Sunday, July 13, 2008

Destination Weddings on a Budget

Destination Weddings are now mainstream. Just as there has been an escalation in cost and extravagance for traditional weddings, we’re starting to see the same thing in destination weddings (driven particularly by celebrities and the wannabes).

Many couples, including us, were drawn to destination weddings because we wanted something less pretentious than a traditional wedding. We found destination weddings to be good value for the money. And they still can be.

We found this YouTube video from CBS’ Early Show on Destination Weddings on a Budget and thought it would be good viewing for our readers. In it, Julie Chen (the host) interviews Antonia van der Meer, editor of Modern Bridge magazine.

As a summary, Antonia van der Meer and Modern Bride profile three different locations that they think are still good values: Italy, Mexico and The Bahamas. We would certainly agree with the last two (probably why we got married in the Bahamas), but can’t fathom how anyone would think Italy is a good value right now. Don’t get us wrong, we LOVE Italy, but the exchange rate is absolutely punitive right now (and we travel to Europe frequently).

Now that we’ve imparted our advice, here is Antonia van der Meer and Modern Bride magazine on destination weddings:


Peanut Butter Jelly Man said...


July 8, 2008 --
A HANDSOME heir to the Lazard Freres banking fortune has declared war on the luxury Caribbean hotel where he was married - charging that his pregnant bride was manhandled by the manager, then beaten with a baton by a vicious security guard.
"We are planning on suing. You don't lay a hand on a pregnant lady, period. She was traumatized," Justin Lazard, a former Calvin Klein model and actor, fumed to Page Six after his tumultuous wedding to "Project Runway" contestant Shannon Fluet.
The lovebirds jetted to the Dominican Republic to tie the knot on June 4 at the Casa Colonial Beach & Spa Resort in Puerto Plata in front of 70 guests.
"We spent roughly $55,000 on the wedding, but disputed a $6,000 charge for a pool party with open bar that had to be canceled due to rain," Lazard said.
"The manager was unwilling to refund the money," Lazard said. "When confronted by my wife and called a thief, he retaliated by saying, 'Your wife is stupid,' grabbing her arm and muscling her toward the door. Seeing her seven weeks pregnant and in clear danger, I punched him in the face. A scuffle ensued, and we got in our car."
They found security men blocking the exit gate, where a "large" security guard began swinging a baton at Fluet, Lazard said, adding: "The next day, we went to a hospital and discovered her leg and arm were inflamed and she had water under the knee."
He says authorities originally wanted to arrest him and his bride but later issued warrants for the manager and a guard.
"We are planning to sue for $55 million for pain and suffering," Lazard, who's starred in "Universal Soldier: The Return" and "Species II," told us. "Casa Colonial is unrepentant, offering only shallow apologies and no financial restitution."
A call and e-mail to Epoque Hotels, parent of Casa Colonial, were not returned.

Peanut Butter Jelly Man said...

Pregnant wife beaten at Hotel Casa Colonial, DR by Justin F. Lazard

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic -- June 30, 08 -- Recently, I married my wife Shannon Fluet Lazard at a hotel called Casa Colonial in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. We spent roughly fifty-thousand US dollars on the wedding. When we went to the hotel to dispute a six thousand dollar charge for a pool party with open bar that had to be cancelled due to rain (the wedding contract had a 'Force Major' clause), the manager Luigi Di Ciaccio was stubborn and unwilling to refund the money. When confronted by my wife and called a thief, he retaliated by saying, "Your wife is stupid!", grabbing her arm and muscling her toward the door. Seeing my wife, seven weeks pregnant, in clear danger, I stepped to her defense, punching Luigi in the face. A scuffle ensued and, after an exchange of words, we left the hotel and got in our car. When faced with security blocking the gate, my wife became scarred and got out to open it. When she did so, a large security guard approached her with a wooden baton and began swinging at her. Panicked, I charged the car forward, forcing the guard to back off. Soon police arrived and, after a visit to the hospital, we found ourselves at the district attorney's office pleading our case. To no avail. It became imminently clear that we were amidst a cozy network of corrupt greed-mongers who were laughing diabolically as Shannon tried to tell her story. Needless to say, we got out of there and retreated to our apartment.

The next day, we hired a lawyer and went to file a grievance with the court for battered women, where we encountered another victim, a Dominican woman who'se husband had blackened her eye and bitten a chunk of flesh from her arm. I offered to pay for her representation and soon we were headed for our apartment. On the way, our lawyer, Milton Jimenez, received a call that Shannon and I were being sought for arrest. Shannon, understandably, panicked and insisted we go to the American embassy for asylum. I dropped her off, choosing to return home and face the authorities who I was warned would be waiting for me. There was no one there and I, along with the frightened Dominican woman, waited. Finally, after several very unpleasant hours, our friend returned to the apartment and told me he had driven Shannon, at the embassy's counsel, to the neighboring city of Santiago and checked her into a safe hotel.

The next day, we went to a reputable hospital and got a sonograph of Shannon's leg and arm which were enflamed and she had water under the knee. We returned to Puerto Plata and Shannon appeared on local radio and tv to tell her story. The next day, charges were suddenly dropped against us and the hotel began loosing reservations by the dozens. Currently, we are suing Casa Colonial for fifty-million dollars for pain and suffering (a sum that was laughed at but we feel is light considering the trauma incurred); the DA issued arrest warrants for Mr. Di Ciaccio and the guard, Mr. Minaya, who spent one night behind bars but has since been released. Luigi Di Ciaccio (who claims to be pals with the DR President Leonel) is still at large. Evidently, our case is trying to be squashed by local politicians, namely the DA Victor Mueses and the governor of Puerto Plata, Jose De Lo Santo Cesar (who happens to be cousins with one of the hotel's owners), and is no stranger to bribes. For over ten years he has refused to shut down two toxic electrical plants responsible for numerous illnesses and deaths in the area which have been extensively documented and proven.

As American citizens living abroad, we feel it is our duty to expose this horrid corruption and darkness and warn any travelers intending to visit the Dominican Republic to steer clear of the Hotel Casa Colonial and the entire region for that matter. We came to the Dominican Republic with the vision of building a life and extending help to those in need. Unfortunately, greed and political corruption seem to be stifling our efforts.

AFTERWORD: As of late, during our second meeting with Mueses, it was blatantly obvious he had been greased. The hotel's five lawyers disappeared upstairs with him for a secret conference, as we waited downstairs doing two more tv interviews about our nightmare. Outside, I met a livid supermarket owner from Santo Domingo who was raging about the corrupt polititians and vowing to spend his every last penny to shut them down. Finally, the sinister crew descended, looking chummy. In the end, Mueses was all ears for the opposition and unwilling to listen to our side or consider any of the evidence we presented to him; Casa Colonial was unrepentant, offering only shallow apologies and no financial restitution. Currently, a well-known and outspoken news personality, Jose Guttierez, is doing a story and the DR's uncompromising corruption-buster, Nuria, is very interested. Page 6 from the New York Post is running it as a lead story and others are following suit as well. There was also an anonymous attempt to buy off our lawyer for $6000.00 US dollars, which he refused. Additionally, one of the hotel owners even stooped as low as calling our lawyer's father (a prominent and influential local attorney) to urge him to get his son to drop the case, which he declined to do.

Contact: Justin and Shannon Lazard
tel: (917-532-3707)

Justice Force said...

THese are lies told by a liar who likes to expose himelf to children when he's not posting his own fake dath reports.