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If you’re looking for a meaningful wedding or shower gift that will be remembered, give an heirloom-quality cooking or baking gift with local roots: Look for the Minnesota-made Nordic Ware brand. Nordic Ware, founded in 1946, is a family-owned, American manufacturer of kitchenware products available locally at Kitchen Window, Chef’s Gallery, and Kitchens, as well as Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, and the Nordic Ware Factory Store.
Another unique gift idea—one the couple will keep forever—is a piece of original artwork in clay, metal, wood, fiber, glass or jewelry available at The Grand Hand Gallery on the corner of Dale and Grand in St. Paul. More than half the gallery selections are by Minnesota and Midwest regional artists, with the balance by artists from across the United States.
Budding oenophiles will find that creating a wine and spirits registry at Surdyk’s is a unique and fun alternative to traditional gift registries. Wine can be a very personal and enjoyable gift to both give and receive, and Surdyk’s offers a wide variety to match all tastes and budgets.
When the rings have been exchanged and your wedding guests have (reluctantly) left the dance floor, your honeymoon is the perfect way to enjoy quality time with your beloved before real life intrudes again.
Staff members at Canoe Bay in Chetek, Wis. know how to cater to honeymooners. Guests enjoy peace and quiet in the heavily wooded 280-acre country estate, an upscale cabin atmosphere, amazing views, top-notch service, an award-winning wine selection and memorable meals in the elegant lakeside dining room. Canoe Bay was designed by a couple—especially for couples—and no children or pets are allowed. A visit to Canoe Bay is peaceful, relaxing, and romantic.
Another blissful honeymoon locale is the Best Western Superior Inn in the harbor village of Grand Marais. The harbor is the centerpiece of town (Grand Marais is the only North Shore community whose downtown is right on the lake), but the backdrop of the Sawtooth Mountains and Superior National Forest just beyond makes the area one of the most unique in Minnesota. Honeymooners will appreciate the clean, secure, and smoke-free hotel with all rooms offering dramatic views of Lake Superior, and will feel absolutely spoiled in the Renewal Steam Suites, featuring a spacious steam shower, five shower heads, hydrotherapy whirlpool, and spa gas fireplace.
At Carrousel Travel American Express, a destination wedding or honeymoon is not treated like just another vacation, says Carol Flanigan, senior travel consultant. It is treated like the once-in-a-lifetime experience that it is.
Hiring a travel agent like Flanigan can help a couple simplify their search, give them access to expert advice and recommendations, and help them get the best pricing and deals. The options can be overwhelming at first glance. A travel agent knows the ins and outs of destination wedding and honeymoon locations.
“Every resort looks beautiful on the Internet,” Flanigan points out. “A good travel agent will listen to the needs and wants of the couple and help narrow down the options based on personal experience and what they know about the destinations the couple is interested in. There is a good destination for every honeymoon budget.”
The agent then offers suggestions based on budget, season of travel, importance of resort amenities such as: Is the resort all-inclusive? Does it have a nice beach? A swimming pool? A spa? A nearby golf course? Is it adults-only or family friendly?
At Macy’s Travel by Carlson Wagonlit, up to $300 on travel purchases is offered as a honeymoon discount, says Cindy Nelson, sales manager. After spending so much time making wedding decisions, it can be a breath of fresh air to hire a travel consultant to take care of the honeymoon details.
Whether staying close to home or traveling to an exotic destination, it’s important that newlyweds some time to unwind, have fun, and enjoy one another’s company. You will take many vacations together as a happily married couple, but you will have only one honeymoon. Make the most of it!
Save yourself money (and potential headaches) by asking the following questions before signing the contract:
• What is the facility rental fee? How many hours do I have the facility? Is there an overtime fee if the reception lasts longer?
• What is the deposit and when is the remainder due?
• What is the cancellation policy?
• Is there an in-house caterer or list of preferred caterers? Are they exclusive caterers?
• What comes with the rental fee or food and beverage package?
• Do you charge a separate gratuity fee for servers and bartenders?
• Are any decorations included?
• Are there any decorating restrictions?
• Does the site have any music or noise restrictions?
• Are there any other events taking place at this time in this location? If so, how will this affect your event?
• Does the wedding venue already own a sound system with adequate speakers or will that need to be rented?
• Is there on-site parking available for guests?
• Do you provide security? What are the costs?
• Is there a changing room for the bridal party?
• Is there a coat check?
• When can vendors arrive to set up?
• Is the wedding venue wheelchair accessible? If not, are there many stairs? How close is the parking to the ceremony and reception rooms?
For all-in-one venues (ceremony + reception):
• Are there enough chairs for the ceremony, or will they need to be rented?
• Does the wedding venue have an entirely separate area for the ceremony?
• If not, how long does it typically take for the staff to change over the room?