A few weeks ago when New York was in the throes of a deep freeze, I was fortunate enough to escape to the magical Caneel Bay Resort in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I was thrilled to receive their generous invitation to relax and recharge; I happily turned myself over to the caring and attentive team. As a designer, I’m constantly seeking inspiration — surrounded by the sparkling turquoise ombré color that is the Caribbean Sea, I was able to take it all in, refocus (especially with no phones or TVs to be found!) and tuck away some great new ideas.
Caneel Bay offered up so much, starting with their warm, open-armed welcome to the calming sunsets. We were wined and dined, led on new adventures and, best of all, introduced to new friends — it was hard to say goodbye. After several healing days of island life, I left with an energized and clear mind and was truly charmed by Caneel. Thank you again to the hospitable staff — I’m forever grateful. See more of my excursion in this week’s Ceci Diaries (How cool is the underwater shot? Thanks, Justin Dingwall)!
Now for those of you who are dreaming of white sands and warmth, Katherine and Matthew’s Key Largo, Florida, wedding is just the thing. Every detail in this sparkling oceanfront affair, from the bride’s shell-like Jimmy Choos to the gold-rimmed cake, upped the opulence factor at this tropical destination. It’s funny, people always ask me which invitation is my favorite, but how can I choose just one? It’s like asking to pick your favorite child — you love them all, but differently. That said, I have to say this suite is truly and absolutely one of my favorites. It embodies a tropical, elegant and beach-y vibe with luxe finishes — which just happen to be a few of my favorite things.
Setting the tone and mingling these elements takes time and skill. So, if you’re planning to say your I Dos on the beach, let Linda Hampshire and Karima El-Hakkaoui, authors of The Wedding A to Z, guide you along the way. They’re sharing tips and a curated collection of island staples below. I’m honored to be included in this great resource as well. Be sure to pick up your copy today and learn more about our special contest! With engagement season upon us, this one’s perfect for you newly affianced lovebirds!
Tags: caneel bay resort, ceci johnson, ceci new york, charmed by caneel, florida, inspiration, key largo, st. john, travel diaries, tropical, u.s. virgin islands
Be inspired by Katherine & Matthew’s glamorous, tropical wedding in Key Largo, Florida
Tags: blush, ceci new york, coral, couture invitations, custom design, die cut, gatefold invitation, gold foil, kissing fish, laser-cut linen, letterpress, luxury design, luxury invitations, personalized design, save-the-date, sea creature, tropical
CHARMED BY CANEEL
“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller
I love adventure, and my favorite places to travel are places I’ve never been. Experiencing “new” is always exciting and inspiring for me. So when Caneel Bay Resort invited me to explore their property in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, I couldn’t resist. There was no way I was going to turn down an invitation to enjoy the gorgeous turquoise waters of the tropics. For me, it’s so healing. I traveled by myself with plenty of books in tow (currently reading Thrive by Arianna Huffington), thinking I would have so much downtime to catch up on reading. But as it turned out, I ended up having so much fun with all of the great people that were also invited on the trip; I barely got through three pages!
Truly, the best part of the whole trip (besides the picturesque resort) was meeting and connecting with these fascinating minds and influencers. Check out Carly Heitlinger (@carly) a.k.a. The College Prepster who is too cute (and smart!) for words, and Caitlin Turner (@gypsetgoddess), who made me envious of her blessed proportions (her legs were as long as me!) and her insanely flexible body the whole trip. She makes me want to get back into yoga again! Justin Dingwall (@justinslens) provided the photography talent and always kept us laughing, in his true gentlemanly fashion, of course. Heather Clawson (@habituallychic) now has me dreaming of a safari trip to South Africa – a very chic safari trip, mind you, because everything she does is classy. And getting some catch-up time with my old friend and entrepreneur extraordinaire, Xochitl Gonzales (@alwaysablogsmaid), was priceless.
Not only did I walk away with great new friendships and a refreshed mind to tackle 2015 with, I am grateful to Caneel Bay for putting together such a fantastic group.
So next time you find yourself wondering if you should accept that invitation or not, I remind you of Helen Keller’s quote. Get out there and experience life!
Working with the Ceci New York team really helped shape the majority of our thoughts and colors for the wedding. The collaborative and in-depth process made our lives much easier in getting all of the wedding details organized.
What It’s Like to Be a Ceci New York Bride:
I haven’t experienced anyone else spending as much time reviewing what seemed like minor details. This meant so much to me creatively. It was truly amazing to work with a team so passionate about what they do and whom they work with – for that I will be forever grateful.
View Katherine & Matthew’s wedding invitations and photos in Our Muse
Tags: bride, centerpiece, escort cards, florida, gold, gold cake, groom, key largo, pink, roses, tropical, vintage car, wedding, white, wine favors
The Wedding A to Z Has You Covered for Your Destination Wedding
Linda Hampshire and Karima El-Hakkaoui, authors of the brand new book The Wedding A to Z, have put together their favorite pieces from spring-summer 2015 for a chic destination beach wedding. They’ve also given us an exclusive glimpse inside the book, which covers over 300 topics, from the very traditional to the not-so.
We’ve got five signed copies of The Wedding A to Z hot off the press to give away on Instagram. Just regram our post and you’ll automatically be entered to win one of five books autographed by Linda, Karima and Ceci Johnson! You can also purchase the book for $13 on Amazon by clicking this link.
Easton Pearson Amea Kuta Dress This light and breezy embroidered tunic from Easton Pearson can be dressed up or down.
Ray-Ban Aviator Sunglasses Classic Ray-Bans look great on everyone and they’re just about the coolest shades on the planet.
Jimmy Choo Doodle Sandals Glam flat sandals are beach wedding staples and work perfectly with shorts and dresses for your honeymoon.
Ceci New York Ginger Collection You couldn’t have your destination wedding without Ceci stationery.
Eres Alliages Bikini You can never go wrong with a touch of French chic, and Eres is the go-to French label for grown-up swimwear. The slashed gold trim gives this classic bikini a sexy edge, but it’s not so revealing that you wouldn’t want to bump into your in-laws on the beach.
Lana Short Shimmer Earrings These single-strand gold drops are the perfect wear-with-anything earrings. They add a hint of glamour without being overpowering.
Aesop Jet Set Kit Aesop’s kit of mini portable essentials for hair and body gives you everything you need for beautifully-scented post-travel revival.
Back Label Como Robe The clean lines and luxurious silk of this light grey robe make it a must-have for lounging around.
Oribe Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray For laid-back beach hair, Oribe’s super moisturizing spray is the only product you’ll need. Work it through wet or dry hair for glossy waves. Simple, easy, and sexy.
Destination weddings can present some unique challenges. Here are our top five tips for getting the most out of yours:
Prep and plan: If you can’t do an advance planning trip to the venue and you don’t already know it, find the budget for a wedding planner, even if it’s just a day-of service. In an unknown location, they can be a lifesaver – and a money saver. They know which vendors deliver the goods and which don’t. If that’s not an option, at least ask for a venue tour using Skype or FaceTime.
Unleash those brain cells: A destination wedding can mean not being able to have exactly what you would at home. So, instead of importing your vision piece for piece, be creative. Find out what local traditions are and use some. What can you source there, and what non-negotiables would you be better off bringing with you from home? One bride asked her guests to buy bottles of spirits at the airport duty-free as wedding gifts and stocked the beach bar with them. And, to save on excess luggage charges that will have you sobbing at check-in, take multipurpose items that you can reuse, mix and match.
Don’t let them out of your sight: Always, always carry your most valuable goodies, whatever they are (jewelry, dresses, documents, makeup) in hand luggage and put a GPS luggage tracker like Trakdot in with the rest of your luggage.
Leave the gifts at home: “Have a registry so you don’t have to pack all your gifts and ship them back. Or, encourage friends and family to buy gift cards to the hotel you’re staying at so that you can use them as a credit towards your final hotel bill while you’re on your honeymoon,” says event planner Jody Value.
Relax and have fun: There’s a high chance that not everything will go exactly to plan, but if you can go with the flow rather than being put out, you’ll have an awesome day.
THE WEDDING A TO Z
Answers to every one of your burning bridal and wedding planning questions, from the experts who have seen it all. Does anyone really care about favors? Will the sky fall in if you ask for cash? How far in advance should you start a healthy skin regime (or Botox, if you’re tempted)? How do you uninvite a guest? Inside their book you’ll find the real scoop–and tons of other witty, practical planning info, creative ideas, and sanity-saving advice from top wedding professionals, doctors, celebrities, and magazine editors such as style icon Kelly Wearstler, weight loss gurus Heidi and Chris Powell, and cake designer Ron Ben-Israel.
Use this palette as a stepping stone toward creating your own dream event. Click on the color swatches to see how the colors come to life at a real event or discover more inspiring color stories now.
Card Sound Golf Club, Ocean Reef, Key Largo, Florida
Secluded at the north end of Key Largo, Ocean Reef is a refuge from the clamor and demands of the world beyond our boundaries, the place where we come whenever we can to relax and be ourselves. Many renowned statesmen and celebrities have visited Ocean Reef, each of them pleased to discover the respect for privacy we all enjoy here.
Separate from the two Ocean Reef Club golf courses is the Card Sound Golf Club which was founded in 1974. It is an equity golf club, featuring a Bob Von Hagge and Bruce Devlin designed 18-hole golf course, that was redesigned by Brian Silva in 1999. The new clubhouse and pro shop were completed in 2007 and are in full operation.
Discover more on Card Sound Golf Club, Ocean Reef, Key Largo, Florida
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