Thursday, September 19, 2013

Antigua and Barbuda Wedding #1 - Antigua (Sailboat) Wedding

Being surrounded by water, sailing has been one of the most popular sports in Antigua. Two of the regions most reputable sailing competitions are Antigua Sailing Week and Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta (Antigua). To play off that, a beach wedding centering around a sailboat theme would be a perfect choice for Antigua! 

(English Harbour Antigua Sailing Week - Photo by Ted Martin)

For any water wedding blue or light green is a great colour theme to go by. In this case, I chose blue because it is more closely associated with sailing. I chose a light blue even though sailing is usually a navy but either way a nice rose bouquet would be beautiful for this and most other weddings.

The Dress:
Weddings on the beach are always done because of the beautiful scenery and because of the weather. When it is hot outside a bride doesn't usually want to be in a big, long, heavy dress. She usually wants to be in something more comfortable, shorter and something she can move easily in. Alfred Angelo's Style 2100 is very and the dress looks like it has waves, which would match well with the theme of the whole wedding.

The Shoes:
The best option for beach weddings is always sandals or flip-flops. With an open shoe, the bride doesn't have to worry about getting sand stuck in her shoe and carrying around half the beach all night. Also in the warm weather, sandals would be much more comfortable and a lot easier to kick off.

Make up, hair, nails and accessories: 
It is always best to keep make up simple, but for beach weddings (hot, outdoor weddings) it is really key. Make up can always cause problems when it comes in contact with water (sweat, tears) and it will mess up the bride's make up sticking to just a lipstick or lip gloss would be ideal. For this wedding, I chose a short and strapless dress, because of this, having the bride's hair down would look best with a short veil or no veil at all. And to complete her look a beautiful Aquamarine Necklace with Diamond Accents would be perfect for the bride.

The Groom:
A beach wedding is more of a laid back type of wedding and it is common to see the groom (and his men) not wearing suits but more of just a shirt and pants type thing, formal but not too much. Great options for this would be the Cavala Custom Italian Linen Shirt and the Ventura Custom Linen Capri Pants. Both look great and are available in different colours. 

The Invitations:
Any out of town/state/country guests would really appreciated a Save the Date card, especially if the couple really wants certain people there, it gives the guests time to make arrangements like flight plans, house sitters, booking days of work, etc so that they can make it to the wedding. After the Save the Date cards, a formal invitation should be sent to all the guests (even the ones that already got the Save the Date card). A great option for invitations would be the Destination Modern. (It has the double sided invitation and reply card in the set). 

Photographer and Videographer:
A great photographer that comes very highly recommended is Vanessa Hall. She take beautiful pictures and stages perfect scenes and moments with what she has to work with. She also has a beautiful portfolio and a lot of information available at her website. As for a videographer that can be tricky to find in a country that isn't home to the bride or groom or any guest. As stated before asking a friend or family member to do that favour may be best. 

More than 74% of the population in Antigua and Barbuda are Christian so it would not be hard to find a church or a priest to perform a ceremony, any other religions may be harder to find someone to perform the ceremony and the couple should look into it ahead of time. Of course, any friend or family member that has been ordained can do it also. The couple may choose to have a ring-bearer and a flower girl, in which case a dress for the flower girl to match the bride is need and a tuxedo to match the groom for the ring-bearer will be needed as well (along with a flower basket and ring pillow.) Beautiful rings for a blue wedding like this one would be the Aquamarine CZ Round Channel Set Band and the Men's Sterling Silver Ring with Aquamarine.

With the theme of the wedding being the beach, what greater place to have the reception than on the beach (consulting a wedding planner may be needed for this part). Having a wedding on the beach makes it easier to incorporate some traditions that the bride and groom shares, like throwing the bouquet and garter, cutting the cake and stuff like that. Also having a small table set up would be perfect to accommodate a guest book, money box and a basket of small guest favours should anyone just walking along want to join (this may happen in any wedding but especially when having a ceremony on a public beach).

In Antigua and Barbuda, the national dish is fungie and pepper pot. Fungie is a dish similar to that of Italian Polenta, made mostly with cornmeal. Other local dishes include ducana, seasoned rice, saltfish, fish in a tomato and onion sauce, and lobster. Fruits when in season are every where and at there best so making use of the local varieties would be a very smart and good idea for a wedding dinner. Some other dishes that may be served for dinner could include pork, chicken, lamb or turkey usually with some sort of rice, macaroni pie, and or salads (Antigua and Barbuda Cuisine).  Naturally, the choices would differ depending on who is making the food and what time of year the wedding takes place in. 

The Cake:
For a tropical beach wedding, the cake has to be something that is not too rich but also fruity and sweet. Though there is a lot of bad thoughts associated with fruit cake, a tropical Antigua fruit cake may just be perfect for this wedding. For the cake: combine 19 counces of Cream Cheese (at room temperature makes it easier to work with) 3 Eggs, 1/4 cup of Sugar, 1 TSP of Vanilla, 1/2 - 3/4 a cup of crushed or pureed Mangos, Black Pineapple, and Sweetsop (depending on which flavours are in enjoyed more and if one flavour is preferred to stand out over the others. These fruits are all native to Antigua however regular apples, microwaved with sugar and cinnamon could replace the sweetsop and regular pineapples can replace the black pineapples.) The buttercream or fondant has a few options, it can either also be cream cheese to match the bases of the cake, it can be coconut flavoured to add to the tropical theme or it can just be plain vanilla to compliment the slight notes in the cake. To top this cake off a cute little lighthouse figure would be a unique topper or a standard couple on the beach would be beautiful as well. 

Guest Favours:
Sticking with the sailing theme a good idea for the favours is to go with something simple and useful. For the regular guests, a nice anchor book mark for the women and an anchor bottle opener (or vice versa) would be a nice gift that they can use on a regular bases. For the people in the wedding party, the parents, and close friends or family, a nice gift would be personalized coolers or multi-tool Swiss-army knives


A miniature sailboat centerpiece would be a great match for this wedding and the theme. However, they are not always easy to find, they can get expensive and boats aren't always the most glamorous things either. A beautiful alternative would be light house candle holders. They are beautiful, they match the theme and the can help illuminate the table. Nice additions to the table would be blue and white sailboat tealight holders, and sailboat place card holders

Thank You Cards:
Thank You cards don't always have to match the invitations. In this case any water themed themed or blue Thank You card would work well. Some couples choose to send a picture from their wedding with a personalized note or a post card showing where they honeymooned.

Things To Do:
Antigua and Barbuda are known for their beaches so naturally most things to do are water and beach related but there are some amazing options and sights to see and be apart of. Take a short boat ride to private Prickly Pear Island from St. John's for a half day of fun in the sun - snorkeling, strolling or just lying under a beach umbrella. Enjoy complimentary rum punch and other refreshments from the open bar, as well as tasty snacks and a home-cooked Caribbean lunch, while you take in the tranquil surroundings. Take a helicopter tour, it offers a variety of truly amazing panoramic delights, priceless memories and photographic opportunities for both around the island tour and the Montserrat Volcano tour. Visit Nelson's Dockyard, set aside as 30sq km of national park, the historical dockyard dates from 1745, and is Antigua's most popular attraction. Abandoned in 1899, it languished until the 1950s when its resurrection and restoration began.Today the handsome buildings have been converted into inns, shops, a market, restaurants an art center and a nautical museum. A number of tours visit Nelson's Dockyard, like the Round Island Tour, and the Antigua Shore Excursion (Things to do in Antigua and Barbuda).

Take a city sightseeing tour shore excursion in Antigua. The tour visits a local vegetable market and spends time in the capital city of St. John's, where tourists can shop until they drop for souvenirs at Heritage Quay, home to designer and locally made wares all duty-free. Visit Betty's Hope, it is one of Antigua's first sugar plantations, built by Christopher Codrington in 1674, it was named in honour od his daughter Betty. Ruins of two stone windmills and a distillery remain on the site, along with a small visitors center. One windmill has been restored, and the caretaker offers informative tours peppered with historical insights. Or why not take the Island Safari 4x4 Discovery Tour. It visits some of the most beautiful landmarks in Antigua including Devil's Bridge and Betty's Hope Sugar Plantation.Spend a night at Shirley Heights Lookout. Celebrate the most dramatic sunset in Antigua with a night of music and relaxation. Enjoy a night under the moonlight while dancing to the sounds of steel band music and taking in the beautiful views from atop the lookout. Shirley Heights, named after the former governor Sir Thomas Shirley, overlooks the English Harbor and Galleon Beach and is the best spot to get a bird's-eye view of the island. Go snorkeling, many cruises are available for snorkeling like the Cades Reef Snorkel Cruise that highlights the Cades Reef, or the Snorkeling Island Adventure that includes kayaking and sightseeing in the Caribbean Sea, or snorkel in the protected bay on Bird Island (Things to do in Antigua and Barbuda).

Friday, April 19, 2013

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda (Spanish for "ancient" and "bearded") is a twin-island nation lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of two major inhabited islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and a number of smaller islands (including Great Bird, Green, Guinea, Long, Maiden and York Islands and further south, the island of Redonda). The permanent population numbers approximately 81,800 (at the 2011 Census) and the capital and largest port and city is St. John's, on Antigua. Separated by a few nautical miles, Antigua and Barbuda are in the middle of the Leeward Islands, part of the Lesser Antilles, roughly at 17 degrees north of the Equator. The country is nicknamed "Land of 365 Beaches" due to the many beaches surrounding the islands. Its governance, language, and culture have all been strongly influenced by the British Empire, of which the country was formerly a part (Antigua and Barbuda).

There are 365 beaches on Antigua, one for each day of the year. The great majority rest inside the calm, protected waters of the island's Caribbean side. All are open to the public, and so the challenge posed to a visitor is not how to gain access to the best of them but simply how to locate the beach that suits one's taste. Exploring on your own is the best way to do this, although it is wise to bring a companion along to particularly isolated locations. Antiguans are understandably reluctant to divulge their own favorites, so here are a number of good starters. Be sure to acquire specific directions before you go.

The Beaches:

Northwest Coast:
Dickenson Bay and Runaway Bay, located along the island's developed northwestern coast, are the place to go for those who want the fully-loaded resort beach experience. The beaches most convenient to St. John's are Fort James, a locally-popular public beach, and Deep Bay. Galley Bay attracts surfers during the winter months and a joggers during the evening. The series of four crescent beaches at Hawksbill are also highly regarded, one of which is nudist.

Southwest and South Coast:
The beaches of the hilly southwest corner of Antigua are generally less developed than those around St. John's further north. On the road that winds along this coast are Fryes Bay, Darkwood Beach, and the beaches around Johnsons Point. Rendezvous Bay and especially Doigs Beach, both located on the central southern coast at Rendezvous Bay, are especially quiet beaches worth the rough travel necessary to reach them. Pigeon Point, near English Harbour Town, is a convenient balm after a day at Nelson's Dockyard.

East Coast:
On the southeast corner of the island is Half Moon Bay, now a National Park and a good choice for a family outing. Long Bay, on the easternmost point of the island, is another good choice for families, as it is completely protected by its reef.

On Barbuda:

Barbuda's smooth coastline is edged with long pink and white sand beaches protected by barrier reefs. In fact, the pristine pink beaches of the southwestern shore stretch as far as ten miles without interruption. The beaches of the island's eastern shore, facing the Atlantic, are somewhat rougher, although they are outstanding for beachcombing.

With Antigua and Barbuda being the land of beaches, it is obvious that any themed wedding should focus around the beach and the water. One interesting fact about Barbuda is that it is known for it's Pink Sand Beaches, so for one Antigua and Barbuda I will plan two weddings, both focused on the beach and the water. The wedding in Antigua will be focused on the beauty of the sand and seashells, and the wedding in Barbuda will be focused on the pink sand beaches.

Getting Married in Antigua and Barbuda:

There is no waiting period or residency requirement necessary for marrying in Antigua.
Arrive in Antigua, Visit the Ministry of Justice located at Parliament Drive with your valid passports,complete the application and pay applicable fees.
 Confirm a date and time for the ceremony with a Marriage Officer, and...
Get Married
 (Both parties must be over 15, if under 18, written authorization from your parents or guardians is required. It is important that all documents presented are original or certified original by the issuing departments or offices. Ensure that all documents are in your legal name, and provide affidavits in cases where you are known by another name. Your marriage must also be solemnized or celebrated in the presence of two or more witnesses, apart from the Marriage Officer.) (Getting Married in Antigua and Barbuda)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Angola Wedding - Diamond (White and Silver) Theme

Angola is home to some of the most gracious people in Africa and has many secrets to share. Like the Tazua Falls, in Rio Cuango; it is one of Angola's richest sources of gem diamonds. Diamond mines are a big part of Angola's appeal and has also been the cause of some wars over who controls them. For a wedding, the sparkling gems make a perfect theme to work with and the Tazua Falls is a beautiful scene to set a wedding around.

Any bouquet with diamonds in it would work beautifully. Usually, the most common flower to get decorated with diamonds is the rose. With the theme being diamonds, and diamonds rarely having colour to them a obvious choice would be white roses, however red roses would be a great choice as well because of high much the diamonds are highlighted against the brightness of the red. 

The Dress:
Wedding dresses have grown far past the traditional wedding chapel dress. A great dress for this wedding would be a strapless one (especially if the wedding is closer to the equator and in the summer time) with beautiful sparkling gems all over. Like the Night Moves 6439 Prom Dress, even though it say for Prom, it is available in white and would make an amazing and cheap wedding dress. (It's also available in blue and pink which could be a great option for bride's maids or maid of honors.)

The Shoes:
A great shoe for a diamond wedding would be Lava Lollipop. These shoes are "Blinged" out and would also be a great option if the couples chooses to incorporated silver into their wedding. If the couple is already married and just having a ceremony in Angola, getting bride's maids and grooms man may be too much of a problem and the couple may choose not to ask anyone. In this case, matching wouldn't be as big of a deal and it would be perfectly fine to ask the mothers to dress in a colour matching the wedding theme (in this case silver or white, however white is often reserved for the bride alone, red may also be a colour the couple chooses because of the beauty in the roses coupled with the diamond accents.)

Make up, hair, nails and accessories:
Make up for a diamond wedding should be kept simple so it doesn't take away everything else going on with the bride. Natural and clear make up would work best possibly with a little glitter for a nice twinkle.With a strapless dress, it is always best to have a necklace of some sort so the chest isn't left completely bare. A beautiful necklace would be the Diamond Journey Pendent. Not only is it breathtaking but it is in the shape of a ring and has diamond to the left completing the circle. 

Hairstyles are always easy to fine, every magazine has its opinion. For a strapless dress, long hair being down and flowing past the shoulders is always a good look to go with. In this case a perfect accessory would be a diamond tiara. The bride can have her hair down, have the tiara in and even add a veil if she so chooses. And it would all work well together, and complete the look. 

Tiara's now are often something a bride chooses to go for, and on her special day why not. But some tiara's stand out from all the rest. Instead of the tiara in the photo, a great option for a diamond wedding would hands down be the Antique Silver Tiara from Wedding Mountain. It is breathtakingly gorgeous and is not as expensive as one would think. 

The Groom:
For this wedding, the groom would look spectacular in a white suit, coupled with a silver (or gray) vest and tie. It all tied into the diamond, sparkling theme and would complement the business of the bride's dress well and it would match perfectly with mother of the bride/groom dresses or wedding party dresses. Diamond cufflinks can get very expensive very quickly and are surprisingly hard to find sometimes. The best option in cases like this is to go with something more personal and slightly simpler. A nice, clean cut square silver (or white gold) cufflink with the groom's initial engraved on it would be perfectly fine and would accent well with a white suit. 

The Invitations:
Any out of town/state/country guests would really appreciated a Save the Date card, especially if the couple really wants certain people there, it gives the guests time to make arrangements like flight plans, house sitters, booking days of work, etc so that they can make it to the wedding. After the Save the Date cards, a formal invitation should be sent to all the guests (even the ones that already got the Save the Date card). The Silver White Diamond Hearts Invitations from Zazzle is a great option for a diamond wedding and it is absolutely gorgeous. Buying everything individual is often hard to match things completely, however Zazzle does a great job with creating similar items and matching them up as best they can, the RSVP card matches and anything else the bride and groom chooses to send out can easily be sent out on a stationary sets. 

Photographer and Videographer:
If Angola is not the home country of the bride or groom or anyone they know, finding a photographer and videographer will be a tricky task. Asking a local company really isn't the best way to go because a couple that isn't local has no idea who to get and who has a track record of taking great pictures. Asking a person to travel around the world just to shoot pictures and/or video would cost a small fortune. The best thing to do is to ask friends and family if they have any experience with taking pictures (beyond the point and shoot that everyone can master), it would be a lot cheaper if an already invited guest could take pictures for the big day. But just because they are there anyways, offering to pay them a small fee, or asking them do to it as a wedding present could go along way to getting someone to agree to do it. However if that is not an option or the bride and groom would rather try and find a professional there is always listings on the internet. The best way to find a photographer on the internet is to see a portfolio of the photographers work.

In Angola, there is a strong cultural tradition of the asking of the hand of the bride in marriage called Alambamento or bride price. Considered by some more important that the civil or religious marriage, the Alambamento consists of a series of rituals, like the delivery of a letter with the request for the hand of the bride, which sometimes comes with money. 
When the young couple decides to marry, it is necessary to have the approval of the bride's family and this is only possible if, during the request, everybody is in agreement that the marriage should happen. The young couple sets the date of the request. This date is agreed upon by the aunt and uncle of the bride, as it is necessary to bring together the whole family, and a list is delivered to the groom of all the things he must get before the day of the request. It is a list drawn up by the uncles as a report of the things the groom needs to "buy" to offer the family of the bride as compensation for all that has been spent on her since her birth up to her wedding day. Basically, it is a dowry that represents a valuable asset because the greater the payment, the higher the prestige of the bride.
The day of the request is set and the groom goes out in search of all the materials so that nothing is lacking on the day. Usually on the list is an envelope of money (300-500 USD/CAD), depending on what amount the uncle stipulates, the height of the bride in cases of beer, the height of the bride in cases of soft drinks or juice, a goat, a suit for the uncle and some shoes for the mother. The requests can be even greater in value if the groom has "jumped through the window", meaning that the bride is pregnant before the wedding. 
When the day comes, the family of the groom (father, mother, uncles, aunts, brothers, and sisters) go to the house of the bride, and her uncle, as if he were a judge. Once all the introductions are made, the bride's uncle informs them that they will begin the request for marriage. The parents of the bride invite the parents of the groom to enter and the uncle begins the reading of the request presented by the groom. If the father of the bride agrees with this request, the groom will need to go get the Alambamento, the list of things that he got together. The Alambamento is presented and if everything is completed a meeting is held to pick the date of the marriage and other logistical details. Once everything is settled, there is singing and dancing and celebrating, usually this is when the beer and soft drinks the groom collected would come in handy (Alambamento).

From that day on, if everything goes well, the couple becomes man and wife. Arriving at the wedding, some couples tie the knot wearing traditional clothes and some prefer to use the famous suit and tie with bride's wearing the traditional white dress. As an alternative to a veil, the bride will appear under a piece of cloth, to test if her husband really recognizes her (Angola). A veil could be an alternative to a piece of cloth also, as long as it is long enough to cover the bride's face.
A beautiful, and somewhat well known church in Angola would be the Church of St. Joaquim, in the Praia do Bispo (Bishop Beach). It is a beautiful church and a sight to see even if the couples chooses not to get married in a church (Angola Wedding). 

Exchanging rings may or may not be a part of Angola's tradition (depending on what part of Angola), but if the couple wants to incorporated it into their day than it is always a nice tradition to follow. With the theme being diamond, naturally the rings should be filled with diamonds (or Cubic Zirconium) .

A beautiful place for the reception would be Espaco, Che, in the Miramar neighborhood, where all the embassies in Luanda are. It is a beautiful place, safe because of it's closeness to the embassies and an idea place for a wedding reception. 

Angolan receptions aren't usually similar to an American or Canadian wedding, but certainly other aspects of one culture can be incorporated into the wedding. A guest book for example, a money box, and table numbers with place cards.


Food: (Angolan Cuisine) 
Food in Angola often varies based on what part of the country a person is in, so certain dishes may be more likely served at a northern wedding than a southern one (the venue may also have it's own specialties as well.) Some common dishes include Moamba de Galinha (or chicken moamba) it is chicken with palm paste, okra, garlic and red palm oil sauce, often served with rice and funge. Both funge and moamba de galinha have been considered the national dish of Angola. Other dishes common in Angolan cuisine include: Arroz (rice) dishes, including Arroz da Llha (rice with chicken or fish), Arroz de Garoupa da Llha (rice with grouper), and Arroz de Marisco (white rice with seafood, typically prawns, squid, white fish or lobster). Cabidela (a dish cooked in blood, served with rice and funge; frequently chicken - Galinha de Cabidela, Galinha a Cabidela - served with vinegar, tomatoes, onion and garlic. Caldeirada de Peixe, fish stews (made with ''whatever is available'' and served with rice, and muzongue, made from whole dried and fresh fish cooked with palm oil, sweet potato, onion, tomato, spinach, and spices.) 

Calulu, dried fish with vegetables (often onions, tomatoes, okra, sweet potatoes, garlic, palm oil, and gimboa leaves) served with rice, funge, palm oil beans and farofa. Caruru, a shrimp and okra stew. Catatos, caterpillar fried with garlic (served with rice). Chikuanga, bread (made from manioc flour) served in a wrap of banana leaves (a specialty of the north). Cocada amarela, yellow coconut pudding (made with sugar, grated coconut, egg yolks, and ground cinnamon. Farofa, rice and beans w3ith toasted manioc flour on top. Feijao de Oleo de Palma or Dendem (beans, onions, and garlic cooked in palm oil) often served with fish, banana and farofa. Frango, grilled chicken in a very hot marinade of piri piri hot pepper and sometimes also minced chili peppers, salt and lemon or lime juice. Gafanhotos de Palmeira, toasted grasshopper from a palm tree, served with funge. Jinguinga, goat tripe and blood, served with rice and funge. Kifula, game meat (served with boiled and toasted palm tree grasshoppers) served with funge.   


Kissuto Rombo, roasted goat (with garlic and lemon juice) served with rice and chips. Kitetas, clams (cooked in a white wine sauce) served with bread. Kizaka, the leaves of the manioc plant (prepared with ginguba - peanuts - and finely chopped and seasoned Kizaka com Peixe with fish, onion and tomato) served with rice and funge. Leite Aaedo com Pirao de Milho, a Huila specialty, sour milk with maize  porridge. Mafuma, frog meat. Mariscos Cozidos com Gindungo, a seafood dish (lobsters, prawns, and clams cooked in seawater) served with rice and hot sauce. Mufete de Kacusso (or Cacusso) is grilled fish, often river tilapia, (in a rich sauce of onion, vinegar, and spices) served with palm oil beans and cooked manioc, rice, sweet potato, or farofa. Quiabos com Comarao, (prawns with okra, garlic, onion, and tomato) served with rice. Tarco, radishes w3ith peanuts, palm oil, tomatoes and onions served alongside meat or fish.

The Cake:
With silver being part of the theme, a great idea for the cake would be to make it completely silver. Though not traditional, the string of pearls around each layer and the diamond decorations show up better on a coloured back ground. The cake below, is beautiful and still sparkles without taking away from the diamonds around the cake. 

Great flavours to match the theme would be White Chocolate Coconut Rum Cake with a Vanilla Bean Frosting. And both are simple to make. (Cake: 1 cup of Sugar, 1/3 cup of Butter/Margarine, 2 Eggs, 2 table spoons of Malibu Coconut Rum, 1 1/2 cup of Flour, 2 tea spoon of Baking Powder, 1 cup of Milk, 1 table spoon Vanilla Extract. Cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out relatively clean.)  The couple may not want double layered cake levels, which is fine, the cake would be all in one and more of a Coconut Rum cake (still delicious). To make the white chocolate part of the cake it would consist of layering each level, e.i cake, white chocolate filling, cake, new tear (smaller cake on top/new level). (White Chocolate filling: 3.5 ounces of   White Chocolate, 1 table spoon of Malibu Coconut Rum, fill sauce pan with water and let boil on medium high heat add chocolate and rum to a mixing bowl on to of the boiling water until melted (add teaspoons of water if the mixture becomes too thick), add the chocolate and rum mixture to 1 1/2 sticks of Soften Butter, 4 tablespoons of Milk, 1 1/2 cups Confectioner Sugar. *One third of the icing should be enough for each layer, depending on size*)  Since there is so much going on with the cake, a simple vanilla bean frosting or buttercream would work well with this cake. (Buttercream: 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, 4 cups Powdered Sugar, 1/2 tea spoon of Salt, 1/3 cup of Whole Milk, 1 tea spoon of Vanilla Extract or one Vanilla Bean.)

The Completely Covered Heart cake topper is sterling silver and covered in clear crystals, they are not diamonds but they look like diamonds and sparkle like them too at a cheaper cost. The topper is absolutely stunning and would match well with the Diamond Knife and Server Set, and the Diamond Ring Toasting Flouts.

Guest Favours:
The perfect guest favour for this wedding naturally would be diamond. However the cost of real diamond for each guest would get a little insane. A great alternative would be a Crystal Heart Paperweight. It is beautiful, handy and looks like a diamond, it would match the theme well and isn't a traditional thank you gift so guests will be talking about them and how creative they are.

A wonderful box for the Crystal Heart would be a Frosted Box. It is just frosted enough so the guests can see through, but still gives the light, diamond feeling and will leave a little to the guests imagination as appose to a see through box. Another great details would be Rhinestone monogram stickers, they carry the diamond them and would be the main attention grabber on the frosted boxes. 

The Personalized Diamond Paperweights would be a great gifts for the wedding party and the parents of the bride and groom. They can be personalized to say almost anything and it would be beautiful to write the wedding date on it with the couples name. It's a great gift and it's beautiful to display and would go well as a decoration or as an office accessory. Also another great gift would be to pay for the mother-of-the-bride/groom's dress. A great dress that would match the diamond theme (and the silver theme) would be the Silver Evening Dress P1439.

Candles always give off a glow in the centerpieces and for a wedding that highlights diamonds and sparkle a candle centerpiece is almost a must (using white roses in this case). And to add a little piece of the theme, why not add assorted crystal diamonds to the bottom of the centerpiece bowl. But, in this case, the centerpiece won't be the thing that seals the show. Having tealight candles around the table in diamond tealight candle holders would be a perfect accent to the centerpieces and the frosting on the cake has to be randomly scattered diamond confetti and table diamonds

(Table Diamonds and Diamond Confetti)

Thank You Cards:
Every couple should sent out (or call depending on their traditions) a Thank You card to there guests. It's a nice way to tell family and friends that their gift and just all around presence at the wedding was very much appreciated. Thank You cards don't have to always match the invitation set and they don't even really have to match the theme. Some couples choose to send a picture from their wedding with a personalized note or a post card showing where they honeymooned. Anything is fine, its the juster that people care about. 

Things to do:
Angola's capital city Luanda is one of the most expensive cities to live in worldwide. However, it offers a great nightlife for its residents and guests through its beautiful night clubs and hotels which are close to the coast and the beaches as well. During the day there is a lot of activity on the beaches while the night is significant with the music playing in the night clubs. Lona National Park is Angola's largest national park and it borders the Atlantic Ocean which means it provides enough water for its animals that inhabit the park. The park also features very beautiful desert sand dunes and a wide variety of species of birds. Poaching during the world war reduced the number of large mammals but the park has been recovering from this over the years. There is a bungalow that is built in the middle of the Kissama National Park where guests can stay and enjoy the wilderness while getting pampered on the balconies of the bungalow. The Kissama National Park is located about 70km south of the capital city, Luanda and it is home to a very wide variety of animals including the rare black palanca antelope. The entire Angolan landscape is magnificent because it feature unusual rock patterns that are a huge attraction, waterfalls that are magnificent, very steep gorges and the magnificent Namib Desert itself. 

The next country alphabetically would be Antarctica. However because of the fact that it's average tempurature is always close to -65 degrees Fahrenheit it is not a good idea to do much of anything there let alone get married (Antarctica). 

Moving on, the next country alphabetically would be Antigua and Barbuda, in the Carribeans!

Sunday, March 10, 2013


The Republic of Angola is a country in Southern Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east, while its west coasts is on the Atlantic Ocean. Angola gained its independence from Portugal on November 11th 1975 but still Portuguese is the official language of the country. (Other recognized national languages would be Kikongo, Chokwe, Umbundu, Kimbundu, Ganguela and Kwanyama.)
Angola is twice the size of Texas it measures precisely 1,246,700 sq km.The climate of Angola is tropical on the northern side which is closer to the quator while arid to in the southern regions. This is important information to know when getting married in Angola because the couple can than plan a wedding around the weather and what they want their theme to be (Angola).
Angola is known for two things, its beautiful landscapes and its sources of gem diamonds. I will do a wedding to highlight both one surrounding the beautiful waterfalls and one around diamonds. Angola is not known for being overly hot or overly cold, but know more for how dry it can be. Any outdoor wedding would be a great idea even in winter when the coldest its gets is 16 degrees Celsius (60 degrees Fahrenheit).

Getting married in a different country is always a tricky thing, each country has different requirements for getting married there. Often times it is easier for the couple to get married in their home country, at a town/city hall and than just having a ceremony in a different country later on. This is usually causes less stress and headache for the couple and couple possibly save them money (Getting Married in Angola).

Monday, February 18, 2013

Andorra Wedding #2 - Skiing Theme (Snow) Wedding

Once in Andorra people fall in love. It is in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains (Thank You Dan!); due to the elevations and clean air, many tourists who originally went for duty free shopping find great enjoyment in the natural environment of Andorra. Andorra is known for the best family skiing in Europe, even though Andorra is one of the hardest countries to get to because the country itself has no airport. To get to Andorra, one must fly into either Spain or France and than drive the rest of the way (Andorra).

(Pas De La Casa; Photo by: Richard Nebesky For: LonelyPlanet)

The best flowers to match the white, pure, sparkling theme of this wedding would be white roses coupled with sparkling diamond accents. The colour and the glistening will match the snow and white is always considered pure.

The Dress:
The dress, like the flowers, needs to be white and sparkling. A dress like that is not hard to find, a lot of bride's choose to go with beading accents or a shimmering aspect to a dress. RainingBlossoms has a beautiful selection and this Lace Sweetheart Strapless Neckline Ball Gown Dress with Beading Accents would look perfect for a winter wedding in Andorra. And as a final touch to the dress, a garter with snowflakes on them would complete the bride's look.

The Shoes:
Any show would be fine for this dress, because of its length the shoe won't be noticed by that many people. But like the snow, in the right moment, under the right light, they should sparkle. A nice white shoe or sandal with anything that twinkles and catches the eye would be beautiful. 

Make up, hair, nails and accessories:
With a strapless dress, a necklace is always nice to have so that it doesn't leave the upper chest area completely bare. In this case a beautiful diamond snowflake necklace would be a great choice. And to match it but not take always from its beautiful, natural or clear make up with a little shimmer to it would also be perfect. With the strapless gown, a down hair do would be best for it, long flowing curls.

The Groom:
For the groom there are a few options that would work well here also. The groom can choose to go with a traditional black suit, white shirt and black tie; a black jacket, black shirt and white tie, or a white suit, black shirt and white tie or Ivory is always an option and a great substitution for white. The ivory is a little warmer than the white but one may look better than the other depending on which options the groom chooses. Great cuff-links for this wedding would be anything shinny, Advantagebridal has a pair of Silver Plated Engraveable Oval Cuff Links that would be a great addition to the suit and a great present for the groomsmen. 

The Invitations:
Save the Date Cards are always the first things that need to be sent. They don't need to be sent to every guest, but for a wedding outside of the country, or a long enough distance away, Save the Date Cards are always a great little heads up for guests. And they give the guests their first glimpse at what the theme for the wedding is. If a guest gets a Save the Date Card with snowflakes on it, hopefully they would assume its a winter wedding and to dress warmly and bring warm clothes. Save the Date Cards can help a couple when trying to get invitations, sometimes the cards are part of a set where the invitations, labels, stickers, and RSVP cards, but sometimes they're not and mixing set has to be done, as long as they are all relatively the same theme and/or colour it works. 

Photographer and Videographer:
If Andorra is not the home country of the bride or groom or anyone they know, finding a photographer and videographer will be a tricky task. Asking a local company really isn't the best way to go because a couple that isn't local has no idea who to get and who has a track record of taking great pictures. Asking a person to travel around the world just to shoot pictures and/or video would cost a small fortune. The best thing to do is to ask friends and family if they have any experience with taking pictures (beyond the point and shoot that everyone can master), it would be a lot cheaper if an already invited guest could take pictures for the big day. But just because they are there anyways, offering to pay them a small fee, or asking them do to it as a wedding present could go along way to getting someone to agree to do it. However if that is not an option or the bride and groom would rather try and find a professional there is always listings on the internet. The best way to find a photographer on the internet is to see a portfolio of the photographers work.

The traditional way to have a Roman Catholic ceremony is in a church, some priests will not do ceremonies outside of the church, but there are some that will, and their are ways around it. A possibility, if it means that much to the couple, they can get married in the church and than have the reception outside. However the majority of the things that happen in the church can happen outside. Readings can be read based on what the couple wants, music can be played depending on the the venue and where the couple chose to get married. Most ceremonies, religious or not, offer vows saying and the exchange of rings so the couple can incorporated any part they want into their own wedding. But, with the cold of winter it may not be an option to get married outside, depending on the time of year. February will be warmer than December so playing it by day and having a back up plan is always best. If the couple does decided to get married outside, they may want to make it a short wedding so no one gets frost bite, hypothermia or catches any colds, also the bride would want to find a jacket that matches her dress. But there are ways to incorporated the out doors without actually being outside. The couple could get married in front of a great view to the mountains whether it be in front of a huge window, or glass doors. Also, where they get married would decided if they have a flower girl and ring bearer. If they choose to do it inside it would be nice to have the two, and there are beautiful flower girl baskets and ring bearer pillows that would match the theme. Also, instead of the flower girl throwing petals, or holding flowers, she could be throwing snowflakes for the bride to walk on.
 Programs are always a nice addition to any ceremony especially if its not always close relatives that know everyone, and it also helps the guest keep track of what's going on if the couple chooses to do certain ceremonies or have certain poems/readings said.  

The beautiful platinum and diamond Cartier ring is perfect to for this wedding because its sparkles and the whole ring will shimmer in the light. Cartier rings are all uni-sex so they can be made for the bride and the groom and they will match perfectly. 

The Reception:
Having a reception outside in the winter is never a good idea. But if it is a nice day, a great addition to the ceremony would be a little balcony close to the reception were guests can go and look out at the beautiful scenery, take pictures and just get a breather. Depending on the number of people and the size of the room it could get quite warm at the reception and the breath taking view would be a great treat. 

This guest book is beautiful. What the guest do, is they stamp the tree, or background, anywhere they like, and than sign their name on it. Its an amazing keepsake and its so different from a traditional book for the guests to sign. It would also match the money box well, the money box can be made in any colour to match the colours in the picture and the silver snowflakes match the theme perfectly as well and would match the frame if the couple chooses to frame their guest tree in silver. The table cards and place cards would also match the silver and blue well. And to complete the look, and add a little twinkle and sparkle, snowflake place card holders would look wonder when they catch in the light of any venue. 

Due to the fact that Andorra is situated between France and Spain, Andorran cuisine is mainly Catalan and it also combines with French and Italian cuisine but in a small proportion. Pasta, meat, fish and vegetables are the main ingredients for every meal. In the northern region of Andorra the French and Italian cuisine is prevailing and its main characteristics are the daily use of pasta, cheese, bread and fish; while in the southern region Catalan cuisine influences were adapted. Local dishes include: trinxat made of bacon, cabbage and potatoes; cunillo which is rabbit stewed in tomato sauce; xai which is actually roasted lamb; coques are flavored flat cakes and truites de carreroles which is actually an omelet made with mushrooms. Andorran local dishes also include sausages, cheese and a large variety of pork and ham dishes and a vast variety of vegetables (Andorran Cuisine). These dishes can be expected, however most venues should have alternative meals in place should the couple wish to offer more familiar options.
A great option for the dessert would be an angel food cake, so light have a heavy meal with whip cream and a drizzle of whatever flavour the couple chooses (cherry, strawberry, blueberry, etc.) even adding ice cream would pull the theme in nicely. Another great idea would be a Snowball Cake, it is basically an angel food cake with whip cream and coconut. 
Most weddings have a late lunch around eleven or midnight, usually it's just basic things like sandwiches, salads, little finger food type snacks. There is also usually a dessert table and what better way to end the evening than with desserts that compliment the theme. Snowflake chocolate cupcakes, snowflake cookies, coconut snowballs, ginger bread cookies in the shape of snowflakes, and Chocolate Crinkles that look like they've been rolled in snow are all great little finger food type desserts for the guests and they are all delicious. 

(Snowflake Cupcakes)

The Cake:
Naturally, for a winter wedding, the cake would have to be white, and with the added snowflakes on the cake and going up the side, the cake below would be gorgeous by itself but the added light to the snowflakes makes it an even more magnificent cake. Great flavours for this cake would be a lemon grass cake, it gives a little taste of lemon without taking over the whole cake, and a mascarpone frosting, mascarpone is much creamier than cream cheese and would be fluffier which would be a great pairing with the snow theme.

The snowflake on top of the cake isn't as personal as a wedding cake topper usually is. If the couple wants something more specific to them, they could easily substitute it for a figure of a bride and groom, or something with their names on it that makes it more special for them. Also adding a little colour into the cake, either by adding blue ribbons around each layer or different colour snowflakes, would make a colourful cake topper seem more at home with the whole cake. And it would make matching the cake serving set easier also. 

Guest Favours:
After a long day of skiing, snowboarding, or just being out in the cold, what better way than to grab a hot chocolate. Hot chocolate for a winter wedding is a perfect guest favour, it comes in a personalized envelope with the bride and groom's name on it and their wedding date, and with snowflakes on it, it fits this wedding. A great accompaniment to the hot chocolate would be a home made treat. Home made guest favours are easy and can often be cheaper if however is making it knows what they are doing. A great favour for this wedding would naturally be Snowballs. By simply taking one package of cream cheese, a can of crushed pineapple and combining it together you get the base of a snowball, after it sits in the fridge and cools for 30 minutes the mixture will form balls easily and then can be rolled into coconut flakes or shredded coconut. Like in the picture below, the Snowballs can be given in a glass dish, or by simply adding wax paper to a favour box, they can be given like that also. 

For some couples, buying the wedding party's outfits is what they decided to give as gifts. Sometimes the couple chooses to buy the jewlery (like necklaces for the bride's maids, and mothers; cuff links for the groom's men and the fathers) or they decided to get them a gift to say thank you. Mother of the bride/groom dresses can often be expensive and sometimes just splitting the cost is a great enough gift, same with bridal party dresses. But even if the couple chooses to buy the dresses/tux or the accessories, a little something is always nice. For this wedding cute snowshoes with the couples name and date of their wedding would be a nice little thank you gift for the parents and wedding party to keep and display.

Centerpieces are often the easiest part of the wedding because the couple can do it themselves and usually at a lower cost. Snow would naturally melt in doors, but ice will stay solid longer so why not use ice cubes as part of the centerpiece. In a glass bowl, adding sparkles or glitter to the bottom and than filling it with water about three quarters of the way up would give a sparkling almost snow-globe look to the centerpiece would would be beautiful by itself with a floating candle. But to add a little something else, finding ice cube trays in all different shapes and sizes isn't hard and it isn't expensive. The couple could make ''Rose Ice'', this is often used in drink, rose petals crushed or sometimes whole frozen in an ice cube, the same can also be done for a floating candle. In a muffin tray, adding water all the way to the top and placing a floating candle in each section than freezing would cause the candle to get stuck in the ice. Adding one ''Candle Cube'' and a few ''Rose Cubes'' to the centerpiece will look good all night. Even after the ice melts, the rose petals will still be in the water and the candle will still float. (For this wedding the rose petals would be white naturally and the candles would either be white also or blues to match the other wedding items.)

For more light and more sparkle, adding snowflake shape tea-light candle holders around the table would be a great idea the light for the candles would reflect off the water in the centerpiece, and by adding glitter covered snowflakes, the light will glisten off of them during the night. 

Thank You Cards:
Thank You Cards don't always have to match the theme of the wedding, some couples choose to send a card with a picture of themselves, or from their wedding day. It all depends on the couple, some chose to send a picture in the card. Either way a couple can never go wrong with a beautiful card, so if it matches the theme or colour scheme doesn't really matter in the end. 

Things to do:
Andorra is known for skiing and shopping but there is also many sights to see. Casa de la Vall was constructed in 1580 as a home for a wealthy family, it has served as Andorra's parliament building since 1702. Esglesia de Santa Coloma is mentioned in documents from the 9th century, the pre-Romanesque form of the Church of Santa Coloma is Andorra's oldest. Placa del Poble, "People's Square," just south of Placa de Rebes occupies the roof of a modern government office building; it gives splendid views of the valley and mountains, it is a popular local gathering place, especially in the evening. Barri Antic is a small intrusively and artificially bisected place by Avinguda Princep Benlloch, which was the heart of Andorra la Vella when the principality's capital was little more than a village. Museu Nacional de l'Automobil is a National Car museu and will leave the classier revheads in vintage car heaven (Andorra Sights).

(Arinsal Village Photo by: Alfredo Maiquez For: LonelyPlanet)

The next country alphabetically is the Republic of Angola, in Africa!