DREAMSCAPES SPRING/SUMMER 2019
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TRAVEL SLEUTH - I DO WANT A DESTINATION WEDDING
 
(2019 - Winter/Spring Issue)

Writer: JANE STOKES



A wedding day is, first and foremost, a statement of commitment even though we decorate those vows with symbols, traditions and gestures of love. That’s nice, you say, however this upcoming commitment isn’t about a cookie-cutter romance; it’s about yours. Traditions are fine as long as they hold a personal meaning.

During the planning stages, couples soon assess their comfort level regarding age-old customs, the constant spotlight, a swelling guest list and the costs. Alternatives become tempting. Why not escape, for instance, to a dream destination where you’ll have more freedom to relax and the chance to honour such a special union your own way? 

Umpteen package tour companies (cato.ca) are fully equipped to assist, especially if a beachside wedding is your dream. Not only might a prepaid package include flights, accommodation and resort amenities, but several large tour operators also offer wedding-planner services. In fact, some travel suppliers specialize in destination weddings only. Remember though: anytime you buy online stick with a licensed, regulated Canada-based travel company to ensure better financial protection.

If, however, you’re already travelling when you decide to get hitched, head straight to the local town hall. Here or abroad, the issuance of a marriage licence usually requires blood tests, specific documents and waiting periods, so a bit of advance research is recommended. For instance, while a 24- to 48-hour wait is common for a new licence, the disparity internationally can be striking. Some countries (like Canada) have no waiting period at all, while others like France stipulate a waiting period of 40 days. 

Guidelines for Canadian citizens are posted at travel.gc.ca on the Marriage Overseas page, such as: “Marriages that are legally performed in a foreign country are usually valid in Canada, and you do not need to register them in Canada.”

So, will it be a dreamy, on-the-beach wedding, an elopement or a getaway surrounded only by important loved ones? Maybe you’re keen to exchange vows under the stars, on a forest trail, in a jazz club, underwater, at an art gallery or in a Las Vegas drive-thru? Why not check one item off your “bucket list” by getting married in a timeless city, at a World Wonder, in a Florida theme park or in one of Canada’s most romantic hotels? After all, dreams do come true.

ON A BEACH

From several Canadian gateways, you can take advantage of non-stop flights to the beach resorts in the southern USA, Mexico, the Caribbean or elsewhere. After all, with more than a million kilometres of sensational seashores on our planet, there’s plenty of choice. 

Scenery: Generally, volcanic islands provide the idyllic backdrop of mountains and rainforests, whereas flat, dry, often coral-based islands deliver incomparable beauty at the water’s edge with a bleached-white sandy beach framed by turquoise waters. Ocean coastlines are dazzling too, however choose coves and bays with calmer currents.

Canadian favourites: Playa del Carmen, Mexico; Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba; Eagle Beach, Aruba; Sanibel & Captiva Islands, Florida. 

Tucked away: Xpu-Ha Beach, Mexico; Shoal Bay East, Anguilla; Anse Chastanet Beach, St. Lucia; Pink Sands Beach, Harbour Island, Bahamas; Ambergris Cay, Belize; Marco Island, Florida.

Exemplary resorts: Barcelo, Beaches, Breathless, Dreams, Four Seasons, Melia, Paradisus, RIU, Sandals.

Fabulous afar: Hanalei Bay Beach, Kauai, Hawaii; Palm Cove, Queensland, Australia; Thalasso Beach, Bora Bora, French Polynesia. 

TRIPS OF A LIFETIME

Personal reasons create our bucket lists, although, when Canadians are polled about future “must-see” places, some are more popular than others, including beauty spots within Canada. Getting married in such locations might be sparked by any of the following:

•          Australia: ag.gov.au (Families and Marriage)

•          Paris: france.gc.ca (Living/Travelling in France)

•          Hawaii: usmarriagelaws.com (search Hawaii)

•          New York City: cityclerk.nyc.gov  (Marriage Bureau)

•          London: gov.uk (Marriage Visitor Visa)

•          Las Vegas: vegas.com (Weddings)

•          Costa Rica: costaricaembassy.com (FAQs)

•          Canadian Rockies: canadianrockies.org (Vacation Guides, scroll Categories, click Weddings)

•          Québec City: quebecregion.com (What to Do, search Weddings)

•          Niagara-on-the-Lake: niagaraonthelake.com (Trip Planning)

•          Newfoundland: servicenl.gov.nl.ca (Birth, Marriage & Death)

WONDERS TO BEHOLD

Today, there is definitely a World Wonder near you. At first, this honour applied only to the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, however various categories were added to include the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, the Underwater World, the Solar System, the Modern World, the Industrial World and, lately, our citizens elected (through CBC) the Seven Wonders of Canada. So why not say your vows where a World Wonder is matched only by the wonder of your union?

Our top Canadian seven wonders are Sleeping Giant, Thunder Bay, Ontario; Niagara Falls, Ontario; Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia; Nahanni National Park Reserve, Northwest Territories; Northern Lights, every province and territory; The Rockies, Alberta and British Columbia; and The Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia.

MOST ROMANTIC HOTELS

Canada is known to kindle romance. Our Prairie skies, snowy peaks, glistening waterways and fresh forest air do indeed make couples want to cuddle. No wonder Canadian B&Bs and hotels seek to duplicate such emotions with their interior warmth and sense of well-being.

Pinpointing “Canada’s most romantic hotel” for your wedding is, of course, a personal choice, but it might be helpful to know the following are often spoken about romantically: Fairmont Pacific Rim, Vancouver, B.C.; Jasper Park Lodge, Jasper, Alberta; Langdon Hall, Cambridge, Ontario; Windemere House, Muskoka, Ontario; The Ritz-Carlton, Montréal, Québec; and Auberge Saint-Antoine, Québec City, Québec.

 
 
 
 
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