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Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa Weddings

Posted on May 1, 2012

As a South Florida wedding photographer, working at the historic Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa is always a treat. I say historic, as there has been a Diplomat Hotel of sorts on this property since 1958 – many luminaries used to grace its rooms and still do today. Stars from Liza Minnelli to Bob Hope have performed here over the years and presidents have made appearances as well. It is a one of a kind South Florida location that not only holds appeal to celebrities, but also to many couples both near and far – to host their South Florida weddings – in many cases they are actually South Florida destination weddings.

I remember clearly the day in 1998 when the original Diplomat Hotel was imploded – it was quite a scene. Remembering what the original building was like beforehand just created anxiousness waiting to see what unbelievable structure would be built to replace this historic South Florida landmark hotel.

The new result was more than amazing. The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa is an ultra modern sleek oceanfront property with every amenity a guest would want. For Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa weddings, there are two incredibly high-end choice locations to choose from – the hotel or the country club. For this article, we will focus on weddings at the Diplomat Hotel location. The recent wedding of Coty and Ron is a perfect example of just how incredible a South Florida wedding can be at the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa. Perfectly coordinated by Joni Scalzo of Your Special Day by Joni, this wedding captures the essence of a location truly magnificent to its area – a one of a kind spot for a South Florida weddings for sure. Joni tirelessly worked with this busy bride and groom to insure that every detail of their wedding was perfect and that they had no worries leading up to or on the wedding day. As a side note, Ron is the captain of an incredible yacht and Coty works with him – that is how they met. They travel the world in style all while working – they have amazingly interesting careers and being out of town so much meant that Joni was a key factor in managing all of the elements of their fabulous South Florida wedding.

Both the inside and the outside surrounding grounds of the hotel provide unlimited opportunities that as a South Florida wedding photographer, I can never pass up! I love the modern architecture, the incredible pool area, the ocean view and the truly unique feel the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa provides. Coty and Ron were great to work with and we enjoyed every moment we had to shoot around this modern, yet historic property. Although the Diplomat has been completely rebuilt and is in essence, a pretty new structure, I cannot help but think back to its rich history as I photograph South Florida weddings there. The place remains an extremely high-end venue for discerning brides and grooms who desire an unusually sleek and luxurious South Florida wedding. There is no question – a Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa wedding is a one of a kind opportunity that many brides and grooms see right away when they visit this location. Busy creating weddings for local couples as well as couples planning destination weddings, Joni Scalzo of Your Special Day by Joni is someone brides and grooms should consider speaking to when planning their weddings – at the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa or elsewhere.

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Boca Raton Resort Wedding Photos

Posted on April 20, 2012

Tying the knot in Boca Raton, Florida is most romantic. A beach wedding in Boca Raton Florida is surely a dream of most couples today. Are you one of those? If you are, you should start searching for a professional and reliable Boca Raton Florida wedding photographer. Fortunately, there are many of those that you may end up having a difficult time choosing the best South Florida wedding photographer to hire.
Boca Raton Resort wedding photos could be real treasures that couples could keep for life. Not all are given the rare opportunity and privilege to marry in an exquisite and luxurious beach setting. Also known as "Boca Resort", the venue is not only extremely popular with locals, but Boca Resort weddings also hold quite an appeal to destination wedding couples as well.

Hiring the best wedding photographer would make the occasion more special. Create a shortlist of South Florida wedding photographers and interview each carefully. You could discover a lot about such professionals. Thus, you could make an intelligent and appropriate decision over which professional to hire to take your Boca Resort wedding photos.
Look at the experience level of each wedding photographer. It is important that the professional has specifically photographed Boca Raton Resort weddings. The resort is simply the most elegant venue for weddings and you surely would not want to miss each breathtaking scene with the spectacular background to be captured in photos. Thus, he should know the best angles and the best backgrounds to use in your wedding album.

The wedding photographer should capture every romantic moment in the elegant ballrooms as well as in the picturesque indoor and outdoor venues within the resort. A Boca Raton Resort wedding offers the most chic options for unforgettable ceremonies and receptions. Boca Raton wedding photographers should know how to capture the best images within the famous cathedral room, ballrooms, private beach, cloister garden, yacht club terrace, and the Boca Country Club.
The romantic setting that suits the wedding theme and mood should as well be captured. Likewise, the photographer should coordinate with the floral and décor arrangers, the caterers, and the cake providers so that these smaller details of the occasion would not be left out in your Boca Raton Resort wedding photos.

You should determine if the photographer is observing truth in advertising. It is ideal if the Boca Raton wedding photographer would be the one who would personally take the photographs and not assign his assistants, who might just be practicing/mastering the craft. Beware because many professional photographers do this scheme. They would advertise and market their personal services but on the occasion, they are not the ones covering the event.

Lastly, your chosen South Florida wedding photographer should provide the best offers in terms of costs, services, and packages. Everything should be written on paper. Expect the photographer to present you a contract before finalizing the deal. Read the agreement carefully and do not hesitate to ask questions should you have any. If you hire an experienced Boca Raton Resort wedding photographer, you will have a great opportunity to have amazing wedding photos from a one of a kind South Florida venue.

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South Florida Indian Weddings

Posted on April 20, 2012

All Indian weddings promise to be large events filled with colorful decorations and loud music. The Indian culture is very diverse and therefore many different kinds of customs and traditions are a part of the weddings but some are common amongst the different religions.
Since an Indian wedding is more about celebrating with the entire community it is a very large affair. Between 100 and 10,000 people may be invited, depending on how many people the families know and how many they can afford to host. The Indian wedding extends over several days of events and dinners due to the different customs and traditions involved, and there are several pre and post wedding functions, with different clothes made for each day.
The mehendi is a colorful affair where henna is applied to the bride’s hands to strengthen the bond of love. This is primarily a female’s only event where there is a lot of singing and dancing. Another event that is focused on music and dancing is the sangeet where both families come together and dance the night away. While there are no specific traditions associated with this event, food and drinks are served and it is usually a large affair as all those close to the families are invited.

At the main wedding affair, the groom and his family arrive at the venue with a band and lots of dancing along the way. Sometimes the groom will be riding a horse which has been decorated, but more modern families opt for decorating a car instead. The bride will normally wear a red or pink sari with a lot of heavy embroidery and jewelry to go with it. Her hands and feet will have been painted with henna in the days before.
The actual wedding ceremony takes place in a mandap which is decorated with flowers and red cloth. It can last several hours during which the priest will carry out many different prayers. The most significant ritual are the saat phere where the bride and groom walk around the fire and light, a symbol of God, seven times while the priest recites mantras. The groom then filled sindoor in the center parting on the bride’s head and puts a wedding necklace, known as a mangalsutra, around her neck. Both of these signify that she is now a married woman.
After the wedding rituals are completed, the bride is sent with the groom’s household. This is called vidaai and can get quite emotional as this signifies that the bride has left her parent’s house forever and is now a part of another family.

Many modern Indian families are now choosing to opt for simpler affairs, even some destination Indian weddings, especially those families that have lived away from India for a long time. Destination Indian weddings will have only the close family and friends as guests and only involves those traditions that the family deems important. Some are simple court marriages with lavish dinners or parties after, especially popular when the bride and groom are from different religions.
Regardless of whether the wedding is large or small, lavish or not, it is important to capture the important moments so that they may be looked back upon in later years. For a South Florida Indian Wedding, an experienced South Florida wedding photographer will capture the important moments and expressions of the day and ensure that these memories are immortalized.

Some of the more popular locations for a South Florida Indian wedding include the Ritz-Carlton South Beach, The Eden Roc Hotel, Vizcaya, Boca Raton Resort & Hotel, the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Hillcrest Country Club, Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach, The Diplomat Hotel, The Breakers and the Four Seasons Palm Beach.

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Down the Aisle to South Florida

Posted on November 26, 2009

Your wedding: a South Florida wedding. Makes a pretty picture doesn’t it? It’s more than just a pretty picture. It’s a very unique idea for all who wish to make their big day extra-special. With a wide array of venues ranging from low to high-end hotels, gardens as well as more unusual museums, country clubs and resorts, South Florida is a place that is host to thousands of destination weddings each year!
As a destination wedding photographer in South Florida, I can easily say that at least half if not more of our clients are from out of state. They choose to get married in South Florida for a variety of reasons – for some it is because this is where their parents or grandparents now live, for others they grew up here and have since moved away but want to get married where all of their friends and family are. For many, many others they choose South Florida simply because they want to have a destination wedding in the United States and they want nice, warm weather and beaches. These elements alone make South Florida the perfect place for weddings in general. We pride ourselves in assisting all of our out of state clients with their plans, as we know how difficult it can be to plan from afar – we did it too! We help direct them to appropriate wedding planners and venues that we think are close to what they are looking for. We have a South Florida wedding venue section on our proofing site which contains photos from many venues around town and this has proven to be an invaluable tool for our many out of state clients.

Destination weddings in Miami’s South Beach and Palm Beach are made much easier by the efficient wedding planners in South Florida, who can help you find venues such as The Breakers, The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, the Delray Beach Marriott, cozy Villa Woodbine in Miami and much more. With amazing weather year round, always warm and sunny, beach weddings are quite popular here. Most venues will offer great wedding packages for South Florida destination weddings.
For your guests who visit South Florida for your wedding, the destination offers a multitude of activities and tourist attractions to provide them with an ideal vacation and keep them happy and relaxed for your wedding. Underwater attractions include scuba diving, swimming with the dolphins, snorkeling, windsurfing etc. while spas, helicopter tours, museums, sightseeing, a Bahamas day cruise, picnics on the beach, touring the Versace house and many more sites to see can keep them busy on land.

In addition, let’s not forget the main reason South Florida is so popular – the beautiful beaches and our year round sunny weather. Your guests can also enjoy the amazing night life and lively club scene by partying away the nights, be it your bachelor/bachelorette night or just a night out on the town with friends. If you have time, you and your guests could also experience Delray or Miami Beach by Vespa and see the city in a whole new way with a lot of independence and fun thrown in. Other attractions nearby include The Florida Keys, Sarasota, the Everglades and Disney World, which are all just a short distance away.

Affordability is never an issue with weddings in South Florida. Whether your budget is more along the lines of a simple beach receptions or a grand wedding at a 5-star hotel, you will be sure to find the perfect venue to accommodate your needs. You could have your wedding ceremony on the beach, or go for a slighter higher priced venue, such as a country club or mid-range hotel – of which there are many. For those who don’t mind splurging on a highly luxurious wedding, the location is filled with 5-star hotels land resorts such as The Breakers, the Four Seasons Miami or Palm Beach, The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, The Ritz-Carlton South Beach, The Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove, The Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach, The Biltmore and incredible mansions/museums such as Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Casa Casuarina (Versace Mansion), Flagler Museum and the Norton Museum of Art. All are fabulous in their own ways and, of course, different places appeal to different people for different reasons. It’s great to have so much to choose from here!
A destination wedding in South Florida is sure to be the experience of a lifetime and will be an unforgettable event for you and your guests.

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Posted on November 26, 2009

Written by Guerdy Abraira - Ocean Flowers Miami
Pictures by Jeff Kolodny -

I always knew where I wanted to get married. I used to live in North Miami and on my way to Aventura mall (which was practically every other week), my now husband and I used to pass by the Spanish Monastery and we would always say “one day, we will get married here”. We fell in love with this Spanish-Mediterranean architectural style venue which had such a quaint and discrete charm. Choosing this venue, which had such a specific era feel made it easy for me to choose my wedding décor theme which ended up being a Spanish theme. From the tapas, sangria and paella served at the reception to the black magic dark red roses, I was able to actualize this theme with much ease. The wedding turned out so well that it got a feature in the Knot Magazine!

For all of you who are looking for that “perfect venue” in South Florida, it is important that you let the venue “speak” to you. You should be able to walk into a venue and feel a sense of belonging there. For the modern bride, venues like the “W” Hotel chains or the Gansevoort may fit your style. For the traditional bride, the Ritz Carlton chains, Fisher Island Club or The Breakers may be a perfect fit. The bride looking for that tropical chic vibe should look at the Palms Hotel or Fairchild Tropical Garden. For an Asian feel, the Mandarin Oriental or Setai Hotel will work perfectly. For the eclectic/artsy bride, the only place to look at is the Viceroy Hotel!

Doing a lot of research before stepping out to look at venues will be your best bet. You should first start a “must have” list on your ideal venue and then you will be able to do a process of elimination as you find search listings of venues. You will eventually end up with a final list of venues and that will help you with your venue site visits. Lastly, pricing I am sure will play a key role in selecting the venue. Good luck with your search!!!

As a the owner of Ocean Flowers Miami a South Florida wedding planner and florist, I always try to direct clients to venues that are appropriate for them. I try to determine their needs and desires and then go from there. Some people just step into a particular venue and know that it’s right for them. There are so many different types of South Florida wedding venues to explore, that it could take some time to find the perfect spot. Speak to people in the South Florida wedding business, such as florists, photographers, etc.

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