May 23,2014
Friday

Gay-Friendly Honeymoons {South Africa}

South Africa Rich in flora and fauna diversity, the choices are endless for safaris as you check off your Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino) bucket list.
“During my long walk to freedom, I had the rare privilege to visit Londolozi. There I saw people of all races living in harmony amidst the beauty that mother nature offers” – Nelson Mandela
Cape Town and its environs are home to such intensive culinary adventures that it can be difficult to imagine how to see it all, which is why having a Honeymoon Islands bespoke safari specialist custom-craft your Southern Africa itinerary may be just the ticket. These experiences have made even the hardest-to-please foodies weep with joy.  A five-course food and wine pairing at Reuben’s; farm to table perfection at Chef Franck Dangereux’s The Foodbarn; exploring Cape Town’s Malay Quarter; and exploring the Cape Winelands. A food and wine adventure can also be easily expanded to include time at Singita Private Game Reserve, whose superb game viewing is an easy flight from Cape Town via Johannesburg.

Safari. The very word evokes a flurry of imagination. Majestic mountains, stunning savannahs, breathtaking vistas and wildlife beyond your imagination. This is safari.
Londolozi is situated on the Sand River in the very heart of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. This reserve in turn forms part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a vast and growing area, currently covering 6 million acres and incorporating the famous Kruger National Park. This rich, wild wonderland assures exceptional game drives and a true wilderness experience.
But what makes a Honeymoon Islands bespoke safari different? Experienced safari guides pointing out something that the untrained eye misses. The friendly staff taking care of every detail. The Pinto family of Micato inviting guests travelling to East Africa to their home to dine. Fellow travelers going from strangers to friends one incredible experience at a time. Daily surprises, nightly treats.
Honeymoon Islands South Africa partners Micato sojourns are deliberately luxurious.  Safari lodges enchant with such unadulterated luxuries as private plunge pools and personal butlers. Itineraries offer an irresistible array of experiences from the sophisticated pleasures of Cape Town to the celebrated savannahs of the Serengeti and the near spiritual beauty of the Kalahari.

In addition to providing every traveler with an incomparable safari experience, Honeymoon Island and Micato is dedicated to providing impoverished children with an education.  Hence, the groundbreaking Micato “One for One” Commitment.  For every safari sold, Honeymoon Islands in partnership with Micato will pay the school fees for an African child who would otherwise stay home due to extreme poverty.
This is safari with Honeymoon Islands Micato.  No wonder readers of Travel+Leisure magazine have voted Micato “World’s Best Safari Outfitter” a record nine times.

May 22,2014
Thursday

Gay-Friendly Honeymoons {Greece}

Greece
When it comes to history, it doesn’t get much more ancient than Greece. In a place where gods and goddesses mingle, this birthplace of the Western world stirs the spirit, boasting icons such as the Acropolis and its Parthenon. Along with sizzling nightlife, Mediterranean paradise awaits just offshore in the gay-friendly Greek Isles.
The Greek island of Mykonos has been described as having a crazy nightlife that is very diverse.
This is certainly true when compared to some of the other nearby islands.  In fact, Mykonos is known best for its beaches, nightclubs, and hotels. The people of Mykonos are accepting of everyone no matter what their lifestyle, and they’re always ready to party.  The Kivotos Hotel, is one of the best boutique hotels in Mykonos, offering aesthetically outstanding Mykonos. Another great property is the five-star Myconian Ambassador Hotel, a member of Relais & Châteaux offers guests a luxury experience in the dazzling town of Mykonos. The hotel overlooks the famous Mykonos beach Platis Yialos, where you you can relax and enjoy the gourmet Mediterranean cuisine or spend a relaxing day at the spa.

May 21,2014
Wednesday

Gay-Friendly Honeymoons {Hawaii}

Hawaii
Maui offers a variety of sights and experiences. The quaint old towns of Lahaina and Wailuku are fun for exploring, shopping, and dining. The views from atop 10,000-foot Mt. Haleakala (especially popular at sunrise and sunset) are well worth the winding drive past fields of protea and other exotic flowers. The long, winding road to the village of Hana is lined with waterfalls and lush tropical foliage. During the winter months, the waters surrounding Maui are ideal for whale-watching. 
Overlooking the gentle waters of Wailea Beach, luxurious Four Seasons Resort Maui, with its ever-attentive hotel staff and the largest luxury resort guest rooms and suites on the island, epitomises a classical Hawaiian palace resort. A stroll through fragrant plumeria trees and art-laden public areas reveals a study in relaxed elegance. Four Seasons Resort Maui hugs the sun-soaked Wailea Beach of Hawaii’s second largest island. In the distance, lush valleys carved into mountains reveal the inspiration for Maui’s nickname: Valley Isle.
Kauai, the most tropical of all the islands, is quiet and tranquil. The island’s scenic beauty, which includes waterfalls, sea cliffs, arid canyons and scores of beautiful white sand beaches, has served as the backdrop for many cinematic films. Waimea Canyon, “the Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” is a must-see. Helicopter tours are popular, as the spectacular sea cliffs of the Na Pali coast and the crater of Mt. Waialeale (one of the wettest spots on earth), are not accessible by road. If you’re looking for natural beauty and adventure, Kauai’s the place to find it. 
An extraordinary experience awaits you at Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa.  You’ll discover the true spirit of grand Hawaiian hospitality at every turn in this luxury beach resort. Relax in elegantly designed guestrooms offering stunning ocean, garden or pool views from a private lanai. Delight in the pampering services of our world-class spa, or challenge yourself on our championship golf course. Choose from extensive dining options, including poolside casual and an outstanding authentic Grand Hyatt Kauai Luau. 
Larger than all of the other islands combined, Hawaii is known locally as the Big Island. Kilauea, the world’s most active volcano, has been in a state of activity since 1983, and its fiery creation of hot, new land is often spectacular. The rich fertile soil left by Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire, produces orchids, coffee and macadamia nuts. There are black sand and white sand beaches, gorgeous waterfalls and hidden valleys. From the Ka’u desert to the Ola’a rain forest to the snow-capped peaks of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, the Big Island is a splendor of ecological diversity. The majority of hotels and resorts are on the drier and hotter west side, where Kailua-Kona is the main town. The east side, where Hilo is the population center, is very lush and tropical.  

Housed in intimate two-storey bungalows, Four Seasons Resort Hualālai at Historic Ka‘ūpūlehu’s 243 guest rooms and suites exude a nostalgic sense of Hawaii’s Golden Age. A peerless collection of native Hawaiian art complements expansive, open-air living spaces and Island-inspired décor. Set on Hawaii Island’s exclusive Kona-Kohala Coast, this showpiece oceanfront resort captures the essence of Hawaiian design, culture and tradition.   

May 20,2014
Tuesday

Gay-Friendly Honeymoon Spots {Paris & St. Martin}

Paris, France
Though it’s known as the City of Love, this French favorite is a foodie’s paradise. Food is an experience here, whether you’re sipping on a café au lait with the Eiffel Tower peeking in the background, or eating your way through four courses at one of the city’s Michelin-starred restaurants which has been awarded more than any other European city, with three claiming top three-star honors. With views of the Tuileries Garden, Le Meurice has been ranked among the most elegant hotels in the world. Combining exceptional 18th century opulence with contemporary chic, including eye-catching interiors by Philippe Starck, Le Meurice embodies the perfect French palace hotel. One of the most famous hotels in Paris, L’Hotel has been a secret hideaway over the past two centuries. With quintessential French charm and glamour, L’Hotel is nestled in the heart of the Left Bank, amidst the cultural riches, bohemian soul and high fashion of St Germain-des-Prés. Paris is regarded as one of the most romantic, stylish and exciting cities in the world with its attractions, museums and cafes.

 St. Martin/St. Maarten
Get two-for-one when you travel to the two countries of St. Martin/St. Maarten on this tiny Caribbean island. Claimed by both the French and Dutch, the island is enriched in a cultural marriage that features the best of both worlds in the relaxed Caribbean atmosphere. Belmond La Samanna Situated on 55 acres of pristine beachfront, Belmond La Samanna is just 15 minutes from Marigot, the capital of French St. Martin in the French West Indies, and a short drive from the fabulous restaurants of Grand Case.  The resort’s crescent-shaped beach on Baie Longue is recognized as one of the finest and most secluded in the world. No other hotels share Baie Longue, which means our guests enjoy complete privacy and tranquility. Wash away worries on the white sandy beaches or wade in the crystal-clear waters. If you’re up for exploring, wander the bustling cobblestone streets of Dutch Philipsburg where artisans sell their wares or meander through the quaint French town of Marigot, which is speckled with colorful houses and sidewalk bistros.

May 19,2014
Monday

Gay-Friendly Honeymoon Picks! {Aruba & New Zealand}

With the stress of planning a wedding behind you, it’s time to revel in newlywed bliss. Whether you want adventure, relaxation or culture, Teresa from Honeymoon Islands has selected some of the hottest gay-friendly honeymoon spots:

Aruba
Relax on white sandy beaches on the skirts of the turquoise water that the Caribbean is famous for. What sets this particular island apart in paradise is the many resorts, such as Bucuti and Tara Beach Suites & Spa, that strive to maintain an eco-friendly atmosphere. If you are looking for luxury then The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba – is for you. It’s one of the newest and most pedigreed resorts in Aruba. With its pristine beaches and beautiful landscape, guests will revel in a new standard of luxury and elegance that characterizes one of the finest Aruba 5 star hotels. Aruba is home to some of the best wreck dives in the Caribbean. If you’d prefer to stay dry, you can still view the haunting attractions from the comfort of a tiptop submarine or semisubmersible boat.

New Zealand
For those who have a couple of weeks to spare, this once-in-a-lifetime trip is worth making the nearly day-long trip to down under. Explore the windy paths of New Zealand’s two islands by car, soaking in the friendly Kiwi culture along the way. Blanket Bay acclaimed as New Zealand’s luxury lodge. Whether you’re a oenophile (sip your way from North to South) or an adventure junkie (get an adrenaline rush with “zorbing,” white water rafting, skiing and bungee jumping), a spa seeker (hit up the geothermal gems at Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland) or a beach bunny (bask on the golden sands of Mission Bay), there’s truly something here for everyone.

May 13,2014
Tuesday

Napkin Folding Fiesta Fun {Cinco de Mayo}

All images by Abby Jiu Photography

The Engaging Affairs team loved co-hosting a Napkin Folding Fiesta on Cinco de Mayo with Federal City Caterers, Edge Floral Event Designers, DC Rental and Abby Jiu. It was a fun time to hang out with our fellow DC wedding planners and learn some new napkin folds. Ole’!

Cheryl Mazo from Federal City and Liz Waylan from DC Rental were fabulous napkin folding gurus!

Napkin folding fun!

When we weren’t folding napkins, we were learning fun Latin-inspired cocktails!

 

And the perfect finish to the afternoon –chocolate moustaches!

Thanks to our amazing partners and to all our wedding planning buddies. It was the perfect way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo!