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Getaway Guide to Bora Bora from The Honeymoonist

There’s something magical about Bora Bora. It has the prettiest water I’ve ever seen, shifting from vibrant turquoise to deep indigo, with strings of overwater bungalows extending out from luxury hotels. You feel removed from the rest of the world, but as it’s a French territory, the vibe is decidedly sophisticated. No wonder it’s the most popular request I get for honeymoons; it was made for romance.

Where To Stay


You know you want it: an overwater bungalow. Most bungalows are similar in size, with airy bedrooms, living rooms with glass panel in the floor (to see the fish underneath!), and wooden decks that stretch out over the lagoon; some of them have plunge pools as well, to up the decadence factor. The further out your bungalow is out on the walkway, the more privacy you have; ditto for mountain-view as opposed to lagoon-view bungalows, which face back towards the resort.

Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora is the epitome of understated elegance, with discrete service, stellar cuisine and an onsite naturalist who leads snorkeling tours of their private lagoon. St. Regis Bora Bora has the biggest standard overwater bungalows on the island, and extra perks such as Lagoon Restaurant by Jean Georges, a CLARINS spa and an onsite bridal boutique with dresses by Norwegian designer Cecilie Melli. InterContinental Bora Bora Resort and Thalasso Spa uses cutting-edge green technology to keep luxury up but carbon footprint down; their Deep Ocean Spa is the best in Tahiti, with hydrotherapy treatments and a perfectly placed outdoor spa garden set high on a hill overlooking the lagoon.

What To Do


A shark and ray snorkel trip sounds terrifying, but it’s amazing to be in the water as your guide hand-feeds stingrays and curious (and harmless) black-tip reef sharks swim the perimeter, looking for scraps. On an unforgettable jet-ski navigation of Bora Bora lagoon, you’ll circle the mainland, stopping at a few swimming spots along the way and marveling at the ever-changing hues around you. Don’t miss the chance for a champagne picnic on a motu – an uninhabited islet with nothing on it but a few hammocks and a shady pavilion. Your guide will set up your repast and then disappear, leaving you alone to enjoy the food, the view and each other.

Where To Eat


Located in the main village of Vaitape, Restaurant St. James serves up stellar seafood with a Polynesian twist. Take a seat on the patio and enjoy ahi four ways, followed by fresh fish topped with the island’s tastiest vanilla sauce. Bora Bora Yacht Club caters to boaters with plentiful offshore moorings; you never know who will come in to tuck into the casual menu of salads, pastas and burgers, best enjoyed at sunset on the outdoor deck. Villa La Mahana’s chef-owner Damien Rinadli-Dovio trained in France and worked at LA’s legendary L’Orangerie before opening this unassuming restaurant set in a residential neighborhood. Indulge in the creative tasting menu, served at a candle-topped table in the intimate courtyard.

What To Pack


Bora Bora is all about the water, so you’ll live in swimsuits by day, paired with traditional Tahitian sarongs; worn by women and men, you’ll find them for sale just about everywhere. Bring along some reef shoes for outdoor excursions, and sneakers if you plan to work out. Resort chic is the look for evenings – think a maxi dress, sandals and light wrap for her, and long pants (no jeans), deck shoes and collared shirt for him.

What to Buy


It’s almost a crime to go to Tahiti and come home without a black pearl. The best pearl farms are located on Tahiti’s outer islands; the pearls are nurtured, harvested and then sold in every configuration from loose gems to stunning multi-strand necklaces. As with diamonds, quality varies and you get what you pay for, so stick with reputable vendors such as Sibani or Tahiti Pearl Market.

Photography: love is my favorite color | Honeymoon Advice: The Honeymoonist

The Honeymoonist

Susan M, The Honeymoonist, Travel Expert
Quick Tip: The Faux Glow, Perfected


Even if you consider yourself to be a self-tanning aficionado, doing a trial run at least a week in advance of your Big Day is an absolute must. Before the main event, make sure your entire body has been thoroughly exfoliated, and that any necessary hair removal has taken place at least 12 hours prior, before applying self-tanner, and you’re practically guaranteed a gorgeous, even glow!


Photography: Jerome Cole Photography

Moorea Wedding by Kate Webber Photography

One look at these amazingly beautiful images from Kate Webber Photography and you’ll no doubt be swept away into paradise. The fresher-than-fresh flowers, the beyond beautiful lush landscape and the naturally beautiful bride all add up to one fabulous destination fete. Guests were treated to a three day party that included a traditional Tahitian BBQ, swimming with sting rays, and ended with the most spectacular wedding and a surprise rainbow. Click here for even more!

Click here for the FULL wedding!

From Kate of Kate Webber PhotographyKareen and Oskar shared three days of celebrations with guests traveling from literally all corners of the globe. Kareen is French-American and was raised in southern California. She met Oskar, her Swedish groom, at a wedding in the south of France while she was living in Paris and he was living in Monaco. They celebrated their nuptials at Legends Resort on the island of Moorea, Tahiti’s “twin sister” island, also known as the pineapple island. The bride’s mother grew up on Raiatea, part of the French Polynesian Society Islands. Kareen and her brothers have fond memories of swimming in the turquoise waters on their many visits to the area. Kareen and Oskar hosted three days of events for their guests, many of who traveled from all across the globe from USA, Sweden, Australia, Mexico and France, to name a few places.

To welcome guests on the first day, traditional food was prepared in a huge “Tahitian BBQ” pit and included pork, chicken, fish, traditional poi and a demonstration of bread fruit cooked over an open fire, peeled and dipped in coconut milk. Guests were seated at separate tables from their respective partners so as to allow a greater opportunity for everyone to mix and get to know each other a little better. The evening wrapped up with a colorful Polynesian dance performance and fire dance. On the second day, guests walked to a boat that took them out for a beach day. Before reaching the small “motu” (islet), they stopped and swam with large, graceful rays. Guests fed small fish to the rays and then the group was off to the motu for relaxing. Fresh coconuts, local music and a traditional meal of poisson cru were served to guests. Whether relaxing on the beach, swimming or snorkeling, the afternoon provided a mellow experience and allowed guests to take in the surroundings from a new angle.

The wedding was held on the third day. Legends Resort is a small resort of villas nestled into a mountainside and overlooking the beautiful blue expanse of waters below. Kareen and Oskar got ready separately and met on their villas veranda to head off and take portraits together prior to the ceremony with their photographer, Kate Webber. Kareen wore a traditional floral crown of fuchsia flowers with white and green accents. Oskar was perfectly dressed in a crisp white shirt, light blue pants and navy shoes that mirrored the clean vibrancy of the waters surrounding them and played off the green of the mountainside perfectly. A Tahitian priest married the couple in an intimate ceremony on one of the verandas of the villas. The bride and her father were led down the aisle by musicians. Just as the newlywed couple completed their vows and embraced, a rainbow crested out over the water and mountainside behind them! It was truly magical. The rest of the evening had an elegant, easy vibe as guests enjoyed champagne and mingled. The party moved down the hill to enjoy a five-course dinner at La Villa Des Sens, where again guests were paired at tables with new friends. Kareen and Oskar continued onto another more remote island in French Polynesia for the first leg of their honeymoon, then onto Japan and eventually they made their way back to Monaco as husband and wife!

Wedding Photography: Kate Webber Photography / Wedding Venue: Legends Resort in Papetoi, Moorea, French Polynesia

Bloomington Wedding by averyhouse

Isn’t it amazing how a wedding can completely transform your day?  One minute you are lost in emails and working away… and the next moment a plethora of gorgeous details, fabulous inspiration and sweet, sweet love is filling every inch of your computer screen.  Yep… Instant. Happiness.  Even better, when that bundle of wedding goodness comes courtesy of a pretty Bloomington soiree by averyhouse and is bursting with lovely traditional touches and magical moments planned by Bliss Weddings and Events… well, there isn’t a second of your day that you won’t spend just smiling away.  And how’s that for a fabulous Thursday?!?  Click here for more.

Click here for the FULL wedding!

Oh, and we’re not done just yet.  We have one VERY amazing film by Leap Weddings to add to this pretty, pretty day!  Enjoy!

From the Bride… The style for our wedding can be described as “sophisticated, elegant and charming with threads of subtle preppy whimsy woven throughout.” Our day was intimate and warm and most importantly, Dan and I both wanted to take care of our guests and make sure that they knew how grateful we were to have them be part of this important day. Our ceremony was held at my childhood parish, a traditional Catholic church where many of my family members and friends had been married previously.  Cocktail hour was held out on the terrace underneath a white pole tent featuring tailored fabric treatment and scalloped draping along the perimeter.  Once guests were inside the tent (after being escorted by country club staff with coordinating navy and white stripe umbrellas), the space included white lounge furniture, high gold chivari chairs, two bars, cabaret tables and high boys scattered throughout.  The cabaret tables were decorated with small floral arrangements designed in mirrored cases featuring varied tones of peach/apricot flowers: spray roses, garden roses, ranunculus and peonies and the high boy tables featured a simple vase with a stair-stepped pair of coral peonies.  Custom gold pillows adorned the couches and the center table featured a shallow bowl with floating gardenia and candles to set the atmosphere.  Our guests were fed small bites inspired by some of our favorite Chicago restaurants and sipped on classic mojitos and champagne cocktails.

After cocktails, guests were ushered indoors from the terrace into the dining room for dinner. The guest tables each had a tall silver candelabra with a trio of lush “satellite” arrangements at the base designed in worn gold vessels. The florals included white/cream/champagne colored roses, garden roses, peonies and ranunculus and a trio of 12×3 ivory pillar candles to fill out the tables. The head table was a long rectangular harvest table with two silver candelabras with a collection of coral and peach floral arrangements and chunky pillar candles in varying sizes lined down the center the table to lend the look of a rolling landscape. Following dinner, the dancing and reception was back under the tent where dessert, lots of dancing and drinks were held and pashminas were provided for the ladies to keep warm.  

It is hard to even describe the day and the feeling you get when looking around and seeing those that you love all gathered together to support and celebrate in your love and next step as a couple.  There were plenty of moments throughout the day that I simply grabbed my new husband’s hand, took a step back and really took it all in.  I wanted to make sure that I was present and could remember as many moments as possible and I can say with certainty that I do!

Wedding Photography: averyhouse / Wedding Ceremony Venue: Holy Trinity Catholic Church / Wedding Reception Venue: Bloomington Golf Club / Wedding Coordination: Kara Superfine from Bliss Weddings and Events / Florist: Heaven on Earth / Wedding Stationery: Fabulous Affairs + Clementine Ink + Paper / Wedding Gown: Vera Wang Ethel (Fall 2010 Collection) via Vera Wang Chicago / Ceremony Music: Paddy Homan / Band: Standing Room Only / Cake Artist: Michelene Hundman / Photo Booth: Smilebooth / Cinematography: Leap Weddings / Jewelry: Family + Borrowed / Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Tux + Shoes: Hugo Boss / Rentals: Formally Modern Tuxedo / Bowtie + Braces: Carrot and Ginger / Transportation: Elegant Limousine / Honeymoon: French Polynesia

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Real Wedding: Chandra and Micheal, V

Most of the photographs that we feature on SMP are full color…they just seem to “pop” more than the black and whites. With that said, these black and whites, shot by Tammy and Jenny at Red Loft Studios, are STUNNING. Simply stunning.

real wedding chandra and micheal

One last tidbit from the lovely, lovely, lovely bride…

Micheal and I were barefoot (we each had seashell-like jewels decorating our feet) the whole time. We planned for a year and truly trusted Jeanne Kolander, our LA travel agent and the resort to make our day come true. And when all was said and done, we were left in awe.

Even as we celebrate our first year anniversary, we still find ourselves in awe.

It was the absolute best decision we could have ever made. What an extreme blessing!

Thank you so much to Chandra, Michael and Red Loft Studios for inspiring us to no end…and for reminding us in the midst of planning frenzies, what really is the most important part of a wedding. Each Other.

Real Wedding: Chandra and Micheal, IV

Here are more beautiful photos and details from today’s featured wedding…

real wedding chandra and micheal

all photos by Tammy Horton and Jenny Stafford of Red Loft Studios

From the bride…

Immediately following the ceremony, an outside reception was set up on the beach. It was such an intimate moment — all of our guests sat at a beautifully decorated square table with us. Micheal and I sat in these oversized “king” and “queen”-type woven chairs. A five-course meal was served and enjoyed. Along with wedding cake, their was also pastries arranged on tiers. The resort printed and wrapped a transparent menu in raffia – such a simple but dramatic touch. I also created fans for the wedding and reception.

More to come!

Real Wedding: Chandra and Micheal, III

Here is what I have decided about today’s featured wedding…if I am ever annoyed with my husband, if we are ever fighting or not getting along, or worse yet, if we are ever simply bored with each other, I am going to come back to this wedding and drink in the beauty of this couple. The pure joy that is poring out of the photographs. The love that seems filled with excitement and fun. It’s the kind of wedding that reminds you of why people fall in love, why people take the huge leap of faith that marriage really is…

real wedding chandra and micheal

all photos by Tammy Horton and Jenny Stafford of Red Loft Studios

So much more to come! In the meantime, check out the feature on gorgeous veils that is playing on the Little Black Book Blog right now…you even get a little peek at my own wedding veil!

Real Wedding: Chandra and Micheal, II

Today, we are featuring the absolutely beautiful Tahitian inspired real wedding of Chandra and Micheal. This incredibly lovely couple approached their wedding with a pureness and a simplicity that we should all envy, and yet they executed their ideas with unabashed elegance…

real wedding chandra and micheal

all photos by Tammy Horton and Jenny Stafford of Red Loft Studios

From the bride…

We were married on the white sand beach of Pearl Beach Resort in Moorea at sunset on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2007. About 30-45 minutes or so before the Tahitian ceremony began, the beating of drums, whistling of conch shells and the rhythms of guitars could be heard all across the island, into our rooms. The serenade signaled that a wedding was about to take place. So not only did our family and friends witness the testimony of our love but so did dozens of strangers, equipped with cameras.

I was escorted from my suite to a canoe. The canoe took me along the Pacific Ocean, through the overwater bungalows to the ceremony site, where Micheal stood dapper waiting for me. The ceremony area was completely covered with hundreds of exotic flowers and lush greenery. The ceremony was done in French (the spoken language of Tahiti) and English. All of the beautiful traditions of the Polynesian culture were incorporated into our wedding – we danced – Polynesian-style, we were wrapped in an ornate quilt, which signified oneness, and our wedding rings were blessed with coconut milk (yes, a coconut was cracked open over our hands…wait until you see that amazing picture coming up soon).

Beautiful! Stay tuned for so much more!

Real Wedding: Chandra and Micheal

There are so many things to love about today’s featured wedding. Honestly, the bride and the groom are so ridiculously gorgeous, they kind of make me feel insecure. Then, you add in a wedding that is basically every girl’s dream come true, an incredibly romantic Tahitian beach and photography duo that captures the images with a sense of beauty and elegance that few can match…well, it’s the makings of a pretty incredible affair.

tahitian wedding

all photos by Tammy Horton and Jenny Stafford of Red Loft Studios

The lovely bride, Chandra, emailed me a while back and filled me in on all of the beautiful, incredibly personal details from her wedding…

Once Micheal and I became engaged we both knew we didn’t want to do the “traditional” wedding – as we aren’t a traditional couple by most standards :).  We didn’t want to look back on our wedding day and only remember a blur of frenzy and organized chaos. We didn’t want our wedding day to be about the opinions of others or how many hundreds we could invite to a reception. We wanted the focus of our wedding to be solely about God and His gift of marriage. We wanted the realness of the commitment to be heartfelt. We didn’t want to miss a single thing.

So we packed our bags, had a handful of dear family members and friends (and the photographers Tammy Horton and Jenny Stafford of Red Loft Studios in Los Angeles) hop a plane to the islands of Tahiti. It was absolutely a dream come true. When Micheal and I first met and were friends we chatted about the three places we wanted to travel to in the near future – one place was Seattle, Micheal surprised me with a trip for my birthday; another was Boston – I surprised Micheal with a trip for his birthday; and Tahiti was the last place on our wish list. We ooh-ed, aah-ed at pictures of Tahiti and thought, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if we got married there?”

So many more, completely beautiful pictures are on their way!