Baptist Church rejects African-American Wedding in Mississippi

Wedding preparation is stressful, I think we can all agree with that. For a Jackson, Miss., couple just days before their special day, planning went from stressful to racially painful in moments when the church pastor told them, that some members of their First Baptist Church (in Crystal Springs) objected to them getting married in their predominantly white church.

Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson said it “was devastating to move their wedding to another church only days before the July 21 wedding”. Invitations and the printed program had the date and the church’s name on them. Church insiders say five or six members went to the Rev. Stan Weatherford after seeing the couple’s wedding rehearsal two days before their Saturday wedding. Their reaction has been said to stun Rev. Weatherford.

“I didn’t want to have a controversy within the church, and I didn’t want a controversy to affect the wedding of Charles and Te’Andrea. I wanted to make sure their wedding day was a special day,” Weatherford told WLBT-TV in Jackson.  Obviously this Rev., wasn’t willing to ‘weather the storm’.

Charles Wilson said it was a huge disappointment that he and his wife couldn’t get married at the church they attended because of the color of their skin and feel like it was “blatant racial discrimination”.

Most churches require that to be married in their church, you must be parishioners. While Charles Wilson was a recent member, his (now) wife has attended for over a year, her father also attended and her uncle was a custodian there.  Seems like you may be good enough to clean up the church, but your family can’t be married there.

The 150-year-old church hasn’t had any black couples married there in modern times.  Rev. Weatherford married the couple at a nearby church, meaning he was run out of his own church…that is truly disgraceful.

Wilson said he understands Weatherford was caught in a difficult position and he still likes the pastor, but he also thinks the pastor should have stood up to the members who didn’t want the couple to marry in the church.

“If you’re for Christ, you can’t straddle the fence,” Wilson said of Weatherford. “He knew it was wrong.”

To be fair not every member of the congregation agreed but it doesn’t seem as if they disagreed enough to stand up to the small group of people who put pressure on the pastor.  Seems that for some Mississippi Baptists, who “Welcome you to their church”…even if you are ‘prejudice’. Sadly, this is one of the things wedding planners couldn’t have possibly planned for. Even sadder, who would think this is something you have to ask about.

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Destination 101: The Hilton Waikoloa Village

Always a perfect tropical location, the Big Island (or any of the Hawaiian islands) is among dream destinations for couples. With so many hotel properties, how do you choose? I have a few hotels slated for this year in Hawaii, but I happen to think the Hilton Waikoloa property offers romance and an authentic Hawaiian experience in an unforgettable oceanfront setting.

Let’s visit the Hilton Waikoloa Village:

Can you tell me about your space, locations and opportunities for weddings?

Hilton Waikoloa Village is the premier wedding spot in Waikoloa Beach Resort on Hawaii’s Big Island. From the most picturesque sunset kisses set amid stunning oceanfront backdrops to perfectly prepared receptions with traditional Hawaiian entertainment and island-inspired, personalized dishes made completely from locally harvested ingredients, Hilton Waikoloa Villages and its Wedding Atelier Romance Specialists offers unlimited ways to make a couple’s special day the most memorable experience of their life.

The romance of old Hawaii lingers in the air as couples wed at Hale Aloha, the delicate wedding chapel structure with breathtaking ocean views through windows and doors that draw in the surrounding beauty and warm tropical breezes. Colorful tropical foliage and playful shadows welcome in the aura of romance and love. Fine Hawaiian workmanship can be seen through elegant stained glass, along with Kona wood furnishing and exquisite custom tiling.

Since the Kohala Coast receives on average nine inches of rain per year, outdoor weddings are a Hilton Waikoloa Village specialty. Venues include the Palace Garden which overlooks Waiulua Bay, making it a perfect location for a sunset wedding with the sun slowly disappearing into the sparkling waves or the Grand Staircase, a great covered yet open-air space overlooking the ocean-fed lagoon and waterfall.

Are there extremely busy times of year you’re seeing brides?

Although Hilton Waikoloa Village welcomes weddings year round, the most popular times tend to be between June and August.

What are the best/signature experiences can a wedding party expect – or most importantly, if a couple is looking for a venue, why would they choose your space vs. another venue?

Spectacular wedding venues are accompanied by exclusive, affordable wedding packages to meet every couples needs. A complete wedding experience is at hand with multiple packages to choose from that include everything from choice of resort ground locations for ceremony, a non-denominational minister, two-tier wedding cake, floral leis, bouquet arrangement, guitarist, photographer and videographer, private fire dancer or hula troop presentation, “just married” boat ride, and many other options. The on-site Wedding Atelier coordinates all facets of this once-in-a-lifetime event through all vendors conveniently located at the resort.


Tell me about the catering, bridal suite, adventures and anything else you want to share with a bride.

As Hilton Waikoloa Village is located on the Big Island of Hawaii, wedding party’s have the added bonus of exploring one of the most exotic and romantic destinations in the world. Whether it is a romantic getaway or an adventure of a lifetime, the Big Island delivers unforgettable experiences. A few of the most popular and exhilarating activities of The Big Island include jumping off an old wooden bridge set on breathtaking cliffs of the Pacific Ocean, at Ka Lae – the southernmost point in the United States; hiking through lava fields on the rim and in the crater of Kilauea, the world’s most active volcano that has been continually erupting since 1983; and discovering some of the world’s rarest life forms as 11 of the world’s 13 climate zones are found on the Big Island, and the land is host to 1,660 species of flowering plants and 45 species of birds found nowhere else on Earth.

To book a wedding or honeymoon at Hilton Waikoloa Village or for more information visit www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com or call 1-800-HILTONS. Just something to think about, hotels like the Hilton are great because they offer “rewards/miles” as do their airline partners. Keep the little things like this in mind when you’re looking at the major hotel properties. Those points can give you a free meal, spa treatment or bottle of champagne.

Wedcoupon.com curates everything a couple needs in one stop shop

Doesn’t it seem like every time you open your email, you’re seeing another new “e-commerce” site.  The thing is, they all claim to do it all, be it all, have it all for everyone…’including the bride’.  I don’t know about you, but there are so few that completely focus on the happy couple, especially those on a budget.  Well, finally we have Wedcoupon.com that targets engaged couples seeking budget friendly yet fashionable products, local wedding services, and honeymoon inspirations at up to 80% off retail.

Like other member’s only sites, on Wedcoupon.com you can register to receive daily emails about upcoming sales events that may just save a small fortune on one of the most expensive occasions in a couples life. As a registered member, you can also search for time-dated sales events in your city via the ‘calendar function’ to discover which vendors discount coincides with your wedding date.

What I do like is they have set up a series of ‘standards’ that vendors have to meet before they will be featured. More, they are dedicated to help couples (and you as the one buying things as gifts for them) create the future home of their dreams.

The Wedcoupon platform hopes to be a game changer in a tradition-bound industry.  So stop by and sign up.  They are in a lot of cities across the US now and are rolling out to others soon. To learn more visit – www.wedcoupon.com

In full disclosure that I do know one of the owners of this site.  But you know me well enough that I wouldn’t post anything here that I didn’t think would be a benefit.  I was not paid for this post but I do believe in this company.

Destination 101: Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa Fla.

Last week there was a big buzz about the bullying attack on grandmother and bus monitor Karen Klein. I mean this poor woman was just trying to keep these kids safe, and they thought it funny to be mean to her.  Because of her kindness and forgiveness (better woman than I) the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa has offered Klein a luxurious, week-long vacation to recuperate from her harrowing experience.

Sometimes when you’re planning your wedding, you may feel the same way.  Trying to pick a dress, a fiancée who doesn’t seem to be interested, bridesmaids not wanting to wear what you’ve picked out and let’s not begin with the mother-in-law issues.  Well, planning your wedding or honeymoon shouldn’t have you stressed out and feeling like you’re being bullied too. Let The Hilton Sandestin help you plan your wedding.  They have ceremonies on white sandy beaches near the emerald-green waters creating an elegant, black-tie affair.  The all-inclusive resort has six restaurants, luxury spa, fitness center, four golf courses, 16 tennis courts and you know what, something for everyone.

So take the stress out of your planning and let the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa help make your day.

12-12-12 weddings are still available at El Conquistador

I’ve just returned from a magical trip to Puerto Rico and visited some of the best hotel properties the island has to offer.  Of course, one of my favorite properties is El Conquistador Resort.  Let me tell you this is one of the closest ‘all-inclusive’ type properties there is on the island of Puerto Rico.  While there (and there is so much more I have to share with you) I found out about a great 12/12/12 offer they have for couples, and I couldn’t wait to share it with you.

In celebration of this year’s triple digit repeating date – the last until the year 2101 – Hilton Worldwide properties in Puerto Rico are offering special options for couples planning12/12/12 nuptials.

Dream destination weddings are now more affordable than ever on the tropical Island of Enchantment – where no passport is required for travel by U.S. Citizens – with 12/12/12 wedding specials available.

El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort is celebrating 12/12/12 with an over-the-top “Love in the Sun” package, available to wedding parties booking 12 or more rooms, and including exciting options for brides- and grooms- to-be.  With a savings of $2,012, the package includes an officiate, one hour of photography, one hour of live music and the choice of several incredible ceremony venues, including the 100-acre, private Palomino Island.  The package also includes 12 Coqui Water Park passes (one per room), 12 welcome drink vouchers (one per room), 12 deluxe ocean view upgrades, 12 fitness center passes to the renowned Golden Door Spa (one per room) and complimentary champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries for the new Mr. and Mrs.  This exclusive package is $5,000 and is valid for weddings celebrated the week of December 9-12, 2012.  Package rate does not include accommodation.  El Conquistador Resort’s nightly rates start at $199 per room per night based on double occupancy.

After the wedding is over, couples can leave wedding guests behind and immediately begin their honeymoon with an escape to the cliff-side Las Casitas Village, A Waldorf Astoria Resort – El Conquistador Resort’s award-winning neighbor.  With sweeping ocean views, full kitchen facilities, 24-hour butler service, private dining options and a breathtaking infinity pool, Las Casitas Village is ideal for couples seeking an unforgettable 12/12/12 honeymoon retreat.

I promise you, you will absolutely love the wedding staff, the food, their private island…off the property (the boat ride is not only romantic, but once you get on the island, it’s like…your own) or be a kid at the water park.  This is one property I promise will make all your wedding dreams come true.

For more information, call 1-888-564-1307 or visit www.elconresort.com, www.lascasitasvillage.com.

Destination Mexico: Playa del Carmen

Oh I know that there is a slight fear factor when it comes to Mexico…but lets just put it out there. Yes, there are certain places in Mexico (and California, Chicago, Idaho… I could go on) that have problems.  What I can tell you is that Playa del Carmen is on the eastern tip of Mexico and is primarily all resorts.  What does this mean for you – a police presence that keeps its visitors safe.

One of my favorite hotel properties in Playa del Carmen is Condo Hotels.  Just as the name implies, the ‘rooms’ are truly complete apartments that have all the amenities of a much larger hotel property. LOVE IT! What makes this property really unique is that there are actually 4 unique properties, all within walking distance of each other.

Porta Playa is Mediterranean style with cascading waterfalls, lush tropical gardens and the penthouse has great ocean views.

Maya Villa, the newest property is already thought of as the ‘jewel of the playa properties’. The Jade colored Gecko mosaic and glass pool truly sparkles next to a 40-foot waterfall.

Villas Sacbe is super sweet and cozy.  Only 12 rooms, why not rent out the entire property?  This intimate boutique hotel offers a tranquil experience yet is only 1 block from the heart of their “5th Avenue”. Honestly, once you enter, you’ll feel like you entered another world.

El Taj –This is their premier condominium. Between being 50 feet from the ocean, having a mosaic infinity pool and all the comforts of home, you won’t want to leave. If you want a beach wedding without the sand in your veil (and toes), then their penthouse offers sweeping views of the ocean under a giant thatched roof.  There are just so many options.

From a mariachi band, to fire-twirlers for a wedding for two or 300, you can have a package tailored specifically for your needs. There are so many wonderful benefits from having your wedding in Carmen del Playa and even more by staying at one of the Condo Property.  You may like it so much…you might decide to do a time-share to keep the memories alive year after year.

 

 

Destination Mexico: Now Sapphire and Now Jade Rivera Cancun – Shining jewels in Mexico

The Now Sapphire Rivera Cancun is the perfect antidote – a fresh enchanting retreat where your relaxation and luxury comes first.  Located 15 miles from Cancun Airport this spacious all-suite hotel is great for couples, honeymoons get together with family/friends and of course weddings.  According to their info, they have the world’s second largest barrier reef, and offer a wealth of activity and leisure activities with charming villages, shopping, golf, historic and ecological sites nearby.

From Spa sensualities, to suite retreats, you will want for nothing.  Your wedding will truly be a magical day and you have the opportunity to choose from two wedding gazebos, ocean front terraces, elegant ballrooms and best, dedicated wedding coordinators and event planners. For more information about this property, www.nowresorts.com -866-NOW-9953

If something a bit more off the path is in order then Now JADE is for you.  Gourmet restaurants – check, 24-hour concierge – check, Unlimited premium beverages…Double-check! Prepare yourself to be dazzled, be pampered and live live in the NOW…live and enjoy this moment.

This property is just 12 minutes from and a 10-minute walk from the fishing town of Puerto Morelos.  Just another option for the grooms if they want to take a day to go and see what they can ‘catch’. Personally, the barrier reef, provides what can only be described as heaven for snorkelers and divers – – yes you can go for your certification while you are there.

What I adore about both of these properties is the additional amenities they offer – private check in/check-out, Additional living areas, in suite Jacuzzi and complimentary wireless access, just to name a few.  This is truly the idyllic immersion with dining opportunities to rival any four-star restaurant stateside.

SO prepare for a delightful diversion and romance in triplicate.  This is the time for you both…Moments you deserve…yes, NOW. For more information about this property, 877- NOW-9953  www.nowrestorts.com