We pretty much covered East African Safari destinations in a previous blog which you can access here, however, before we head to Southern Africa, we should draw your attention to Rwanda and/or Uganda, especially if gorilla trekking is of interest to you! For many this is the ultimate wildlife experience and adventure. These gentle giants can be found in the area known as the Virunga Mountains, and live in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The mountain gorillas can be reached after a trek of three to eight hours up and through the rain forest, which you should not attempt unless you are not in good health and able to sustain a slow mountain climbing pace. However it is totally worth it! Trackers will let your ranger know where to find them prior to your trek up the mountain, and then lead you to them. Seeing these incredible animals up close is nothing short of magical!
Well it is finally 2020 and I wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. As for me, this past year was a very difficult one for my family and I, as my father passed away in September, the same month my mother passed, but several years ago. Two months after he passed away I had my birthday, then came Hanukkah, Christmas, my sister’s birthday and of course, now the New Year. All these “celebrations,” one after the other, were firsts without my father and extremely painful. Waking up in the morning and thinking about wishing him a happy new year and then the realization that I will never get to do that again. Suddenly I am an orphan and the month of September really sucks. When I talk to my sister we cannot talk about memories without breaking down and whereas before it was just mom we missed, now it is both of them and the “remember when” chats are doubly devastating and it has gotten worse during the Holidays.
My father had a long and really good life. My parents were happily married, had their own business and travelled extensively. One of their favorite places was the Kruger National Park in South Africa and needless to say, memories of our family’s many vacations there came flooding back! The 2am wakeup calls to get to the gate of the Park early in time for breakfast and so that we can watch the sun rise in that most incredible of places. We visited the KNP so often that my dad became a honorary game ranger. I don’t know whether they still do that, but years ago it was a big deal. Mom’s ashes are sprinkled there and now dad’s will be too, and I know they are in their “happy place,” and at peace. While I have not been back there for many years, I kept looking at the posts and beautiful pictures in a Facebook group about the Kruger National Park, and remembered all the places they mention, almost as if it was yesterday. Each camp has a special memory… a boyfriend I met, the BBQ or party on my parent’s birthdays or anniversaries… and the peace that is indescribable.
Several years ago I catered a wedding at a hotel where the Marriott Beverly Hills is now, and not operated by Marriott at the time. I was not impressed by the dark uninviting interior nor the design. It felt gloomy and I never returned there for another event.
Whenever destination weddings come up in conversations with my wedding clients, the countries that usually pop up first are Paris or Italy which are known as the most romantic places for lovers and are the usual Countries that inspire romantic visions. Lately though, couples have been asking more about off the beaten track destinations which got me doing some research about the latest trends that are NOT France or Italy of course, and Croatia kept popping up as trending. In case you were wondering… The country is situated just across the Adriatic Sea from Italy. It’s no wonder that it has the perfect climate for making wine and olive oil! Well there is no better way to get the down low about a country, than from a dynamo travel agent with many years of experience and hails from Croatia!
This week, on Erev Rosh Hashanah I want to write about something a little different but still wedding related. Even though the heading refers to the month of Elul and preparations for Rosh Hashanah, we can apply some of the same principles in our personal lives and especially to our close relationships during these months.
According to the Rabbis, Elul is the time when we attempt to come closer to God and establish that relationship of intimacy in preparation for the Days of Awe that follow in the month of Tishre and they believe that we cannot simply enter that period without preparation and expect the Days of Awe to be meaningful. As we prepare for our wedding we often become so bogged down with all the details that we forget that we cannot or should not enter into a marriage without preparation and expect it to be meaningful. We should not lose sight of the fact that this is not just about the celebration but also about the many years ahead of us.
When you have nothing other than “we want to get married”… which is of course the most important part, it has to feel pretty overwhelming! Just know that the first decisions are the hardest. As you go along everything will start to fall into place and it will get easier. If you decided on a long-ish engagement it will give you time to get everything done without any (or too much) panic. Continue reading Planning your wedding – the most important decisions.
Surrounded by the lush mountains of Malibu is the Malibu Canyon Ranch; a stunning estate famous for it’s European castle like tower. With white horses and white oak trees you will never believe that this beautiful gem is only 40 minutes from Beverly Hills and 10 minutes from Paradise Cove Beach.
I have recently had inquiries about the difference between Chuppah’s Arches and Arbors so I thought it would be a good topic for a blog post as I am sure there are other couples asking the same questions.
The chuppah, like the one in the picture on the left is a tapestry attached to the tops of four poles. The word chuppah means covering or protection, and is intended as a roof or covering for the couple at their wedding. The “roof” consists of a cloth or sheet, sometimes a tallit which is a Jewish prayer shawl. The tallit could be stretched or supported over four poles, or manually held up by attendants to the ceremony. A chuppah symbolizes the home that the couple will build together. It is said that the couple’s ancestors are present at the chuppah ceremony.
What is your wedding or event style? When I first meet a couple I suggest that they close their eyes and envision what they want their wedding to look like as though it is the day of. To “look around” for details. I ask them to write down how they feel and how they “see” their surroundings and then we start a vision board using either Pinterest or an actual vision board or vision book. Once they find a venue we discuss how their vision compliments the venue, the challenges it may present and how we can overcome or modify their preferences.
If they envision a hotel or art gallery for the reception then the couple’s style probably leans more toward the elegant and/or modern. If they envision it in a barn, garden, beach or other outdoor space then they could lean more towards the rustic, country chic or casual style. As spring is here and summer is around the corner, I thought it would be a good time for a blog about outdoor weddings and event styles.