And here we have just a few favorite moments from our wedding reception!
Well here we are a solid 10 months after my wedding and Im realizing I never really shared wedding photos here on my blog. Mainly due to the fact the wedding images kept getting shared online which was so fun to see. I also was featured in a pretty detailed article here: https://stephysbrideguide.com/2018/11/real-bride-alexandra/
But now its time to share some of my own photos with y’all. Ill separate the wedding into two categories. The first look and the reception. We decided to do a party bus with the whole wedding party instead of two separate limos. While thats not the common way to travel we thought it was way more fun. The groom had a blindfold on the whole time so we could still do the first look on location. We did two different locations for photos before the wedding and had two completely separate photographers which means two completely different editing style. This was another usual thing to do for a wedding but its probably the top thing that I’m thankful I splurged on. More photos is always better!!!
We took our original engagement photos in July 2017. When we booked our wedding photographer he gave us a free engagement shoot with our package but unfortunately he lives in Arizona. Meaning we would have to fly him out twice within a few months time. So we ended up just doing a fun photoshoot the day prior to the wedding before we headed off to the rehearsal. While it made for a crazy schedule of a day it was a blast!!!
White dress is BHLDN – Black dress is Needle and Thread from Revolve- Hair by https://www.nadiarosebridalhair.com
Leaving Madrid, we took a quick flight to Marrakesh, my first venture into Africa. I LOVED the people and beautiful scenery. At sunrise, we enjoyed a hot air ballon ride followed by a traditional Moroccan breakfast.
On a future visit to Morocco I would love to do an overnight trip to the desert, a days journey away.
Photos of the beautiful Riad we stayed in.
Morocco has some gorgeously designed hotels. We visited the stunning La Mamounia Marrakech. Although beautiful, we chose to stay at the more intimate Riad in the city center (pictured above).
Following photos were taken by my brother Sean.
Two and a half hours south of Costa Nova Beach is Lisbon.
I recommend our lunch stop Time Out Food Market. Everything you could ever imagine! We enjoyed prochutto pizza, steak + fried egg + prochuto and potato + croquettes a traditional Portuguese dish. For dessert we had something similar to a chocolate cake but with the texture of a mouse and cookie combined. Another desert was an egg tart which was really good. Here you can sample the local food with options for everyone. There are various chef/stores inside (similar style to Anaheim packing district ..but so much better).
Livraria Ler Devagar bookstore in Lisbon
Torre De Belem Lisbon
Pena Palace Sintra, Portugal
Our final destination in Portugal was Carvoeiro, a small town best known for its beaches and sunsets located in Faro. We enjoyed some wonderful food and a beautiful sunset on the cliffs. On day one, we hiked down to the beach to visit the Benagil Cave. It can only be accessed by boat or swimming. While the boat tours are conveniant they sadly dont let you disembark inside the cave so we opted for the long swim. Although the coldest water I’ve ever experienced, I was thankful I successfully made it. However, we were unable to bring the cameras, so no pictures. But do google the unique view inside. Below are photos of the sunset that first evening.
From Barcelona, it’s a 10 hour drive to Porto, Portugal.
Recommendations for Porto:
- Lena Swimming Pools
- The Church of Sao Francisco
- Levraria Lello (A beautiful bookstore often visited by JK Rowling, said to be an inspiration for her writings)
- Church of Saint IIdeforso
From Porto, it’s a 50 minute drive to Aveiro. Our destination, Costa Nova Beach. This is a small fishermen’s village situated between a lagoon and the ocean. So many fun painted houses and excellent seafood.
One week home from my honeymoon, I departed for my third annual international siblings trip. This year, Nathan joined Sean and me. Our game plan was to fly into Barcelona, drive through Spain into Portugal. Then down the coast back into Spain ending in Madrid. From there, a flight to Marrakesh, Morocco. Sean and I accomplished 2 previous road trips, Ireland, followed by Netherlands/ Belgium/ Germany. I underestimated the distance to cover Spain. IT’S HUGE! In Ireland we were able to see many sites in just a brief time. However, sites in Spain were 3-10 hours apart. We attempted to experience what we could but felt there was so much more we didn’t see.
In Barcelona, we were excited to see Sagrada Familia. Construction of this basilica began in 1882 but completion isn’t expected until 2030. Our hotel was next door with a gorgeous view from their rooftop bar.
For Barcelona recommendations (including some amazing food spots from culinary expert Nathan) scroll to bottom.
From Barcelona to Portugal, we viewed beautiful sunflower fields.
Food suggestions in Barcelona
(Spain has amazing Tapas… be adventurous. We tried french fries with egg and ham on top. SO TASTY !)
- El Canal (Wine + Tapas)
- Disfrutar (Fine Dining)
- Els Sortidors del Parlament (Bar + Tapas)
- Mercat de Sant Josep, aka La Boqueria (Open air market- lots of food to try)
- Zona d’Ombra (Wine + Tapas located in the Gothic Quarter)
- Bodega La Puntual
- Pastisseria Bubó Born (Dessert)
- Pastisseria Hofmann (pastry)
- ElDiset (Wine + Tapas)
- Paradiso (speakeasy)
- Baluard Barceloneta (bakery)
- Federal Café (brunch)
- Nømad Coffee Lab & Shop
- Horchatería Sirven (Ice Cream)
Sites in Barcelona
- La Boqueria Market
- Sagrada Familia
- Park Güell
- Casa Milà
- Barcelona Cathedral
- Gothic Quarter
- Casa Batllo
- Temple of Sacred Hearts
- Montjuic (beautifully landscaped area famous for its hills, gardens, museums, and castle)
In 2015 I visited Rome for the first time. It was always a dream of mine to see the Trevi Fountain. We eagerly made the journey only to find the foundation drained and surrounded by a fence. I almost cried. So when planning our honeymoon I decided a quick pop in to rome to see the fountain was well worth it. Let me tell you, this fountain does not disappoint..it is absolutely glorious.
Scroll to the bottom to see all my recommendations for Rome!!
The best lunch spot is Saltimbocca. We got a big pizza, pasta and aperol spritz’s and our whole bill was under 30 euro. It was all so delicious!
A great dinner place to try is Alfredo Alla Scrofa. Its been around since 1907 and is said to be the birthplace of Fettuccini Alfredo. The restaurant is a fancy night out full of history and the Alfredo sauce is to die for.
The top sites in Rome:
- St. Peter’s Basilica
- Roman Forum (See how many cats you can spot here! there are hundreds)
- Trevi Fountain
- Vatican Museum
- Sistine Chapel
- Piazza Navona
- Spanish Steps
If at all possible, I would highly suggest NOT visiting Rome in the middle of Summer. We were there at the end of July and it was miserable outside. High temperatures, a hot sun and humidity made site seeing hard. The first time we visited Rome we went in early October and it was wonderful weather and less tourist at all the sites.
From Santorini we took a ferry over to Mykonos island. It was a very fast and efficient process compared to taking a flight over. Our thoughts on Mykonos were a bit different then Santorini.
Santorini is more relaxing and peaceful
Mykonos is known as the party island
Santorini is a lot of couples relaxing at nice resorts
Mykonos is a lot of young drunk people out till 10:00 am
Santorini has lots of cute little shops with dresses under $50
Mykonos is filled with luxury shopping and barely anything under $150 haha.
Those are just a few differences between the islands that were apparent in the first 24 hours. We stayed at Rocabella Mykonos which was nice but a bit far out of town. We didn’t realize its a lot harder to walk into town then in Santorini. The road to get to town was only about 5 min but took about 10-15 due to the majority of it being one lane with lots of cars, buses and ATV’s. Since we had to always catch a ride into town I planned one for 7am to go take photos…they looked at me like I was crazy. Its not till we got into town the next morning that I really understood why. All bars and clubs were still open and in full party swing. People don’t go home..they stay and party till 8-9 or even 10am. Some bars even turn into breakfast spots after the partying.
While in Mykonos we heard of the famous nightclub Cavo Paradiso so we checked the lineup for the nights we were in town and sure enough one of our favorite DJs was playing, Alesso. We ended up heading to the club at 1:30am and Alesso went on about 3:00am. While we aren’t party animals who stay out till 9:00am it was a fun experience to be in one of the most well known clubs in the world for a night.
Overall Mykonos had beautiful streets, wonderful food and gelato BUT we definitely feel like we are more Santorini people. We enjoy the more quiet side!
Our next stop, Santorini!
This was Justin’s absolute favorite! Two important criteria for our honeymoon were the Dolomites and Charisma Suites (a specific hotel in Santorini). From social media, I discovered this incredible location and knew it must be included. There are only 8 suites, allowing personal service and the sense of being the only occupants. It’s quite the journey from the main road but we were greeted with wine and cheese. The staff equipped us with a map of the island and recommended highlighted stops. Also, a cell phone was included in case directions or assistance were necessary.
Charisma Suites is perfectly located to view Santorini’s famous sunsets. Most tourist crowd the narrow streets attempting to get a good view. A memorable highlight for us each evening, was enjoying them from our private terrace sipping champagne, with fruit and cheese!
In Santorini expect steep hills, and hot weather in July. During sunrise, we explored and took photos. Then back to Charisma for an amazing breakfast followed by relaxing/napping by the pool. Then into town for lunch and back to the Charisma for our amazing sunset view. Our favorite restaurant was the Lotza. We should have eliminated all the other choices.
We fell in love with this picture perfect destination and hope to return someday!