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17th of July 2018

International



SAY ‘I DO’ TO BERMUDA: Why more couples are walking down the sandy aisles with an entourage

Bermuda isn’t just famous for geographical triangles.

It’s also a top destination for weddings.

Located in the North Atlantic Ocean, Bermuda is tucked away south of Nova Scotia, north of Cuba and east-southeast of North Carolina.

Yep, that means if you’re travelling from the East Coast, it’s only 2 hours away from Toronto and 90 minutes from New York City, which means a subtropical paradise might take less time to get to your office via commute!

Bermuda Bride’s Creative Director and Founder Nikki J. Begg describes the country’s fresh appeal: “Bermuda has become increasingly popular not only due to its accessibility but also due to its financial stability, subtropical climate, richness in culture and the friendliness of our people. Most recently, with the outbreak of Zika, and the hurricanes in the Virgin Islands, Bermuda was put on the map as the perfect option for a destination wedding.” (Transient nuptials contributes to the country’s US $431 million tourism industry!)

Bermuda Tourism Cultural Ambassador and former McGill University student Kristin White (who gives the fiercest, most entertaining tours thanks to her infinite knowledge of the island) simply adds, “because it’s so beautiful! The backdrops are varied and all spectacular. Couples can get married at a rustic 400-year old church, a dramatic historic fort or outside on a stunning cliffside. It’s simply one Instagrammable moment after another!”

Translation: A big reason why millennial couples are flocking to destination weddings with their culture-bending ideas.

And it’s no surprise that celebrities like Solange Knowles and Diana Ross are frequent visitors. (Game of Thrones’  Lena Headey was born in Bermuda.)

But the island has had a long list of boldface names who have moved there.

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg — who actually commutes back and forth to New York! — and Oscar winner Michael Douglas consider it a second home.

“I’ve gone there all my life,” Douglas told Forbes magazine. “My mom’s family has been in Bermuda pretty much since the island was settled. My first birthday was in Bermuda and I’ve been going there ever since. It’s always been a special place to get together with family and friends.”

Douglas loves Bermuda so much that he’s even built a home on the island with Oscar-winning wife Catherine Zeta-Jones. (He’s also planning to restore his family’s Ariel Sands resort, which has been closed since 2008 and opened in 1954.)

Famous for its pink sand beaches (the sand is so beautiful it’s even sold in stores!), the most cerulean blue oceans water you’ve EVER seen (it has to be viewed in person to be believed!) and adventurous reefs, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why engaged couples fly their friends and family to the island to witness their magical day.

And what better way to test your relationship by traveling with your entourage?!

Hey, you can always fly back to host a destination divorce! (Oh, I kid!)

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BURNING BERMUDA QUESTIONS

Bermuda Bride’s editor Nikki J. Begg answers!

How long is the perfect destination wedding?

“Experts say long weekends or a perfect five-day getaway.”

What does a normal itinerary look like?

“They’re all unique but (range) from welcome cocktails, golf, tennis, fishing, rehearsal dinner, the wedding day and a brunch on the final day.”

Perfect number of invited guests?

“It’s a vast spread between 80 – 150 people being invited. Couples are securing their reception location and then tailoring their guest list.”

With costs involved, do you still buy a gift for the couple?

“Sometimes the guest’s presence is the perfect present. Where guests still love to give a gift, couples are putting registry details on their wedding websites and the gifts are delivered to them at their home. That way the guest does not have to bring their gift with them (and the couple then does not need to take it home).”

Cruising to the nups!

“Some couples are electing to come to Bermuda by cruise ship and (most companies sail there). It’s a great way for families and friends to have an amazing vacation and celebrate the wedding on the island.”

Biggest planning mistake?

“Underestimating what needs to be done. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed but prioritize what’s really important and focus on that.”

Two tips to prevent stress?

“Work with the natural elements and services of the destination or be prepared to pay for having that service or product brought in to the island.”

Surf over to mybermudawedding.com and bermudabride.com for more info and inspiration!

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INSPIRING THEMES FOR YOUR WEDDING

Organize your wedding around a theme to highlight your personality and to help inject gravitas into the romantic journey. Here are some of the most popular according to wedding planners:  Getting hitched on your own private island (Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa); during sunset on pink sand (Fairmont Southampton); jumping into waves at sunset (Coco Reef Resort); and an eco-friendly/green walk down the aisles (Fairmont Southampton).

TRAVELLING TIP: Bermuda is more conservative than your other tropical getaways so make sure you’ve packed some formal wear and call ahead to restaurants to find out what their wardrobe expectations are. And by the way, the below photo is what the society consider formal and/or professional wear for men. I kid you not:

DESTINATION WEDDINGS BY THE NUMBERS

-25% of marriages are destination weddings

-340,000 destination weddings take place each year

-80% of couples who have a destination wedding have been married before.

-The destination wedding market accounts for $16 billion in annual spending.

-Average budget for a destination wedding is $28,000.

-60% of destination couples pay for the wedding themselves.

-Average number of guests at a destination wedding: 48.

-Guests at a destination wedding spend an average of $673 to attend.

-9 out of 10 couples say weather is a key factor in selecting a destination.

SOURCE: TRIPSAVVY

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CHEERS TO THE BRIDE & GROOM!

Gosling’s Rum equals a Dark ‘n Stormy vacay!

If you’re in Bermuda, you must try a genuine Gosling’s Rum – or you might be run off the island! With a history stretching back to the early 19th century, Gosling’s Black Seal Rum is the key ingredient in Bermuda’s two signature cocktails: the Dark ‘n Stormy (containing 2 ounces of rum and 5 ounces of ginger beer), the Rum Swizzle and it’s a key accent in Bermuda’s famed fish chowder.

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BERMUDA 411

Day Trip: While the island is small (the 2010 Census counts just over 64 thousand people; yep, you read that right!), don’t miss out on visiting its largest city, Town of St. George. You can eat a rustic lunch at East End Eats and hop on a scenic biking tour in the historic Town of St. George with Cultural Ambassador and local personality Kristin White where you’ll visit: the Bermuda Perfumery, an Unfinished Chruch, Somers Garden and Fort St. Catherine. There’s even an unbelievable urban edible garden where you can literally eat fruits and veggies raw! As a colleague asked on the trip: “Can you imagine something like that existing in Toronto for more than one day?!” Also, make sure you ask White if you can drop by her eclectic bookstore: Long Story Short Bookstore because there are several transformative gems awaiting your ownership. The tastemaker is an infectious and smart mix of woke charm, intelligence, passion for history and her country. And Kristin’s super funny, hip and sweet. (kristindotcom.com/long-story-short)

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Fly: aircanada.com

Where to stay: You can’t beat hanging at the Hamilton Princess (a Fairmont property) in downtown or in its swanky beach club. They are equipped to throw you either a pretty casual or sophisticated wedding party. Make sure you rent a luxury motorboat for a cruise and a snorkel while sipping Dark ‘N Stormies and snacking on Bermuda-style fish sandwiches. Or you could also have some smores on the beach! Visit: fairmont.com/hamilton-bermuda/

Good Eats: You can’t go wrong with a variety of sinful or healthy options at breakfast hotspot Devils Isle, which will help cure that a brutal hangover. (devilsislecoffee.bm/restaurant) Also, inside the Hamilton Princess Hotel, check out the hipster-influenced yet soulful restaurant Marcus’ Restaurant: with its striking modern art — including original pieces by Andy Warhol, Liu Ye and Nelson Mandela — the restaurant offers such homemade, comfort meals like Fried Chicken & Waffles, Grilled Bermuda Onion and Fish Chowder Bites among others. Or good old surf ‘n’ turf. Make sure you order the orgasmic corn bead — I’ve never been a fan but I am now a convert thanks to Chef and cookbook author Marcus Samuelsson, who hails famously from Harlem. In the same hotel, 1609 (pictured above) offers drop-dead views of the water, sunset and island that will quench your thirsty soul. Oh, and the grub ain’t bad, either.

Heal Thyself: You’ll probably go to Hell if you don’t book an appointment at the heavenly Natura Spa located at the Grotto Bay Beach Resorts, where most of the exotic birds I saw on the island clearly love to take refuge in by blending in with the beauty. I’m not one for massages or facials, but Natura definitely got me to relax and purge stress. All this in an underwater cave. Yep, no lies. If you’re about to get married, this is the perfect temporary sanctuary to eliminate any doubts or demons you might have lurking in the recesses of your mind or soul. I didn’t exhale once but a few times! Namaste, indeed! (grottobay.com/Spa) (BTW: The resort’s bar served the best mojito and margarita I’ve ever had!)

For more information, surf over to GoToBermuda.com

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