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The Perfect Place For A Wedding Abroad

One of the biggest days of your life is your wedding day which is why such a lot of planning goes into the whole event. Everyone wants the day to be perfect, the weather beautiful and all aspects of the day to glide effortlessly passed so that the bride and groom and all the guests can relax and enjoy the entire day. But this doesn’t happen without a lot of hard work and when you live in the United Kingdom there are certain factors you need to consider. Not least the weather.

gumbootsThe UK weather is world renowned but for all the wrong reasons. It is generally unpredictable, even at the height of the summer which is traditionally a busy time for weddings. After spending a great deal of time and money on the perfect dress and elegant hair and make up, no bride wants to jump through puddles and have her wedding photographs held under an umbrella. Then there is the cost. Weddings are notoriously expensive and as these days families tend to be scattered around the country, if not the world, there is often a cost involved for all guests.

It is therefore not surprising that many people are now searching for alternative arrangements which will enhance their day and ease many of the tensions surrounding such a big event. This will often include relocating to another country to make the day as special as possible for the entire wedding party.

cocos-beach-aerial-2One of the many popular places is Antigua, in the West Indies. This is a fascinating and idyllic¬† Caribbean island which really does boast the beaches of fairy tales and dreams. Not just one beach but the island actually has 365 to choose from. The capital city, St John’s is in the North West of the island with numerous luxury resorts doted around the whole coastline. It is also a country that is frequented by sailors from around the world so there are always plenty of spectacular boats and yachts to look at. In fact, if eyeing up the boats of the wealthy is of interest to you then the regatta in April and May would be an ideal time to visit. If you plan your wedding for this time there will certainly be many wonderful boats to see from all corners of the world.

antigua-beachOrganising weddings abroad couldn’t be easier. These days many travel agents have multiple packages to choose from. In fact the hardest part is deciding exactly which one to go for. Pages and pages of beautiful beaches with white sand and frothy clear blue seas, all lined by perfect palm trees makes it a difficult decision to make. However, generally each hotel has its own package that may vary slightly and this may be the deciding factor. To wake up to the sound of the sea gently rolling in is truly remarkable and watching the sun set as you take an evening stroll is certainly an ideal romantic backdrop to such a special day.

All inclusive packages are popular in Antigua as they really do remove all the stress from the trip. From arriving at the resort literally everything is taken care of. There is no need to carry money around or fret about tipping as it really isn’t required. There is also a choice of restaurants to eat at which generally range from the more informal to a la carte menus. The beauty of weddings abroad is that once you have decided on the package literally everything is done for you. You are also pretty much guaranteed beautiful weather and to say your vows in such a stunning setting will only enhance the day. The cost is often cheaper than a conventional wedding at home which, for many people, is an important factor.

Generally, to take friends and family to such a stunning environment for such a special occasion is very enticing. Weddings are an ideal time for families to get together and catch up with the extended family. To spend a few days in the sunshine whilst being looked after by the cheerful and helpful staff, will certainly make your wedding a memorable occasion for everyone and once the guests leave you are all set for a relaxing honeymoon.

The Incomparable Experience Of Abu Dhabi

If you summon into your mind everything that represents the Arabia of storybook and legend, you may have something approaching a picture of Abu Dhabi. Camel racing at dawn, spice souks, date palms, burning-red sand dunes, deserts, mosques and minarets — Abu Dhabi has them all. Yet, over and above this romantic Arabian Nights image is superimposed a metropolis of glitz and glamour unrivalled anywhere in the world.

abu-dhabi-cornicheAbu Dhabi is the biggest, richest and most powerful of the seven sheikhdoms that make up the UAE or United Arab Emirates, as well as being the UAE’s capital city. Despite its initial impression of an ultra-modern city full of glass and metal skyscrapers and futuristic shopping malls, it has a history going back thousands of years, to the third millennium BC. Less than 70 years ago, it was a sleepy little fishing town surrounded by barren desert, the principal means of livelihood being pearl fishing, animal herding and oasis agriculture.

What brought about this stunning transformation was the discovery of oil in the mid-20th century, while it was still part of a British protectorate. When the British withdrew in the late 1960s, the UAE was formed, with Abu Dhabi assuming the dominant role both politically and economically. This domination continues till today, with Abu Dhabi possessing 90% of the UAE’s colossal oil reserves, and 60% of its gas reserves.

Not surprisingly, this vast wealth has enabled the city to become a playground for the rich and famous — not just from the Gulf, but increasingly from all over the world — and to find itself fast catching up with its more ostentatious neighbour Dubai. Abu Dhabi takes pride in being known as the city of superlatives, claiming both the most expensive mosque (the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque) and most expensive hotel (the Emirates Palace) in the world. Among other distinctions, it also claims the world’s largest theme park, Ferrari World, and fastest rollercoaster, the Formula Rossa.

The Abu Dhabi emirate is situated on a flat and rocky area of the mainland, plus more than 200 closely-packed islands just off the coast, with the city centre being located on one of these islands. For those taking holidays in Abu Dhabi, this island is the main place to stay. It is largely criss-crossed with wide tree-lined boulevards, and bordered by the Corniche, the two-mile-long sea front, studded with beautiful palm-fringed beaches.

Saadiyat IslandConnected to the main island by the Khalifa Bridge is Saadiyat Island, which currently resembles a massive building site, but is set to become the region’s arts and culture metropolis.¬† The institutions under construction include a branch of the Guggenheim, an outpost of the Louvre, and a natural history museum, all designed by world-famous architects, including Norman Foster.

Holidays in Abu Dhabi aren’t really about spending all day every day reclining on the beach, but the coastal areas provide some of the special and unique activities which you might not find elsewhere. You can be taken on a cruise on a traditional pearling boat or a sailing catamaran, or given a speedboat tour of the coastline — or you can even charter your own boat to explore the outer islands. It’s fascinating to visit the restored Al Bateen Shipyard on Al Bateen Island, which is one of the oldest inhabited areas of the city, and is a place where you can learn about the area’s extraordinary maritime heritage.

The desert too offers endless fascination — Abu Dhabi is situated on the edge of one of the world’s great desert seas, the Rub’ al Khali. Just a few of the possible activities include dune-bashing, off-road safaris, camel riding, falconry, and even sand-skiing. In the cooler months, many tour companies provide evening drive-and-dine trips out into the dunes, giving you the chance to feast under the brilliant stars.

abu-dhabi-mallOf course, a lot of people go to Abu Dhabi specifically for the shopping, and the Abu Dhabi Mall is truly impressive, worth visiting for its breathtaking architecture as well as its department stores and luxury boutiques. However, the place to enjoy the real essence of the city is its bustling traditional souks, the best time being late afternoon, just before sunset. There is literally nothing you cannot get here, from every type of foodstuff, to jewellery, craftwork, carpets, electronic goods and clothes.

Holidays in Abu Dhabi are a long way from the conventional two weeks in a deck chair. You need to get to grips with the juxtaposition of the ultra-new and modernistic alongside centuries of ancient tradition, as well as a culturally conservative society with restrictions on dress, smoking and alcohol. However, out of these contrasts come a set of experiences which you will find nowhere else on earth.