It’s that time of the week for our wedding planning Q&A and today we’re talking about packing for your destination wedding: I’m planning for my destination wedding in the Caribbean and I’m trying to figure out what I should ship ahead of time and what I should pack and bring with me.  Is there a rule of thumb on what items I should ship vs. check in?  Thanks for your help!

Good question and this is definitely one that every couple having a destination wedding will face.  So, let’s start off by talking about why you would ship vs. bring an item with you.  If you have decor items, welcome gift items or items that are meant to be given out at the wedding, shipping is nice because you can take care of it ahead of time.  You’ll have enough items to worry about packing that getting rid of some items early is helpful.  Shipping also means you’ll have less luggage to worry about making for lighter travel.  However, shipping does have it’s downsides.  You don’t have control over shipping which means if a package gets lost (we’ve all had packages just disappear in the mail, right?) or gets delayed, it could not arrive in time or at all.  Shipping can also be really expensive especially if your package is large, weighty or going somewhere far.

The nice thing about packing and bringing your items with you is that you are much more in control and even if your check bag gets lost, it can’t get that lost.  And any items that are valuable or super important you’ll want to bring with you so that you can keep an eye on it.  You definitely don’t want to ship anything of large monetary value or that is crucial to your wedding (like your rings, wedding dress/attire, etc…) and those items you’ll even want to carry on to be super safe.  Bringing all of your items with you means that you will have more you have to handle and there are limits to the weight and size your package can be.  You will most likely have to pay for the extra luggage, so keep that in mind too.

With all of that being said, for most couples, shipping is only a good option if your items don’t need to travel that far or if you’re only shipping to somewhere in the US.  If you happen to be buying something online that offers cheap or free shipping to your location, then you can certainly take advantage of that.  But, anything outside of that and shipping becomes not only pricey, but will take a while.  If you are having an international wedding then usually your best option is to pack and bring your items with you.

So, to sum up, whether you should consider shipping or not depends on the items you are thinking about shipping and where you are having your wedding.  In either case, make sure you pack your items so that they are protected and if you do decide to ship make sure to give your venue a heads up and ship your items early to allow for any delays.


(Photo credit: Christie Pham Photography)

Do you need some help with your destination wedding?  Well you’re in luck because that is our specialty!  Contact us today to get started.  We’ll put you at ease and make sure you have some fun too.

Oct 07, 2015 by Jamie Chang

As you know I’m traveling in Europe right now with my home base in Paris.  I’m here both working and playing (because how can you not play while in Paris?).  I’ve been enjoying the city throughly and everything it has to offer (you’ll know if you’ve been following my Instagram and if you haven’t, you should!).  But, I recently took a weekend trip to London and while I was going to share more awesome Paris wedding venues with you today, I have some observations and musings I wanted to share instead (don’t worry the venues will be coming!).



I like people watching and I’ve been intrigued by the differences between Americans and the French and after my brief stint in London, the English.  It’s not only the obvious things like words, language and mannerisms that differ, but style and fashion, drinks, architecture and of course interactions.  Here are some of my interesting observations in Paris and London:

Style and Clothes:

– French people love scarves.  Everyone has a scarf.

– The French (both men and women) also really like ankle length or high water pants.  I believe it’s to show some skin between their pants and their shoes.  Everyone does it which I find fascinating.  I guess when it rains you just have wet ankles.

– Despite the fact that it’s Paris Fashion Week, the French style is really all about simple shapes in neutral colors and little to no prints.  The English on the other hand have kind of a grunge thing going on.  I dig both.

– English women really dress up to be seen when they go out – short, tight dresses and high heels.  I sort of felt like I was in LA or something.  I kept thinking, god they must be cold.

– You can tell who is an American tourist by their athletic shoes, jeans, backpack/fanny pack and their all purpose rain jacket.  Sad, but true.

Out and About:

– English really like their fruity drinks.  The sporty guys get beer, but many others seem to like large, colorful, fruity drinks.  How unexpected.

– English toilets are the worst with their uncomfortable small seats.  Maybe it’s a teaching lesson for kids, shit or get off the pot.

– The quality of tissue, toilet paper and paper towels in Europe in general is very sad.  I guess people here like wet hands and a sore nose and butt.

– Love the towel rack warmers here.  Love, love, love.  Why don’t we have these in the States?

– Stairs are short in France.  Maybe French have smaller legs?

The City:

– The Tube in London is structured by lines with directions (east/west, clockwise/counterclockwise) while the Metro in Paris is structured by lines with end points.  In my opinion, the Tube is much easier to navigate.

– Every time I look up in Paris, I see a beautiful building.  The architecture is just so grand, detailed and in many cases, ornate.  In London, the style is much less flashy, but I think it has a much more homey feel to it.  I like both!




– I hate to say it, but the French really do have a bit of snootiness to them.  Not everyone of course and not all the time, but I think for some, if you can’t speak the language they kind of just write you off.

– Americans are so loud!  Ugh, it’s kind of embarrassing.  Why do you need to shout when you are sitting right next to someone?  I don’t understand this about us.

– English people smile, I like that.

– One of my favorite things about the culture here is that people actually sit, talk and enjoy each other’s company.  It’s nice to look around and not see everyone’s noses in their phones.

Now while many of these things are not necessarily anything new, I found it interesting to experience it as an observer instead of just going about my business as a tourist.  Maybe it’s because I’m older now and I notice these things in ways I didn’t before or maybe I’m more conscious of how I look, interact and think and how that affects others.  Either way, it’s been interesting and fun to experience.

Do you agree with my observations? I’d love to hear what you’ve observed in your travels.  Please share some of your travel musings in a comment below.

Oct 06, 2015 by Jamie Chang

Traveling is always so much fun, but what makes it even more enjoyable?  Someone to share it with.  So, while traveling makes me happy, I’m lucky to have my husband because having these experiences together is all the more special.  This week’s inspiration is about just that. What makes my heart happy?  You do.

You make my heart happy quote

Oct 05, 2015 by assistant

Wedding Tip from the Pros: Have the best man hold the rings

Contrary to popular belief, the ring bearer should not hold the rings and neither should your maid of honor.  You don’t want to worry about the ring bearer losing the rings and your maid of honor will have no where to put the rings except in her cleavage.  So, instead have the best man hold both loose rings (i.e. without the boxes) in his pocket, so that he can easily pass them off to the officiate when the time comes in the ceremony.

(Photo credit: Bethany Carlson)

Oct 02, 2015 by Jamie Chang

Every wedding has it’s memorable moments and while our weddings tend to have a ton of memorable moments (almost too many to count), some just stick out for some particular reason.  These moments leave a mark and will always be associated with that wedding for me.  For Ann and Stephen’s San Francisco wedding (who are celebrating their anniversary today), the moments that were particularly memorable to me all happened on the dance floor.  They had lively, excited guests, cute little guests and let’s not forget the couple themselves.  Happy Anniversary to Ann and Stephen!





(Photo credit: Jerry Yoon Photographers)

Do you want help creating your memorable wedding?  Contact us today!


Oct 01, 2015 by Jamie Chang

It’s Wednesday and today’s wedding planning question is about the adult only destination wedding: We are having a destination wedding in Hawaii and we want it to be an adult only wedding, but some of our family and friends have kids.  We’re a little worried about how to have the wedding we want given that Hawaii is a kid friendly destination.  How do we nicely tell people that we don’t kids at our wedding?

This is a really good question and one my couples encounter all the time.  Not inviting kids to your destination wedding is a personal choice and you shouldn’t feel bad for wanting that.  But, since you are having a destination wedding you are right that your guests may end up bringing their kids along to Hawaii for the vacation aspect of it.  But, don’t fret!  Knowing this ahead of time means you can prepare for it.

In order to let people know your wishes, you have to get the word out ahead of time.  One of the best ways to spread the word about your adult only wedding is to tell your immediate family and close friends.  I’m not sure how large your destination wedding is, but by telling your key guests, they’ll spread the word when they talk to people about your wedding.  This way people will hear it by word of mouth and you don’t have to expressly put it in writing and offend anyone.

In addition to letting people know by word of mouth, another way to make sure your guests are aware is to be very clear when you address your save the dates and invites.  Address them specifically to just the adults so that they know who is invited and who is not.  If you want to be super clear, you can also add a section to your RSVP that states _ of 2 will/will not attend, so that they have to write in the number in the blank and it makes it very clear that their kids are not included in that number.

Those are the major ways you can inform your guests nicely about your adult only destination wedding, but you’ll also want to prepare for the possibility that they will bring their kids with them to Hawaii.  I don’t want you to feel pressured into inviting these kids just because your family/friends brought them.  So, to ensure your wedding is kid free, make sure you research some babysitters with the hotel or venue ahead of time.  This way when you are talking to your guests you have the recommendation ready to hand.  You should also include the info on your website and in your welcome bags to help drive home the point.  Then it’s up to your guests to take action, but you’ve done everything you can to let them know and hopefully you won’t have any little surprises.


(Photo credit: Christie Pham Photography)

Do you have a wedding planning situation you are struggling with?  Send us your question and we’ll get you an answer.

Sep 30, 2015 by Jamie Chang

Bonjour!  Hello hello from Paris!  I’m having such an amazing time here not just planning for destination weddings, but soaking up all the loveliness that is Paris.  This is a designers dream and I am in heaven.  Part of the fun is venue scouting and to help you plan your destination wedding in Paris (or just give you some fun inspiration for a French style wedding), I’m going to be sharing some wonderful wedding venues with you.  These posts will be coming in themed parts in order to make it easier to soak up.  So, today I’m taking you on a tour of two venues that have a more traditional French look to them.  These are great for the couple who likes the more ornate, detailed look with some grand touches.  And you must love gold (you’ll see why in a moment).

Before we jump into photos, I want to mention that while these two venues are different, they do have a few things in common.  They both are venues that were converted from a mansion into spaces meant to be rented for events.  What this means is that they are no stranger to events and have figured out how events work best in their spaces, which makes planning easier.  Since they were mansions, the event space has multiple rooms.  This can be nice to split up the cocktails from the dinner from the dancing and the ability to use other rooms for things like dessert.  However, this can be a negative if you like the idea of one large room or if you have a large group and don’t want to have to split people up.  There are some other similarities as well with these two venues, but let’s dive in as I’m sure you’re itching to see some photos and learn more about each.

The first venue is Salons France Ameriques.  This venue is located on a lovely street in the 8th arrondissement near the Grand Palais.  It was build in 1863 and has two different levels that are linked by a grand staircase.  The entrance leads you to the lobby and terrace.  The black and white decor here is a nice starter and a great place for cocktails.  Ceremonies can be held outside on the terrace or on the grand staircase. On this level is also a small library which can be used as the bride’s room.




Next we head up the grand staircase, which deserves some photos all to itself.  This is a lovely place for a ceremony (if it’s cold or you prefer something indoors).  Just imagine candles lining the steps (although they would have to be battery operated ones) as you say your vows.





On the first floor (the French call our second floor the first floor), there are 4 rooms each with their own fireplace and which all connect and can serve for your dinner, dancing, cake/desserts and bar areas.  The first is the Bolivar room which can seat a max of 60 for dinner.  Generally, this room coupled with the next room are used for dinner.  This room has a large chandelier, painted ceiling, gold detailing and cream walls.



The Bolivar room leads to the main room, the Washington room which is the largest and the most ornate.  The Washington room can hold up to 80 for dinner.  You’ll notice there is much more gold in this room.





The Washington room connects to the Lafayette room which is typically used for dancing.  This is where the DJ or band would setup.  This room has a red patterned wall and similar gold detailing as in the Bolivar room.



The last room is the Montcalm room which is great for a bar, buffet or desserts.  Since this connects to the Lafayette room, it’s a perfect space for a lounge as well.


Before we move on to the next venue, I want to give you just a few more bits of info on this venue.  When you rent out the venue for your wedding you do get the whole mansion and all of it’s spaces, so you don’t have to worry about any other events happening.  The ideal guest size count is about 100-150.  More than that and it can be crampy, less and it might feel too large.  They do provide the food and alcohol onsite along with the tables, chairs, linen and tableware.  They only do weddings on Fridays and Saturdays with a start time of 6pm and an end time of 4am!!!  Yes, you heard right, 4am, so you can party all night long.

Next up, our second venue is called La Maison de Polytechniciens.  It’s located in the 7th arrondissement very close to the Musee d’Orsay.  It was build in 18th century and has three different levels that are available for your use.  In contrast to the first venue, this one can hold up to 250 people as the rooms are larger and there are much more of them.  As guests enter, they are usually lead upstairs for cocktails in the 4 connecting rooms and terrace.  You can have your ceremony on the terrace on the first floor (second floor for us Yanks), in the garden on the main floor or in the front courtyard area (the building is away from the street, so it would still be private).  I unfortunately couldn’t get any photos of the garden or main dining room as there was an event in progress when I was visiting, but I’ve supplemented my photos with some of theirs.  Below you’ll see the front door and building facade, then the entrance and stairs followed by the upstairs terrace and main level garden.








(Photo credit: La Maison des Polytechniciens)


(Photo credit: La Maison des Polytechniciens)

Connected to the upstairs terrace are 4 rooms all which connect to each other and are available for cocktails and mingling.  You can use one for a station display or music or other items like a guest book, seating/escort cards and the like.  There is also a top floor which has 3 small rooms for the bride or groom or wedding party to use to store items or change.  Since there were so many rooms, I’m only showing a few photos.  Take note that these rooms upstairs are more neutral and subdued in color.  While still having the French detailing, they aren’t super ornate.






After cocktails, you’d then head back downstairs to the main floor for dinner.  There are 4 rooms downstairs which are all connected.  The first is the blue room which many times gets used for a first dance or other display items like the cake.  The 3 other rooms include the main room which connects to the garden and outdoor tented area, and 2 other rooms all of which can be used for dinner.  People mostly use the 2 larger rooms for dinner and reserve the smaller one as a kid’s room.  You’ll notice that these rooms are much more ornate and detailed than the upstair’s rooms.  This gives the wedding a nice change of pace going from more casual cocktails to a more formal dinner.



(Photo credit: La Maison des Polytechniciens)


(Photo credit: La Maison des Polytechniciens)



Last, but not least this venue also has a bonus area downstairs which is used for dancing until the wee hours of the morning.  The cave once used during prohibition can be used until “whenever”.  Literally, that is what I was told!  So, you can literally party until the sun comes up.  This downstairs cave has a bar area and is perfect for a DJ, dancing and lounging.



A few more bits of info before I leave you to fantasize about your wedding at one of these traditional style French venues.  Like the first venue, when you rent out this venue for your wedding you do get the whole mansion and all of it’s spaces, so you don’t have to worry about any other events happening.  As I mentioned before, this venue can hold up to 250 people and I actually think it’s better for a larger wedding so can utilize the spaces in the best way possible.  They do provide the food and alcohol onsite along with the tables, chairs, linen and tableware.  And one of the biggest draws is that you can start at 6pm and go until “whenever”.

Is one of these venues right for your Paris destination wedding?  If you’re looking for a private traditional French setting and you love yourself some gold, both of these mansions turned event spaces are great for that.  They have wonderful detailing, French ornate styling and many rooms to play with.  They come with lots of items included and you and your guests will have the place all to yourselves and can party all night long.

Ready for my personal opinion on the two?  I think they are both lovely venues and I like the multi room concept because it gives you a chance to really play with what you can do in each room.  I will say that I like the flow of the France Ameriques venue better because it makes more sense and that staircase is great.  However, I do like the fact that the Maison des Polytechniciens venue has a dancing cave and lets you party until whenever is a big draw.  Plus their outdoor spaces are pretty awesome.  They are both good options, it just depends on your guest count size and what you want to do for your wedding.  You really can’t go wrong though!

What do you think of these venues?  Let us know in a comment below.  And if you need help planning your destination wedding in Paris (or elsewhere), we’d be happy to help you find the right venue.  Contact us today.

Sep 29, 2015 by Jamie Chang

Bonjour from Paris! I’ve been here for a little less than a week now, but the time is flying by! I’m starting to get sad already. But, that only means that I’m going to savor every minute!  Today I went in to this amazing bookstore called Assouline in the Saint Germain area.  Beautiful books and beautiful displays.  So, I was in a literary mood and this week’s inspiration is from Edgar Allen Poe.

We loved with a love quote

If you aren’t following me on social media, make sure you do!  I’m posting all kinds of fun stuff from my Paris trip.  You can click on the icons to the right in the nav bar to follow and experience Paris with me. A plus tard!

Sep 28, 2015 by assistant

Wedding Tip from the Pros: Get Your Guests Involved

People love to participate in weddings, so include them as much as possible.  Have your parents throw doves into the air or let people throw confetti at you after the ceremony or have guests send you off at the end of the night with sparklers.  Your guests will have so much more fun being a part of your wedding instead of just spectators, so get them involved!


(Photo credit: Jerry Yoon Photographers)
This week’s pro tip is brought to you by Jerry Yoon Photographers, who excel in cinematic wedding photography and personable customer service.  They believe that there is real beauty in raw moments and they revel in the living, breathing characters of the everyday.  They feel incredibly lucky to capture those moments for their clients.

Sep 25, 2015 by Jamie Chang

A few years ago the vintage/rustic/shabby chic look really took over the wedding world by storm.  Part of creating that look was about using an assortment of bottles and glass containers as vases for centerpieces.  While the fervor has died down, the idea of using vintage, collected, found or even items you own is still very prevalent.  And I have to say that I’ve always really liked the idea.  Why not use something you own in your wedding?

Using something you own or found makes your decor that much more meaningful and unique especially if you happen to have a collection of items that can work together.  And I’m not just talking about vessels that can be used for vases, but how about china, silverware, napkin holders, or linen?  Or decor items like books, cameras, stamps, globes, votives, dolls, hats, buttons, rocks, string lights, etc….  There are so many different things that you can use to create your wedding and you don’t have to provide it all, but if you happen to own it (or want to own it), why not use it?  It makes everything that much more special.  Check out a few examples below to give you some ideas.

A bride’s personal collection of gold votives and string lights were used at this Caribbean destination wedding.



(Photo credit: McAllister Photography)

This couple had a ritual of collecting rocks from their favorite beach, so they used them as seating cards for their guests at their San Francisco Wedding.



 (Photo credit: Milou and Olin)

This couple’s Half Moon Bay wedding was all about using found items in their decor from the runners to the vases, votives and succulent pots.



(Photo credit: Strotz Photography)

This couple loved to travel and had collected various travel related pieces that they used in their Hawaii destination wedding.



(Photo credit: Christie Pham Photography)

This couple’s Sonoma wedding had a hippie burning man type of vibe going on and they used their own funky votives with mini LED lights and this awesome Moroccan lamp over their dance floor.




  (Photo credit: Arrowood Photography)

This couple’s Hawaii destination wedding had a bunch of nature photos taken from when they were together, but also when they were apart.  They ended up putting them on tiles to use at the wedding and then in their home afterwards.




(Photo credit: Rachel Robertson Photography)

Do you want to bring in something personal into your wedding design, but just aren’t sure what or how to do it?  We can help!  Contact us today.

Sep 24, 2015 by Jamie Chang


Jamie Chang

Freshly picked is a blog of tasty morsels to inspire, amuse, encourage, excite and help make your life easier. We share wedding planning, travel and design tips and inspiration and anything else that tickles our fancy.

Jamie Chang is the owner and destination wedding planning guru at Mango Muse Events, a boutique destination wedding planning and design firm specializing in creating unforgettable experiences. Mango Muse Events is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and orchestrates events all over the world.

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