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The official blog for Harlow Garland Weddings and Events. To search for posts or view all posts, head over to our library which is searchable and categorised! 

Wedding venue: The Seabreeze Resort, Samoa

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Selecting a venue for your wedding can sometimes be the most difficult decision in the whole the wedding planning process. So, to make your decision that little bit simpler, we present one of our favourite venues, the Seabreeze Resort in Samoa.

Saying "I do" to the sounds of waves rolling up on the sand and the sight of the amazing lagoon could not be any more romantic. The Samoan exclusive resort offers a unique and intimate experience for every couple and their friends and family.

The resort is located on the southeast side of the island near Aufaga. The Seabreeze capture the essence of relaxation and has become one of the most highly rated resorts in Samoa.

Seabreeze offers a couple of wedding packages each with its own island experience. A wedding on the beach incorporating the Samoan culture and religion can be an amazing experience. Exchange vows to the sound of the conch shell, escorted by traditional warriors in Siapo (traditional dress). As the sun sets, the Seabreeze provide a range of tasty delights to suit your style and needs with local flowers in abundance and champagne served after the ceremony. The resort staff will cater for every aspect of the day whether it be a band, the food and the evening processions, this couldn’t be a more relaxing and gorgeous place to get married.

While you and your wedding guests take time out after the wedding to explore the island and get to understand the culture, Seabreeze offers a range of activities. Get involved in the interactive cultural activity that gives an insight into Samoan life or make the most of the relaxing trip and treat you and your new husband to a pampering day. For centuries, Samoan women have utilised a mix of natural herbal recipes, to maintain health & enhance natural beauty. The resort offers a range of massage using natural local produce, such as organic plants and fruits.

Island weddings can be relaxing and intimate ceremonies with your close friends and family. Due to the nature of the islands, relaxing days that follow the ceremony can be amazing if exploring the culture and nature of the island. The Seabreeze Resort can give a new couple the most amazing wedding, but also offer the rest of the experience. Whether it be cultural night activities, or a couples massage to make the most of the relaxing time together, Samoa really does have it all.

Honeymoon Venue: Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech, Morocco

When considering an overseas honeymoon (or even a destination wedding), the venue selection can be rather harrowing with an entire world to consider. As part of our #honeymoonhumpday series, we bring you a variety of venue profiles, honeymoon styles and tips every Wednesday to help you narrow your options down to somewhere truly amazing.

This week's honeymoon venue is the beautiful Mandarin Oriental, situated in Marrakech, Morocco. The five star luxury resort lies upon 20 hectares of gorgeous gardens and olive groves. Just minutes away from the city centre of Marrakech, Mandarin Oriental offers the ultimate Moroccan escape for an incredibly unique honeymoon.

Mandarin Oriental’s villas and suites showcase Moroccan heritage and Middle Eastern charm. The stunning villas are private retreats which provide its guests with luxury, space, style and comfort. With an array of villas and suites to chose from, there is something to suit every couples wants and desires. Should you opt for the Panoramic suite, enjoy they likes of picturesque views of the surround gardens, olive groves and the Atlas Mountains. With Moroccan designs, the interior provides a sense of luxury and authenticity combined with the best in modern technology. With a seamless indoor outdoor flow, enjoy an expansive terrace with you own private pool as well as sun loungers and a dining table for el fresco dining during the beautiful Moroccan evenings.

Dining at Mandarin Oriental is at an experience to remember. With four different dining options, there is something to suit every couple. We recommend firstly opting for Mes’Lalla, where you will find classic Moroccan cuisine with exciting modern twists. For a small bit to eat to accompany your evening cocktail, head to the resorts beautiful Chinese restaurant – Ling Ling. For breakfast or afternoon tea, Le Salon Berebere can offer you with an elegant buffet, tea lounge and champagne bar. Lastly is the Pool Garden restaurant. Here is the perfect place to relax and enjoy an el fresco Mediterranean lunch. Overlooking the expansive pool and gardens, the atmosphere is calming and tranquil.

When in Marrakech there are endless activities to do and sights to see. First and foremost, we recommend you explore Djemaa el-Fna – the main square in Marrakech. Here you will find restaurants, musicians, exhibitions and even snake charmers. Jardin Majorelle is another gorgeous attraction that was gifted to Marrakech by the iconic Yves Saint Laurent. Here you will find a gorgeous blue Moroccan villa and surrounding gardens which began cultivating in 1924. Now open to the public, the villa is now a museum which displays over 600 artefacts.

After busy days exploring the stunning streets of Morocco, return to Mandarin Oriental for a visit to their spa and wellness centre. Here you can enjoy the hamman (a traditional Moroccan ritual based body treatment), which involves different treatments until the skin glows.

Marrakech is an incredibly unique honeymoon destination for any adventurous couple. Mandarin Oriental will provide you with the ultimate in luxury service, accommodation and culture for an unforgettable experience.

Honeymoon Venue: Makepeace Island

When considering an overseas honeymoon (or even a destination wedding), the venue selection can be rather harrowing with an entire world to consider. As part of our #honeymoonhumpday series, we bring you a variety of venue profiles, honeymoon styles and tips every Wednesday to help you narrow your options down to somewhere truly amazing.

Opened in 2011, Makepeace Island is a 25 acre secluded island, just a short boat ride away from the Sunshine Coast, Australia. Owners Sir Richard Branson and Brett Godfrey – the co-founder of Virgin Australia, thoughtfully developed the heart shaped island to keep with the surrounding coastal wilderness. With its array of luxurious facilities and unique décor sourced from Bali, Makepeace Island is a truly tranquil getaway for your honeymoon.

Makepeace Island offers three lavish villas which provide complete privacy to its guests. The villas are expansive, with two bedrooms, spacious bathrooms, separate lounge areas and private decks. The spectacular foyers of each villa feature a gorgeous fishpond and waterfall to create a true Balinese atmosphere. For a larger option, opt for the Bali house accommodation wing, which offers guests four large luxurious rooms. Whichever you may choose, enjoy beautifully carved bathtubs made from volcanic boulders, palm gardens with gorgeous bromeliads and wooden boardwalks which will connect your villa to the main entertaining areas.

During your stay on Makepeace Island there are endless things to do. The 500,000litre lagoon style pool is the centrepiece to the property and the perfect place to be during the beautiful Australian days. For something more active, take out one of the islands hobie cats, paddle boards or kayaks – if you’re tempted, it should take you about 1 hour to circle the island. Head to the islands dock for the perfect fishing spot, or play a game of tennis on the islands court. The islands private outdoor cinema is the perfect option for a romantic evening with your newlywed - under the stars and complete with champagne, popcorn and cosy chairs.

Your dining experience while on Makepeace Island will be based around a table which overlooks the gorgeous lagoon pool and riverfront. Head chef Lisa Mahar will collaborate with you to create exquisite menus designed especially for you that will become some of the high points of your stay. Gourmet picnics are also available at your request. The perfect spot to enjoy one is at the secluded beautiful oasis at the northern beach.

As well as a gorgeous getaway location, Makepeace Island is also a koala conservancy with a focus on lessening koala mortality and improving koala health.

Makepeace Island is a perfect luxury Australian getaway for your honeymoon.

Bridal Shower Planning

Photo by Kate Little for Harlow Garland

Photo by Kate Little for Harlow Garland

Compared to a hen’s night, the bridal shower is a much more elegant event. In today’s modern times it does not always have to be the maid of honour that plans the bridal shower. It can often be the bride’s mother, sister, a close friend or even them all together. If the planning of the bridal shower happens to fall on your shoulders, we have put together a basic planning guide to make it that little bit more simple for you.

When To Have It

Typically, the bridal shower takes place two to three months prior to the wedding day. Any closer to the wedding than one month the bride will possibly be too busy with last minute wedding planning to enjoy herself. Always be sure to communicate with the bride to ensure a time and date that would suit her best.

Who To Invite

When it is time to create the guest list, it is always best to communicate with the bride to see who she would like to invite. Keep in mind that the people who are being invited should only be people who are also invited to the wedding. Sometimes brides are lucky enough to have more than one bridal shower thrown for them, in this case you may want to invite different people than those that have already been invited to another one. Although, it is best to always invite the bride’s mother, future mother-in-law, sisters and sisters-in-law.

Where To Have It

Where the bridal shower is held largely depends on your budget – and sometimes even your theme. Some people choose to reserve a space in a restaurant while others opt for a backyard event. If you are having the bridal party at a restaurant it is best to book it in as soon as possible to ensure your reservation.

Have A Style And Theme

It is important to decide what theme and style you wish to have for the shower. Whether it will be a brunch affair, cocktails, a sit down dinner or even a group activity. Group activities are becoming increasingly popular, such as a cooking or painting class. A theme and style also ensures the shower is cohesive, by the likes of colours, décor and even packaged favours for the guests.

Keep Track Of Gifts

With the bridal shower comes a lot of gift giving and the bride will often want to send out thank you notes to each person. To make this easier for her, it is a good idea for you (or to assign someone) to write down the name of the guest and what gift they gave to her. At the end of the shower you can then present this list to the bride – she will definitely be thankful for your help.

Click here for our blog post all about bridal shower history and superstitions.

Rehearsal Dinner Etiquette

It is the eve of your wedding and all the planning is complete, which means it is time for your rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal dinner for your wedding provides you with a chance to relax with your nearest and dearest before the excitement follows for the big day - it is also a wonderful opportunity to thank your wedding party for their participation in your big day. Keep reading for everything you need to know about your pre-wedding soiree.

When Is It?

Typically rehearsal dinners take place the night prior to the wedding and after the wedding rehearsal although, it can take place whenever suits you best. Despite its name, it could also be a rehearsal lunch or brunch – these are often more informal.

Wedding Rehearsal

Prior to the dinner taking place, all that are involved in the ceremony should attend the wedding rehearsal. The wedding rehearsal will involve a walk through of the ceremony to establish timing and to ensure everyone knows his or her own responsibilities. We recommend having copies of ceremony programs for the rehearsal so that everyone can easily follow along with what is happening.

Who Is Invited?

The people that are needed at the rehearsal dinner include the bride and groom, their parents, the wedding party, the officiant and anyone who may be doing any readings. Although, many couples also choose to invite grandparents and other immediate family members, close friends and anyone who has travelled from out of town as a way of making the dinner also a welcoming party.

The Hosts

Traditionally, general etiquette says that the groom’s parents should host the rehearsal dinner. Although, with modern times couples often decide to plan and pay for the event themselves or, sometimes the parents of both the bride and groom will arrange the planning and payment between themselves. Whoever hosts the rehearsal dinner should always keep in mind the desires of the bride and groom and communicate with them to avoid any conflict or misunderstandings.

Location And Style

The rehearsal dinner can be anything from a formal dinner to a casual outdoor event - these aspects often largely depend on the guest list and budget. Couples often opt for a restaurant although, a casual backyard barbeque is a great option too. The style of the rehearsal dinner often compliments the wedding – although be careful not to overshadow it. You may want to opt for a complete style contrast with a casual dinner and black tie wedding.

Click here for a timeline on planning your rehearsal dinner.