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Image via Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa 

Fall into a state of relaxation and enjoy being pampered on your hens day with a few of your best gal pals and make it a spa getaway not to be forgotten. We’ve rounded up some of the best spas around the country so get out those fluffy robes and slippers, it’s time to unwind.

Hepburn Bathhouse – Victoria 

Designed with wellness and socialising in mind, the social spa offering at Hepburn Bathhouse was made for brides and grooms-to-be who love a little self-care in the company of others.

Located in Hepburn Springs, Victoria, your hands and feet will be getting the special treatment before your big day with a mineral foot soak, hand and foot exfoliation, hand and foot masque and a hand and foot massage. It’s the ultimate indulgence and is a perfect escape from busy wedding planning. To make your spa day all the more worthwhile you can stay at the Hepburn Bathhouse and enjoy the range of package they offer guests.

Images via Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa 

Lost World Day Spa – Gold Coast 

Located in the Gold Coast Hinterland overlooking the western McPherson Ranges, Lost World Spa is perfect for nature lovers looking to put their feet up and make a weekend of relaxation. From ‘foot recovery’ and ‘full body relaxation massages’, to express facials you’ll feel refreshed and go home ready to tackle that last minute wedding prep. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, you must check out the 25 metre wet-edge infinity lap pool before you head home.

Images via Lost World Day Spa

Bodhi J – Perth

With 100% natural and organic products, Bodhi J offers beauty therapies, spa journeys, body and healing therapies and yoga classes. The first Bodhi J opened in 2007 and since then, power couple Danny and Tania have successfully opened in five locations. Our top picks of the five for a hens weekend include Highgate, Westin and Indijup.

Highgate

Select from an extensive menu of organic and natural treatment combinations and escape from the city. Relax in a hydrotherapy spa bath, or the outdoor relaxation garden.

The Westin 
As the most luxurious of the five, The Westin is set in the luxury hotel offering world-class treatments. Take advantage of the hotel facilities like the infinity pool and high tea in the Haven Lounge after your treatment.

Indijup

Located by Indijup Beach this secluded spa is perfect for those looking to truly escape the city and be among the natural surrounding beauty. You could extend your spa day into a spa weekend and stay at the retreat.

Images via Bodhi J – The Westin

Images via Bodhi J – Indijup

L.M Spa – Palm Cove, Queensland 

For a girls vacay to the sunshine state a trip to L.M Spa is exactly what you need. Their vast menu of treatments range from a calming facial to complete body wraps, there’s something for everyone. Enjoy their package offerings like the Palm Cove Escape Package where you will feel regenerated after a 90-minute massage, personalised body polish and wrap followed by lunch at the Nu Nu Restaurant. After lunch, return to the spa for a facial and their Alamanda hair and scalp treatment. You’ll also have access to the resort facilities before and after your treatments making this the ultimate spa day for your hens weekend.

Image via Alamanda Palm Cove by Lancemore, Photography by Kara Rosenlund 

Image via Alamanda Palm Cove by Lancemore, Photography by Rhiannon Taylor 

Ms Floral Says: Ohhh, these spas look so luxurious and relaxing! Absolutely perfect for a day of indulgence with your bridesmaids and bridesmen.

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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Monique & Justin

We’re here to tell you, that if you’ve ever dreamt of a destination wedding in beautiful Slovenia like today’s newlyweds Monique and Justin, then you need to see the amazing Castle Otocec Relais & Chateaux. Because a European castle as it turns out is the most magic of locations for a destination day, and just what the world needs to see this Wednesday.

With an intimate guest list, plenty of champagne and Katja Simon by their side, it was just what these two wanted to do to celebrate their love story. A story which all began, as it turns out over a love of food. Monique fills us in “Justin and I met online. We messaged back and forth swapped food recipes but it wasn’t a year until we actually went on a date (I initiated it). It turns out we both work in the same organisation.!”

The bride found her stunning long sleeve lace gown on a trip to Melbourne, the designer? Luv Bridal. She shares “The whole dress had lace detailing, long sleeve with open back and a long train.
I flew to Melbourne to try on dresses. It was the first dress I tried. The shop owner confessed she made me try it first because she thought I wouldn’t fit it. As soon as I walked out to show my friend her eyes went huge in amazement. This was last off the rack purchase. I tried on a few more then went to another store coincidently across the road. Tried a few more and just didn’t have the same feeling. I went back and said yes to the first dress.”

The groom found his suit at Roger David, with a little help from Monique, who remembers “Justin is an easy to satisfy man. However, he trapped me into suit shopping. I was flying back from my hens weekend. He picked me up from the airport with a hangover in tow and drove straight to the suit shop. Needless to say, we were in and out of the shop within the hour.”

Monique walked down the aisle to ‘So into you’ by Tamia played live by an acoustic guitarist and live singer. “They were amazing no matter what song they sang.” remembers Monique.

Monique and Justin wed outside in the garden, Monique explaining “The officials were from the local council which spoke in Slovene and we had a translator. They gave a few words of wisdom and advice. Justin and I gave our vows and quite a few tears were shed. Including when walking down the aisle.”

The wedding was everything Monique and Justin had dreamt of. “Honestly everyone we had for our wedding exceeded our expectations. I believe it’s because Slovenians are just amazing people, to begin with.
I think it was more when I got there a week out and saw, felt, ate and tried everything. I did all the planning via email for over a year to the wedding planner. Vida was an amazing organised woman and managed to put up with my non-stop emails. When I saw her in the flesh I hugged her and cried it was such a relief and happy feeling all at once.”

As the day unfolded, guests moved throughout different parts of the castle – post ceremony it was all about champagne and pastries in the courtyard! Shares Monique “The welcome drinks and pre-dinner snacks were in the courtyard of the castle. Cobble stone ground, brick walls surrounding us.
The ceremony was in the back garden terrace which was surrounded by the Krka River. The castle is on a tiny island with the river splitting in two and going around the Island.
The Reception was inside the restaurant of the castle which still kept the authenticity of the interior of the castle.”

Justin admits his wife may have had just one very stressed out moment, and it happened on the morning of the wedding! He shares “Besides how beautiful she was walking down the aisle, the most memorable part of the day was getting a phone call from my distressed bride-to-be only hours before the ceremony to tell me that I need to find a very specific size photo frame to place the instructions for an i-spy game for guests to play upon their arrival. Despite having drunk several beers and having no idea where I would find such an item I trusted Google maps to guide me to a nearby village where I was lucky enough to find a frame that was ‘close enough’ in my opinion to do the job! This was Monique’s only ‘bridezilla’ moment and I’m glad I just went along with it instead of trying to have a logical conversation with her about the non-importance of a photo frame that could have had landed me in trouble if I ran into the police while out on my little adventure.”

Floristry Gallery Marjan Lovšin created pale pink floral details for the day, Monique noting “To be honest I didn’t give the florist very strict instructions with what flowers I wanted. Just a budget and have dusty pinks, a lot of foliage and berries. The florist did the most beautiful job so much more than I expected! I think I was more surprised because she spoke little English and I spoke zero Slovene.”

Then it was time for cake and dancing, the happy couple taking to the floor to Michael Buble’s “Everything”, tells Monique.  “We had practice and went to dancing lessons before going over then realising the dress wouldn’t allow me to do some of the moves we could show off our new skills. But we still enjoyed the moment!”

As the sun set, on the suggestion of their photographers the newlyweds took a stroll in the castle grounds. “Katja and Simon were amazing people they took photos the day prior” raves the bride. “They just made us so comfortable and we had conversed of email for a year prior. We trusted them completely so I think everything just came naturally.”

And once the festivities were over, Monique and Justin revelled in all the memories, the bride sharing “When it all finished late at night we made the effort ran the spa bath and relaxed talking about the entire day which made it embed more into our memories. It goes so quickly!”

A big congratulations to you both Monique and Justin! thank you for sharing your wedding stories with us! thank you also to Katja Simon for today’s photographs!

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Image: Dubai Tourism

“Arabian nights… like Arabian days… more often than not hotter than hot… in a lot of good ways.” Ah Aladdin’s genie knew what he was talking about. The UAE is hot, yes, but boy does it have some serious honeymoon hotspots.

Okay, so the bright lights and big city of Dubai are definitely a magic carpet ride from Aladdin’s Arabia, but stick with us, there’s another side to Dubai, beyond the skyscrapers, where you can make your honeymoon dreams come true – flying carpet ride or not.

Image: Dubai Tourism

An Arabian night
Where you stay makes a big difference in Dubai. Go Downtown and you’ll have your pick of five star skyrise hotels within walking distance of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, and one of the world’s biggest shopping centres, Dubai Mall. Head down to The Palm and park yourself in the Atlantis The Palm’s sprawling pink palace.

But for something truly unique, make a beeline to Al Seef. Located along the riverbanks of Dubai Creek, this is the city’s ‘cultural district’ – it resembles a traditional old town, with low lying buildings housing market stalls, hurricane lamps, fabric awnings propped up on sticks, food vendors pushing carts, fishing boats bobbing on the Creek – it’s straight out of Aladdin. In actual fact, these streets were built from the ground up back in 2017 to resemble the Dubai of yesteryear. You’ll do a double take it’s so authentic, but a careful eye will catch the keyrings among the rugs and cushion covers for sale. The architecture harks back to Dubai’s days as a pearl diving port and make this the perfect spot to escape the big city hustle.

Really step back in time with a stay at the Al Seef Heritage Hotel, which has rooms dotted amongst the shop fronts. Now part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, the boutique hotel is a little like stepping into the set of an Indiana Jones movie and a little like a glamorous safari lodge. There are open air lounge rooms with cushions on the floor, copper tin sinks, more hurricane lamps and beautiful wood carved beds.

Images: Dubai Tourism & Stuart Flisher of White Cube Studios

A waterfront retreat
People often seem to forget how much prime waterfront there is in Dubai – and you’ll find some of the best spots in Jumeirah. There’s less construction in this well-established expat enclave, and plenty of spots to soak up the uninterrupted views of the Arabian Gulf’s calm pale blue seas. T

he Mandarin Oriental Jumeira laps up the views with a luxe beach club vibe straight out of a beach club resort in the Maldives or Europe. Doormen in top hats and jackets will lead you inside the palatial lobby, skirt the towering macarons and delicate French gateaux of their gorgeous cake shop and carry on towards the pool, and the ocean beyond. From here on in, it’s all about beach chic. There are pod-like day beds, deck chairs and cabanas sprawled out on the sand and the meticulously manicured grass. Grab an outdoor table at The Bay, the hotel’s chic indoor/outdoor eatery and tuck into elegant burrata avocado tartine, traditional Greek moussaka, or lobster tagliatelle. It’s straight out of the Med and we never want to leave.

Images: Mandarin Oriental Hotel Dubai

Bliss out
Dubai has a reputation for whirlwind stopovers – speedy sightseeing, serious shopping, maybe even a waterslide or two to get the blood pumping. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Relaxation is big business in a busy city. After lunch, spend a few hours sequestered away in the Spa at Mandarin Oriental. A few hours here, and you’ll both be lapping up the wedded bliss. The his and hers mineral baths, sauna, steam room and heated loungers are a treat before the treatment even begins. The Spa uses traditional Asian therapies, with local UAE influences – think light Emirati drumming in the Nomadic Sensory Journey and 24 carat gold and saffron in the Royal Saffron ritual. There’s also an influence closer to home, with the Blissful Marma Massage using Aussie natural skincare brand Subtle Energies to help loosen tight muscles and stimulate energy points. Tuck yourselves into the post-massage wellness pods with a cup of tea before heading back out into the sunshine.

Images: Mandarin Oriental Hotel Dubai

Curled up in cocoon pods, sprawled out on day beds, strolling through ancient fishing villages – it’s a whole new world, Dubai-style.

Ms Floral Says: Dubai is definitely one to add to the bucket list, and makes for a different but still super luxurious and relaxing honeymoon! Also, the food would be sensational.

About Lisa Perkovic: Lisa has spent the past decade travelling the world writing for Australia’s leading newspapers, magazines and blogs about all things travel. Her own honeymoon was her pièce de résistance – an epic journey to the Maldives and South Africa. Now she loves nothing more than sharing destinations and tips to help other newlyweds work out how to have the honeymoon of their dreams.