Real Destination Wedding + Mini-Moon: Philippines

I know I always say something about how I’m excited to share a particular blog post, but this one really is extra awesome because it’s a real destination wedding and mini-moon in the Philippines! My husband and I are hoping to recreate a similar itinerary there this winter, so I’m grateful that Monique and Josiah have shared so many helpful insights (and beautiful photos) below. Enjoy!

When and where was your destination wedding?

Our wedding was on February 1st at the Shangri-La Resort and Spa in Boracay, Philippines.

Boracay destination wedding

How did you decide on doing a destination wedding?

Josiah and I had originally thrown around the idea of a destination wedding, since we have lived abroad a few times and travel so often, but decided against it since we knew so many of our friends and family would not be able to join us. However, after a year and a half of searching all over the bay area and not really finding anything that we fell in love with (that we could also afford), we revisited the idea of a destination wedding.

This time the Philippines and the Shangri La came up and we both knew immediately this was right! We had spent New Years there three years ago and Josiah’s dad’s family lives in Manila, so it felt special and we really wanted to share this place with our friends and family.

boracay wedding

It’s hard to believe that this perfect shot isn’t a stock photo!

The best part about our destination wedding was…

Having a full week with the people we love most on a beautiful island!  We were able to plan lots of events and really sit back and watch all of our friends and family talk, laugh, explore, and enjoy every moment together. I had no idea how incredibly special it would be to see our worlds come together and get people away to a place that had a lot of meaning for us.

Boracay wedding

What was the hardest part about planning a destination wedding?

I think had it been anywhere else [aside from the Shangri La on Boracay] it would have been more challenging. We had the most amazing planner who was on top of everything. I emailed her almost daily with questions and ideas, and she responded right away and was just as excited as I was. I have a high attention to detail, so I will admit I can be a bit much for some, but we were extremely fortunate!

In general the people in the Philippines were so incredibly accommodating and wonderful that it made for an easy and stress free process. Of course not being able to see things in person makes it tougher, but fortunately we had been once before. I think the time difference, currency conversions, and lack of some internet sites or functionality made it a bit more challenging, but nothing we couldn’t work with.

Boracay wedding

What are your tips for other couples who are considering planning a destination wedding?

I think its important to pick somewhere that is meaningful. This can be because the couple has traveled there before, they have family from there, or have dreamed about going together. It makes it that much more special to share it with friends and family. I would also get as much information up front [from the venues] to ensure you know about what is included, what isn’t, different ways/traditions of having a wedding there etc. I think this is also a great way to find out if the person you will be working with is responsive and helpful before you book anything. I can’t imagine planning a wedding from across the world without someone really great on the other end.

boracay honeymoon

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Wanderlusting: The 10 Countries I Most Want to Visit in the Near Future

My last blog post about travel envy was kind of a bummer, so I decided that I needed to write something a bit more positive before the week was over. Instead of dwelling on the fact that I’m not going to Istanbul with Aaron, I started thinking about the 10 countries I’d most want to visit. My only criteria for the list was that 1) I had to include countries that I’ve never been to before, and 2) they had to be places I’d want to visit in the near future (i.e. in the next 10 years or so – not when I’m much older and less adventurous/active), which was pretty easy because I haven’t been everywhere… yet.

Below is the list that I came up with, with the countries listed in alphabetical order:

Cambodia

Up until very recently, Cambodia was totally at the top of my must-see list. Throughout our honeymoon in Bali & Vietnam, we met several other couples who just raved about the food, beaches, friendliness, and cheapness of Cambodia, not to mention the complete awe of experiencing Angkor Wat. However, another travel blogger that I highly admire recently wrote about why she thinks that Cambodia has recently changed, and not for the better. Kate really knows her stuff, so I believe her when she says that she didn’t love her latest experience there. I’m hoping though that things will turn back around for Cambodia, so I can get enthusiastic again about visiting it.

Cambodia

Cambodia – thanks for the pics, Alice!

Chile

Aaron and I had so much fun backpacking around South America in 2009, but we felt a bit amiss that we didn’t make it to Chile. Ideally, our trip there will include experiencing cosmopolitan Santiago, snowboarding in Portillo, surfing in Pichilemu, and a few days exploring Easter Island.

Ecuador

Aside from wanting to see the Galapagos Islands, I’d never thought too much about visiting Ecuador; that is until my friend Jen came back from a trip there last year and had the best time ever. She promised that she’d one day write a blog post about her trip (right, Jen?), so I’ll leave it to her to tell you why she fell in love with the country.

Ecuador

Ecuador – thanks for the pics, Jen!

Iceland

The Blue Lagoon, live music, Northern Lights, Einstock beer – what’s not to like? If there were direct flights from Reykjavík to Dublin, we would have combined Iceland with our Ireland trip last summer.

Mauritius

My family friend visited Mauritius during her Semester at Sea, and as soon as I saw the photos of the perfect turquoise water and bleached white sand, I knew that I’d have to go there some day. It was definitely in the running as one of our own honeymoon destinations, but we’d like to combine it with a few weeks in South Africa as well, and we didn’t think we’d be able to do all of that right after the wedding. I guess it will just have to be the destination for a special anniversary trip, right?

Mauritius

Mauritius – thanks for the pics, Hana!

Morocco

As soon as I can find the time to spend a week in Marrakech, I’m going to make it happen. My friend Daniel was lucky enough to spend this past NYE at this insanely beautiful estate, and said that he just thought the whole area was really beautiful and interesting. Also, my mom and sisters got to ride camels near Tangier a few years ago which looked really fun.

Morocco

Morocco – thanks for the pics, Rachel and Nicole!

Burma/Myanmar

One of my friends from college has lived in a handful of foreign countries since grad school, and although she’s currently living in Kabul, she is supposed to head back to Yangon soon. Only recently a tourist destination, she says that traveling around Burma is like going back in time. Aaron and I want to see what that’s like before everything becomes too modernized.

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