Thursday, June 11, 2015

Here Comes the Bride, Wedding Guests . . . and Tourists

Just like kittens, wine glasses and sunsets, I can’t pass up a good wedding photo. Can you? It doesn’t even have to be anyone I know, as evidenced by this post. And I am seldom alone in my efforts –  other tourists seem to be as taken with the scene unfolding before them as I am.

I should have this shutter-finger reaction because I am a romantic and love weddings. But I don't. We simply enjoy watching the drama surrounding those perfectly posed wedding photos. Those images that will lock the day’s events into picture-perfect history.

Destination weddings have become big ticket tourism in the United States.  Gone are the days of the traditional church wedding with the couple jetting off alone for a honeymoon destination – nowadays the wedding, the guests and honeymoon merge into one far-away affair.

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Undeveloped lagoon at KoOlina; the alter for a wedding in the photo on the right

Hawaii is one of the destination that attracts thousands to its sandy shores for the all-inclusive wedding and honeymoon events. A research manager for the Hawaii Tourism Authority, quoted in an on-line news article, reported that 27,000 Japanese couples married in Hawaii in 2010.

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That’s not surprising based on what we’ve seen there recently. At KoOlina, the resort on O’ahu’s west coast where we spend several weeks each winter, there’s a steady stream of limousines bringing wedding parties to the small wedding chapels strategically located throughout the development. Each chapel just footsteps from one of the four lagoons that are on the property. Often times the wedding photos include backdrops of semi-naked sun-basking tourists like the one below. It was taken front of the wedding chapel located next to Disney’s Aulani Resort (that high rise building in the background is the former JW Marriott Ihilani, soon to be Four Seasons).
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KoOlina Wedding
 
Depending on number of guests and amenities (like bridal bouquets, chairs for guests and photographers) the prices quoted on the KoOlina Weddings web site range from $5,600 to $9,000.  Not bad when compared to the average cost of a wedding alone in the United States being somewhere in the range of $28,000 to $30,000 (depending on the source of your statistics).
 
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KoOlina wedding
We’ve been spotting destination (and a few local) weddings almost everywhere we’ve been in recent years. Like our cruise ship stop in Catania, Italy where the wedding party dog stole the show from the bride and groom:

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In Greece we happened upon weddings in small villages as well as the big city.

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View of Kardamyli's Historic old town - Peloponnese, Greece
From our hotel room in Kardamyli a small town in the Mani region of the Peloponnese peninsula of Greece we overlooked the old town section with its newly renovated tower.  One day while admiring the view we couldn’t help but notice a flurry of activity among the historic buildings.  A closer look, showed us what was happening: wedding photos.

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Kardamyli, Greece
During a stop in Athens, we  headed to the Acropolis – one of our favorite strolling places in town.

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Athen's Acropolis
As we strolled its perimeter and approached the nearby Areopagus or Mars Hill, we noticed far more tourists clamoring on it than we’d seen on earlier visits.

Areopagus is the hill from which St. Paul preached about the identify of the “Unknown God” to the Athenians in 52 A.C; a time Athens was occupied by the Romans. It is named for Ares, the god of war, (known to the Romans as Mars). Ares, as the story goes, was tried on this marble hill for the murder of Poseidon’s son who had violated his daughter.

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Areopagus, or Mars Hill, Athens, Greece
Zooming in on the beehive of activity, I realized we were witnessing yet another ‘destination wedding’ photo shoot – this one a stumbling, bumbling affair as groomsmen swayed back and forth trying to get a foothold on the uneven surface. Several times they rescued the bride and her dress as they jockeyed for a position in front of the camera and out of the way of other tourists.

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Ooops, almost. . .

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Not quite ready for that photographer (hidden behind the bush to the left) to snap some photos. . .

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No, not yet. . .enough! We couldn’t watch anymore. We continued our stroll.

As interesting as it sounds, I don’t think we could have done a destination wedding, way back when we married. How about you? Destination wedding? If so, where was it? Or where would it be?

That’s it for today from us.  We’re still busy with projects at The Stone House on the Hill and will tell you more about it and our cruise in future posts. But with June being the 'wedding month' I thought I'd share some of these wedding moments with you. Thanks for your time and welcome to all of our new followers!! Happy Travels to you.

This week if the internet gods are with us, we are linking up with:
Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Traveler’s Sandbox  
Our World Tuesday
Travel Inspiration – Reflections En Route
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening

44 comments:

  1. This is so amazing... such joy and energy for fragile moments to capture...
    Instead of staying at a table, having a cosy dinner, some dance times, jokes and funny instants to share with relatives and friends... in a cosy and confortable routine... some choose to go and climb on antic hills, sandy shore or whatever...:) :) ;)
    Oh yes... we can see almost the same "funny" way of finding new events, complicated and very strange imagination to celebrate weddings... hilarious kind of... well.. very funny!!!
    Have a sunny weekend and a happy summer!

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    1. And the same wishes to you for a great weekend and a fabulous summer. Thanks much for the comment today!

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  2. I'm amazed at how many wedding photo shoots you've come across. :-) I saw a lot of them when I lived near San Francisco, but not so many after that. I really love the idea of a destination wedding. My brother had one in Italy and it was sheer magic. :-)

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    1. It is unusual to not see a series of weddings each day at KoOlina; it becomes an almost wedding factory as one happy couple ties the knot and leaves and another arrived minutes later. With four chapels it is a constant bridal procession! Now Italy, that would be a romantic spot to say, "I do".

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  3. What a fun post! Our son was married on the beach in North Kauai. There was a total of 8 of us, including the bride and groom. Both of them had declared that they would be married on that beach someday before they even met. So romantic and beautiful.

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    1. We almost went to Kauai for our honeymoon and didn't but have been there a few times and love the place. The NorthShore would be a fabulous place to be married. Your son chose well!

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  4. Weddings are definitely on my mind lately - 5 weeks from today is our son's wedding. Boy, has the wedding industry gone crazy. My future DIL has bought in lock, stock and barrel on every little detail that is being thrust at her from the wedding planner, florists, friends and magazines. I can't even imagine what it will be like when our daughter gets engaged!

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    1. Oh just researching the post had my head spinning. I don't think I could handle all those details. We had 24 in attendance, did a homemade buffet lunch at our place and I think spent just over $150! (35 years later, so guess we didn't need a lot of fuss). Thanks for visiting - happy weekend!

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  5. A thoroughly enjoyable post with gorgeous photos!

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    1. Hi Linda, Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting and I am so glad you enjoyed the post and photos! Please be a regular here. Jackie

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  6. A thoroughly enjoyable post with gorgeous photos!

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    1. So appreciate the time you took to visit today Linda. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  7. Beautiful wedding photos, but I think I would have gotten tired of waiting for that last one too.
    #wkendtravelinspiration

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    1. Rhonda, it was the impending disaster that drove us away from that last series. . .I had visions of the bridge tumbling off the top of the rock and couldn't bear to see it! ;-)

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  8. How fun to see beautiful weddings in such pretty places...

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  9. What a wonderful collection of wedding photos. The last few are just amazing, it does not look like a safe place, climbing around on the rocky hill. I would pick a beach in Hawaii. Happy Monday, have a great week ahead!

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    1. It wasn't a safe place Eileen and I am amazed they allowed it to even be attempted there. In the US we'd have had far too many rules and regulations for safety violated, but I guess that is the fun of travel - seeing how it is done elsewhere! Thanks much for the visit.

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  10. So interesting! The last one is quite a high risk wedding! Yes weddings are sure different today.

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    1. They are far more spectacular - that's for sure. Thanks much for the visit!!

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  11. Fun post! Great collection. Happy Monday!

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  12. Interesting. Wedding party is big business there.

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  13. Happy June to you! So fun to look at your pics and get some interesting destination wedding factoids as well. I love it when we happen upon a wedding. I've seen local brides/couples posing for their after-pics at landmarks like Heidelberg Castle and the Milan Duomo --- can't help but take pics, too.

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    1. It is easy to get caught up in the romance and excitement of the moment isn't it, Cathy? Thanks much for stopping by.

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  14. I love seeing the wedding photos! What amazing backgrounds for a wedding to remember! Happy travels! Happy Mosaic Monday! Hugs, Diane

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  15. I'm with you! (a hopeless romantic who loves wedding things - Say yes to the dress is my guilty obsession!). We saw a couple atop a temple in Bagan at sunset, in full Western style dress, and I insisted we get a shot of them. After all, what's not to love about love?

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  16. Destination weddings really are popular, expensive on the pocket book of guests though I would think. It would not have been my cup of tea back in 1972 but then they were unheard of and the traditional style was all that most girls dreamed of.
    Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday Jackie.

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  17. My wedding was at a privately-chartered cruise ship, Champagne Lady, on Lake Washington! I was even going to write a book on "I Should Have Been Married Here!" But you beat me to it! This is a post I absolutely loved reading!

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    1. I actually wrote a travel article for the Seattle Times a year or so ago, Carol, that was about out-of-the-ordinary Northwest wedding destination places. I've been pondering this post since then. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  18. It's always fun to happen upon a wedding. No destination wedding for us - a traditional one with family and friends in our home town. That was 38 years ago.

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    1. Congrats on 38 years Lorrie. We hit 35 this year. . .I remember back when I thought our 5th anniversary was quite a milestone! And no destination weddings call out to me. . .

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  19. We've happened upon several weddings during our travels and, like you, I'm a sucker for a "happy ending!" I'm really surprised though to learn that destination weddings can be so much cheaper than the sky high prices currently paid for by brides, grooms and families in the US. And I know I'm more a practical person than a romantic - better to pay off college loans or save for a new house... !

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    1. Yes, we were much the same - practical vs. romantic. And it seems to have worked as 35 years later . . . still together! Thanks much for stopping by Anita!

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  20. I have been known to "snap" a pic of some unknown (to me) couple's wedding on our travels. Destination weddings certainly seem to be the thing lately. I've known a few couples who have married in Bali. We could never have afforded a "destination wedding" way back when and I don't think I would do it now either.
    Have a great week.

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    1. Our wedding was pretty tiny and no-frills and even planning a short honeymoon back then sounded overwhelming - no destination weddings, weren't and aren't for me! Thanks for commenting Jill!

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  21. I loved this very creative post. I love weddings and snapping photos of brides, too. It captures a moment of real happiness. We, too, could never have afforded a destination wedding back then.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it Irene. I think if we'd have tried 'destination wedding' back then, they would have called it eloping!

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  22. Not many people can ignore a wedding scene. I always stop and gawk. Most recently that was in Shanghai on the Bund, where we came across two brides being photographed in their traditional deep-red dresses.

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    1. It is hard to pass up a bride swishing past in her beautiful gowns!

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  23. Our wedding was immediate family in a rabbi's study followed by an open house at my parents' house with sandwiches. My wedding dress cost $35 at Loehmann's. That wasn't even expensive in 1982. When we lived in Waikiki for 3 months last year, we were amazed at the omnipresence of Japanese wedding parties. It was so much a part of the scene, that I included a photo of one in my blog post about our Hawaiian sojourn. My most recent Japanese wedding photo spotting was outside the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

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    1. Anyone who's spent time in Hawaii has seen the parade of Japanese wedding parties. I find it interesting that it is such a popular tropical destination with so many other places of similar beauty not that much further away for them.

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  24. Wow.Lovely destination for the wedding.Interesting post.Thanks for sharing.
    http://www.srikri.com/

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  25. Your Greece photos look beautiful.

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  26. I love taking photos of wedding couples that I come across in my travels, too. I remember conscientiously getting out of the background of someone's wedding photo shoot in Hawaii. While I don't really mind how I look in a bathing suit, I didn't want it memorialized in someone's wedding album. As for my own wedding, it was very much an opportunity for both my parents and my in-laws to invite all their friends and relatives to a grand celebration. There's no way I could have gotten away with a destination wedding.

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