Wedding Planning Tips & Destination Wedding Traditions
When it comes to choosing the right destination wedding location, some couples choose a place that holds a special meaning for them while others seek out places and experiences that are as unique as their love. There are a few things to consider before selecting the destination that fits you best.
Find a Theme
When it comes to selecting a destination for your wedding based on a theme, it’s best to think of ideas as a couple what theme best fits you both. Do you both love to cook and indulge in great food? Do you both envision a one-of-a kind union in a place that will be memorable? Or do you both seek a relaxed and easy wedding on a beautiful beach? See the attached infographic for suggested wedding locales based on the themes of adventure, food, romance, relaxation, glamour and the unique.
Wedding Planning and Preparation
No matter where you plan to have your destination wedding, it is important to research the legal wedding requirements for couples. For example, countries like Japan require the couple to marry officially in the courthouse while other countries may have stipulations or restrictions on getting married at sea. Be sure to research wedding requirements in the country you plan to marry as well as the reciprocity with the United States to ensure your union is recognized back home. It also doesn’t hurt to check out local customs to ensure that you honor the cultural wedding traditions and customs of local unions.
Poll Your Guests
Talk to your friends and family about potential destination wedding locations for your celebration. While the destination is absolutely the decision of the couple, friends and family can call out ideas and places you may not have thought of. It also is an easy way to let your guests know far in advance of planning your wedding to ensure they can financially prepare and be there for your special day.
See the additional resources in the infographic to learn more about planning your destination wedding based on your wedding theme.
Image Source: http://visual.ly/destination-wedding-cheat-sheet-part-2  High-res

Wedding Planning Tips & Destination Wedding Traditions

When it comes to choosing the right destination wedding location, some couples choose a place that holds a special meaning for them while others seek out places and experiences that are as unique as their love. There are a few things to consider before selecting the destination that fits you best.

Find a Theme

When it comes to selecting a destination for your wedding based on a theme, it’s best to think of ideas as a couple what theme best fits you both. Do you both love to cook and indulge in great food? Do you both envision a one-of-a kind union in a place that will be memorable? Or do you both seek a relaxed and easy wedding on a beautiful beach? See the attached infographic for suggested wedding locales based on the themes of adventure, food, romance, relaxation, glamour and the unique.

Wedding Planning and Preparation

No matter where you plan to have your destination wedding, it is important to research the legal wedding requirements for couples. For example, countries like Japan require the couple to marry officially in the courthouse while other countries may have stipulations or restrictions on getting married at sea. Be sure to research wedding requirements in the country you plan to marry as well as the reciprocity with the United States to ensure your union is recognized back home. It also doesn’t hurt to check out local customs to ensure that you honor the cultural wedding traditions and customs of local unions.

Poll Your Guests

Talk to your friends and family about potential destination wedding locations for your celebration. While the destination is absolutely the decision of the couple, friends and family can call out ideas and places you may not have thought of. It also is an easy way to let your guests know far in advance of planning your wedding to ensure they can financially prepare and be there for your special day.

See the additional resources in the infographic to learn more about planning your destination wedding based on your wedding theme.

Image Source: http://visual.ly/destination-wedding-cheat-sheet-part-2 

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Places to Visit in Miami | Visit Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
When cruising Biscayne Bay or Rickenbacker Causeway while sightseeing in Miami, you’re bound to spot Vizcaya’s red tile roof peeking from the palms. The 1916 Italian Renaissance-style palace, a culmination of a partnership between tractor magnate James Deering, who wanted an elaborate winter home, and artist Paul Chalfin, is a Miami must-see. Stocked with European antiquities and built with American ingenuity, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens remains a reflection of the best of the early 1900s in Florida. Electric lights and a central vacuum system serve rooms furnished in the Baroque, Louis XIV and Rococo styles. Visitors can opt for a guided first-floor tour or wander on your own with an audio tour.  The Italian gardens highlight native plants, and if you like flowers, you’ll love visiting the orchidarium. The formal gardens are a fitting setting for works of art that range from a fountain designed Filippo Barigioni in 1722, the centerpiece of the Fountain Garden, to the Barge by contemporary artist Alexander Calder. 
Image: “Fancy garden wall at the Vizcaya Museum, Miami.”. Copyright Frank Kovalchek on flickr and distributed under Creative Commons 2.0 licensing. High-res

Places to Visit in Miami | Visit Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

When cruising Biscayne Bay or Rickenbacker Causeway while sightseeing in Miami, you’re bound to spot Vizcaya’s red tile roof peeking from the palms. The 1916 Italian Renaissance-style palace, a culmination of a partnership between tractor magnate James Deering, who wanted an elaborate winter home, and artist Paul Chalfin, is a Miami must-see.

Stocked with European antiquities and built with American ingenuity, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens remains a reflection of the best of the early 1900s in Florida. Electric lights and a central vacuum system serve rooms furnished in the Baroque, Louis XIV and Rococo styles. Visitors can opt for a guided first-floor tour or wander on your own with an audio tour.

The Italian gardens highlight native plants, and if you like flowers, you’ll love visiting the orchidarium. The formal gardens are a fitting setting for works of art that range from a fountain designed Filippo Barigioni in 1722, the centerpiece of the Fountain Garden, to the Barge by contemporary artist Alexander Calder.

Image: “Fancy garden wall at the Vizcaya Museum, Miami.”. Copyright Frank Kovalchek on flickr and distributed under Creative Commons 2.0 licensing.

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Weekend Getaways | Explore the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail

Alabama’s reputation as a golf mecca is largely due to the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, a collection of 26 first-rate courses stretching across the state. Birmingham lays claim to four courses at two sites, and Ross Bridge is the grandest. Home to a PGA Champions Tour event, it’s the world’s third longest course, measuring over 8,000 yards. If dream weekend getaways include a round or two of golf, Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa is the perfect choice. It is located smack dab on the course, so you can be teeing up with only a short walk. Course and room views are grand, sweeping across native forests, lakes and rolling hills. The resort offers a terrace with fire pits, perfect for relaxing after a long day on the greens, and a European spa, just in case your partner’s ideal weekend getaways don’t include golf 
Image: “Golf Course at Birmingham”. Copyright Ralph Daily on flickr and distributed under Creative Commons 2.0 licensing. High-res

Weekend Getaways | Explore the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail

Alabama’s reputation as a golf mecca is largely due to the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, a collection of 26 first-rate courses stretching across the state. Birmingham lays claim to four courses at two sites, and Ross Bridge is the grandest. Home to a PGA Champions Tour event, it’s the world’s third longest course, measuring over 8,000 yards.

If dream weekend getaways
include a round or two of golf, Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa is the perfect choice. It is located smack dab on the course, so you can be teeing up with only a short walk. Course and room views are grand, sweeping across native forests, lakes and rolling hills. The resort offers a terrace with fire pits, perfect for relaxing after a long day on the greens, and a European spa, just in case your partner’s ideal weekend getaways don’t include golf

Image: “Golf Course at Birmingham”. Copyright Ralph Daily on flickr and distributed under Creative Commons 2.0 licensing.

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Marriott is the largest hotelier in Africa
Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) today became the largest hotel company in Africa according to published information, and nearly doubled its presence in its Middle East and Africa region to more than 160 hotels and 23,000 rooms as it completed its acquisition of the 116-hotel Protea Hospitality Group (PHG), based in South Africa.  Marriott now operates or franchises more than 4,000 hotels in 79 countries. High-res

Marriott is the largest hotelier in Africa

Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) today became the largest hotel company in Africa according to published information, and nearly doubled its presence in its Middle East and Africa region to more than 160 hotels and 23,000 rooms as it completed its acquisition of the 116-hotel Protea Hospitality Group (PHG), based in South Africa.  Marriott now operates or franchises more than 4,000 hotels in 79 countries.

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Mardi Gras Food Traditional King Cake in New Orleans

History of the King Cake in New Orleans

New Orleans Mardi Gras

Photo Credit: Mardi Gras mask by Caitlinator

Photo Link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/caitlinator/3121233289/


No Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans is complete without a king cake. You’re likely to see them on the menu at local restaurants and even New Orleans hotels have them available for purchase during Mardi Gras. Both locals and visitors to The Big Easy consume large quantities of this doughy goodness every year during Carnival, the period from Twelfth Night to Mardi Gras. But what is the history of the king cake?

People have been celebrating Twelfth Night, when the Three Kings visited baby Jesus, since the Middle Ages, with parades and cakes. Today’s king cake carries on that tradition. The slightly sweet, braided Danish pastry, laced with cinnamon, oozes with sweet white icing. Colored sugars in Mardi Gras’ traditional purple, gold and green (for justice, power and faith) top the icing. The secret of the king cake is the addition of a tiny baby (usually plastic today) baked inside the dough. According to tradition, the person who gets the slice of cake with the baby becomes king (or queen) for the day and must supply next year’s cake. 

If your hotel in New Orleans doesn’t have this traditional Mardi Gras food item available, you can pick one up throughout the city. Manny Randazzo’s is one of the most popular bakeries, and the line for king cakes can extend for blocks. For those staying at New Orleans hotels in the French Quarter, stop by The French Market, an open-air market that has been operating on the waterfront since 1791, to pick up your sweet treat. As you devour that decadent pastry, it’s time to laissez les bons temps rouler (let the good times roll) because when Mardi Gras ends, Lent begins!

Note: all images are provided in their original format and are licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 licensing requirements.

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Washington D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival Guide

Getting Around Washington, D.C.’s Cherry Blossom Festival in Five Quick Steps

With endless options and travel sites available, planning a trip to Washington, D.C., for the Cherry Blossom Festival is easier than ever; however, with all the options, it can get overwhelming fast. Here in one quick guide, we’ve answered five key questions almost every traveler asks when enjoying one of the most popular Washington, D.C., attractions.

Who will visit the Cherry Blossom Festival? Each year, nearly 1.5 million people visit the area to witness the D.C. cherry blossom trees in bloom and participate in the cultural celebration of a lasting friendship with the people of Japan.

People Visting Cherry Blossom Festival

Copyright dcnature on flickr and distributed under Creative Commons 2.0 licensing.

Taking Pictures of D.C. Cherry Blossoms

Copyright sdixclifford on flickr and distributed unaltered under Creative Commons 2.0 licensing.

What are other things to do in Washington, D.C.? The National Cherry Blossom Festival has several cultural, artistic and family-friendly events for everyone. In addition to taking in the gorgeous sights of the blooming cherry trees and the festival-related events, Washington, D.C., is home to 19 Smithsonian Institute museums, the National Art Gallery, the National Mall and dozens of other cultural and historical monuments and museums that serve to educate and inspire. Watch the sun rise from the Lincoln Memorial, stand in the same place where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech or see for yourself exactly where dozens of presidents have called home.

Washington Monument Tourist Attraction

Copyright chrisbastian44 on flickr distributed unaltered under Creative Commons 2.0 licensing.

Where should I stay? While there are hundreds of inns and hotels throughout the Washington, D.C., area, it is best to stay as close to the action as possible. Much of the Cherry Blossom Festival takes place near the National Mall and the Tidal Basin; so opt for hotels in the Dupont Circle, Penn Circle or Foggy Bottom neighborhoods to ensure you are always close to the action.

Dupont Circle Washington D.C.

Copyright krossbow on flickr distributed unaltered under Creative Commons 2.0 licensing.

When should we go? To embrace the beauty and splendor of the D.C. cherry blossom trees, it is best to plan to go at peak bloom time, which means that 70% of the blossoms are open. This year, analysts are predicting the peak bloom time will be from April 8 – 12th. The timing couldn’t be more ideal as one of the festival’s premiere events, the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, will be held on April 12th. To keep up to date with the latest bloom forecasts and other event information, follow @CherryBlossFest on Twitter.

Washington D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival

Copyright jeri gloege on flickr and distributed under Creative Commons 2.0 licensing.

What’s the best Washington, D.C., transportation method to travel the city? With over a million people visiting the area during the Cherry Blossom Festival, planning ahead is important. Utilize the Metro system or walk when you are able. To get to the Tidal Basin and other Festival-related events, but avoid the congestion of the common Smithsonian Stop, travel to the L’Enfant Plaza stop (on the Blue, Yellow and Green Lines) and take a short 10-minute walk down to the Tidal Basin. If at all possible, travel early in the morning or later in the day on weekends, or try to time your visit during the week to avoid the most congested times.

Washington, D.C., Transportation

Copyright hyku on flickr and distributed unaltered under Creative Commons 2.0 licensing.

For more information about the National Cherry Blossom Festival, visit their website, follow @CherryBlossFest on Twitter, or download the official Cherry Blossom Festival app.

Note: all images are provided in their original format and are licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 licensing requirements.

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Mobile Apply Infographic by Marriott Employer Brand and Communications
Download the print-friendly Infographic.
Now, job seekers interested in joining Marriott International can search and apply for new career opportunities on their mobile device. Marriott is the first and only hospitality company to roll out this convenience as more professionals, especially millennials, are relying on their mobile devices to connect with potential employers.

Mobile web usage is accelerating globally. In 2013, there were almost as many mobile-cellular subscriptions as people in the world. Of the world’s 6 billion mobile phones, over 75% are located in the developing world where mobile phones are more affordable than computers.

“We recognize that the job hunt is changing rapidly,” said David Rodriguez, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer. “Today, 70 percent of job seekers are using their mobile device to research their next career move. We believe that investing in new mobile technology is critical to attracting talent, especially millennials and those in emerging markets who depend on their mobile devices more than any other generation before them. With over 3800 hotels worldwide and continued, aggressive growth, we need to reach job seekers just as much as they need to reach us.”
Available on all smartphones, tablets, and feature phones, candidates can visit http://m.jobs.marriott.com or http://m.jobs.ritzcarlton.com to search and apply for jobs. They have the choice to type in their information or import it directly from their LinkedIn profile. Currently, mobile apply is available in six languages including English, Spanish, French, Simplified Chinese, German, and Portuguese with additional languages launching in March. High-res

Mobile Apply Infographic by Marriott Employer Brand and Communications

Download the print-friendly Infographic.

Now, job seekers interested in joining Marriott International can search and apply for new career opportunities on their mobile device. Marriott is the first and only hospitality company to roll out this convenience as more professionals, especially millennials, are relying on their mobile devices to connect with potential employers.

Mobile web usage is accelerating globally. In 2013, there were almost as many mobile-cellular subscriptions as people in the world. Of the world’s 6 billion mobile phones, over 75% are located in the developing world where mobile phones are more affordable than computers.

“We recognize that the job hunt is changing rapidly,” said David Rodriguez, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer. “Today, 70 percent of job seekers are using their mobile device to research their next career move. We believe that investing in new mobile technology is critical to attracting talent, especially millennials and those in emerging markets who depend on their mobile devices more than any other generation before them. With over 3800 hotels worldwide and continued, aggressive growth, we need to reach job seekers just as much as they need to reach us.”

Available on all smartphones, tablets, and feature phones, candidates can visit http://m.jobs.marriott.com or http://m.jobs.ritzcarlton.com to search and apply for jobs. They have the choice to type in their information or import it directly from their LinkedIn profile. Currently, mobile apply is available in six languages including English, Spanish, French, Simplified Chinese, German, and Portuguese with additional languages launching in March.

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New Orleans: Cajun vs. Creole

Cajun vs. Creole Louisiana Food - An infographic by the team at Marriott Louisiana Hotels

Cajun or Creole: Big Easy Cooking

New Orleans cooking is as famous is its rich musical heritage. There are few places in the world where you can taste better food than in New Orleans. Hotels throughout the city are usually just a stone’s throw from at least one great restaurant serving up mouth-watering Cajun or Creole food. With the help of great cooking schools in the city, you can learn from local chefs how to whip up Louisiana classics at home. 

New Orleans School of Cooking

Book a hotel in the New Orleans French Quarter and walk to the New Orleans School of Cooking. The school offers classes by experienced Louisiana chefs. They guide you in creating some of the city’s most famous dishes, including Jambalaya, Gumbo and Corn Crab Bisque. Pop into the general store next door and pick up Cajun and Creole products, traditional spices, cookbooks and more to take home. 

Langlois Culinary Crossroads

Another great cooking school not far from the New Orleans hotels in the French Quarter is Langlois Culinary Crossroads, located in a 19th-century former Italian Market in Marigny. Langlois has a school, restaurant and store where you can find artisan products, cookware and foods. Students at Langlois can jump right in with one of the hands-on classes or sit back and watch the chef demonstrate classic techniques. After the two- to three-hour class, students can tell the difference between Cajun and Creole cooking.  

The New Orleans Cooking Experience

Opt for a downtown hotel in New Orleans and you can walk to the New Orleans Cooking Experience. Located just off St. Charles Avenue in a restored 19th-century Victorian mansion, this school’s classes guide you through the intricacies of a Cajun or Creole roux with the help of acclaimed local chefs. Chefs teach from a residential-style kitchen, where they share classic Cajun and Creole dishes from old family recipes.  

By the end of your class or NOLA vacation, you’ll know whether you prefund the smokier Cajun jambalaya or the Creole version with tomatoes. Maque choux will be a part of your vocabulary, and you’ll find yourself yearning for another taste of the Big Easy.

 

Infographic URLs

Southern Food Creole and Cajun Cookery

Southern Food Oysters Rockefeller

Huffington Post Cajun vs. Creole: What’s the Difference?

Louisiana CVB Cajun vs. Creole - What is the Difference?

Archives Cajun and Creole Genealogy

WiseGEEK What is the Difference Between Creole and Cajun

New Orleans French Quarter Cajun, Creole or Somewhere in Between 

NOLA Cuisine Maque Choux Recipe

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What to do a Casino - Plan Your Next Trip!

Stay and Play at a Casino Hotel

More than just a place for fun and games, a casino hotel offers entertainment for everyone, including families. For a thrilling vacation, head to one of the 35 U.S. states that are home to casino resorts, or make plans to visit one of the thousands of casino hotels worldwide for an international experience. 

More Bang for Your Buck

When you’re planning your vacation and gambling’s your game, increase the odds of having a great time by staying at a casino hotel. Whether you hearken to the days of yore in historic Deadwood, South Dakota, or go for the glitz in Cannes, France, you’ll find all the games of chance you could want at a casino hotel.  

Bet Large

If only the biggest and the best are for you, chances are you’re a fan of Las Vegas, home to the largest casino hotel buffet. Or perhaps you favor Macau, China, which boasts the largest casino hotel in the world. But don’t overlook Biloxi, Mississippi, with its Casino Row or the heart of Prague and its City Center for some of the best casinos and accommodations in Europe.

In the Hunt

Of course, not all of the entertainment takes place at the tables or slot machines. Today’s casino hotels cater to a wide audience and that means plenty of live entertainment, from concerts and arcades to stand-up comedy and major sporting events.

More than Gambling

Need a break from the cards and chips? Tee it up with a round of golf, or slow it down with a spa day at your casino hotel. Go totally tourist and take in the local sights at nearby museums, galleries, and landmarks. Bet you didn’t know that a world-class casino lights up the night in the shadows of the Pyramids of Giza.

Sources

Some Top Casino Destinations Top Casino Resorts

Did You Know?  All in: Gambling options proliferate across USA

Largest Casino Hotel in the World The 20 Biggest Casinos

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London: Fish and Chips

Fish & Chips: A London Staple - An infographic by the team at Marriott London Hotels

A London Classic: Fish and Chips

Think London, and you immediately have a hankering for fish and chips. This staple of English fare has been around for more than 150 years and is what many guests hope to sample near their London hotels. Add your favorite condiment of vinegar, lemon juice, tartar sauce or mushy peas, and enjoy your newspaper-wrapped meal from one of the thousands of chippies in the U.K.

The Fish

Whitefish is the key to tasty fish and chips. Cod and haddock are the most popular choices, though some serve the treat made from hake, halibut, plaice, pollock or sole. Cod is the preference in the south of Britain, with haddock the favored choice for those in the north. Regardless of the fish, the real secret is in the closely guarded recipe and technique. Whether you prefer fish cooked in vegetable oil or beef fat, floured or not floured, don’t be shy about asking for scraps, what’s not to love about bits of the batter fried to a crispy, golden brown?

The Chips

The fried potatoes that have become today’s chips were originally a replacement for fish 200 years ago when the rivers froze and fish were unavailable. Now these crispy treats are best when made from Maris Piper potatoes, a dry variety that most cooks agree provides the best flavor. This explains why Britain grows more Maris Piper potatoes than any other variety.

The Chippies

There are almost as many lists of the best chippie places as there are chippie places, but one that appears on many lists is Rock & Sole Plaice, holder of the title as London’s oldest chippie, opened 1871. Rock & Sole Plaice’s claims to fame are its fat chips and its mushy peas as the accompaniment to its fish. A tried-and-true chippie, Rock & Sole Plaice serves only fish and chips.  

Ask the concierge in your hotel in London for a good neighborhood chippie, and, whether you’re directed to a hole-in-the-wall place or one more upscale, you’re sure to be in a mixed crowd enjoying London’s favorite meal.



Infographic URLs

BBC Chipping Away at the History of Fish and Chips

BBC The Unlikely Origin of Fish and Chips

The Guardian Top 10 Chip Shops

The Independent Happy Birthday, Fish & Chips!

MSN Food The UK’s Best Fish and Chips Shops 2013

CNN Britain’s 10 Best Fish and Chips Shops

TimeOut London’s Best Fish and Chips Restaurants

Young and Foodish Top 10 Fish and Chips in London

Zagat Blog London’s 9 Best Fish ‘n’ Chips Shops

Yelp Fish and Chips London

Thompson & Morgan Potato ‘Maris Piper’

 

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