cameron from Sunlit Studios came over from Australia! Alana came up with the idea for the flower girls to stand together to form a giant heart for the official bridal party photo, and that’s what you can see on page seven of the 2019 Guinness World Records book! To get the shot, Alana stood on a rooftop in the rain and wind with Cameron working at the ground level, even speaking Japanese (he once lived in Japan too!) to get us all in position. Once the photo was taken, our friend called out to the girls, “You did it! You completed the challenge!” And all the girls started squealing excitedly and running around giving us high fives.

After the wedding, my sister suggested that we start some kind of tradition to celebrate each year as a couple. Although Alana didn’t know it at the time, she inspired us to continue with the heart theme! Since we already had a photo of us engaged under a heart, and married with a heart, we decided to take a heart-themed photo together every year for our anniversary. For our first one, we stood with a huge heart-shaped rock in Joshua Tree National Park, California! We’re going to keep building our heart photo collection!”

There were plenty of bright and beautiful blooms throughout the day, styled by local florist Hana ya Fuu.  Charlene explaining “I had a bouquet of green and white for the walk down the aisle. The stems were wrapped with “something old” and had “something new” and “a silver penny (actually an old Japanese coin in this case)” attached. I wore “something borrowed” in my hair and my earrings were “something blue” – these were all from friends in Hita. With my kimono, I held a fan and colourful ball-shaped bouquet suspended by a ribbon. These bouquets were prepared by a local florist and he did a fantastic job!”

Guests celebrated with sake. “Drinks for the day came from a giant barrel of sake gifted to us from friends. Breaking the barrel together was a fun part of the day! Our friend then led a big “Kanpai!” (cheers/toast) to start the festivities.”

And then it was time for cake! The couple feeding each other cake off of a wooden paddle, also a gift from a friend.

Charlene and Leon chose Mikumagawa Park for the festivities, telling  “Our friends Luchi and Eriko helped us pick the venue. It was actually where they had planned to celebrate their own marriage many years prior, but were forced to change everything at the last moment because of a typhoon! So they called this their “revenge” wedding!”

 

Even the groom donned multiple outfits! His final look (alongside Charlene) adorned with a custom brooch by broochesmoyai. Charlene telling “Leon wore a silver suit for the ceremony. Then he changed into a haori/hakama for the reception. He wore the suit again for the dance, but with one addition! Our friend gave us a surprise little gift on the day – she had made us brooches of each other (“Mini Charky [my nickname]” and “Mini Leon”) to wear over our hearts as we danced. So we added them to our outfits!”

There were so many beautiful gowns worn by Charlene on the day, with help from Tsutsumi Bridal House and Akira Akiyama. Her final look topped with a skirt drawn on by her students, she remarks “My friend Yoko runs a hair salon and professional kimono dressing service in Hita with her mother. She liaised with a service called Tsutsumi Bridal House and they graciously loaned us our wedding attire for the day. Yoko and her team did our hair, makeup, and kimono dressing for the wedding. They worked so hard all day and were just amazing!

I wore a wedding dress and veil for the ceremony and then changed into a pink kimono for the reception. I wore an  iro-uchikake style by renowned wedding kimono designer Akira Akiyama. For our dance, I wore a white dress with Japanese cranes on the back.”

Even the first dance was about community! The newlyweds dancing alongside their very important guests, Charlene remembering “My brother-in-law is a sound engineer and put together the track for our first dance. It started with the waltz “Over the Waves/The Loveliest Night of the Year” and then transitioned into “Only You” by The Platters. We danced to the first part with our parents (it was my actually mum and dad’s first dance song at their wedding!) and then swapped over to dance with each other when the music changed.”

 

And then it was time to celebrate with a picnic reception, tells Charlene “The picnic reception was hanami-styled, with blue tarps laid on the ground to sit on and as a place to eat and relax together.

To finish the reception, we completed a local clapping custom together did a big “Banzai!”.”

And of course, with such a wedding, it was natural that it needed to be captured in as many ways as possible!  Lemon Tree Film House flying out to join Charlene and Leon’s celebration to capture it on video!

A big congratulations to you both Charlene and Leon! Thank you for sharing your beautiful day with us! Thank you to  Sunlit Studios for sharing today’s beautiful images!

Credits

This post features the following wedding vendors. If you've been featured below, we'd love to get to know you. Click here to join Polka Dot Bride.

  • Bride's Reception Dress
  • Akira Akiyama
  • Flowers
  • Hana ya Fuu
  • Hair & Makeup Artist
  • Vogue Beauty Salon Hita
  • Venue
  • Mikumagawa Park

Our honeymoon was in Bora Bora in early November. We had 8 days of bliss at the Hilton Conrad Bora Bora Nui Resort.

We originally weren’t going to have a honeymoon but decided that we just had to get away after the excitement of the wedding died down. We looked into a few different locations but decided on Bora Bora as it wasn’t too difficult to get to from Brisbane (more time to enjoy the island!) and it was the ‘once in a lifetime’ trip where we could enjoy the overwater bungalow experience. We certainly didn’t regret it!

The Hilton Conrad Bora Bora Nui Resort is on its own private island off the coast of Bora Bora.

We loved every little detail about our accommodation! We stayed in an overwater bungalow with an infinity pool, which was probably my favourite bit. We also loved the resort as a whole – we needed to ride bikes to get around – it was so big and there was a tennis court, mini golf and an amazing spa perched on top of a hill which had incredible views.

It was great that the resort had everything we possibly needed from restaurants to bars to activities and tours. It meant we didn’t have to stress about moving around too much and could have a nice relaxing time away together.

We arrived to a bottle of chilled champagne in our room which was a nice honeymooners touch! We spent most of our days snorkelling below our bungalow, playing tennis or mini golf or just relaxing by our pool or the resort pool. We took the boat into the main island of Bora Bora one day and had a lovely (but hot!) walk around the town.

We did an afternoon jet ski tour which took us right around the Bora Bora island. We both absolutely loved it and it was such a lovely way to see the island as a whole. We were booked to go on a sunset boat trip, however it was the one afternoon it rained unfortunately.

There were a number of restaurants to choose from and we gave them all a good try. Our favourite was the sushi restaurant which had a glass bottom floor where we could watch the fish swim by as we sat back with a cocktail and delicious sushi. There was also live music there one evening which was the perfect way to relax and enjoy our surroundings. We also tried the Chinese restaurant and had a degustation dinner at the French restaurant one night which was just incredible!

Honeymoons are so individual but we really enjoyed going on a relaxing trip where we could enjoy some downtime together after such a crazy few weeks in the lead up to the wedding. I would definitely recommend heading away on a honeymoon even if it’s just for a few days as the wedding.

See Mel & Matt’s wedding from our May Green Issue here!

Ms Zebra Says: Bora Bora just seems like the perfect destination to relax and unwind after a stressful – but amazing wedding lead up! Mel and Matt you seem to have carved out the best of times to unwind together – in an amazing locale!