Probably every other piece of advice you’ll get on your honeymoon goes something like, “plan it together, stay within your budget, think about all-inclusive resorts or cruises or popular honeymoon destinations.” Wrong!
First of all, you hopefully know that the groom pays for the honeymoon. But a smart groom wants the honeymoon to be a romantic present for his bride and himself, and will take his bride where she has always dreamed. Besides, if you actually know each other and have enough common interests, that place will be somewhere the groom has always wanted to go, too. By the way, a strange but true piece of advice: don’t go somewhere one of you has been and the other hasn’t (except, maybe, if she went there as a child and has always wanted to go back). Believe it or not, that sets an awkward unbalanced tone: “oh, I want to show you this!” Huh? The only place you should be showing each other stuff is in the bedroom.
Just as you didn’t stay within your budget on the ring, and her father didn’t stay within his budget on the ceremony, why stay within your budget on the honeymoon? After all, you’re on vacation.
Use some imagination in your destination. A travel agent isn’t a bad idea, primarily because the agent may have some ideas you hadn’t considered; of course, the agent will also make any kind of travel complexities smoother. That will be a blessing because you will be tired.
Likewise, you may not want to spend a lot of your honeymoon on a plane if you have a week or less. Hawaii is a long way away, for instance, and Europe… well, don’t do that to yourselves. Europe is stressful; you don’t want to be yelling at each other like those loving couples on the show “The Amazing Race.”
Don’t feel obligated to spend every waking minute with each other. Let him go play golf while she goes to the spa, or the other way around. Let him sleep in while she takes a walk. In fact, you should work some alone time into the itinerary. After all, you’re on vacation. (Use this mantra often.) You should, by the way, plan on doing something. Go someplace where you can do things that you can’t in your hometown – and do them, but don't go out of your way to "create memories." Memories happen on their own.
Don’t necessarily go where every other honeymoon couple goes. You may be wise to avoid “The Top 25 Honeymoon Destinations.” They’re probably more expensive if they’ve made it onto the list anyway.
So, what’s left? Well, if you have to beach it and want to get far away, Belize has surprisingly low fares – usually lower costs and less time than to the Caribbean. Also, if you are planning your honeymoon anytime from November through January, you would be entranced by Costa Rica. On the other hand, there is Canada: the Vancouver area has some of the most romantic places and some of the best food on the continent; and few things beat the splendor of the Canadian Rockies. Lake Louise, in particular, is breathtaking.
Rustic places do seem more fitting for honeymoons, don’t they? How about Vermont for either biking or driving? Are you adventurous enough to set off without specific hotel reservations? Risky, but as long as both of you agree on it, why not just bop around New England until you find a little inn or B&B? (By the way, B&B’s or even VRBOs (Vacation Rentals by Owners, which is basically renting someone’s house or villa in a cool spot) are ipso facto more romantic than hotels, etc.)
On the other coast, the wine country of California can offer similar surprises and is the paragon of romance. Just make sure you hook into the bus trips that will take you to different wineries so you make it home from your honeymoon alive. Napa also happens to be half way between two other of the Earth’s most romantic places – Lake Tahoe and San Francisco. (Northern California has a lock on the highest concentration, by the way: besides Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, Russian River and Santa Ynez, which are the wine countries, there are Santa Cruz, Monterey and Carmel, south of San Fran, and, yes… Yosemite!
If you’re not going to be sipping wine day and night, you need to allow for a little indulgence on your honeymoon. You should do a little research and find one of the best and/or most expensive restaurants there is around your destination and go there. This little extravagance will be one of your fondest memories. After all, you’re on vacation, and it may be several years till you feel you can afford to take the chance with a truly fine restaurant.
So, whether you choose a trek through Europe, a relaxing cruise, or a quite stay at a Bed and Breakfast, just remember, your honeymoon is about getting to know your new spouse, starting your new life together, and having a great time!