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Thailand Honeymoon: Chiang Mai

After a few days in Bangkok, we flew to Chiang Mai, a quiet city in northern Thailand with a mountainous backdrop. We stayed at 137 Pillars House, a small boutique hotel with an unbelievable staff.

Chiang Mai honeymoon ideas

Chiang Mai honeymoon ideas

Chiang Mai honeymoon ideas

Mr and Mrs Smith suggested this hotel, and we couldn’t have been more pleased! When you book their honeymoon package, you are greeted with a bottle of Champagne and dessert. I had to pass on the Champagne, but the dessert was a pregnant lady’s dream :) Pillars 137 House gets its name from the original house, which had 137 pillars as the foundation. 100 years and a massive restoration later, the original house is now the library and restaurant of the hotel.

Chiang Mai honeymoon ideas

Chiang Mai honeymoon ideas

Chiang Mai honeymoon ideas

Chiang Mai honeymoon ideas

Our favorite thing to do in Chiang Mai was participating in the early morning alms in the old town. It’s when you hand out food and flowers to Buddhist monk novices before the day starts. The food they receive is what they will have to eat for the rest of the day, and it’s believed to be good karma to do! This is done every morning at around 5:30a-6a when monk novices leave their dorms to go to Buddhist school. Just take a tuk-tuk from Pillars 137 to get there, the drivers will know where to take you. There is a food market that opens early in the same area where you can buy the meals.

Once you start seeing the monks make their way to school, you will find they carry small baskets. As you approach them – wearing modest clothes and with your head down, they open the top of their baskets so you can put your alms in. Don’t touch them, they go through a purification process otherwise. After you place your offerings in the basket, they will say a prayer to you. You can just keep your head lower than theirs when this is done, or remove your shoes and kneel down like the locals do.

One of the most recommended things to do in Chiang Mai is to visit elephant reserves, and help the staff with day-to-day tasks like giving elephants a bath and feeding, as well as learn about these amazing creatures that are the icon of Thailand. They book several weeks to months in advance, so make a reservation asap! We can only recommend visiting camps with ethical practices about their animals, and Elephant Nature Park was where we tried going. These gentle giants aren’t meant for carrying people on their backs all day, so an easy way to filter out camps is by the photos they show and you will quickly pick up on what is a tourist trap and what is a serious elephant reserve (the same goes for other animal attractions like tigers, monkeys and cobras). Chiang Mai also has a large evening market that opens after 7p. Though not as large as Chatuchak in Bangkok, there are many things here you won’t find elsewhere. Visiting Wat Phra Doi Suthep and its famous steps is a must see!

Flying from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is a short hour long flight, and the best way to travel in Thailand if you’re short on time like we were. Traveling by train to Chiang Mai would take about 8 hours, a precious day or night of sleep! We found the best places for domestic flights to be Kayak and Air Asia, but Mr and Mrs Smith’s concierge can also help you find the cheapest flights online. The luggage policy on both airlines we flew – Air Asia and Thai Air – are similar to the ones in the US in terms of carry on. Checked bags are charged a fee depending on the size, but you can get a discounted rate when you book with the flights.

What to pack for Thailand:

1. A pair of light colored pants, for cooler days and flying.
2. Short shorts are a nono outside of a beach resort in Thailand, so pack longer length ones like these bermuda shorts.
3. A maxi dress can also be worn for visiting temples instead of pants, just bring a scarf in your purse to cover your shoulders
4. A flowy short dress for walking around town
5. Comfy walking shoes and sandals
6. A hat to protect from the scorching sun
7. A white shirt that goes with everything, including your maxi dress and 1-2 tops like this one
8. A bathing suit for the pool and if you’re headed to the beaches

Mr and Mrs Smith also offers a Just Married Pass that covers room upgrades on all hotels during your honeymoon and exclusive perks to pamper yourselves. They can help you set up a honeymoon registry and suggest must see places and must do activities that will keep your honeymoon off the beaten path.

Visit our Honeymoon and Southeast Asia Honeymoon boards on Pinterest for more, and be sure to check out Mr & Mrs Smith for your honeymoon! Next week we will share about our next stop, Chiang Mai + tips on what to pack and how we traveled domestically in Thailand.

Intimate West Village Wedding

Josh and Joyce knew right from the beginning that they wanted their special day to be intimate and low key. After finding the perfect venue at 632 on Hudson, everything else just seemed to fall into place. I love the rustic, art deco vibe of their whole wedding and couldn’t imagine anyone better than Ryan & Heidi Studio to capture it all perfectly.


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From the bride, Joyce: Josh and I always knew that what we wanted for our wedding was an awesome dinner party with a little wedding ceremony thrown in. No church, no banquet hall. We wanted something that felt warm and intimate.


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The first thing we had to do was book a venue, especially in New York City where the venues get booked well over a year in advance. I found our venue by hardcore stalking the wedding blogs. We looked at a few other spaces, but once we saw 632 on Hudson in person, we both knew the space was perfect for what we wanted. It is a superbly and intricately decorated three floor space in the West Village with a rustic art deco style. The heart of the townhouse is open all the way up to the ceiling with a gorgeous marble fireplace on the base floor and with the stairs to each floor overlooking the center space. Our family and friends surrounded us completely, filling up the space, while one of our closest friends officiated the ceremony. The catering company set up the dinner on a long wooden farm table and I got to get ready in a luscious art deco bridal suite.


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Because 632 on Hudson is already such a well finished space, we only had to bring in flowers to complete the look. Liza Lubell, of Peartree Flowers did a phenomenal job. She met me at the location to discuss exactly what we wanted and she really worked with me on the budget. She made a gorgeous, amazing smelling eucalyptus creation that worked its way up the stair banister, in addition to the big branches on either side of the fireplace, the table centerpieces, corsages, my bouquet, and flowers for my hair. Everything she created was perfect for the space.


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Emily Stengel was our coordinator with the catering company, The Cleaver Co. She went above and beyond to make our event special. Josh and I are both in the restaurant business and we love to cook so the food and beverage situation was extremely important to us. Not only does The Cleaver Co. encourage local and organic food and beverage ingredients, but Emily was a saving grace. Once she was on board, she organized the load in and load out times for all of the other vendors and saved me from much stress. She was there to answer any questions we had and she basically saved my life. I cannot say enough good things about her!


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And finally, our amazing and extremely talented and adorable photographers who are now married themselves! Ryan and Heidi Browne of Ryan & Heidi Studio take the best photos I have ever seen in my life! They also did our engagement photos and everything they do is gorgeous! They are so kind, easy to work with, and, simply, the type of people you want to be friends with too. Their photos are amazing and we are constantly showing them off to our family and friends.


View all images from this wedding in the gallery

Wedding location: West Village, NY / Photographer: Ryan & Heidi Studio / Flowers: Peartree Flowers / Venue: 632 on Hudson / Wedding Dress: Jenny Packham / Wedding Caterer: The Cleaver Co.






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California Redwoods Wedding

If you haven’t yet seen the Redwood forest of California in person, you absolutely must add it to your bucket list. For any of you who dream of marrying amongst the California Redwoods, it doesn’t get much better than Nestldown. Sun and Life Photography captured the wedding day of Kim and David, who blew us away with their incredible handmade reception.

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From the bride, Kimberly: When we got engaged, we were certain of one thing. We knew we wanted a wedding that highlighted both our personalities without being too obvious. Our goal was to have our guests arrive at our wedding and think “This could only be Kim and David’s wedding.” When it came time to choose our venue, all the sites we looked at felt too generic. Surely they could host nice weddings but we really didn’t have any strong feelings about them. Then came Nestldown. My mom went online and searched for local wedding venues and this was the first place that popped up. We rolled our eyes when she first showed us, mostly due to the fact that we had our mind set on a modest, personal wedding set in my parent’s backyard, but we thought we’d humor her and take a tour. As soon as we stepped on the property, we knew. A natural chapel created by California redwoods, a meadow for post-ceremony celebrations, and a gorgeous barn to finish the night in. We were sold.

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While planning, I kept thinking about the fact that I would only do this once. This day had to be exactly what we wanted, from my dress to the place cards to the flowers, because this is what we will remember forever. I’m a details kind of girl, so every little thing needed to be something that made us smile. My mom spent the months before the wedding cutting, sewing, and stenciling 180 flags, one for each guest to wave following our ceremony. My mother-in-law and I designed the table menus, place cards, and table numbers which combined with our gold china and vintage-inspired floral arrangements, provided the romantic, rustic feeling we had dreamed of.

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Any advice for couples planning their own weddings now? If you’re a bride planning your wedding and thinking about doing a First Look, do it. It was our favorite part of the day (and an awesome time saver for photos). Taking that time for just the two of us was priceless.

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View all images from this wedding in the gallery

Wedding Location: Campbell, CA / Photographer: Sun and Life Photography / Floral Design: Bloomster’s / Venue: Nestldown / Makeup: Ile Bailey Makeup Artist / Caterer: La Bocca Fina / DJ: Big Fun DJs / Photo Booth Equipment: Magnolia Photo Booth Co.

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