By Renée S. Gordon
“May My Heart Be Your Shelter And My Arms Be Your Home.”
The union between men and women predates written history and for that reason much of what we know of these mergers is murky at best. Genesis in the Old Testament relates the story of the union of Adam and Eve and in the New Testament Christ’s first miracle is turning water into wine at a wedding in Cana so that the revelry could continue uninterrupted. One quickly sees that there can be problems at the best and most well-attended ceremonies.
Early marriages were intended to maintain dynastic rule, keep the wealth and property in the family, and forge alliances. To that end it was not out of the norm for brothers, sisters or first cousins to wed within ruling families. The practice did not generally extend to the lower strata of society.
Documents prove that matrimony was an important factor in the Roman Empire and the word “marriage” itself is of Latin origin as is the word “matrimony.” The word, if not the institution, entered the English language via the French, “marier’ and its initial use in English has been traced to the 12th Century.
Prehistoric weddings were probably incredibly informal, but as societies flourished so too did the customs and traditions that are common to modern wedding ceremonies.
There have been nine weddings in the White House and one would think in this highly controlled environment there would be no surprises. In 1874, the nuptials of Algernon Sartoris and Nellie Grant, President Ulysses Grant’s beloved only daughter, took place. President Grant was so overcome with emotion that he cried openly during the entire ceremony. The groom failed to appear on time for the wedding of President Woodrow Wilson’s daughter Jessie in 1913 because when he presented himself for White House entry the guards thought he was a wedding crasher and refused to let him in.
The only presidential son to be wed in the White House was John Adams II, son of John Q. Adams. In 1828, he wed a woman who had also dated his two brothers. When she chose John his brothers refused to attend the ceremony.
Centuries ago the guests would bring a small cake to the wedding. These cakes would be piled up, the precursor of the tiered wedding cake, and the happy couple would have to kiss over the cakes without knocking them over. This problem was circumvented at the royal nuptials of Princess Diana and Prince Charles two identical 5-ft. cakes were made in case of accident. The wedding cake created for Elizabeth II and Prince Philip was 9-ft. tall and weighed 500-lbs so I don’t think accidentally knocking it over was an issue.
In every era the marriage ceremony has created anxiety over the number of details that can get out of hand and no matter how well planned there are things beyond your control. With that in mind a wise couple takes care of everything they can in advance and one of the best and easiest ways to accomplish this is to take advantage of Delta Airlines Vacations Destination Wedding offers.
The Lifestyle Collection experts at Delta will assist you in creating a remarkable wedding from the selection of the destination through creating a unique ceremony and arranging a memorable honeymoon. Round the clock service is part of Delta’s program to soothe any middle-of-the-night wedding jitters and assistance continues until your vacation is over. Packages can include couples’ activities, spa treatments and sunset cruises, to elevate your honeymoon into the realm of the extraordinary.
Wedding and honeymoon destination packages are available at all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, the Caribbean and Las Vegas. They include lowest airfares available, hotel, complimentary weddings and a plethora of special offers. Individual resort wedding coordinators assist every step of the way including obtaining necessary documents. Trust me, it doesn’t get more stress free than this. www.deltavacations.com 1-866-238-5378.
Mexico destination weddings, most notably the Riviera Maya, are currently a most outstanding value for the money. The resorts all provide excellent cuisine, 24/7 dining, spas, activities, world-class amenities and range in size and character to please all tastes and budgets. An additional benefit of the Riviera Maya is the vast number of sites, attractions, shopping and eco-tourism opportunities within an hour’s drive of your accommodations.
I attended weddings at these three resorts and, because they were each wonderful and different in their own way, I thought they merited your attention.
The Riu Palace Riviera Maya, one of six in the area, is located in a huge gated complex. The public spaces are open and airy and guestrooms include balconies and Jacuzzis. Eighty percent of the furnishings and building materials were imported directly from Spain.
Most ceremonies here, weddings and vow renewals, are held facing one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. The two honeymoon suites are fantastic and have a two-tiered balcony. A Jacuzzi is located on the upper level and affords honeymooners an unparalleled view of the stars. The evening I was there a Mariachi band was playing love songs on the lower level and the aura of romanticism is indescribable. www.riu.com
The newly renovated Gran Porto Real Resort is designed to replicate a Mexican hacienda. Standard guestroom amenities are enhanced with gourmet restaurants, traditional performances, and the signature Mayan-inspired SPAreal. www.realresorts.com
The luxurious Royal Playa Del Carmen is a beachfront resort situated a short walk from Playa del Carmen’s Fifth Avenue. The resort’s décor is a creative melding of fabrics, natural materials and furnishings handcrafted locally. SPAzul, located on the premises, offers naturalistic treatments and services. The country’s first online check-in is available. Guests obtain a panoramic view of available suites and select accommodations prior to arrival. The Honeymoon Suite features a two person Jacuzzi and Royal Room Service. www.realresorts.com/The_Royal_Playa_Carmen
Fifth Avenue is Playa Del Carmen’s most renowned shopping and entertainment area. It is filled with upscale shops, boutiques, souvenir stores and eclectic restaurants. In the evenings the streets are lit and rife with music spilling from a variety of venues. Located in the heart of this vibrant district is La Casa del Agua, an elegant gourmet restaurant specializing in international gourmet cuisine and exemplary service. It can be rented for rehearsal dinners and bachelor parties. I highly recommend that you have at least one meal there on the Roof Garden and take in the passing scene. www.lacasadelagua.com.mx
One of the things that make the Riviera Maya such a wonderful choice is the fact that the wedding party and guests can select from a large number of activity choices. There are, of course, water and other outdoor sports, but there are also the pyramids of Coba and Tulum. These may be visited on guided tours or on your own. Coba, “ruffled water,” is situated near five lakes and includes the 140-ft. Nohuch Mul, one of the highest pyramids on the peninsula.
The seaside Tulum is the most visited of the Mayan ruins. The site’s most important structures are the Temple of the Frescoes, El Castillo and the Temple of the Descending God. Be mindful that there is no shade at the site so go in the morning and carry an umbrella.
A visit to Xcaret is the perfect way to end a destination holiday. This cultural heritage park is located on the site of a significant Mayan port and ceremonial center. The Xcaret experience is a walk through more than a thousand years of Mexican history and an introduction to its flora, fauna, art, architecture and rituals. Guests glide through caves, wander down jungle paths, meander among ruins, swim, snorkel, eat traditional foods and enjoy a series of scheduled events. I suggest that you reserve an entire day and attend an evening performance of “Tlacho, Xcaret Mexico Espectacular.” www.xcaret.com
Delphinus Xcaret is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as being the dolphinarium with the greatest number of dolphins born in a single year. The facility consists of Mexico’s best medical marine mammal laboratory and an interactive dolphin area. Visitors can swim with the dolphins, all of which have Mayan names, view them underwater and even experience a dolphin ride. This is a really up close and personal adventure and it is something that, with a little pre-planning, an elderly or mildly handicapped person can do. Just in case you can’t believe you did it, the entire experience is captured on video. www.delphinusworld.com
To recap, Delta Vacations can help you make all your reservations so that your destination wedding is anxiety free and both you and your guests have a memorable time. The Riviera Maya is a smart choice because it has something for everyone and everything, including Cancun, is within driving distance.
What happens in the Riviera Maya does not stay in the Riviera Maya and those memories will last a lifetime.
I wish you smooth and romantic travels!
Delta Airlines is offering a special $1411 + tax price for travel to Israel that includes airfare, hotel and two tours. The trip must be booked by February 28th for travel until August 31, 2011.