My new book Weddings Away is Taking Off! Thank you to my readers and reviewers for grabbing my destination wedding and parties book!

Weddings Away is FREE on Kindle Unlimited right now! Get it here.

Weddings Away cover

Wedding Themes: The Dolphin and Its Magical Symbolism

Destination weddings, beach weddings and summer weddings often feature island-style motifs for invitations, décor, programs, centerpiece accents and even wedding and shower favors. You’ll see palm trees, colorful fish, sandy beach scenes, starfish and seahorses. Now, a new design has emerged as a leader in wedding décor and themes: the dolphin.

So many brides and grooms dream of swimming with dolphins, and they might just pick their honeymoon spot because it affords them the dreamy opportunity to do so, either in open ocean waters or in a dolphin-swim attraction at a zoo or aquarium. Dolphins just make us happy. They’re smart, friendly, protective, and just bring a smile to your face.

But did you know that dolphins have symbolism, just like in the Language of Flowers where a white rose means innocence and purity? Cultures long ago ascribed symbols and meanings to animals, and the dolphin has a list of enduring meanings that could make your wedding or bridal shower theme extra-special to you.

Here are the symbols and meanings most commonly associated with dolphins:

  • Community
  • Compassion
  • Contentment
  • Friendship
  • Generosity
  • Gentleness
  • Grace
  • Harmony
  • Intelligence
  • Playfulness
  • Power
  • Protection
  • Renewal
  • Transcendence
  • Vibrance

The cultures that looked upon the dolphin with symbolic messaging embraced the idea that dolphins belong to both air and water, since they swim and also leap into the air. So they look upon the dolphin as living in two worlds at once, which is a mighty symbol for marriage: you live in the realm of your marriage, and you also live in your own personal realm. Soaring or majestically gliding in both.

Dolphins have been associated with deities of Roman and Greek culture, such as Poseidon (Greek)/ Neptune (Roman) with themes of strength, freedom and protection over the sea. For Eros(Greek)/ Cupid (Roman), the meanings are love, friendliness, playfulness, sensuality, desire, exploration, curiosity, attraction and joy.

Pirate lore, always a big draw for the islands, calls the dolphin as a symbol of protection, and some legends associate dolphins with mermaids. The dolphin, then, is quite a magical creature in legend, bringing with it a collection of good portents for your marriage. In modern times, we also associate dolphins with their friendliness, caring and generous spirit, even a healing presence – which you might find describes your partner and your partnership itself.

Wedding Book Giveaway! My Book “Weddings Away” for Your Destination Wedding, Girls’ Getaway and All Wedding Season Celebration Trips!

Time for a Wedding Giveaway! I’m Giving Away 3 signed copies of my new book Weddings Away

Weddings Away cover

This one is JUST for U.S. locations; sorry, no international sends right now, but we’re working on other giveaways coming up!

All you have to do is post a comment here, even a smiley-face, then say hi on Twitter @sharonnaylorwed. No tagging friends needed. We’re making this easy as pie! Deadline is 4/15/19.

Here’s the Amazon write-up for my book:

Now that you’ve said, “I do” to having a destination wedding, it’s time to make your fairy tale getaway celebration a reality!

Whether you’re planning an island wedding, overseas nuptials, or an intimate gathering in a beloved beach house or a charming village close to home, this invaluable guide from go-to wedding expert Sharon Naylor gives you all the information you need to make your magical day meaningful, memorable, and carefree—for you, and for your guests! You’ll discover:

*How to choose the right planner—and how to get the most out of your on-site wedding professionals

* Up-to-date wedding etiquette and planning tips from celebrity wedding planners and experts

* New ways to use social media accounts, blogs and apps for info-gathering and inspiration

* Invaluable advice for when it’s a destination wedding for out-of-town guests but not for the couple

*How to plan amazing and unforgettable destination wedding weekend outings and events

*Great ideas for getaway bachelor or bachelorette parties, as well as arranging a romantic pre-wedding escape for you to reconnect with your beloved before the big day!

* Must-have tips and to-dos for your destination wedding scouting trips

From navigating travel trends and social media to benefitting from little-known freebies, this comprehensive guide to planning your wedding from afar is brimming with information you won’t easily find anywhere else. Weddings Away has everything you need to keep your happily-ever-after stress-free and smooth sailing!

Good luck!

Did your Wedding Resort Really Do That Wedding?

Wedding cake

Sometimes I see some really dubious stuff out there in wedding world, and this one has my blood boiling.

While most bloggers and social media managers are entirely honorable and professional, sometimes there’s a bad egg out there…one that can wreck your wedding. Case in point: a destination wedding showcased on a resort’s blog, with the resort claiming this wedding to be the work of their own wedding team. Except it wasn’t. A wedding coordinator designed the gorgeous florals and tablescapes, the wedding planner’s team did a ton of work, and the wedding reception wasn’t at that resort at all. The ceremony was.

The blogger just said that it was all the resort’s work.

It’s easy to be fooled by such misguided marketing, and wind up with a wedding planning team that’s not half as talented as the experts who styled the wedding you saw.

So, here’s what I suggest: when you see a real wedding featured on a blog for any resort or venue, just Google the couple’s first names and ‘wedding’ and the location, and you’ll likely see blog posts done by the wedding planner, photographer, cake baker and all the other pros who worked that wedding. That’s where you’re going to see that the ceremony was at that resort, but the reception took place at a nearby restaurant. Those stunning tablescape photos you saw, and the background view, the elegance, the lighting — you’ll then know if it’s something that resort did, or can do at all.

Sorry to add an extra step to your research, but this one is important. Sometimes you have to cut into what you see, to see what’s really going on inside.

Fab Find! The Tilley Shantung Fedora — a Must for Your Honeymoon!

tilley fedora

I LOVE this Fedora! It’s eco-friendly, water-resistant, packs well and looks super-cute on me AND super-hot on my husband. We’ll be sharing it during our trip to Caneel Bay on St. John in a few weeks.

I’m often asked for suggestions on what couples should pack for their honeymoons, and this hat makes my Top Musts list! It’s SPF-protecting and with its subtle chin strap will stay on your head while you’re catamaraning or walking on a breezy beach. Hats are the in accessory right now, and this fedora is right on trend. I was blown away by how it looks completely different on me and on my husband, so this is definitely a fabulous hat to have on vacation. Here’s some more about it, from the Tilley website:

The S7 Tilley Shantung Fedora is designed with a medium brim and trimmed in a natty black and grey ribbon hatband. Created using paper made of pulp derived from rice stalks, our handwoven Japanese Shantung straw proves to be a smooth, durable and pliable material that provides maximum sun protection.


    • Insured  against loss
    • Excellent sun protection, rated UPF 50+
    • Repels rain
    • Ties on in the wind
    • Secret pocket
    • Three removable and washable sweatband pieces
    • Packable

Brim size: Front and Back: 2 ¼” Sides: 2 ½”
Weighs 3.5 oz.


    • Made from 100% shantung with a water resistant finish.
    • Shantung is a paper product from Japan made of pulp derived from rice stalks. The paper is created and then cut on a slitting machine and coiled into long lengths. The lengths are hand woven into a smooth, durable and pliable       material.
    • The fabrics of all Tilley Hats have been certified to block 98 percent of harmful UVA/UVB radiation and deliver an ultraviolet factor (UPF) of 50+, the maximum rating given.
    • You       still need SPF 30 sunscreen and sunglasses with UV filters!

World’s Best?



APPEARANCE AND COMFORT: To protect you from the sun and rain, Tilleys fit lower than other hats. This also tends to give one a rather dashing appearance! For your comfort, they’re held on by gravity, not painful pressure on your forehead. On a hot muggy day, you’ll especially appreciate this!


INSURED AGAINST LOSS: With your Hat, you’ll be provided with “The Straight-Shooter’s Statement of Loss of a Tilley Hat” insurance policy. The insurance is for two years, all perils, 50% deductible, and is not issued by Lloyds. We understand the anguish of losing this reliable companion, or of having your dog terminally gnaw it. Should that happen, we’ll replace your late, lamented Tilley at half the current catalogue price.


EXCELLENT SUN PROTECTION: The fabric of all Tilley Hats have been certified to block 98 percent of harmful UVA/UVB radiation and deliver an ultraviolet factor (UPF) of 50+, the maximum rating given.


REPELS RAIN: Yes, this Hat has been treated with a water resistant finish, but it is no sou’wester! The finish will probably give you enough protection to have time to find shelter, but shantung is not meant for a steady rain. We do, however, realize that Mother Nature can be unpredictable, so here are some tips on how to re-shape your Shantung Fedora if it does get caught in that downpour! Shantung is pliable, so while it is still wet, re-shape the brim with your hands and stuff the crown with tissue or a towel. Once dry, if you still have some creases use steam, or a damp cloth to smooth over. Try not to crush, or stuff your wet shantung Hat into a bag, etc. It will dry looking crushed! If that happens, simply wet the Hat again with a damp cloth, and follow the directions above.


TIES ON: The Tilley comes with a tuckaway, adjustable, fore ‘n’ aft Wind Cord. When it’s calm, the Wind Cord stays hidden in the crown. When there’s a breeze, place the part with the sliding knots behind your head. When it’s windy or you’re sailing, use the chin part too. Visit our Facebook page to watch the Tilley Hat Wind Cord tutorial.


HYDROFIL®. ANTI-SWEAT BAND: Soft and comfortable, it picks up sweat from your forehead and wicks it away to your temple area where it evaporates. The removable sweatband pieces can be hand washed in warm water and soap and air-dried. We provide 3 sweatbands for your convenience.


SECRET POCKET: Inside the crown is a good-sized pocket sealed with Velcro®. In it, carry your I.D., hotel key, $10 bill (in your case, a $20), plus 50¢ for an emergency phone call.


BRAG TAGS: There are 8 of these in the Secret Pocket. You’ll have fun with them; they can even get you into trouble, if you wish.


In my column, I’ve suggeted this hat not just as a honeymoon Must, but also as a terrific hat for the groom and groomsmen to wear at a beach or garden wedding! At $99, it’s upscale enough to make for a great gift for the guys!

tilley fedora 2

Fab Find! Loaded Questions Party Game

I LOVE these games! They’re instant fun for your wedding and bridal shower guests, when you place a few of these cards at each table…and imagine how much fun your guests staying at the hotel will have when they break out these game cards or the travel-sized game sets during ‘down time’ in the weekend, with other friends and family visiting their room for mingling, cocktails and room service snacks. An at-home after-party can turn into a game night as well.

If you’re planning a destination wedding, send your guests a travel-sized game, or a collection of cards from your extra board game that you’ve gotten (in addition to the game you’ll keep for yourselves!) so the long ride to your destination is filled with a fun activity. Guests sometimes carpool these days, so a few rounds with these cards will get you all playing along and laughing as the trip progresses.

Check out the website for Family & Party Games, and see their Adult version of this game, as well as their other games, and follow them on Twitter at @FamPartyGames!

Time for Your Caneel Bay Massage

And now…your Caneel Bay Massage Cabana break.

Calms you down just seeing this, doesn’t it? Whoever chose the Hawksnest Beach site for the massage cabanas should get an award. The view is spectacular, the sounds of the waves gentle and soothing, and the breeze that comes in to make your massage coverup sheet dance at the edges creates the loveliest feeling.

During your everyday life, you put yourself in the hands of so many different people…the person driving carpool, the person brewing your coffee, theweather personon the news. How welcome it is to find yourself in the hands of Caneel Bay’s very capable and sweet massage therapists. It is truly the best massage I’ve ever had, and I imagine that our many brides and grooms visiting for their destination weddings have found their pre-ceremony stress completely evaporated after an hour in the massage cabanas.

Afterwards, walking back to our room, my husband and I noticed the scents of the flowers growing on the trees far more than we did while walking to the cabanas. Every sense was heightened.

What did you love best about the massages you experienced at Caneel Bay? And for those who haven’t yet experienced open-air massages with us, let them know what they can look forward to….

Adding the Honey to Honeymoon

Just when you thought a honeymoon couldn’t get any sweeter….here comes Caneel with a brilliant new plan to bring local island honey into their cuisine and drinks (mmm, a honey and rum cocktail by the ocean!), as well as into their desserts, the gift shop, and especially their new spa and pampering treatments. Honey is so good for you! It’s a brilliant idea to share Caneel’s new, sweet tastes, especially because it supports the local beekeepers on the island of St. John! Caneel Bay wins for biggest-hearted resort, as well as most beautiful!

So when you go, be sure to post here what you loved about the new honey foods and desserts, cocktails, spa treatments, and what you found in the gift shop! I’m headed to Caneel in a few weeks, and I’ll share my favorite finds!