Using a Travel Agent to Plan your Dream Honeymoon

Planning a honeymoon while planning a wedding can be overwhelming. There are so many destinations and so many details to consider. Working with a travel agent is an excellent way to ensure you have a fabulous honeymoon.

There are many travel agencies out there to choose from and unfortunately, some will push you to certain trips based on incentives, making for a cookie cutter experience. Be sure to get personal references from friends or wedding planners to ensure you pick the travel agent who will make your honeymoon about you and your fiance! It is YOUR honeymoon, after all!

We love The Travel Mechanic. Their proven history planning amazing trips combined with their boutique and concierge services make them a travel agency that will make your honeymoon the trip of your dreams, tailor made to suit your travel preferences. We recently asked Lauren Doyle, VP Sales and a member of the family that started The Travel Mechanic, to share some tips that will make your honeymoon as incredible as your love story.

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Five Ways to Plan a Fabulous Honeymoon:

  1. Use a travel agent!

Travel agents are experienced professionals who book vacations and honeymoons everyday…they know the right questions to ask and they know when a good deal truly is a good deal. And even better? Most travel agents are completely free! The resorts, suppliers and wholesalers pay the travel agents. It is the same as using Expedia, Hotels.com or another Online Travel Agency (OTA). But for a travel experience like your honeymoon, wouldn’t you rather speak to a live person? When looking for an agent, make sure you have a phone consultation or meet with them in person. This allows you to make sure the agent understands the type of traveling you and your fiancé are looking for. Many times a honeymoon is the first big trip a couple takes together and a good travel agent can match couples with their perfect destinations. Using a travel agent gives you the best honeymoon at the best value.

  1. Be flexible with dates.

If your schedule allows, flexibility can save you a lot of money. Try to travel in the shoulder season (in between high and low season) or low season of the destination. Obvious times to avoid are holidays and spring break. Shoulder and low seasons vary by destination, so do your research or speak with a professional travel agent.

  1. Go for an all-inclusive.

If you are looking for a beach destination, all-inclusives can save you a bundle of money. They might appear more expensive, but as their title denotes, they include everything…all of the transfers, taxes, drinks, meals, snacks, activities and most water sports. All-inclusive beach vacations offer other luxuries like excursions, a la carte dining, room services and other perks. Be aware that not every all-inclusive resort is the same, so work with an experienced travel agent so you know exactly what you are getting.

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  1. Buy a honeymoon package.

When booking a honeymoon in an exotic location, it pays to get a package. When you combine airfare, land, excursions and tours, there are far more discounts available. Hidden value can make a big difference while traveling. Also, many couples find that if they are traveling to Europe, for example, travel agents can get the “skip the line” museum passes, rail tickets and other perks…saving you not only money, but valuable travel time.

  1. Don’t be shy about upgrades!

This is your honeymoon after all! Many couples find that when you upgrade to the next category, hotels are willing to throw in resort credits, private dinners on the beach and many even more honeymoon amenities! Your honeymoon is a special time and the little perks go a long way to making it not just a vacation, but an experience that will bring you joy for years to come!

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Images by Sandals Resorts

Michelle Wright Events is Thrilled to Introduce Kelly Hastings

Kelly Hastings has been around weddings since she was a little girl, sitting in the balcony while her mom, the church organist, and her dad, a trumpeter, provided the music for many marriages at their church. That was when she fell in love with weddings.

I met Kelly through mutual friend, a photographer, in 2014. Kelly was looking for an internship to complement her Community Recreation and Event Planning concentrated degree from UNCG. She had already planned a few weddings on her own and had received her Wedding Planner Certification. I could tell that Kelly not only had exceptional organization skills and an amazing drive but also a lovely spirit, which drew me to bring her on that summer.

When she graduated this past May, I knew she was a perfect fit. She comes to us with experience planning weddings on her own through college, interning with me last summer and interning with Adaumont Farm this past spring.

“Our wedding would not have been the same without her careful planning and attention.” ~Casie

Kelly’s role with MWE will be helping me with the coordination and planning components, allowing me to devote more time to design. I’ve loved watching Kelly, now a bride herself, connect with all of our brides. She is always smiling, has a great attitude and a graceful and generous spirit. And I’m telling you – those organization skills? They are incredible!

“From the day we first met Kelly, we could tell that she was the type of person that would do everything in her power to make sure our special day was everything we had hoped for.”  ~Barb

Barb is right on the money. We couldn’t have found a better addition to the Michelle Wright Events team and we can’t wait for her to help turn your love story into a unique and beautiful day. We know you’ll love her just as much as we do.

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Pictured above, Kelly and her fiancé, Taylor!

Here are just a few fun facts about Kelly…

Favorite Color ~ PURPLE!

Favorite Holiday ~ Christmas

Favorite Food ~ Spaghetti, Juice Shop Smoothies and Teriyaki Chicken from a place called Cagneys that my grandparents would take us to when we were little and were spending the night at their house.

Hobbies ~ Music! I’m a vocalist in my church’s Praise Band, I’ve played clarinet since the 6th grade, participated in the marching band all through high school and I took dance for 15 years.

Biggest Moments in my Life so far ~ Meeting my fiancé, Taylor, seven years ago and his more recent marriage proposal! My sister’s wedding, my college graduation, recommitting my life to Christ in 7th grade and when Taylor and I got our first puppy, Guilford!

Things I love ~ Spending time with my family and friends, the beach, visiting our dear family friends in Alabama and contemporary worship concerts!

1200x1200_1428006771-0be25f45092841fb-_M7A2985AImages by Studio Place, Inc.

Still Life Styling Featured on Cottage Hill

When Live View Studios approached  me to do a styled shoot for Cottage Hill inspired by still life painters Rachel Ruysch and Severin Rosen, I was both honored and intrigued. Still life art is not normally something I’m drawn to so I had to do a little research on these artists. I became completely fascinated by Rachel Ruysch, a painter who lived from 1664-1750, and focused her still life art on flowers. She became the best documented woman painter in the Dutch Golden Age and was clearly a woman who fit herself in a man’s world at the time. The more I looked at her work, I found myself being drawn into her use of shadows, lights and colors. It is as if her paintings jump off the canvas.

While I couldn’t relate as much to Severin Roesen’s story, I was interested by how similar these two artists were in their techniques, although separated by over 150 years. Although I wasn’t as drawn to his work as Rachel’s, I have an overall love and appreciation for all art which made me respect him as well.

I was so thrilled to work again with Live View Studios on this shoot. Styling a shoot inspired by paintings leads to interesting conversations regarding the use of light and shadows. Creating something with a camera is a lot different than creating something with a paintbrush. We focused on creating the same impact of abundance as the paintings despite using different mediums to portray it. It proved a very rewarding challenge that I was thrilled to be a part of.

Still Life Inspired By Rachel Ruysch & Severin Roesen/

 

Believe it or not, ‘styling’ is nothing new. Whether a wedding designer, editorial stylist, fashion stylist – all of these people who are creating a scene or a moment are exercising a creative talent that has been around for years. We can see this by looking to art, and today, we created this Cottage Hill Original inspired specifically inspired by still life art by Rachel Ruysch and Severin Roesen. Special thanks to Live View Studios, Michelle Wright Events and Amy Lynn Originals for creating this unique shoot.

One thing to understand is that styling is also not exclusive to creative professionals. A photographer will work with a stylist at a wedding to make sure the bride and groom’s wedding invitation suite is captured as beautifully as possible. However, how many times have you attempted to perfectly capture a fun brunch at your favorite restaurant before sharing on social media? Or, how many times have you rearranged your living room furniture? Or, perhaps most common, how many times have you gotten dressed in the morning trying to find a combination of clothing and accessories to best suit your mood?

It is natural to create and seek beauty in our lives. And anyone who has a Pinterest account has probably learned a few things on the principles of styling or design. For example, one of the most common ‘rules’ is the rule of thirds. If you are putting an outfit together, fashion stylists will tell you that the easiest success to an outfit is to wear three key pieces. Ever wonder how a belt can complete an outfit? That’s because it’s the secret third piece. Hanging photographs on your wall works best when they are collaged in odd numbers.

The rule of thirds also works in capturing a moment, meaning, you use one third or two thirds of the photograph for white space or content. You can see this method often in films. Pay attention to the next movie you watch and you can see how it applies.

When a designer sets a scene there are so many other aspects to consider like light, focus, content, support, direction, color, texture and pattern. The possibilities can be overwhelming, but that is where creating from a story or inspired by a feeling helps makes those decisions easier. And we think, the end results creates a much more intentional shoot focusing on a purpose rather than just the ‘pretty.’

Looking back on Ruysch’s and Roesen’s work, you can see they both used similar content, light colors and textures; but their work also exudes similar feelings based on their similar choices. Although separated by about 200 years, their work implies a sense of abundance that is nearly unrealistic with Roesen’s overflowing bounty of fruit and Ruysch’s floral arrangements designed in such a way it would have been difficult for the flowers to support each other so well. Overall though, their work feels abundant, brilliant, rich and touch fantastical.

Now observe the work of our amazing creative team. How does their work compare to those words? Don’t the photos look abundant, brilliant? Are there other words you would use to describe their finished scenes? What about their choices in styling principles? Do you notice how the light from the candles changes the mood of the entire piece? Did the color of the watermelon draw your eye? Or the delicate bend of a poppy pull you to what is on the table? Just take notice of the decisions made and remember, there are no right or wrong answers.

These same ideas of styling can be applied to your everyday life. Perhaps you can pull from Ruysch and Roesen for your next brunch photograph allowing some fruit to fall from your plate directing the eye to a pretty fork. Maybe you rearrange your furniture so the side table that typically holds a floral arrangement is showcased in the best light. Or, you add that third piece to your outfit that pulls it all together.

Overall, you want to remember not only will these ideas inspire beauty around you, but will help you more successfully share a message. How do you want people to feel when they see your social media feed, your home, your outfit, your wedding, your work? What is the intention behind it? Then, you can make clear decisions and create your own everyday masterpieces from there!

Photography by Live View Studios :: Film Scans by Photovision :: Styling by Michelle Wright Events :: Floral Design by Amy Lynne Originals

Alesia & Nick: One Year Later

Alesia and Nick are beautiful people both inside and out and together, they make a beautiful couple. Their wedding was one I will always remember because of the thoughtfulness and gentle sincerity that resonated throughout the entire day. They recently celebrated their one-year anniversary and I was thrilled to get a chance to look back with both of them and reflect on their special day.

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Michelle: Time travel back one year ago…what would you change about your wedding day?

Alesia and Nick: We would have rearranged the formal photograph time so that we could have enjoyed the cocktail hour.  We didn’t get the opportunity to mingle during cocktail hour and that was one area where we had put a lot of work into thinking through the music, the food and decorations to create the ambiance for that particular part of the day. We also would have hired a videographer. We felt like there were moments we missed and I would love the opportunity now to look back on a video and reminisce about our day.

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Michelle: What was your favorite moment from your wedding day?

Alesia and Nick: This is a hard one…there were so many! The vow exchange and the poem dedication to our grandparents probably top the list because they were so heartfelt and meaningful for so many reasons.

Michelle: The vows you wrote will remain in my memory forever. You captured the entire congregation – you could hear a pin drop!  Did you keep those vows somewhere?  What made you decide to write your own vows?

Alesia and Nick: I keep a copy of both of our vows in my wallet. I pull them out and refer to them whenever I need a reminder of what I signed up for and what I committed to doing as a wife. My grandmother raised me to believe that all you have in this world is God and your word and if you say you are going to do something, then that’s what you had better do. I wanted our vows to be those words we would live by in our marriage.

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I asked Alesia if we could share the vows with our blog readers as they were so beautiful. She kindly agreed.

Alesia’s vows to Nick:

First, I thank God for placing you in my life as I am grateful for your presence.Without you, I would not have faced some of my own fears and shortfalls. You give me strength. I wouldn’t have our beautiful daughter. Thank you for allowing me to be me and loving me anyways. I know I am not always the easiest person to love but somehow, you see past that. You’ve helped me understand that not everyone will look at things the way I do, nor should they but I have to accept that and be okay with it. And because of this inspiration and growth. I chose you.

Nick’s vows to Alesia:

I am not the same person I was four years ago and I thank you for making the man I am today. You’ve forced me to own up to my faults, my insecurities and my misgivings. It has not been easy but it has been what I’ve needed. You have been what I needed. I thank God for bringing you to me.

Michelle: I loved the way you gave the single girls at your wedding a single white rose in place of the traditional bouquet toss.  What made that moment even more beautiful were the words that you spoke to your friends.  What inspired you in that moment?

Alesia and Nick: The majority of the ladies were really good friends and/or family. I think that sometimes we, as women, compare ourselves to one another instead of living in our own moments and truly allowing God and the universe to guide us. Society tells us there is a “right” way to go about life but when you really stop and think about things, there isn’t a right or wrong approach to anything. There may be preferences which we are all entitled to but each person has the right to choose when, how and who they spend their lives with. Life is short and tomorrow isn’t promised. Live in the moment and let go of preconceptions and notions that there has to be one way to do things. God has a plan for everyone – we have to be open and receptive to it even when it doesn’t look like we think it should look like. I really wanted each of the women at our wedding to really feel special, not because they caught the bouquet but just because they are special.

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Michelle: What advice could you pass along for their wedding day?  And how about any words of wisdom on the first year of marriage?

Alesia and Nick: Incorporate everything that you and your future mate would want and don’t be concerned with what others have to say or did or didn’t do in their weddings – it makes for a day you will cherish for a lifetime; make the planning fun by not getting to stressed over little things – if something doesn’t come out the way you expect just go with it…no one will really know.

The first year is the same as the last year but with a lifelong commitment. This means you must do the work to keep the marriage intact, happy and fulfilling.

Images by Vic Ledan Photography

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