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wedding invitation, stationery

The outdoors and the African savannah was the inspiration for this styled shoot.   The orange, yellow and rust of the sunset. The decor included touches like safari animals, luggage and globes to really emphasis the travel aspect. 

 Click here to see more inspiration from this styled shoot on our website.

wedding invitation, stationery

place setting, menu card, napkin, silverware, charger plate

suitcase, globe, wedding decor details

Invitations: Take Note! Creations and Cades and Birch

Coordinator: Annemarie Donaker Weddings and Events

Venue: Bernardo Winery

Photographer: WASIO Photography

Florist: Studio Fleurish

Décor: Enticing TablesLetters2Lights

Rentals: Folklore Event Rentals, BBJ Linens

Cake: Flour Power Cakery

Favors: Sweet Petite Confections

Bridal Gown & Accessories: Here Comes the Bride

Menswear: Friar Tux Shop

Hair and Make Up: Bridal by Haydee

Five Reasons Why Rwanda is the Luxury Honeymoon Destination

Rwanda, The Land of a Thousand Hills is a lush green landscape nestled in the middle of Africa. The respectful and hospitable nature of the Rwandese people makes it a warm place for visitors. Rwanda has also become a central hub for meetings and innovation with the new convention center built in partnership with the Gates Foundation.   Named the 9th safest country in the world, Rwanda has become Africa’s best kept secret and so romantic!

#1: Gorilla Trekking at Volcanoes National Park

Many know Rwanda for the work Dian Fossey started with the silverback gorillas. New recognition was garnered thanks to Ellen DeGeneres’ foundation celebrating the work and continuing major conservation efforts. The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund will provide diverse offerings and contributions to community and most importantly protecting the gorillas. There are roughly only 1000 Silverback Gorillas left in the world.

Volcanoes National Park is located in a small town called Musanze and less than 3 hours from Kigali (the Capital City of Rwanda). To experience Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda, the permits are $1500 per person. You will hike up a hill and enter into the forest with a team of trackers. It could take you 5-7 hours to find a gorilla family, which just depends on the gorilla families and where they choose to go. Short treks of 30 minutes to 1 hour are available for those desiring a less strenuous endeavor. To experience the gorillas in their natural habitat and in their element is a truly surreal feeling and a must visit!

Where to stay:

Singita Kwitonda Lodge – Opening in August 2019 (taking reservations). Located at the base of the Volcanoes National Park. The Singita brand is expanding their footprint in Africa with their continued efforts in thoughtful conservation. This lodge is going to be gorgeous! Having met with representatives from this hotel and seeing the renderings, it will be a highlight in Rwanda luxury.

Bisate Lodge – Located at the base of the Volcanoes National Park, this luxury lodge is taking Rwanda to the next level in the luxury market. Locally sourced materials and design create a welcome warm experience for discerning travelers. It is seriously a bucket-list hideaway, perfect for a romantic honeymoon.

African safari lodgePhoto: Bisate Lodge, courtesy of Wilderness Safari

 

#2: Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu is the world’s eighteenth deepest lake that sits on the border between Rwanda and the Republic of Congo. The waterfront towns offer a serene backdrop while visiting Rwanda. This destination is the perfect stop when on your way to Volcano National Park and Nyungwe National Park. The quiet environment welcomes meditation and yoga.

Where to stay:

Lake Kivu Serena – Relax while overlooking Lake Kivu, take a bike ride around the town of Gisenyi or enjoy a yoga session in their fitness facilities.   Simple accommodations while experiencing Lake Kivu.

resort, pool, AfricaPhoto: Exterior Lake Kivu Serena, Courtesy of Lake Kivu Serena

 

#3: Akagera National Park

It may surprise most people to hear that you can experience the Big Five in Rwanda and that there are a reported 18 Black Rhinos living in the park. While Akagera doesn’t compare to safaris in Masai Mara, South Africa or Botswana (yet) it is truly something to experience while in Rwanda.

Just a two-hour drive from Kigali, it offers a beautiful and convenient savannah and marsh landscape. There are over 482 bird species nestled within the park. Some of the activities to enjoy at the park include fishing, behind the scenes tour that includes conservation efforts and night drive experience with guide. The best part is you can visit the park for only $50 per day.

Where to stay:

Magashi Camp – With six spacious tented guest rooms with private access to a portion of Akagera, this luxury accommodation doesn’t compromise on luxury. This brand-new camp, opened in December 2018, will be sure to set a new standard for guests visiting Akagera.

luxury tent, AfricaPhoto: Magashi Camp tent rendering, courtesy of Wilderness Safaris.

 

#4: Nyungwe National Park

One of the unique things about Rwanda is the diversity of the landscape. This national park is set within lush rainforests, tea fields and waterfalls. There are 13 hiking trails that cover the terrain and vary in distance. A unique experience involves chimpanzee and monkey trekking in the forest within their natural habitat. Scale the Nyungwe Forest Canopy and traverse the forest beneath you. You may also see one of the 300 bird species local to that area.

Where to stay:

One & Only Nyungwe House – In the mountains, surrounded by rainforest and tea plantations, this resort is a treat for your senses. The intimate 22 luxury rooms and suites integrate nicely with the local landscape. This sanctuary will rejuvenate your soul with its spa and fitness sanctuary. Dine in the wilderness. You will leave with piece of Africa left in your heart after this experience.

Nyungwe National Park photo: Nyungwe House, courtesy of One&Only Nyungwe House

 

#5: Kigali

As the Capital City of Rwanda, Kigali is the energy that breathes life into the rest of the country. All trips begin and end through Kigali where the international airport is located. You’ll find the city to be very clean and well maintained. The residents of Rwanda take pride in their country and even have a unified day of service called Umuganda on the morning of the last Saturday every month. During Umuganda, the entire population (12 million) devote some time to their local community including cleaning the streets, cutting grass, repairing roads and much more.

Visit the many museums and art galleries, shopping centers to get some locally woven baskets or fresh Rwandese coffee or tea to take home.

Rwanda’s history is one of healing and forgiveness. A visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial helps to educate and honor the memory of the one million Rwandans killed in 1994. Reflection on the past but acknowledgement of how far the country has advanced will make you appreciate the resilience of the people and country by the time you leave.

Where to stay:

 Kigali Serena Hotel – Located in the heart of Kigali, the 148 rooms and suites are nicely appointed private and peaceful retreat. Enjoy a treatment in their spa, workout in their fitness facilities after a long flight or just people watch in the lobby while drinking local Rwandese tea.   It is where the elite Rwandese business meetings are conducted and affluent locals hang out. Simple accommodations to start your adventure in Rwanda.

Kigali, resortPhoto: Kigali Serena Hotel, courtesy of Kigali Serena Hotel

Rwanda is positioning itself as the luxury destination for honeymooners who are looking for unique experiences. Whether you’re including the destination as a pre-post Kenya, Botswana or South Africa safari or visiting the destination exclusively there is plenty to see and do during your visit.

For more information on any of the hotels and Rwanda as a destination, or to schedule a complimentary planning consultation, email Janelle Ruhumuliza at janelle@lilacsandchai.com (affiliate of Avant-Garde Travel).

 

bridal bouquet, flowers, florals, pampas grass

The outdoors and the African savannah was the inspiration for this styled shoot.  The greens and tan you see in the trees and dried grass. The orange, yellow and rust of the sunset. The focal point was the gorgeous arch that had the tans in the pampas grass with the sunset colors in the flowers. All of the flowers, including the bouquet, had pampas grass to tie it all together.

 Click here to see more inspiration from this styled shoot on our website.

bridal bouquet, flowers, florals, pampas grass

bride, groom, bouquet, wedding arch, pampas grass, wedding dress

Florist: Studio Fleurish

Venue: Bernardo Winery

Photographer: WASIO Photography

Coordinator: Annemarie Donaker Weddings and Events

Décor: Enticing TablesLetters2Lights

Rentals: Folklore Event RentalsBBJ Linens

Cake: Flour Power Cakery

Favors: Sweet Petite Confections

Invitations: Take Note! Creations and Cades and Birch

Bridal Gown & Accessories: Here Comes the Bride

Menswear: Friar Tux Shop

Hair and Make Up: Bridal by Haydee

Models:  Nikki and Austin

breakfast tray

Africa – A destination full of culture, captivating sunsets, untamed wilderness and extravagant accommodations – Africa is one of the best honeymoon destinations in the world offering the most romantic luxury safaris.  Imagine dining at breakfast with your loved one and having a beautiful giraffe as your special guest at Giraffe Manor. Africa provides a romantic backdrop for the adventurous honeymooners and an unforgettable once in a lifetime experience. Roar!

giraffe

romantic dinner

tea time

For more honeymoon hotspot advice contact the Travel Experts at  Avant-Garde Travel

safari cake, wedding cake,The outdoors and the African savannah was the inspiration for this styled shoot.  Starting with a romantic proposal. The greens and tan you see in the trees and dried grass. The orange, yellow and rust of the sunset. The focal point was the gorgeous arch that had the tans in the pampas grass with the sunset colors in the flowers. All of the flowers, including the bouquet, had pampas grass to tie it all together. The decor included touches like luggage and globes to really emphasis the travel aspect.

Click here to see more inspiration from this styled shoot on our website.

safari cake, wedding cake, dessert table

ABOUT THE VENUE: At Bernardo Winery guests are surrounded by beautiful landscape, a vintage pavilion and gazebo and all shaded by decades-old olive trees. With three different venue options, couples have several charming backdrops to chose from. Rosario’s Pavilion for the larger up to 240 guests with a nicely state of the art turfed grass makes for a lush backdrop for your photos. The Barrel Room perfect for smaller intimate gatherings up to 50 guests. Finally, Vito’s Park a large open grass area with a shaded patio and graceful gazebo.menu card, party favors, chocolates, suitcase

wedding cake, safari cake, bride, groom, bouquet, wedding arch, pampas grass, wedding dress

Venue: Bernardo Winery

Photographer: WASIO Photography

Coordinator: Annemarie Donaker Weddings and Events

Florist: Studio Fleurish

Décor: Enticing Tables, Letters2Lights

Rentals: Folklore Event Rentals, BBJ Linens

Cake: Flour Power Cakery

Favors: Sweet Petite Confections

Invitations: Take Note! Creations and Cades and Birch

Bridal Gown & Accessories: Here Comes the Bride

Menswear: Friar Tux Shop

Hair and Make Up: Bridal by Haydee

Models:  Nikki and Austin

Top Honeymoon Picks

Aimee Leon, Avant-Garde Travel

 

Paris – Its true what Audrey Hepburn said, “Paris is always a good idea”. Known as the “City of Love”, you cannot find a more iconic backdrop for your honeymoon adventure than Paris. Imagine sitting on your hotel balcony with your lover, sipping Rosé Champagne, with the Eiffel Tower sparking in the night behind you. Oh La La!

Paris, Eiffel Tower, champagne glasses,

 

Thailand – Thailand’s diverse landscapes offer the perfect balance of pristine beaches, unique culture and magnificent cuisine. Known as “The Land of Smiles” Thailand’s world-famous hospitality is sure to spoil any couple. For exotic wildlife plan a once in a lifetime journey to Chiang Rai for a stay at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp.

Elephant, bride and groom, Thailand

 

French Polynesia – The iconic Overwater Bungalow is a top request for Honeymooners. A tropical paradise awaits you after only an 8-hour flight from LAX. Imagine the romance, privacy and tranquility as you toast sunsets from your private plunge pool. Consider the luxurious Four Seasons Bora Bora where you can hop from your bedroom to your plunge pool and step strait into the lagoon from your own private deck.

bora bora, tahiti, over the water hut

 

Cruise – Imagine a floating boutique hotel with gourmet cuisine, award winning entertainment and over the top suites taking you to fabulous destinations around the world. Not only is cruising an excellent value it’s an efficient use of time as you cruise between destinations while you sleep. Like more time in port? Check out Azamara Club Cruises where every voyage features longer and overnight stays in port, so you can experience your destinations at all hours of the day.

cruise ship, honeymoon

 

Adults Only All-Inclusive Resorts – Adults only all-inclusive resorts are abundant in Mexico and throughout the Caribbean. Whether its resorts focused on Wellness & Spa or Golf enthusiast packages, couples have plenty of options for their individual style. Accommodation choices range from swim-up rooms to suites with your own private plunge pool. The best part about an all-inclusive resort? You know exactly how much your honeymoon costs before you arrive.Sandals Resort, over the water huts, sea, ocean

 

 

Italy – Take a Vespa ride through the streets of Rome, admire Michelangelo’s statue of David in Florence and top it off with a romantic gondola ride through the canals of Venice. From history to cuisine, Italy offers an endless amount of options to experience la dolce vita and is a perfect destination for a European Honeymoon.

Vespa, Italy

 

Africa – A destination full of culture, captivating sunsets, untamed wilderness and extravagant accommodations – Africa is one of the best honeymoon destinations in the world offering the most romantic luxury safaris.  Imagine dining at breakfast with your loved one and having a beautiful giraffe as your special guest at Giraffe Manor. Africa provides a romantic backdrop for the adventurous honeymooners and an unforgettable once in a lifetime experience. Roar!giraffes, dinner table

 

tablescape, table setting, safari themed table

The outdoors and the African savannah was the inspiration for this styled shoot.  Starting with a romantic proposal. The greens and tan you see in the trees and dried grass. The orange, yellow and rust of the sunset. The focal point was the gorgeous arch that had the tans in the pampas grass with the sunset colors in the flowers. All of the flowers, including the bouquet, had pampas grass to tie it all together. The decor included touches like luggage and globes to really emphasis the travel aspect.   

Click here to see more inspiration from this styled shoot on our website.wine bottle, globe, tablescape, table setting, safari themed table

ABOUT THE VENUE: At Bernardo Winery guests are surrounded by beautiful landscape, a vintage pavilion and gazebo and all shaded by decades-old olive trees. With three different venue options, couples have several charming backdrops to chose from. Rosario’s Pavilion for the larger up to 240 guests with a nicely state of the art turfed grass makes for a lush backdrop for your photos. The Barrel Room perfect for smaller intimate gatherings up to 50 guests. Finally, Vito’s Park a large open grass area with a shaded patio and graceful gazebo.place setting, menu card, napkin, silverware, charger plate

table number, rhino, suitcase, table decor

menu card, party favors, chocolates, suitcase

safari cake, wedding cake, dessert table

Venue: Bernardo Winery

Photographer: WASIO Photography

Coordinator: Annemarie Donaker Weddings and Events

Florist: Studio Fleurish

Décor: Enticing Tables, Letters2Lights

Rentals: Folklore Event Rentals, BBJ Linens

Cake: Flour Power Cakery

Favors: Sweet Petite Confections

Invitations: Take Note! Creations and Cades and Birch

Bridal Gown & Accessories: Here Comes the Bride

Menswear: Friar Tux Shop

Hair and Make Up: Bridal by Haydee

Models:  Nikki and Austin

proposal, engagement, marry me

The outdoors and the African savannah was the inspiration for this styled shoot.  Starting with a romantic proposal. The greens and tan you see in the trees and dried grass. The orange, yellow and rust of the sunset. The focal point was the gorgeous arch that had the tans in the pampas grass with the sunset colors in the flowers. All of the flowers, including the bouquet, had pampas grass to tie it all together. The decor included touches like luggage and globes to really emphasis the travel aspect. 

 Click here to see more inspiration from this styled shoot on our website.

wedding invitation, stationery

bride, groom, bouquet, wedding arch, pampas grass, wedding dress

ABOUT THE VENUE: At Bernardo Winery guests are surrounded by beautiful landscape, a vintage pavilion and gazebo and all shaded by decades-old olive trees. With three different venue options, couples have several charming backdrops to chose from. Rosario’s Pavilion for the larger up to 240 guests with a nicely state of the art turfed grass makes for a lush backdrop for your photos. The Barrel Room perfect for smaller intimate gatherings up to 50 guests. Finally, Vito’s Park a large open grass area with a shaded patio and graceful gazebo

bride, groom, wedding dress, chandelier, patiotablescape, table setting, safari themed tablesafari cake, wedding cake, place setting, menu card, napkin, silverware, charger platebride, groom sitting in chairs, wedding dressbridal bouquet, flowers, florals, pampas grassbride, groom, bouquet, wedding arch, pampas grass, wedding dress, amor

Venue: Bernardo Winery

Photographer: WASIO Photography

Coordinator: Annemarie Donaker Weddings and Events

Florist: Studio Fleurish

Décor: Enticing Tables, Letters2Lights

Rentals: Folklore Event Rentals, BBJ Linens

Cake: Flour Power Cakery

Favors: Sweet Petite Confections

Invitations: Take Note! Creations and Cades and Birch

Bridal Gown & Accessories: Here Comes the Bride

Menswear: Friar Tux Shop

Hair and Make Up: Bridal by Haydee

Models:  Nikki and Austin