The Free Press, Mankato, MN


May 19, 2014

Matrimonial marketplace

Pinterest drives wedding trends


Bridal businesses have seen more interest in creating “guest experiences,” whether it’s hosting themed parties for guests a day or two before the wedding or giving party favors to guests. Some couples even send “care packages” to the hotel rooms of guests who arrive from out of town.

“We have sent flowers to the hotel rooms of guests,” Van Tol said.

The hottest flower right now is the peony, followed by the hydrangea. Hilltop grows a lot of their own flowers inside their massive greenhouses and try to buy as many as they can from suppliers in the five state area. Still, many have to come from further away, depending on the time of year.

“Peonies are available year around but only for a very short time in any place. Sometimes we get them from Alaska, sometimes Chile or Colorado. Hydrangeas, you can get some locally, but usually they come from Holland or California.”

Jamaica the spot for beach vows

During her 11 years in the travel business, Lillo has seen a steady growth in destination weddings.

“The most booked and easiest to do is Jamaica. It’s absolutely gorgeous, there’s more options for adults-only properties and they have less restrictions and paperwork for the couple.”

Lillo said the hassles for the couple getting married in a foreign country include doing some types of blood work tests and in some countries even chest X-rays. “Each country requires they arrive at least 72 hours before the ceremony and some places its five days before.

“Brides and grooms find the destination that appeals to them the most and if we’re doing our jobs we give them all the information up front about what they’ll need to do. Sometimes that changes their minds when they find out all the testing and paperwork that needs to be done in some countries,” Lillo said.

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