• Welcome to our Blog!

    Planning a Wedding can be exciting, fun, and rewarding. It can also become time-consuming, stressful and overwhelming!

    We're here to help. Some of central Illinois' best wedding vendors and experts have come together at Bridal University to answer your questions, provide ideas and inspiration. We offer educational workshops based on our years of experience. What you learn in Bridal University workshops will help you avoid pitfalls, stay on track, and avoid stress.

Allerton Park Winter Wedding

Who says that winter weddings are ugly? Try telling this to Amy and Derek. Although the high for the day of their January was only 6° it did not dampen their spirits one iota. To see more from their gorgeous wedding follow this link: Amy + Derek

Ceremony/Reception: Allerton Park

Wedding Dress: Michelle’s Bridal

Allerton Park Mansion

Wedding Flower Ideas

A quick montage of photos from the creative minds of our friends at English Hedgerow florists. One of Central IL most outstanding wedding vendors. Photos by Mark Romine Photography

English Hedgerow Florists

Holy Cross Church, Champaign, IL

Tahiti and her Islands

Tahiti is a year-round destination, with tropical weather – outside of and inside the water – that averages 80 degrees Fahrenheit, year-round. The French Polynesian Islands enjoy one of the highest numbers of hours of sunshine per year in the world!

Situated south of the equator, the seasons in Tahiti are reversed. November to March is summer in Tahiti…warm, humid and often sunny. (aka rainy season) April to October is winter in Tahiti…typically warm and sunny.

Tahiti takes you back to a time of simple, natural beauty – where nothing is built taller than the tallest palm tree. Each of the islands has its own particular charms and character, and warm, friendly people.

You will discover some of the world’s best diving and snorkeling sites in lagoon waters with 150-foot visibility. Discover the underwater world from glass-bottomed boat, or while snorkeling in the coral gardens and fish preserves.

The islands are undisturbed with little commercialization. Stroll within the charming and peaceful villages, or enjoy touring one of the many working pearl farms.

There’s no better way to experience the French Polynesian Islands than while leisurely cruising on the m/s Paul Gauguin.
The Gauguin appeals to a wide variety of markets, from young honeymooners to couples celebrating a special anniversary, family reunions and travelers who have saved up for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to visit Tahiti and her islands.

The m/s Paul Gauguin underwent a 7 million-dollar refurbishment in January 2012. The ship features a beautiful décor and an atmosphere that is luxurious and relaxed. On board you will experience the highest guest to crew ratio in the industry, along with an award-winning chef, State-of-the-art retractable Watersports marina, La boutique duty free shop, Piano bar and Casino.

Guests will enjoy an inclusive lifestyle of all meals, complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages including fine wine and spirits, a fully stocked complimentary in-room refrigerator with soft drinks, beer, water and juices. And even your gratuity is included.

All staterooms and suites upon the m/s Paul Gauguin are oceanview, nearly 70% with balconies (highly recommended particularly for this type of small ship cruising.) All staterooms enjoy complimentary 24-hour room service, complimentary in-room dining and complimentary in-room movie channels and DVD’s.

Next to the breathtaking scenery that we enjoyed 24/7, what we enjoyed most about our experience was the ship experience itself. We were able to experience each island for a day and a half to two days on our leisure sailing schedule As the perfect size, by day two we knew the staff and they knew us by first name. And we felt like we knew half of the guests onboard by first name as well. Very intimate and FUN!!

The Paul Gauguin cruises are great for those that enjoy small group travel, yachting, authentic experiences, off-the-beaten-track locales and exclusive adventures. They offer a terrific product, excellent for luxury seekers, soft adventure/diving enthusiasts, small ship cruisers, those seeking a honeymoon/romance, celebrating milestone celebrations, multi-generational family groups, spa frequenters, gay and lesbians.

It takes 8 hours to fly between LAX and Papeete Tahiti – just a four hour time difference from those of us in the Midwest.
I highly recommend a pre-stay on one of the lovely islands such as (my favorite,) Moorea. Pre and post-cruise stays may be conveniently customized based on your air and cruise schedule.

Pacific Beachcomber (parent company of Paul Gauguin Cruiseline) is very excited about the acquisition of the m/v Tere Moana, the company’s second ship, which set sail under the Paul Gauguin Cruises banner in December 2012 after completing a multifaceted renovation. Accommodating just 90 guests, The Moana will specialize in warm-weather destinations, with an emphasis on delivering unique itineraries that larger ships cannot offer and exploring hidden ports throughout these regions.

What’s on your 2013 Bucket List?

It’s that time of year again! Time to get started on that bucket list for the new year. And time to carry over a few from this year’s bucket list that we couldn’t quite get around to, of course! Make your 2013 bucket list all about travel. Take this year to see the world and experience adventure while meeting new friends along the way. There are plenty of great cruises to choose from that are offering great deals this time of year!

The Royal Caribbean Southern Caribbean Cruise for 7  nights available January through April. On the Grandeur of the Seas Ship, Stopping in Colombia, Bonaire, Curaca, and Aruba!


There’s also the Carnival 7 day Western Caribbean Cruise on the Carnival Legend Ship Stopping in Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, and Grand Cayman. This cruise is available January to March at a very affordable price!






There are so many places to visit that will leave you speachless this new year. Get started making a bucket list of all the places you would like to visit and share it with us, we would love to hear which destinations you are most interested in. And if you   let us, we will get you there!

Island Bridal Travel

St. Joseph. Urbana. Springfield





Giving Tuesday

Still searching for a meaningful holiday gift for the “been there, done that” travelers on your list?

Want to give back to the people in the destinations that you travel?

Here are a few suggestions inspired by the #GivingTuesday charitable giving campaign.

·  Founded in 2008 as a way for travel bloggers to build community and give back to the places they visit, Passports with Purpose is dedicating this year’s fundraiser (which runs through Dec. 11) to building five wells in rural Haiti through Water.org. Each $10 donation gives you a chance to win prizes that include vacation packages, electronics and travel gear.



  • Retirees Mary Jean Necklin and her husband Kelley Rea created PACforKids.com as a way to help fellow travelers identify how, why, when and what gifts to give the needy children they encounter on their journeys. They’re among 15 sojourners chosen as National Geographic Traveler’s Travelers of the Year, an inaugural celebration of travelers who “explore the world with passion and purpose.”



·  As a travel company specializing in sub-Saharan Africa, Global Sojourns emphasizes small group adventures that “connect with people, places and traditions in an intimate, responsible and mutually respectful way.” Its charitable Giving Circle arm offers trips to grassroots projects that educate and empower children, particularly girls.



·  The Boston-based nonprofit organization United Planet offers trips in more than 40 countries to orphanages, schools and community projects. Travelers stay with host families; rates for short-term projects of one to 52 weeks start at $1,490 per person including lodging, meals, language lessons and cultural activities.

Island Bridal Travel

St. Joseph. Urbana. Springfield