DIY vs. Don’t Even Try: Let’s Talk International Destination Weddings

 

There are no rules with a destination wedding.  Not today, not anymore.  Freedom and style, especially for international brides, trump conventional ‘rules.’  The way it was done before still holds some merit, the only difference is that now it’s connected to deeper cultural traditions, the merging of different backgrounds and a real respect for new multi-cultural traditions. That said, it is pretty important when jumping into an international meeting with real brides about destination wedding plans to really get to the heart of what a bride needs to know must be established. Recently speaking to real bride Faz Abdul Gaffa, who intends on having a ceremony in Singapore and also one in New Jersey, it was important to break the ice and give her sound advice that can help her make a decision she feels good about.
So, at 10:00am EST and 10:00pm Singapore time, Faz greeted me on our first Google+ Hangout session with a bright and open twinkle in her eye with that blazing question that every bride-to-be should ask herself and someone else: do I really need a wedding planner? The answer is YES, an overwhelming yes. With limited time for our first e-meet-and-greet, we had plenty of territory to cover. As Faz had already decided on a private yacht in the Singapore harbor overlooking its skyline as her first wedding location, we moved on to the save the date announcements. I suggested that these be sent out as soon as possible, 9-12 months are ideal. The formal invitation should be sent out anywhere from two to three months ahead of your wedding date. Let’s not forget to list your URL on your invite so guests can go online to your wedding site and find out information on places to stay, special rates, location maps, airport transport, etc. Ceremony locations and timelines of your multiple events should be listed among other guest information. As you can see during the second part of our conversation I literally had so much to squeeze in to ensure she knew all that happens during wedding planning that you may notice Google+ Hangouts simply stopped switching the camera between us both and just focused on my attempt to fill her in.  With weddings, there is simply so much to consider.  Imagine, if one 24 minutes Google+ Hangouts session seems to be a lot, what happens once the ball gets rolling with vendors, flowers, guests, accommodations, officiants, etc.
Faz has a vision of a stylish, intimate to medium sized wedding and is considering inviting the same wedding guests to travel to both international ceremony destinations.  I felt compelled to let her know that what actually sounds like one wedding, in this case, is actually two and that this is why getting those save the dates out the door sooner than later was very important. Multi event locations can become very costly and time consuming for your guest and can take a lot of planning on their side as well. We do admire her pazazz but from experience we know that planning has frustrated countless brides in the past. Brides should be free of this burden because the level of stress is literally the opposite of what our bride should feel on her wedding day splendor. It’s a conversation that marks the beginning of a trusting relationship.
To hear Faz tell the story of how she met her fiancé, John, at a Halloween party shows the joy she feels about her approaching nuptials and the love she has for her partner, but I find it’s pretty important for brides to understand that there is a craft to wedding and event planning. Our job is to incorporate your personalities, vision and dreams into your wedding and to take care of every detail, so you don’t have to. Whether it’s day of coordination, partial planning or full planning, for anyone planning a memorable event, let alone planning a wedding (or two!), we don’t only create for the sake of the host or bride and groom to look their best amongst their family and friends.  We become the creators so that couples can enjoy guests and the magic they envisioned. Though the decision making process at this stage can cause some anxiety, it’s not as black and white as many think.  For brides who are reconsidering planning their own event (in lieu of articles like this), who don’t have access to a gratuitous budget, we actually created Weddings in a Box package, an all inclusive must-have kit for those deciding to elope or who prefer to have an intimate ceremony with a special touch but without the ongoing details of a full scale wedding.  With this option brides can keep a close relationship with an upscale planner but from a consulting perspective.  Ahhh, the power of choice.
Faz is a young professional in love, who should be absolutely hassle free on her big days.  Directing her own multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-destination wedding when she’s never done it before is like refashioning the engine of a rare car without all of the parts.  With one year from her weddings, Faz will now have to decide if she will weather the DIY wedding planning storm or if she’ll consider other options.  She can pick up where we left off once she chooses a date. Well, two dates.

About Marc Wilson:

Marc Wilson is the Guest Lifestyle Editor of World Bride Magazine, a 2013 Big Apple Award nominee and the Founder and Creative Director of Weddings by MWD Lifestyles.  Marc’s company, MWD Lifestyles (formerly Marc Wilson Design), is a full scale wedding, event design, production and planning company with destination partnerships and capabilities and has grown to be the name in the decor and events, weddings and destination industry it is today.  Marc’s fifteen years within the events industry has resulted in national and international recognition and, to date, MWD Lifestyles has worked with Rolex, Hugo Boss, Martha Stewart Weddings and MGM Metro Goldwyn Mayer.  Marc’s work has been published in Grace Ormond Wedding Style, Design Bureau, New York Weddings, Manhattan, Essence, Weddings by Design, The Knot, Brides and Town&Country. FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest.

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Experiencing LUSH Spa

New York's LUSH SPA

EXPERIENCING LUSH SPA
by Victor Amos

Hidden among the skyscrapers of midtown, and tucked into the second floor of a retail shop, lies LUSH’s first U.S. spa. The natural beauty cosmetics chain, known for its extraordinary bath bombs and facial cleansers, is bringing an entirely new experience to the New York market – and their approach is very “hands-on.” LUSH has sent a team of massage therapists to train at the original LUSH Spa in England, so that you can experience their unique menu of treatments without hopping on an airplane.

 

New York's LUSH SPA

The experience begins on the ground floor of LUSH’s 2-story space on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 61st Street. You make a quick check-in at the front counter, and are promptly whisked past the whimsical sights and smells of the retail store, up the stairs, where you enter a beautifully-appointed waiting area. The waiting area of the spa is themed to look like an English countryside cottage, complete with weathered wooden cabinetry, vintage books, mason jars filled with wild flowers, and a rustic hodgepodge of wooden furniture.

 

New York's LUSH SPA

Your session starts with a meet-and-greet consultation with your massage therapist. You sit at the large kitchen table and go through a brief (but necessary) survey of your health, while also discussing what nooks and crannies you need the kinks worked out of. After a small chat, you are taken to your room … and that’s when the real magic happens!

 

New York's LUSH SPA

I chose to get a spa treatment called “The Comforter?” (yes, the question mark is part of the title). The Comforter? is not an ordinary massage, it is actually an exfoliating treatment. Exclusively for its spas, LUSH creates custom body products that can only be experienced during a treatment; they can’t be purchased. My treatment called for a chocolate body scrub (made of rhassoul mud, raw cacao paste, carob, and scrubby ground adzuki beans) to exfoliate my skin, and a rose body serum (made with illipe butter, shea butter, rose clay, and argan oil) to hydrate after the scrub.

 

New York's LUSH SPA

My treatment commenced with my undressing and sandwiching my body between a marshmallow-soft mattress and a fluffy heated duvet cover. OH. MY. GOD. Quite honestly, the treatment could have begun and ended here. I’d never been on a massage table like this one. While staring up at the constellations being projected onto the ceiling, my mind and body melted into a mush of relaxation; it was like being back in the womb again.  While the chocolate body scrub was being melted by candle, I was clearing my mind of its troubles, and focusing on the soundtrack to my treatment.

 

Now, while you may find the exclusive body products unique, there is another layer to the experience that makes it special. LUSH partnered with folk-musician Simon Emmerson to create a custom soundtrack for each spa treatment. Your entire session is colored by tranquil, yet validating tunes being gently whispered through the surround-sound speaker system above head. While listening to the custom soundtrack, I actually recognized many of the contemporary pop and soft-rock song covers … albeit a folksy, English rendition of them.

For the next 60 minutes, the expertly-trained massage therapist meticulously navigated my limbs as though she were a ballerina in a presentation of Swan Lake. Without exaggeration, the masseuse performs a rhythmically-synchronized dance, akin to the ebb and flow of an ocean shoreline, as they careen across your extremities. The sensations of pressure and release, timed to the exact stroke of the music, is a fine detail that sets this spa’s set of treatments apart from any other.

 

New York's LUSH SPA

To close out my service, I re-clothed myself and rendezvoused with my masseuse in the waiting area. I shared my never-ending ramble of thank yous and praises while she prepared a unique “mocktail” cocktail for me. My treatment came with a delicious drink consisting of sparkling water, rose water, and a fluffy piece of cotton candy, which I dissolved into the effervescent concoction.

 

New York's LUSH SPA

The full-circle moment of this experience was watching that piece of cotton candy dissolve into the fizzy pool of water. It almost made me chuckle, as I felt like all of the tension and stress that I came in with, disappeared just the same.

If you’d like to visit New York’s LUSH Spa:

LUSH Spa
783 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10065

+1 (212) 207-8151

http://www.LushUSA.com/LushSpa

Victor Amos
Makeup Artist | Beauty Editor
http://www.VictorAmos.com