FIND the best Destination Wedding Specialist in Winnipeg

WHY HAVE A DESTINATION WEDDING?

A couple who use a destination wedding travel in Winnipeg

DID YOU KNOW that in North America, 24% of all weddings take place at destination?  and the numbers are climbing.


Why have a destination wedding?  


--Your guests will have a wonderful holiday topped off with sharing your special day.


--Your wedding will be less costly.  


--You don't have the stress of planning the wedding and dealing with the wedding guests.  


--Your wedding and honeymoon are combined.  


--As your wedding will be smaller, you will actually get time to spend with each of your guests.  


--After the festivities, everyone can enjoy their time together.  


--You can have a traditional wedding dress or more casual attire.  


--EVERYONE is relaxed (including YOU) which makes for a stress-free time on your wedding day.  


--If there are any complaints, you send them to the front desk of the hotel/resort.


BUT MOST OF ALL, 

you should have a destination wedding because YOU  DESERVE IT! 


It's YOUR wedding day.


WHERE TO START FOR A "STRESS-FREE" DESTINATION WEDDING BY CHRISTINE

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HAPPY EVER AFTER STARTS HERE!


Contact me 

(Christine-GreatEscapes@mymts.net)

to set a date for us  to get together.   I want to ensure you are comfortable working with me.  

My goal is to make your destination wedding as stress-free as possible.   


When we meet, I will ask you a variety of questions to provide me with ideas of what you are looking for in a resort.    If you do not have a destination or resort in mind, I can make recommendations based on your budget & your tastes.  


You select a destination and an approximate week in which you would like to get married (you should be at destination 2 days prior to the ceremony).  You then provide me with your top 3 choices of resorts/hotels at that location. 


It is now time to compile your guest list (name, address, postal code, phone number and email address) 

to provide to me.


Should you wish to send out personalized  "Save the Date" notices, do it now.  Go to idoweddingprint.com   To get a special rate, enter my agent code (No. 108) upon checkout.

 
I contact a variety of tour companies asking for quotes on the resorts you have selected. The quotes can take up to 5 working days to receive, so while we are waiting to hear back, I will be putting together a package to send to your guests.  Once you have made your final decision as to the resort of your choice, I advise the tour operator to book your group, based on your deposit (approximately $600).  


I TAKE ALL YOUR STRESS AWAY,  as I contact your guests, providing them with costs (deposit amount & final balance due date), resort/hotel & insurance information.  In turn, the wedding guests contact me to make their booking.     


I provide you with the Wedding Coordinator's contact information, and the only thing you, as Bride & Groom, have to do is plan your DREAM WEDDING day!


For AFFORDABLE, but  personalized,  wedding invitations, and thank you cards, go to idoweddingprint.com, and enter my agent code (no. 108) upon checkout.


Two weeks prior to your departure, should you live in Winnipeg, I will host a "wine & cheese" party in your honour for your family/friends attending your destination wedding.  I distribute the travel documents at this time and answer any last minute questions.  This event provides a venue, for those guests who have not met, to get to know each other.


(See next page for a Destination Wedding Checklist.)

ETHNIC DESTINATION WEDDINGS BY CHRISTINE

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CAN YOU HAVE AN

ETHNIC DESTINATION WEDDING?


The answer is a resounding YES!!  


If you are religiously or culturally inclined, there are many churches, chapels and synagogues across the Caribbean where your dream wedding can take place.  


Christian ministers, Catholic priests, Pundits, and Rabbis are available to officiate, and various décor companies can put together everything from a large tent for an Indian ceremony to large covered gazebos which look like a chuppah.


For example, many resorts now host interfaith and Jewish weddings officiated by a Reform Rabbi, expanding their remarkable wedding offerings to even more couples looking for the perfect place to start their new life together.


LOVE HAS NO BOUNDS,

AND NEITHER SHOULD 

YOUR CEREMONY! 



PROPOSALS

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Looking for a unique way to propose?  


I will plan  

your proposal dinner or event.  


OR why not pop the question at a romantic resort.  


Remember that the story of 

how you proposed 

will be told 

for many years to come, 

so make it A MEMORABLE ONE!


See next page for engagement photos, winter photo tips, and how to plan an engagement party.


HONEYMOONS

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I work with you to plan your romantic honeymoon within your budget.  


Whether you are looking for over-water bungalows  in Tahiti


or a weekend away.......


NOTHING SAYS LOVE BETTER

THAN A ROMANTIC GETAWAY!


See the Honeymoon section for more information.

ANNIVERSARIES & RENEWAL OF VOWS

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Do you ever wish 

you had been married on a beach?  


Take a page out of my book:   

My husband Rod and I renewed our vows on the beach in St.  Lucia 

for our 30th anniversary.    


Whether it's your 1st, 5th, 25th 

(or 30th) anniversary,

I will plan:

 an anniversary  trip for two; 

OR arrange for your family & friends 

to attend your "renewal of vows" .


DESTINATION WEDDING CHECKLIST

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12-15 MONTHS BEFORE:  contact Christine Ward  to arrange a date and time to meet to start discussions on your destination wedding.  Christine will provide you with quotes and you can select your resort.  Provide Christine with your guest list (names, address, phone number, email address).  Send out "SAVE THE DATE" cards/emails.


12 MONTHS BEFORE  ¨ Contact the resort wedding coordinator to choose a wedding date.    Indicate if you would like a Symbolic or Legal ceremony (note: selecting a legal ceremony date may take longer as the coordinator will need to work with the judge’s schedule)  ¨ Explore your wedding vision: ceremony/reception location, time of the day, estimated number of guests  ¨ Select your wedding package  ¨ Send deposit to coordinator to reserve your selected date  ¨ Once deposit is received and processed, a formal confirmation of the email is sent (approximately one week after receipt of deposit)  ¨ Coordinator will email forms, pictures and options  ¨ Sign-up for your Honeymoon Registry  ¨ Determine an estimated budget guideline  ¨ Begin clarifying your wedding vision: theme, colors, little extras  ¨   Be sure you have your passport and all documents needed; if you are planning a legal wedding,  the coordinator will be sure you know what legal forms are needed  ¨ Secure DJ, band, photographers and videographer (be sure to speak to your wedding coordinator when booking outside vendors)  


4  - 6 MONTHS BEFORE  ¨ Determine additional wedding events (welcome cocktail party, rehearsal dinner, day-after brunch)  ¨ Start planning outside resort activities like golf, tours, etc. if desired  


2 - 3 MONTHS BEFORE  ¨ Finalize guest list and room requirements  ¨ Confirm ceremony and reception locations (in case you want to make any changes)  ¨ Select décor, choose flowers, pick the cake  ¨ Book ceremony musicians with coordinator (Mariachis, violinist, etc.)  ¨ Share with the coordinator any special readings or songs requested for the ceremony  ¨ Finalize reception chart, seat cards (if applicable) and send to Wedding Coordinator  ¨ Start working on menus  ¨ For legal ceremonies, send completed paperwork to coordinator (MUST be received at least 2 months prior)  


1 MONTH BEFORE  ¨ Confirm all décor, floral, cake and “little extras” with coordinator  ¨ Confirm menus for all events (cocktail hour, reception, rehearsal dinner, etc.)  ¨ Book hair and make-up appointments at the spa for bride and bridal party  ¨ Have programs, menus, place cards, etc. printed  ¨ Confirm timeline of event (i.e.: seated for meal, first dance, father daughter dance, cake cutting, etc.)  ¨ Confirm that all special requests have been noted and planned.


3 WEEKS BEFORE  ¨ Review your wedding contract and make final amendments  ¨ Send guest list of those not staying at the resort to the wedding coordinator  ¨ Be sure the wedding coordinator has your travel schedule and your final guest list, seating charts and events.


UP TO 1 WEEK BEFORE  ¨ Arrive at the resort (based on the type of ceremony you will have)  ¨ On-site meeting with coordinator to go over all event details and make any last minute changes or additions  ¨ Have a trial hair and make-up run through at the salon if desired  ¨ Set-up a spa day with bridesmaids, mother and other loved ones  ¨ Arrange for welcome bag room drop if desired  ¨ Arrange a private dinner on the beach — just the two of you!  ¨ Leave your wedding dress & groom’s attire with your coordinator to have steamed and prepared for the big day  


1 DAY BEFORE  ¨ Have a welcome cocktail party, rehearsal dinner or welcome dinner if desired  ¨ Arrange for special room drops (champagne, flowers, petit fours) to be sent to parents or wedding party  ¨ Bride & Groom: Get an early night sleep. Tomorrow is the Big Day!  


WEDDING DAY  ¨ Have a nice breakfast  ¨ Go to your hair appointment (remember to bring your veil & flowers)  ¨ Your coordinator will check in with your throughout the day as she organizes everything.  Today is YOUR day and she will be with you every step of the way.  ¨ RELAX, SMILE & make the most of this memorable day.

 

 

 

 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

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DIFFICULT ATTENDANT

Q.  There is a member of my bridal party who has been difficult from the start. She is causing me and the other bridal party members an immense amount of stress at every turn. Under what circumstances is it okay to “fire” a member of my bridal party and how do I break the news to her?


A.  Without knowing the specific issues that have arisen with this difficult bridal party member, I would initially try to have a one-on-one conversation in person with her. Perhaps you might begin by questioning her about what her concerns are. Maybe you can figure out why she is being difficult. If she is not willing to work within the parameters and hopes you have for your event, or is unhappy with your wedding plans, you might ask her if she would prefer to “pull out.” Make sure you have this discussion either face-to-face or over the phone with her, as text and email can often create misunderstandings due to it being difficult to fully understand someone’s tone of voice.

WHO NOT TO INVITE?

Q.  One of the reasons my fiancé and I chose a destination wedding was to keep the guest list at a bare minimum. He has a large, extended family and it is not within our means to invite everyone. Do we have to invite all of our family or can we pick and choose? For example, can we invite some aunts and uncles and not others?


A.  When you consider your wedding guest list, it is important to be fair or you will definitely run the risk of hurt feelings within the respective families. If you invite some aunts and uncles, you should invite them all. The same would go for other categories of relatives...cousins, nieces and nephews, etc.. The best way to keep the numbers down for the actual destination wedding is to host an “at home reception” for all of the relatives who weren’t invited or couldn’t attend the actual wedding. There are many options for this type of event that can be less expensive. You can make it as casual or as formal as you would like. You might choose a theme linked to where you hosted your destination wedding. Including a video from the ceremony, cuisine from your wedding destination and displaying pictures from your destination wedding are all ways to recreate the event at home. An at-home reception can also provide an opportunity for your parents to host and invite their friends and the family who could not be included in the wedding. It’s also a fun excuse to get to wear your wedding attire again!

 

 

 

engagement hints & tips

ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS

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Did you recently get engaged? Don’t wait until spring to shoot your celebratory photos! Winter can be a beautiful backdrop for an engagement photo session, filled with snow-topped trees and glistening icicles.  You’ll want to keep in mind that when it comes to pulling off a wintry engagement shoot, earlier sunsets and frosty temperatures can make this season a challenge. . The most overlooked items:  tissues and cover-up, to counteract runny, red noses–are actually available at most drugstores. As well, hand warmers, layered clothing and warm boots are helpful: the longer you stay warm, the longer you can shoot for. Winter outerwear tends to come in shades of black and grey, so opt for a pop of colour such as a bright scarf or hat.


(From WeddingBells.ca)

OUTDOOR WINTER ENGAGEMENT PHOTO TIPS

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1.  Mosturize well before applying makeup, so your skin stays hydrated.

2. Due to the dry climate, hair tends to "electrify", Run a dryer sheet over your hair to prevent statuc, and spritz with climate control hairspray.

3.  Incorporate city architecture/forest into the photo

4.  Shoot the photos in optimal weather.  Why?  Because you can.

5.  When choosing outfits, you can match, but in a cute way......your favourite hockey jerseys; plaid shirts but in different colours.

6.  Embrace the snow;  huge snowflakes look great in photos.

7.  Don't schedule the photo shoot too late in the day -- take advantage of the longer shadows in the afternoon or in the beautiful hours before Sunset.

8.  Dress in layers but make it colourful with scarves & mittens.

9.  If you have pale skin, lipstick, mascara and blush go a long way.


(from WeddingBells.ca)


PLANNING AN ENGAGEMENT PARTY

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1.  Choose the guest list carefully, so you don't go over your budget.  Bridal party and immediate family are a must.  Then add your closest friends.

2.  Have fun with your engagement party invitation by using your engagement photo, and adding  a little rhyme:  HOORAY   John Ward is engaged to Mary O'Shea.  Use your imagination.

3.  As well as the normal DATE, TIME, LOCATION, ensure you add a dress code, to whom to RSVP and when by on your invitation.

4.  Location location location.  Do not choose a venue that will compete with your wedding venue.  You can have an informal BBQ in someone's backyard, or a semi-formal dinner at a restaurant.  But the location should have some meaning to you as a couple.  Choose food to ensure your  vegans/vegetarians friends will also have choices.

5.  Drinks:  are you paying for the drinks?  If not, advise your guests.  If you are, should you wish to keep the price down, plan a "signature drink" to keep costs down, if you have planning a BBQ.

6.  Get creative with your  decorations:  balloons, signs with your favourite quotes, photos taken during your relationship.  Get cups with your names and engagement date on it.

7.  Let's not forget music.  Every great party has music, whether it's on your iPhone or you hire a DJ.


(from Bridal Guide)

 

tips TO START

CHOOSING YOUR ATTENDANTS

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 Whether you choose to have one attendant or six, the decision of who will be your supporting cast for the big day is a great one. Your wedding party will not only play a key role in the activities leading up to the wedding (and of course, behind the scenes at the wedding) their presence is also very sentimental: these are the people that you and your fiancé have chosen to have closest to you on the day you officially start your life together. Heavy stuff, right?There are no rules when it comes to choosing your bridal party, though it makes sense that its scale fits your wedding ─ a grand bridal party of a dozen attendants on either side might seem out of place at a casual, intimate wedding, for example. Beyond the two witnesses that will sign your registry (traditionally the maid of honour and best man) your wedding party can take whatever shape you’d like it to. Guilt, fear of hurt feelings and a sense of obligation can often creep into decisions of selecting your wedding party, so be mindful to really take emotional inventory. Perhaps you were a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding, that does not mean that you are obligated to ask them to stand in yours. If there are no small children in your family that you are close with, do not feel compelled to wrangle two toddlers to serve as a flower girl or ring bearer, just for the sake of having them. The decisions you make should be sincere and heartfelt, rather than couched in obligations.As for concerns of having an equal number of bridesmaids and groomsmen, it is a notion that serves to produce a good deal of stress and little else, it seems. If your best friend is a man, then who better suited to being your right hand? If you are extremely close to two friends and your fiancé is one of four brothers, then have at it ─ a perfect posse! The point is not to produce symmetrical photos. Do a gut-check: the crux is to mark a major milestone with those you can’t imagine not sharing it with.  Questions to ask yourself:· How long has this friend been in your life? Has the relationship stood the test of time?· Have they consistently been a solid, rather than fickle, friend?· Is your friendship a soulful one, or are you more social co-partiers?· What is their relationship to your fiancé? Do they see all the great things in each other that you see in each of them?· How logistically feasible is their bridesmaidship? Have they just embarked on six months of travelling? Do they have a baby due when you’re getting married?If this friend is a true blue, longstanding comrade that knows you as an individual, appreciates your soon-to-be-other half, and they’re free when you’re getting hitched, it sounds like they are just the person for the job. If there is someone you love dearly, but circumstances preclude them from being in the wedding party, they can absolutely still play an important part in your big day. You could invite them to sit with your family and do a reading at the ceremony, include them in some special photos together or acknowledge them in a toast.    


 Article by Karen Cleveland

CHOOSING YOUR WEDDING COLOURS

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 Colours tell a story.     


Decide what type of mood you want to create.  Turquoise and fushia look great for a destination wedding, or if you have decided to have a wedding at home in the Autumn, you might wish to go with reds or oranges.  Do you want elegant and refined?  bold and refined?    earthy or funky?     


You don't have to overdo it with colour.  Just have a splash of colour.     Your bridesmaid dresses don't have to be all the same colour or the same style.  But ensure you use the same hues, and tie the look together with an accent necklace or  a bouquet that is consistent. You might also want to consider each bridesmaid wearing a different shade of the colour.

SELECTING YOUR DESTINATION WEDDING DRESS

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Finding the perfect wedding dress for your venue can be tough, especially if you're in the throws of planning a destination wedding. The wedding venue sets the tone for everything, even your dress. The wedding dress you wear to a your beach wedding is probably very different than what you would wear if you were having a cozy mountain wedding. Whether your suddenly dead set on channeling Meghan Markle  for a royal-themed wedding at an amazing castle, saying "I do" on a white sandy beach, a cozy mountain setting or chic city nuptials, your dress should compliment your venue. While I am  ALL about what makes you feel like your best self, don't forget about the setting of your wedding and even the weather (think long sleeves for the chilly mountains and airy fabrics for that hot summer sun by the beach). Also, the best part about choosing the right wedding dress for your venue is that it helps you set the tone of what you want before you even set foot into a bridal salon! 

The biggest trends for 2018  are stunning, but feature the same cinched waists, lace fabric, and dramatic skirts we’ve been seeing on runways and wedding aisles for decades. While wanting a traditional style is quite understandable (after all, these trends have persisted because they look good) to truly stand out in your wedding photos, it seems shopping outside the bridal section can be a good idea, too.If you're in the market for an alternative outfit to wear to your wedding, look for some inspiration that breaks a lot of the unspoken rules about wedding dresses. 

DON'T WANT THE TRADITIONAL DRESS OR JEWELLERY?

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I'll start with the biggest breaking-the-trend trend of all: wearing a color other than white. If you still like a lighter feel, go for a dress in a super pale shade or one with ombre details. If keeping that "bridal" vibe is important to you, try sticking with a traditional silhouette.

It's rare to see a two-piece number that isn't a suit walk down the aisle — but clearly, it can work. A fuzzy sweater and dramatic skirt can make a serious bridal statement, especially for a winter wedding, without even treading too far from a traditional silhouette. Bonus points:  Pair the ensemble with shoes in a bold color like royal blue. 

While getting married is a great excuse to drop more on an outfit than you usually would, spending thousands of dollars isn’t the only way to get a look you love. Retailers like have their own collections of trendy-yet-affordable bridal outfits — to be honest, you can snag a white dress from any of your favorite stores & call it a day. 

The strapless silhouette so often associated with wedding dresses is becoming less prevalent, with designers creating off-the-shoulder looks instead.   To amp up the trend one step further, look for gowns that feel less delicate than the traditional style.

Wedding outfits are typically floor length. But that’s not always so practical, especially if your celebration is taking place somewhere with high temps, or your shindig involves lots of dancing. Luckily, everyone is making short options now. Bonus: They usually cost less, too.

While your traditional diamond stud earrings and delicate necklaces will probably always be in style, statement accessories  are becoming wildly popular, too. In addition to some sweet earrings, try bold hair clips.

photos by l. Perlstein

DRESSING THE MOM'S

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When it comes to your wedding there are many people to be considered. The bride, the groom, the wedding party, the guests and…the moms. On your special day both of your moms will want to look their best. It is a challenge that nearly every bride faces in choosing their wedding style, what should the mother of the bride and mother of the groom wear?

1. Match The Bridal Party If your colour scheme is very important to your wedding decor, you may want to dress your moms in colours that match your girls. Try finding darker or lighter shades than your maids, in dresses that are a similar style. That way they will stand out just enough while still looking unified with the rest of your party.  

2. Choose Neutrals.  Your mom is one of the most important people at your wedding, so why not dress her in a neutral to complement your white gown? Incorporate shades of ivory or taupe to create a mother-daughter look that is picture-perfect.

3. Consider Suits.  Take some tips from our favourite Royal mothers and choose elegant skirt suits for your moms. Look for tailored suits in lush embroidered fabrics. Allow your moms comfort in figure-flattering cuts and traditional styles, and add custom fascinators to complete their royal looks.

4. Play With Metallics. Spice up your bridal party by styling your moms in metallics that complement the colour of your maids. Are your girls wearing plum? Dress your moms in pewters and silvers. Seeing red? Gold and bronze tones would be perfect for your mothers.

5. Change It Up. Is your wedding the opposite of traditional? Then throw away the rulebook and allow your moms to choose dresses and colours that let their personalities shine through. Give them a list of colours and shades that match your wedding decor and let them go crazy with textures and lengths that best suit them.

Article by Danielle Barich

 

HELP!

HOW TO KEEP YOUR MOTHER-IN-LAW FROM PLANNING YOUR WEDDING

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Ironic, isn’t it? You were likely getting by just fine making decisions until your engagement, and now you are being bombarded with suggestions on how you should do things! Most people have such nostalgia around their own wedding and will freely share advice on how they did things (or plan to do them), hoping you might find these tips helpful. They mean well. And such suggestions are merely that: helpful suggestions. You cannot please everyone, so best to gently set out your planning parameters. Whether you feel stuck in a gridlock with your mother-in-law over flowers, or you’re being snubbed by your sister for choosing cake over the cupcakes she loves, here’s how to finesse some well-intentioned suggestions.

1. Hear them out
Most people chiming in with suggestions genuinely want to help and their ideas are often couched in either how they did things at their wedding, or what they envision for you. They simply want to know that you have heard what they have to say. If your mother-in-law is waxing about how much she loves peonies, ask for details! What was her bouquet like? How many bridesmaids did she have again? Does she have peonies in her garden?
2. Acknowledge their suggestions and have conviction in your decision
Clearly let the other person know that you’ve heard their suggestion ─ an acknowledgement might be all they are after and then you can’t be faulted for not hearing them out. Tell your mother-in-law the peony bouquet in her wedding photos looked gorgeous, but you really have your heart set on hydrangeas, for example. If you waffle or ask her what she thinks of hydrangeas, you might be inviting more helpful suggestions so be mindful of how the discussion ends.

3. Carry on
You can make people feel included in your planning without feeling pressure to let others make decisions for you. And while compromise is key between you and your fiancé, it is not the end of the world if your mother-in-law isn’t in love with your floral arrangements. Being rude to her, however, might be! Just remember: The communication lines you establish and the grace you exude will far outlast your wedding day.


Article by Karen Cleveland 

WEDDING DATES TO AVOID

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You may wish to double-check the dates before you set your wedding date.


In this first category, we have days that might be perfectly fine, or might be a massive disruption to your annual plans. You two know your guests, and can plan accordingly – if your family has a massive Grey Cup or Super Bowl party every year, that’s probably not a Sunday you want to choose. If you watch every hour of the Oscars (including the red carpet), a different date might be preferable.


MAJOR TELEVISION EVENTS:

Super Bowl Sunday

The Academy Awards

Grey Cup Final   


More generally, think about the kind of events you won’t want to miss, or the nights when half of your family wishes there were a television somewhere nearby. Saturdays and Sundays in January might be avoided if you come from a family of hockey fans.  


SIGNIFICANT DATES

Some of these are religious and federal holidays, some are federal, some are just days when people have other plans. On holidays when flowers are often in the mix, that’s an added consideration – how much extra will you have to pay for roses

near Valentine’s Day, 

or spring flowers near Easter?


New Year’s Day: January 1    

Valentine’s Day: February 14 

Easter

Spring Breaks

Mother’s Day

Father’s Day 

Halloween 


SOLEMN DATES

Remembrance Day:  November 11th  


Long weekends:

Victoria Day

Labor Day

Thanksgiving: 

Christmas



 Don’t forget major religious holidays, like Passover or Lent,   any time your guests may be attending religious services, may limited in what they can eat, or may be fasting, might not be the ideal ones for your wedding. 


If you’re getting married in a warmer climate, mid-March could be a time to avoid the spring break crowds (and the accompanying rate hikes!) 


If you’re particularly superstitious, dates like Friday the 13th might be ones you cross off your list.



Don’t forget about birthdays and anniversaries! You and your fiance will likely know whether, for example, your mother would love to share her birthday with your wedding, or whether that wouldn’t go over as well. When in doubt, it never hurts to check.  

Wedding Trends

LUXURY WEDDINGS

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WHY RENT A LUXURY VILLA?


Cost per person is less than at a comparable hotel.  

Far more space than in traditional accommodations.

A more personalized vacation experience, as it is a once-in-a-lifetime dream experience.

Exceptional locations in premier destinations.

Privileged privacy.

Total customization allowing you to have total immersion in local culture.

You can have a themed experience (at the Horseshoe in Orlando)

Be part of a movie set (Poinciano or Allure at Reunion Resort, Orlando)

Take in a movie at your private theatre (Crystal Springs, Barbados)

Have a gourmet experience (Sweet Bocas, Panama)

Have an unforgettable experience at L e mas des Poiriers, Provence, France) 


If you are expecting 50-100 people to attend your destination wedding, 

why not rent a villa.

Examples are:  

Fustic House, St. Lucy, Barbados

up to 80 guests

Fortland Points on the Beach

Discovery Bay, Jamaica

up to 100 guests

Marsh Mellow

St. James, Barbados 

up to 80 guests

Bambu

Great River Bay, Jamaica

up to 75 guestsMullinss

Mullins Bay

St. Peter, Barbados

up to 80 guests


I have access to over 2,500 vetted, inspected, guaranteed and managed properties world wide.  There is no 3rd party registration for payment.  24/7 dedicated customer service


A villa concierge will create a full-customized getaway for you., assisting with : 

booking attractions, tours, culinary experiences

setting up spa appointments and golf tea times

Providing restaurant recommendations and reservations

Organizing private chef dinners and serviced events

Pre-stocking groceries prior to your arrival

Arranging for additional on-site staff or nanny service

Booking car rentals and other modes of transportation

Finding a local wedding or event planner.


All-new destinations:

Panama-Portugal-Scotland

Puglia, Italy - Bali, Indonesia

Sri Lanka - Grand Cayman

North & South Carolina


COMING SOON:

Las Vegas, Bonaire, exclusive Napa, The Hamptons

Exclusive Amalfi Coast:

Giulia 6 bedrooms - Positano

Romeo 7 bedrooms - Sorrento

Lika 4 bedrooms - Sorrento

Pamina 4 bedrooms - Positano


TRENDING DESTINATIONS:

Turks & Caicos; Paris, France; Italy; Jamaica; Costa Rica; Belize; Barbados; and Orlando, Florida.

DESTINATION WEDDING & HONEYMOON TRENDS

  

Here are some more of the latest destination wedding & honeymoon trends:

Heritage Return: One of the top initiators of a destination wedding today is what is known as “heritage return.” The wedding will often be the first opportunity a couple has to return to their land of origin (or the land of ancestry for one of the partners). This is one reason why Ireland and Italy are incredibly popular 

for destination weddings.  

Pre-Wedding Planning Trips Are On The Rise: Couples take the time and spend the money to visit the destination and venue prior to the wedding date. They want to see and feel the overall venue experience so they can plan around it accordingly.  

Fewer Couples Want Pre-Packaged Anything: Even though a couple might be going to a hotel or resort that specializes in destination weddings and offers a wedding package, most don’t want a “cookie-cutter” experience and tend to stay away from a hotel’s “wedding package.” They seek out preferred wedding planners in the destination to ensure a truly bespoke experience.  

It’s Not Just A Wedding, It’s A Multi-Day Celebration: A destination wedding is much more than just the actual wedding day. Couples are now including itineraries in the guest’s welcome bags with details on all of the events the guests can participate in as well as suggestions and options of activities guests can do to best experience that particular destination over a few days for the wedding celebration.  

Authentic Destination Guest Gifts: Couples are after authentic guest gifts which represent the destination of the wedding versus something generic. For example, for a recent wedding in Japan, one couple gave away gorgeous Japanese silk fans to their guests as a keepsake.  

Delayed Honeymoon Trips: Couples are not in a big hurry to depart on their honeymoon immediately following the wedding. They don’t mind planning an extended honeymoon for months after the wedding if it might mean they can get better deals in shoulder season and then take longer trips using accrued vacation time. They also delay a honeymoon in order to travel at the time of year they prefer or that is most popular for a specific destination like an October safari, an early April cherry blossom visit to Japan, a December ski holiday in Aspen, Vail, or St. Moritz, or the September wine harvest in Tuscany.  

Honeymoon Savings and Splurges: Couples want to travel farther and stay longer at exotic destinations and therefore, might stay at a more affordable property in a region they’ve not been to, like Thailand, in order to reserve their funds to splurge on a few days at a $2,500 a night five-star plus resort in the Maldives.  

Instagram One-Ups: Millennials are determined to get the better Instagram pic than their friends. They recognize destinations their friends post in photos of noteworthy hotels, famous sites, etc. and often will go to great lengths to select a destination wedding or honeymoon location that will offer them the best photo options to post on Instagram. 

Destination Bachelorette Parties Are Getting More Popular: Destination Bachelorette parties continue to grow. Brides and their friends depart on a Thursday afternoon and return on Monday, flying for up to eight hours to the destination. East Coast brides are choosing Cape Cod, Montreal, Nova Scotia, Ireland, Scotland, and even as far as Croatia for their getaways. Activities typically include spas, wine tasting, and even golf.


TRENDS

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Destination weddings are becoming more and more elaborate. Couples are arranging more multi-day programming; they’re getting married in more luxurious properties (pushing their guests to pay a higher price for the better experience) and they’re preferring properties that host only a single wedding per day to have autonomy over the event to best dictate the event for themselves, their families and friends, and more.      

The classics remain popular destinations; these include Mexico, the Caribbean, Hawaii, South Pacific, Italy and Greece. Although one destination that is growing in popularity is Ireland, as the historic castles make for an excellent backdrop for a ceremony.  The most popular destinations  are Tuscany and Amalfi Coast, Italy; Provence and Paris, France; County Kildare and County Waterford, Ireland; Marrakech, Morocco; and Napa Valley, CA.   Couples are looking to go above and beyond the typical rehearsal dinner or welcome cocktail party. For instance, they’re looking to book unique events that can only be enjoyed in the destination. Some top picks include tequila tastings, sunset champagne catamaran excursions and even taking a group to be cleansed by a shaman. 

Even if the couple doesn’t book these events for their guests, some will include a guide to the destination with a welcome bag, allowing them to discover the area on their own.     It’s also becoming increasingly common for wedding guests to book pre- or post-wedding stays of their own. Because guests are traveling great distances to attend the wedding, they’re choosing to take advantage of the opportunity to build their own travel into the trip. They may time a cruise to coincide with the wedding, go from the wedding to a safari, or take a scenic road trip in and around the wedding destination.  

There is an increase in non-conventional religious ceremonies (such as a groom who brought a rabbi and a bride who brought her Catholic priest to conduct a joint ritual).    

Clients are looking at resorts that book one wedding a day. This gives the couple more control and more attention from the resort’s in-house wedding-planning/events team.   90 percent of guests are opting for high-end all-inclusives, noting they make the decision so they can be pampered with less stress.  The most-requested destination in 2018 was Los Cabos, which is attributed to several new resorts, including Montage Los Cabos, Grand Velas Los Cabos and Le Blanc Los Cabos.

Social media is having an effect on how couples book weddings and honeymoons: They’re seeing what their friends and family are doing and are looking for at least the same experiences — if not trying to one-up them. Millennials are the biggest group who are turning to Instagram for inspiration for their weddings and honeymoons, often looking for a hotel or destination that will give them the most buzz-worthy photo ops.  Clients are spending more on photography and videography (drones included!) throughout the wedding, so that they can share on social media their experience with their friends and family (both in attendance and elsewhere).  The evolution of these more-extravagant weddings is something that Christine Ward of Great Escapes can help you with;  but you need to book  as far as 16 to 20 months to begin planning your special day,  Couples are starting the booking process for a destination wedding more than 15 months out. There are certainly lots of moving pieces to arrange but it should come as a sign of relief that couples are aware of the tasks they’re handing their travel agent.  Plenty of luxury resorts are upping their romantic offerings to meet the desires of wedding destination parties and honeymooners. For example:  •Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort, an adults-only property off the northern coast of Mozambique, has introduced its Star Bed Experience, a romantic getaway where couples are whisked away to their own private island to watch the sunset, have dinner and sleep under the stars.   •Jumeirah Vittaveli in the Maldives, Sandals Ochi Beach Resort in Jamaica and Hotel Xcaret Mexico in Playa del Carmen have debuted over-water wedding chapels that can accommodate various-sized ceremonies.   Looking for a LUXURY wedding, contact Christine-GreatEscapes@mymts.net

WEDDING TRENDS REPORT

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Wedding Trends Report

From the unexpected entertainment to experiential dining, brides and grooms continue to break the traditional rules in favor of creating weddings that are a true reflection of themselves as a couple.“Personalization has made its way into every aspect of weddings, as couples proudly show their unique personalities and styles throughout the food, entertainment, escort cards and florals,” said Kristen Maxwell Cooper, editor in chief of The Knot. “Couples are also making a personal statement with their registries. Long gone are the days of registering just for the sake of tradition. Today’s couples are asking for what they truly want, be it a KitchenAid mixer for the baking-obsessed, a couples massage for their honeymoon beach getaway, or IVF treatments to help start a family.” 

Couples are letting the feel of their celebration dictate the details. Instead of starting with colors, they’re coining words that express the kind of party they’re throwing—like “rustic with a bit of romantic and a touch of retro”—and using that to communicate their vision to the local professionals that’ll pull off their day. Having trouble defining your style? The Knot Style Quiz walks couples through a selection of inspirational wedding photos and keeps track of their likes and dislikes. After analyzing the couple’s choices, The Knot defines their unique style and creates a personalized Wedding Vision that can be shared directly with vendors—that way, nothing gets lost in translation.Statement Escort Card DisplaysWeddings in 2018 will give way to the wow-worthy (think: totally Instagrammable) escort card installation that incorporates the couple’s personalities. Create a flower wall and allow guests to “pick” their seats and take home a gorgeous stem. Or set up a large display of personalized thermoses for a woodsy-themed wedding. Love tequila? Welcome guests with Himalayan sea salt shot glasses with their names written in edible ink, filled with tequila and topped with a lime.Asking for CashThe traditional retail registry isn’t going anywhere, but more and more couples are asking for cash in the form of experiences. Thanks to The Knot Newlywed Fund, you can ask for exactly what you want—from new camping gear or a down payment on a home, to a fund for adopting a baby. Have a cause that’s close to your heart? Attach a charity to your retail registry and The Knot will donate on your behalf each time a gift is purchased off your registry.Balloons and ArchesBalloons make the perfect fun and festive flower alternative and can easily transform a space. Pair colorful Mylar options with basic latex balloons in varied sizes for a real “wow” factor. They can be strung like garlands, suspended from the ceiling, or shaped into a mural-like wall installation. The classic altar setup is also getting a revamp, with round archways or an almost closed circle to stand under and say your “I dos.” The circle is a unique spin on the expected and symbolizes eternity.Foregoing the FavorMore and more couples are opting out of favors and prioritizing the experience over a simple takeaway. They’re treating guests to extras like a specialty sip station, a lipstick touch-up bar, a passed after-dinner treat, or even a fun late-night cover band. Thoughtful welcome bags for destination weddings are still all the rage and this year, couples are choosing to gift a series of small presents parceled out over the course of their guests’ stay. Out-of-towners are welcomed with the essentials, followed by a sweet treat at turndown and a parting gift for their travels home.Unexpected EntertainmentAs more couples move away from providing favors and takeaways, they’re focused on creating the most memorable experience for guests, with entertainment taking the main stage. Instead of hiring one form of entertainment like a band or DJ, don’t be surprised to see a steady stream of entertainment throughout the night. From an experiential theater performance and roaming sketch artists, to tarot card readers, astrologists and magicians, couples are pulling out all the stops to create an interactive, unforgettable night that’s personalized to their interests.First Look Beyond Your Partner & Wedding Parties ReimaginedThe first look with your spouse-to-be is huge, but this year, we’ll also see couples do an official reveal with other VIPs in their life. Moms, dads, bridesmaids, grandparents and more will enjoy a first look with the photographer in tow to capture their priceless reactions. The traditional wedding party is also getting a twist. Couples are mixing up their wedding party with people of the opposite sex standing on either side of the couple and honoring certain relatives in special ways (like flower grandmas!).Signature Eats & Experiential DiningSignature cocktails have been a long-standing tradition at weddings, so couples are switching it up and opting to claim their food. Ask guests to choose from the “his” or “hers” entrée option, or name passed hors d’oeuvres instead. When it comes to food, presentation continues to trend, but this year, couples are taking it one step further with “experienced” cuisine—like a hanging installation of nibbles, open-fire cooking, or a chef plating something in real time.Passed Cake Bites, Hand-Painted Cakes & Inventive Flavors Let’s face it, by the time the cake is cut, everyone is on the dance floor. So bring the cake to them! Have your baker prepare bite-size pieces to be passed while guests get down. Also trending? Hand-painted confections. White wedding cakes have become a canvas for personalization and hand-painting is a popular way to add a bespoke touch. Not only is the design on the outside important, but creating a flavorful bite like no other is totally on trend. Step aside chocolate and vanilla, new flavors like cookies and cream, Funfetti and exotic pairings (think: bourbon and mocha), are taking center stage with fillings and frostings.Nontraditional VenuesAs couples create a wedding uniquely their own, more are stepping outside the traditional reception space and hosting their weddings in unexpected places: boxing gyms, pop-up barns, historic libraries and large homes with sprawling backyards. Met at a summer camp? Host your wedding under the stars surrounded by nature. Love music? Choose a concert hall and be rock stars for the day. Looking for more inspiration? Check out the new book The Knot Yours Truly. Chock-full of beautiful real wedding photos, fresh ideas and tips, this book has everything you need to plan a unique wedding that perfectly reflects your relationship.Single Stem Bouquets & Baby’s-Breath RevivalSingle stem flowers are making a comeback. Opt for a sculptural stem, like an oversize tropical leaf, a calla lily, or a big-headed bloom like a peony or dinner-plate dahlia for maximum effect. Baby’s breath, that inexpensive stem of tiny white flowers, is making a return, in big and small ways. It pairs perfectly with on-trend greenery and works well for flower crowns and other small hairpieces. Want to go big? Create “clouds” of baby’s breath suspended above your dinner tables for a dramatic effect.

It’s All About the SleeveFrom caps and bells to barely there, sleeved silhouettes will be big this year. Also hot for 2018 is the cape. Sheer capes, lace capelets, hooded style and pearl-encrusted designs all made their way down the runways. What’s not to love about this removable trend that’s a more fashion-forward take on the classic veil? For men, suit colors and textures are getting an upgrade. Black, navy and gray suits will always be in style, but today’s guys are opting for more colorful alternatives (think: burgundy, dark green, even dusty mauve).Textures (like casual tweeds and herringbone patterns) are also playing a big role in groom and groomsmen’s ensembles.


 

HONEYMOONS

HONEYMOONS FOR LGBTQ COUPLES

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BEST HONEYMOON DESTINATIONS FOR LGBTQ COUPLES


"A honeymoon should be the best kind of vacation. You should feel safe from discrimination, even if it's just a little bit."


Marriage equality continues to sweep the globe: Austria and the Cayman Islands legalized same-sex marriage in the first half of 2019, following numerous counties that have extended 

the freedom to marry in recent years.


Of course, along with the freedom to marry comes a major dilemma: Where to honeymoon?


It's a big decision for anyone, but for LGBTQ couples there are additional factors to consider: 

How inclusive is the destination? 

What's its record on LGBTQ rights? 

How safe will we be if we travel there?


Top 10 destinations:

1. Canada  2. New Zealand  3. Australia  4. Switzerland  5. Ireland  6. France  7. Greece  8. Finland  9. United States  10. Italy


Criteria for the above was whether or not the country recognized same-sex marriage and whether it was recognized as an LGBTQ travel destination, as well as how picturesque and romantic it was.


The number one destination for LGBT honeymoons is Canada, which enacted marriage equality back in 2005, and our country's constitution guarantees fundamental civil liberties to the LGBTQ community. Beyond its gay-friendly bona fides, Canada is home to natural wonders like the Northern Lights, Niagara Falls and the majestic Northwest Territories.

  

New Zealand, which legalized same-sex marriage in 2013, landed in second place, thanks to its welcoming vibe and natural beauty (on full display in 

The Lord of the Rings movies).  


By Daniel Avery


UPPING THE "WOW" FACTOR

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Honeymoons are getting bigger: from multi-destination trips to a bigger focus on immersive, experiential activities, couples are looking for even more wow-worthy getaways to follow the big day.   

If you a looking at two weeks, perhaps stay at two different locations -- resort hop from one area to another, or island hop so it mixes up the experience and get a little more adventure involved. 

Where are couples headed?  While traditional honeymoon destinations are still very popular, couples are often interested in more unique, exotic destinations — places that their friends haven’t experienced, especially destinations they can share 

on social media.  

Gone are the years when a flight of over seven hours was immediately dismissed.  Being uncomfortable on a long flight doesn’t outweigh the opportunity to go to Bali, do a safari, or trek around 

New Zealand.  

Since many honeymooners today are highly well-travelled, seeing new places and checking off new destinations, and having new experiences holds greater appeal, Honeymooners want to travel farther — they have the time off and want to make the most of it.  

In terms of specific destinations, Bali remains popular for its uniqueness and affordability.  I  have also seen an increase in French Polynesia with more enquiries on  Thailand, Vietnam, Iceland, Greece and Turkey.   

Hawaii, as well, offers great opportunities for island-hopping.    Greece, again, because it has multiple islands, has been trending upward, and for those that want adventure, I suggest Africa.  

Dubai has also been popular for those that want to go farther afield, while Costa Rica and Belize remain good options for couples looking for adventure destinations that do not break the bank.

Once they get to their destination, honeymooners are looking for experiences that help them dive deeper into that location — particularly its cuisine. Wine tours, wine tastings and wineries are huge this year.  Millennials have become the largest demographic for wine sales, so I suggest  destinations, resorts and cruises that have optional wine experiences.  

Honeymooners are looking for EXPERIENCES

— they are not necessarily looking to lay on the beach for a week.   They want to connect with local cultures, take a culinary tour, or take a wine or distillery tour.  

That trend holds true for accommodations, too: Resort-wise, honeymooners are leaning more toward boutique, as opposed to mass-market.  A focus on food and wine in the resort or in the destination itself seals the deal for honeymooners.    

AM Resorts such as Zoetry, Breathless, Secrets and Now are my favorites to recommend to foodies.  Oceania cruise lines focus on food and wine experiences.  Windstar also does very well 

for honeymooners.”

TIPS FOR THE PERFECT HONEYMOON

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7 TIPS:

1. Give Yourself Time While wedding planning is paramount before your big day, don’t leave honeymoon planning to the last minute! Start thinking about where and when you’d like to honeymoon as soon as you set your wedding date. This will allow you ample time to do research, ensure you can book your perfect place and possibly take advantage of specials or early booking deals.

2. Prioritize Decide what the most important aspects of the honeymoon are for both of you. Do you want swank accommodations or is an amazing secluded beach more important? Are you willing to fly a few extra hours to achieve both or do you want to prioritize a direct flight? Knowing what you’re both looking for and what you’re willing to compromise on will make selecting your ideal location easier.

3. Be Realistic Pick the place and style of trip that is perfect for you. There is no need to keep up with the Jones’s on honeymoons. A recipe for misery is trying to out-do another couple and spending thousands of dollars to spend seven plus days somewhere you don’t like, doing things that aren’t fun for you. If you are happiest drinking margaritas by the pool...do that anywhere you want. The important thing is to begin your marriage happy and enjoying each other’s company.

4. Involve a Professional - Christine Ward While you may enjoy reading books and blogs on locations and creating the perfect itinerary to best enjoy an exotic locale...your honeymoon is the time to involve a travel advisor . Christine Ward can take care of every possible detail (so you have more time for wedding planning), suggest locations that you haven’t thought of, and typically can get you honeymoon upgrades that aren’t listed on resort websites. Christine is  also there for you if your flights are cancelled or bad weather threatens to wreck your honeymoon.

5. Get Insurance Honeymoons are a large investment of money and dreams, so safeguard yours with travel insurance. That way if one of you ends up incredibly sick, a family member has an emergency or a hurricane is pounding your intended destination you haven’t lost your honeymoon and have the option to postpone it or find an alternate locale. Just knowing that your honeymoon is covered will help you rest easier throughout your entire wedding planning process.  Christine sells a variety of travel protection plans and she can help you select the right plan for you.

6. Live it Up You’re officially married...so now is the time to celebrate your newlywed status! While it is important to unwind from your wedding, it is also the perfect time to be adventurous and try new activities together. The memories you make now will last a lifetime (don’t forget to take pictures).  

7. Let Your Guests Help Excited to indulge in a variety of activities while on your honeymoon, but have a tight budget? Consider using a honeymoon registry site like Honeymoon Wishes, which allows your guests to gift specific things like a couple’s massage or contribute funds towards your honeymoon.  Christine can provide your guests with information on how to donate to your honeymoon.

These seven tips should help ensure that you plan the perfect trip. No matter where you go and what you do on your honeymoon, have the time of your newlywed lives!

— Article by Danielle Tate 

PRIVATE & UNIQUE EXPERIENCES ON YOUR HONEYMOON

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Couples  like to focus on experiences that are unique to a particular destination, such as a temazcal experience in Mexico.   

Private experiences of all kinds are also a big selling point.  Couple’s massage,  private dinner on the beach, private picnic — even The Brando (a private island resort in Tahiti), and if honeymooners can afford it, they like to have those bragging rights that come from doing that.   

To help spotlight the culinary aspects of a honeymoon, I'd like honeymooners to send me a list of the top five restaurants to be found at a location, including its cuisine and its website or reservation link.   

My honeymooners can hashtag Great Escapes By Christine  with a photo of your meal.     

Honeymooners are looking for Instagram-worthy destinations — even if they are staying at a well-known resort like a Sandals, they want something unique within that hotel.  Some examples could include a unique room category, like the new over-water bungalows, or a helicopter transfer.   

They are also seeking out the more independent, unique hotels.  Belize and Costa Rica are great examples where you can combine adventure with beach time, staying in ecolodges and combining that with boutique or larger beach hotels.      

PACKING LIGHT FOR YOUR HONEYMOON

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You are not moving house; 

you are going on vacation.  


There's a reason it's called luggage.  

You lug around enormous bags filled with too many clothes, too many pairs of shoes, too many beauty produces, and  lots of

"just in case" items.

Checked luggage prices are going up and up, so it pays to streamline your packing.  

Most seasoned travellers refuse to check their luggage.  Take an oversized tote and a compact rolling bag with enough depth to ensure there are no wrinkles.

Look for a nylon tote to keep your book, phone, extra pair of undies, wrinkle free dress, pumps, scarf, tank top, medications, & a pair of yoga pants.  If your luggage gets lost, this will get you through the first couple of days.

Lay out your clothes a week ahead.  Then take out half of what you thought you might take. 

Scarves add interest to an outfit.  

Belts can transform day dresses into night.

Wraps/shawls look chic, 

no matter the setting. 

Excerpts from article by Jenna Mahoney

 

Contact Christine Ward

Destination Weddings/Honeymoons/Anniversaries/Vow Renewals

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FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME DURING REGULAR WORKING HOURS

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Great Escapes by Christine

Christine-GreatEscapes@mymt.net

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 (evenings by appointment) 

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