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The Best-Laid Plans, Or Honeymoons


When the once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon, isn't.

by Elisabeth Snell, Contributing Editor

The Best Laid Plans, Or Honeymoons | A Practical Wedding

I was so excited about our post-wedding getaway. So excited. Right after our September wedding clambake, we’d headed upstate to a little red farmhouse, and had a magical, quiet few days away. But this was the big, once-in-a-lifetime trip—two weeks on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast! I had a countdown on my phone that I looked at every day, and spent one entire night debating whether I should order aqua socks or waterproof sneakers for our hybrid land/sea adventures. (I went with the waterproof sneakers, because of pride.) When I got a cold a few days before our trip, I told myself it was fine; I’d recuperate on the beach and delay some of the more adventurous expeditions a few days. I had a sinus infection by the time we left, and the flight felt a bit like my head was in a waffle iron. But beach!

After a long, tense ride through foggy mountains, we knew we were getting close when we started glimpsing the ocean. We kept grinning at each other, imagining the little cottage that promised it was a five-minute walk to the beachy town. And then the van driver made a right turn off the winding main road, and started driving into the jungle, and kept driving, and then we hefted our suitcases to our shoulders and walked a long winding path until we arrived at our little cottage. Which was very cute, but very remote, very middle-of-the-jungle-feeling, and not a five-minute walk to town (or anywhere really). We rented sparkly pink beach cruisers, and that helped, but we couldn’t do anything about the 5:30pm sunsets, so we learned to hustle back in the afternoon and wind through the jungle before total darkness descended. Not exactly the long lazy oceanside evenings that we’d imagined, but K unearthed a tortilla press in the house, and I figured out that we could stream back episodes of Scandal with Spanish subtitles, and we both refrained from saying, “Um, we could have done this at home,” too many times.

And then my cold turned into double ear infections, and I realized that lying on the beach with throbbing ears isn’t much fun. Meanwhile, K was forced to play tour guide, since I don’t speak any Spanish (duolingo, I am coming for you in 2014), and handled all the money and conversations and most of the decisions—a power dynamic irritating to both of us. One afternoon, she looked a little peaked through her tan, and spiked a bad fever, shocking both of us since she generally has the health of Gaston. On the bright side, she did seem a little better when she woke up in the middle of the night, panicked that her eyes wouldn’t open. “K,” I said, in my best public health voice while I dumped Purell on my hands, “you have pink eye.”

The next morning we grimly headed to town to track down some pink eye ointment, and I glanced over and saw her miserably squinting while wobbling around on her sparkly pink beach cruiser, and that’s when we called it. Miraculously we were able to change our tickets without paying a huge fine, and headed back to New York early, where we had a few quiet days at home recovering from our getaway.

Was it completely terrible? No. We were just waxing romantic yesterday about the spicy crustacean stew we had at a funny little open air café right off a great beach, so good that we kept biking back multiple days in a row. We found a shallow eddy nearby where K practiced her recently-acquired swimming skills next to half a dozen tiny delighted swimmers doing the same thing, and I stood on the shore and cheered them all on.

But was it a romantic, memorable, once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon? No, and I think that’s the kind of thinking that doomed it to begin with. I felt so disappointed, both in the trip for being disappointing, and in myself for being disappointed, an utter Mobius strip of misery. I felt guilty that we’d spent all this money, guilty that we were privileged to have the luxury of a getaway at all yet couldn’t get out from behind the sickness ball in order to roll with the punches and appreciate it, even if it was not what we’d anticipated. I put such pressure on this trip to be The Trip, and in doing so, forgot key tenets of my personality: I am not a very good adventure traveler and I’m a little scared of the dark. So maybe a remote cottage in a pitch-black unfamiliar jungle wasn’t the best place to challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone? Plus, it was draining and ludicrous to travel as companions instead of romantic partners, to police ourselves and be careful not to hold hands or kiss during the very time meant to celebrate our new union. (But to be fair, it wasn’t ALL homophobia’s fault. PINK EYE.)

Ultimately, I should have remembered the mantra I repeated to myself during wedding planning: “It’s something, but it’s not everything.” I said it when K didn’t love the first go-round of her tailored suit, and I said it when my hair didn’t look quite how I anticipated, and I said it when I lost my first engagement ring. This was one trip in a long line of vacations that we’ll be lucky enough to take together, and we learned that we are great at facing adversity and pediatric ailments together in unfamiliar lands, and are each other’s best cheerleader during meltdowns.

Even though it wasn’t what we hoped for, I still believe that our timing was right. Delaying our getaway was absolutely right for us. We wouldn’t have been in the headspace to manage this particular trip just after our wedding, and it might have been even more of a letdown. (In fact, maybe we should have delayed even further, now that it’s snowing every 2.2 days in NYC. Winter was barely here in December, and no one felt quite so defeated by weather then.) But I feel even more grateful that we headed out right away to spend those first few days after the wedding decompressing at an upstate farmhouse (convinced in no small part by the APW book).

What are you doing, and when, if you’re doing something honeymoon-ish at all? Did you find the right balance between something new and exciting, and something that didn’t feel too overwhelming? And if you have any suggestions for where a semi-unadventurous traveler should go, once we save up enough to call a do-over—leave ’em here.

Photo from Elisabeth’s personal collection.

Elisabeth Snell

Elisabeth is an MPH working in public health in New York City. Her old okcupid profile said she’s really good at: fixing socially awkward situations at parties, return trips to Ikea, whipping up excellent mac and cheese on camping trips, leaping into the ocean, being chronically late, and having Friday night adventures all over Brooklyn. In September 2013, she married her introverted, punctual K.

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  • http://www.therewm.com/ Rachel W. Miller

    I am all about delaying the big honeymoon! I posted this on my personal blog yesterday, but I was totally unprepared for how sad I’d feel after our wedding and saying good-bye to our friends and family. I am SO glad that we did something small, close to home, and affordable.

    That said, now that the honeymoon is over (heh) and I’m feeling less emo about the wedding being over, I’ve been getting excited about planning a big trip at some point! (This time of year, no matter the weather, just always gives me wanderlust.) We’re road trip people and we’re thinking about doing a trip from TX up through New Mexico; I’m thinking it will be 2015 before it happens, which is fine. Oh, and staying in a tree house resort is on the bucket list too!

    • Jenna

      Tree house resort!? Please, tell me more!

      • Sara Goodwin

        Here is one that’s near where I live: http://www.treehousepoint.com/
        Wanted to do our wedding there, but it was too expensive, so we might spend our wedding night there instead. :)

  • C

    I love this piece! It’s so true that we put so much pressure on our honeymoons to be The Trip. Mine was nice and all, but there are trips with my partner both before and after the wedding that I’ve loved more (not to mention trips by myself or with other people). I think a lot of people I know feel the same way–their honeymoon was fun, but not necessarily nonstop-rainbows-and-glitter-and-warm-fuzzy-love or the trip of a lifetime.

    Also, let’s get it out there that it’s totally normal to fight on your honeymoon. We had one or two little squabbles (we went right after the wedding, so we were tired and maybe feeling a little intense at times) and they didn’t ruin the whole trip, didn’t foreshadow a disastrous marriage, and didn’t meant that we weren’t compatible. I remember how liberating it felt when a friend “confessed” that she, too, had argued on her honeymoon.

    It’s just a vacation. It might not be the best vacation you ever take; it might even be the worst. Just as a wedding isn’t the same thing as a marriage, neither is a honeymoon.

  • Dani

    We’re planning on adventuring through Iceland for our honeymoon! We’re pretty adventurous people, so we plan on hiking and backpacking for the majority of the trip but leaving a few days in Reykjavik to relax. We’ve been getting some really funny responses when we tell people the location, anything from “but why not a warm beach?” to “…where is Iceland?” We plan on climbing volcanoes, whale, seal, and puffin watching, checking out small towns, visiting a rather interesting museum, going to geothermal beaches, buying wool sweaters (yeah, we have a special wool sweater fund), and eating a ton of seafood, including the infamous fermented shark. If you’re into seafood (and mutton), it looks like Iceland is pretty choice! Plus, the country is absolutely stunning. I would suggest Iceland as a place for even the not-so adventurous, because you can stay in Reykjavik, maybe take the Golden Circle trip, visit Blue Lagoon, and check out their amazing museums. It’s different, not a typical honeymoon location, but hey, different is a good thing!

    • Jessica

      We just went over Thanksgiving–and loved it so much we are considering going back for our honeymoon! I wholeheartedly second this recommendation. Glacier hiking was hands down the most incredible thing I’ve ever done & seen. We have adventurous spirits but get exhausted easily so we would do one major thing per day and then hunker down with take out and a bottle of wine in our hostel every night.

    • tripthelight

      YES! We decided we wanted to go to Iceland for our honeymoon long before we even started talking about marriage for all of the awesome reasons you listed. I hope you have a wonderful time :)

    • artfulword

      Ooh, this is exactly what I’m hoping to convince my Fiance to do! We won’t be going for our honeymoon until about a year after the wedding (silly immigration timelines) so I have a lot of time to convince him.

    • Jessica LK

      I LOVED LOVED Iceland, it’s absolutely one of my favorite places, it really is other-worldly. I recommend it to anyone who will listen. And I agree with Stephanie, glacier climbing is an incredible experience! Have such a great time!

    • jashshea

      Third vote for glacier climbing! Whenever/wherever possible.

    • C

      We couldn’t swing Iceland for our honeymoon, but went last spring. What a cool country! I loved glacier hiking, soaking in the hot springs and city pools, and even walking around Reykjavik.

      One recommendation: nearly every town seems to have a municipal pool with lots of geothermal-heated hot tubs, and going to them is a national pastime. We visited a few and loved them. It was a cheap and relaxing way to partake in local life, particularly when we were drained from a long day of travel or touring. Particularly on our first day there (when we were jetlagged and exhausted) the pool helped us experience Iceland without needing much energy to do so.

    • Anne

      When you get back, please write about your honeymoon! Sounds like a thrill:)

    • Jenni Kissinger

      Yay Iceland! I went there for a conference last year and it was amazing. My fiance and I want to visit there together sooo much. If you’re going during the non-summer months, make sure to have your hotel call your room in case of aurora!

      The fermented shark is not that bad, the chaser is almost worst. Also, whale is delicious. #pleasedontjudgeme

    • KH_Tas

      WOW
      My only problem is that I’m vegetarian and they appear to have a meat-heavy cuisine. I wonder if my ‘go to France’ plan (eat bread products and dessert for every meal) would work in Iceland as well?

      • C

        It’s totally possible to eat vegetarian there (but not always the most exciting)! There are a few places in Reykjavik to choose from (check out HappyCow), we ate at a really nice place one night that had a few vegetarian options (http://www.laekjarbrekka.is/menus/menu) – the Icelandic Barley was delicious. Everywhere else was the usually bread/cheese options but that’s sometimes just the way traveling works I guess!

    • Iz

      We went to Iceland for our honeymoon! We got some strange reactions too, but we’re not beach vacation types and it was somewhere both of us had always wanted to go. And it was amazing! Enjoy :)

    • Sara Goodwin

      Iceland is our idea too, but for our anniversary vacation or something. We’re going to be doing a road trip in the U.S. right after the wedding, since I don’t have the energy to plan an international trip while we’re planning the wedding.. but seriously Iceland looks AWESOME and we love to hike/backpack, so it’s ideal for us.

      But yeah, we have had several people make comments on “Iceland? Why not Mexico? Why wouldn’t you want to go to a tropical country for your honeymoon?” Sigh.

    • Jen

      Yay Iceland! Been twice, and gearing up a third time to go in June, and we’re getting married there! If I could only speak the language I’d move there like a shot!

    • Caitlyn H-M

      We’re leavIng for our delayed honemoon in Iceland in three weeks! It will be less backpacking and more driving, but I am so excited! I mean, volcanoes and glaciers in one spot?? Amazing.

  • Emily

    We are getting married in September but because of school and working at a school we are pushing our Honeymoon to December and are just renting a beach house from a friend for the 2 days post-wedding. We have both done a good bit of traveling and so we’re both aware this won’t be The Trip, because it’s not Thailand (the only place we both want to go that neither of us have been to…but hello, $4000 for plane tickets) and really any trip you give capital letters to is somehow disappointing.
    As for good destinations you may want to consider: Puerto Rico is perhaps my favorite easy vacation spot. Good food, decent prices, and can have both beach days and city days, plus no passport/customs issues. Belize is a little more extravagant but WORTH IT (plus they speak English). I stayed at jaguar reef resort outside of Dangriga and would marry it, if I wasn’t promised to someone else!

  • Stephanie B.

    We waited for 2 weeks after the wedding to go on a honeymoon. Under the best of circumstances, getting us ready for a vacation involves a lot of planning and lists and revision of lists and revision of planning and my husband deciding he should repair the backyard fence before we leave, just in case it might collapse while we’re gone (true story). So there was no way we could go from the incredible amount of energy and focus it took to plan the wedding, to being ready to leave for a honeymoon right away. We could plan one thing, but not two.

    And it was absolutely the right call for us, because it gave us time to
    decompress and relax (we did take a couple of days off after the
    wedding, thanks to APW’s suggestion) before we started planning and
    making lists and revising the lists and revising the planning, etc.

    (Also,
    there were a LOT of unforseen events around and at the wedding that
    were extremely disappointing. In the moment, I just rolled with them,
    and we got married and that was wonderful, but in the days that followed
    the wedding, I was angry and sad about what had happened, and I had a
    hard time letting go of those feelings. I wouldn’t have wanted to leave for
    our honeymoon right away, while I was still a little ball of sad anger,
    and let it color our honeymoon. But 2 weeks later, when we left for our
    honeymoon, I had worked through a lot of my feelings, and it wasn’t at the forefront of my thoughts anymore, and I was just ready to head for the hills of California and relax.)

    • Stephanie B.

      (That’s really strange formatting on those last 2 paragraphs — sorry about that!)

  • Margaret

    This is beautiful, and speaks to me so much. We suffered a similar hellish vacation. Long story short, I got seasick, we had to cancel the cruise and stay in a hotel for a week, where our water went out and I got food poisoning. It was not ideal in any way; in fact, it really really sucked. But he proposed, and that was the whole point, right? But still: guilt, so much guilt.

    For our honeymoon, we stuck to the safe areas. 3 days in a B&B in Napa Valley (thank you, APW book!) and then 4 days in San Fran. Decompress, explore, go home. That was perfect for us, and we plan to implement it for future vacations.

    We’ve found several fun locations that allow us to do that. NYC, Boston, Seattle, etc. Just about every major city has a plethora of B&Bs off the beaten track. I would highly recommend it, if that appeals to you at all. Good luck!

  • Sara W

    We went to Maine (from Michigan) for a week the day after the wedding. A bit stressful to deal with plane travel, but no passport was required. We rented a car and drove up the coast, planning our stops a day or two in advance. It worked out to the perfect amount of adventure (hiking in Acadia National Park! spending an afternoon on a windjammer!) and relaxing (breakfast on our balcony at a B&B, eating lobster every day but one). While some of our plans didn’t work out, we kept telling ourselves that there was no bad option. Can’t go canoeing because it is too windy? Let’s go out on a sailboat instead! Having that flexibility decreased the stress, which I in no way wanted to deal with right after the wedding.
    My recommendation for a semi-unadventurous traveler would be to go to the UK. Same language (generally), but enough different to really *feel* like a different place.

    • Kelly

      Another Michigander here going to Maine for her honeymoon :)

      Glad to hear you guys had an adventurous AND relaxing time – we’re hoping for a similar experience.

    • Elisabeth S.

      I’m utterly biased, but Maine as a honeymoon destination sounds pretty much perfect.

  • Victwa

    We went off for two LOVELY nights in Ojai immediately following the wedding, and because they were the first completely child-free nights we had experienced since the birth of the one-year old, it was fabulous. Plus, we got to go on a 6 hour run without worrying about child care (fun for us) and then just sleep (well, among other activities, but really, uninterrupted sleep is awesome). Then we picked up the three kiddos and went to Bear Valley for five days. Traveling with children means you are never able to labor under the delusion that you are going to have a perfect trip. Kids make it very clear that your vision of the perfect trip is not their version, so that kept everything nice and real. However, being in the mountains, with a swimming lake nearby, and a hot tub at the cabin– well, it was pretty awesome, if not the Most Romantic Vacation Ever.

  • Jess

    Tofino BC! We can’t go to far because of budget, but it’s stunningly beautiful with activities like hot springs, whale-watching, sea kayaking, and beach time! We think it’s the right balance of things to do and downtime.

  • Sarah

    We couldn’t take much time off after the wedding because of work, but we did take one day to sleep in, cuddle, visit the art museum, and have a quiet dinner. I went through a lot of “wait… you AREN’T going to Hawaii??!” questions, but it just wasn’t in the cards for a variety of reasons. Now, we’re planning a road trip to the Smoky Mountains and Bonnaroo music fest, which will definitely be a once-in-a-lifetime trip for us. People are still shocked that we’re not going to Hawaii, but I figure we can go to Hawaii when we’re old! I’ll only want to camp in a field with thousands of strangers for so long.

  • Jessica LK

    We’re headed on our Morocco honeymoon the Monday after our Saturday wedding. We would have rather delayed it, given he’s flying in the wednesday before from Europe (to LA), and turning around in less than a week for the honeymoon, but it was either that or wait several months and have to change our destination. I’m more than nervous about this. So, we’re just going for it, hoping for the best! We’re super adventurous, and this will be our 5th time in Africa and travel a fair amount, having spent 5 months sweating around South East Asia last year (I didn’t know a person could sweat so much-hello, heat sickness) during the hottest part of the year, so we’re hoping we can hack it, jet lag be dammed! But since travel is SO much a part of our relationship we allocated our funds this way 50%: Wedding 50%: Honeymoon, so we have decently high expectations. So trying not to stress too much about it going as planned, since, well, it never does!

    • Ally

      Good. Ratio.

  • Erin E

    So nice to read you again, Elisabeth – I miss your updates!

    Thank you for this piece, even though it scares me. We have done a similar “delayed honeymoon” and it’s a pretty big trip. The first time my husband will have traveled internationally (something I have done and loved for years and years). So there’s pressure to have the most romantic, amazing trip ever and there’s pressure for him to love travel like I do. I think/hope, though, that my travel skills will kick in while we’re there… the ones that you glean from sleeping in airports and dealing with cancelled trains… I think I’ll be able to switch into that travel mode of “roll with the punches” and hopefully guide him to that place as well. Definitely good practice for dealing with unexpected life events, though!

    And another vote to the “take a few days off right after the wedding” camp. I don’t know how I would have survived without that. By the week of my wedding, I was looking forward to those few days more than the wedding itself and they were 100% necessary. They allowed me to regroup and refill the store of introvert energy that I’d completely used up at the wedding itself!

  • LM

    We went to France the day after our wedding and it was great. I am usually a big planner for vacations, but did not do much for this trip apart from setting up places to stay. After weeks of running around and getting everything ready for the wedding, it felt so liberating to have nothing that we HAD to do. The first few days I felt a little angsty that we should be doing the ‘right’ stuff, but we fell into a nice routine of walking/museuming/eating/resting and had a great time. On a related positive note, I hate flying and being so busy with wedding stuff meant I had no time to dread the flight beforehand, and so I felt much less anxious.

    • Lindsey d.

      I’m hoping for this experience. We leave for Barcelona two days after the wedding and are barely planning a thing. I usually overplan/overschedule and kill myself/us trying to DO IT ALL.

  • jashshea

    Oh no – What a vacation bummer! Forget your honeymoon, no one wants to be sick away from home. Here’s to healthier adventures in the future!

    We did A Big Trip (TM) for the honeymoon as well: 5 days in Fiji followed by 15 in New Zealand (with, of course 2.5 days of travel squeezed in there as well). We figured if we were going that far and paying that much for plane tickets, we were going to make it worthwhile. We left Tuesday after our Saturday wedding which gave us decompression/laundry time at home. After 6 hours from the east coast to LAX, then 11+ hours to Fiji, and THEN a 5.5 hour boat ride, we arrived in the middle of nowhere. We stayed at a tiny (11 cabin) all-inclusive and cycled from eating to sleeping to lounging to reading for the bulk of the days. Mostly from a hammock. It was wonderful, because we were All Systems: Go once we hit New Zealand, hitting 11 cities in 15 days and still feeling like we’d barely scratched the surface.

    DISCLAIMER: We’d also done several other long trips with one another, so we knew this was something we could handle individually and together. Like you said, Elisabeth, it’s really about knowing yourself and your partner and what works for both of you. My husband hates beaches and sitting still, but even he couldn’t deny how wonderful it was to be in a stunning/remote location after the wedding insanity.

    • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck Winokur

      If you don’t mind my asking, where in Fiji did you guys stay and how did you like it?

      • jashshea

        Nanuya Island Resort in the Yasawa Islands: http://www.nanuyafiji.com/

        It was amazing. It’s a wee tiny place: 4 beach front cottages and 8 treetop bures (not like tree houses, but above the tree line). It’s painfully beautiful and relaxing. The food was outstanding: fresh fruits and veggies paired with fish/chicken/beef. Wish my place of work didn’t block everything or I’d link to pix of the food and the location. Cell phones didn’t work and they had limited wifi in the open air lobby, but I didn’t turn my phone on once.

        I didn’t cry before, during, or after our wedding. I cried when I had to leave this place.

        • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck Winokur

          It sounds amazing!! And, if it brought you to tears, I feel like I have to go ; ).

          • jashshea

            HA! I was hoping you wouldn’t think I was being hyperbolic. It was so lovely to have that time to decompress and not be anything but newlyweds. Through my tears, I made him promise that we’d come back. Highly manipulative if I do say so myself :)

          • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck Winokur

            Hahaha, no, I think I have small glimpse into what you mean. I was actually kind of emotional leaving Uruguay because it was just SO nice to get away from Venezuela and do normal stuff (walking around, using our smartphones, BIKING!!). We were both pretty bummed to have to come back. Anyways, I’m totally stalking Nanuya Resort on Tripadvisor right now :-).

        • Elisabeth S.

          This. This is what I wanted. Taking rapid-fire notes.

  • Katriel

    My unadventurous parents loved their trips to Belize and South Africa. In Belize they stayed at Ambergris Caye and Punta Gorda. In SA (where my mom grew up, but my dad’s never been) they went to Durban, Capetown, Westville and a few other places. They did cool nature hikes and safaris as well as took advantage of opportunities to see local culture.

  • Granola

    I haven’t even finished yet and I just wanted to give you an internet hug. My husband and I also went to Costa Rica for our honeymoon and damn near changed our flights to come home early. It was the tail end of low season, and our apartment was near NOTHING. No restaurants or stores and you could walk along the beach for a mile to the tourist town, but you couldn’t get back after 4pm because the water taxis to take you across the gator-infested inlet left for the evening. And then it rained, and by rained I mean a torrential downpour for 3 straight days, during which we had very little food and I scraped together a salad, the ingredients of which I bought off the back of a pickup truck functioning as a mobile farmers’ market. We played a lot of risk on my tablet in our one-room apartment.

    Then, just when the weather cleared, we drove 2 hours inland to go on a beautiful hike because it was the one thing we had planned, and then when we got there, it had been ruined by too much rain. So then we immediately drove home only for it to be raining again.

    That was the point at which I pulled myself out of my grieving haze, said fuck it, and told my husband to pack up our stuff and help me walk to the nicest hotel we could find. So, smelling of mildew and despair, I walked up to the counter and they graciously made no mention of our state and booked us a room. Whereby we spent the next 18 hours in air conditioning getting drunk on margaritas.

    TL;DR – I don’t get to plan honeymoons anymore. You are not alone. We should definitely share high fives when we go on our next great trip.

    • Allieoop

      We also went to Costa Rica for our honeymoon, and it wasn’t the amazing trip I had hoped it would be either. While we didn’t have a terrible time overall, we were robbed when our rental car was broken into in the middle of the trip. Funnily enough, when your honeymoon is only so-so, the “hey, we got robbed” story is really nice distraction when everyone asks about your trip. In retrospect, of course.

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/DIYIDo Laura

    We did an all inclusive resort in Cancun, Mexico for our honeymoon and actually had a kind of similar experience of it just not being the greatest vacation ever that honeymoons tend to get hyped up to be. But it was a lovely honeymoon and a lovely vacation, with some pros, cons and lessons learned. So here’s what worked for us in the hopes it may help others planning.

    Worked:
    – Giving ourselves lots of time to get to the airport. We were able to sleep in the morning after the wedding and leisurely take swap out wedding overnight bags for vacation suitcases before driving to the airport. Having lots of time = not having lots of stress.
    – Booking an all inclusive resort. It was not the most exciting/amazing vacation ever, but it WAS practically zero planning. All we had to worry about was getting on the plane and going.
    – Booking transportation from the airport to our resort and then back again. This was such a good call you guys. I had considered just waiting, assuming we could get a cab or something for cheaper, but it was really not very expensive, and there was a guy waiting for us with our names on a sign. Again, no stress.
    – Coming back Friday instead of Saturday or Sunday. We both had to work on Monday, and coming back Sunday would have been awful (goodbye sandy beaches, hello desk job). Even Saturday probably wouldn’t have been enough time for us. Coming back Friday gave us all day Saturday and Sunday to gently adjust to reality.

    Ultimately the disappointing parts of the vacation just boiled down to personal preference and that Cancun didn’t quite fit with our likes and dislikes. These were the cons of our trip:
    – Real Mexican food does not taste like anything they serve in America. I mean, obviously Taco Bell is not real Mexican food, but I had assumed that the nice Mexican restaurants that we have been to are pretty darn close. News flash, they’re not. We found the food to be very different from what we expected, and it turns out that while we love Mexican food around our house, we’re not so fond of the real deal.
    – Montezuma’s revenge will get you no matter how careful you are. It just will. We drank almost exclusively bottled water or alcoholic drinks, but we both got hit with mild “episodes” during our stay, and by the end of the week our digestive systems had definitely had it.
    – Cancun is super touristy. Again, we had a great vacation, it just wasn’t quite our cup of tea.

    So overall, it was a super relaxing, stress-free honeymoon, which was exactly what we needed after the wedding. It wasn’t our favorite destination, and we probably won’t ever go back to Cancun, but we learned a lot about what we like and don’t like from the experience, and will look forward to trying something new on our next trip!

  • Laura C

    Oh, gawd. We spend last weekend honeymoon planning and this is so terrifying to read. We know we are Doing It Wrong, but for work reasons, we have to either leave for our honeymoon pretty much immediately or delay a full year, and I am just hoping neither of us is sick (as A was during our last vacation) and I am not an exhausted wreck (he’ll be reasonably well rested; sleeping is one of his super powers). Luckily, our parents collectively had, and were willing to use, enough frequent flyer miles to get us business class seats (yay for maybe being able to sleep on our overnight flight there), and we had enough Starwood points to get a really nice hotel in one of the three cities we’re visiting, which frees up some money to be sure we can get pretty good hotels in the other two. Which is good, because while I don’t particularly want huge luxury, I’m not good at lumpy pillows etc, either. Which reminds me, I need to find a travel pillow I can live with just in case.

    I’m hopeful about the balance between exciting and not too overwhelming, though: I’ve been to two of the three cities and A has probably been to all of them at some point in his life, and in fact lived in Paris for a year as a child. So there’s something new for me which is also something he hasn’t done as an adult, but we’re also going to his favorite city. I’m also super, super excited for the amazing availability of gluten-free food in Europe. I may need to eat like five meals a day to get to everything I’ve read about online that I just have to try.

    • C

      Don’t be scared! Your plans sound terrific. I think the point of this discussion is to remind us all to take the pressure off of The Trip and roll with the punches if things don’t go as planned. That doesn’t mean that you won’t have a wonderful time together, relaxing and luxuriating in a just-you-two time to celebrate your marriage. We left on our honeymoon five hours after the wedding ended, and had a great time. We just made sure that the more relaxing activities were at the beginning of the trip.

      • Laura C

        You’re right, of course. I’m channeling my own concern about not getting a few days to just relax, and my worry that I may be an exhausted mess on my first trip to Europe in well over a decade, but when it came down to it, I just couldn’t bring myself to ask for that extra time off work. I think my expectations are in check, though? Anyway, I have enough specific worries that I’m pretty sure I’m not thinking it’s going to be perfect…

  • Sonora Webster

    The anticipation is usually half the fun of any vacation for me, but it can also be a recipe for disaster when the real thing doesn’t live up to what you have been imagining. Also, presumably, true for all aspects of wedding planning!
    I have finally managed to talk my fiance out of a giant multi-stop trip through Argentina for our honeymoon. We are pretty good international travelers, and we will definitely still go at some point. But it feels like too much to deal with right after the wedding. I think I, the introvert in our partnership, am just going to need to sit on a beach for a while to decompress post-wedding. Sort of a glamorous sensory deprivation situation!

    • M.

      This is our plan too. We’ve both traveled a lot internationally and have a list a mile long of the next place, but after 9 months of what feels like non-stop wedding? BEACH PLEASE. At this point, the wedding is a blip on my radar and the honeymoon the next day is a huge shining beacon of rest.

      • jashshea

        LOL at Beach Please. Also, Sonora, can I come to Argentina with you guys? I’m a great travel planner and am good at drinking wine.

        • Sonora Webster

          Absolutely! How are your tango skillz?

          • jashshea

            Never tango’d, but what better place to learn, right?

  • Kayjayoh

    Our plan involves going up to northern Wisconsin the day after the wedding, and staying for most of the week in a rented cottage with some of our dear friends. In January or February, we have a hazy plan to go sailing in Thailand, but that is still too far out on the horizon to really put real plans firmly in place.

    • Kayjayoh

      And frankly, if the sailing trip doesn’t happen, I’m ok with that. At this point, I am more excited about northern WI with friends than anything else.

      • Elisabeth S.

        I really love the idea of spending time post-wedding with your friends. We entertained this idea for a minute when it looked like we might rent out a camp for the wedding. Ultimately it was too complicated and expensive but I just loved the idea of a few lazy days post event with my dearest people.

        • Kayjayoh

          In a way, it will be a continuation of one bit of the wedding: two of the people coming with us are a couple who have been friends of mine so long they are practically family (he was my first roommate, she will be the officiant, I am the godmother of one of their children) and the other two are a couple who are almost the same for my fiance. One set of friends from WI, one set from MA, together in a cabin for a week. In a way, it will help finish the foundations of a bridge, having our far flung friends become friends with each other.

  • Meghan

    Oh gosh, I totally know what you mean about building up a trip or experience to be so big and putting so much pressure on it.
    We went to Tulum, Mexico for our honeymoon, and it turned out to be perfect for us. We had our wedding on a Saturday and left on Tuesday for Tulum for a week. We had hoped to go to Thailand for our honeymoon, but by the time we started making those plans, we realized that we were going to be exhausted after the wedding. I was disappointed at first that we weren’t taking “better” advantage of our time off and the money we were spending to go on the biggest adventure, but we ended up going to an all inclusive place, and it was perfect. No decisions other than beach or pool and what drinks and food to order. We picked some place small and it also happened to be practically empty. so, it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. It’s not the kind of vacation we would normally take because we usually like to be more adventurous and active, but it was just what we needed to relax and recover after the wedding.
    A couple of years later we saved up for a more adventurous trip to Nicaragua, and we had a lot more energy to plan and enjoy adventures than if we had done something like that after the wedding.

  • Rebekah

    Getting married in Phoenix, where I originated, and spending a few days there unwinding, hiking, getting massages, taking in the sun (but not too much because I’m Midwestern-stock PALE). Then 3 weeks later we’re heading up to Sonoma (we’re in the mid-Bay Area) for some wine, cheese, olive oil, and massages on a long weekend. I really like that we can have 2 kinds of trips with 2 locations and activity banks while not blowing my vacation days from work. I do regret not taking one large trip to a farther-away location, but there will be time for that in the future.

  • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck Winokur

    We just got back from a weeklong trip to Uruguay, a country I cannot recommend enough. The people there were the absolute nicest and most helpful I have ever met, and I would go back and stay for a few months if I could. We did a few days in Montevideo and a few in a tiny little beach town down the coast, Jose Ignacio. Looking back, we probably could have just stopped in Montevideo briefly, since the historical stuff there is pretty minimal. We did take an awesome wine tour just outside the city, which was so, so fun. We stayed at a tiny inn in Jose Ignacio that lent out bikes for you to ride into the itty-bitty town there and had the best time biking all over, laying around at the beach, and eating at one of the best restaurants in Latin America. Next time we might stay in La Barra, the next town over which is a little more lively, but Jose Ignacio was incredibly beautiful and relaxing. I seriously cannot say enough good things about our trip–it was the perfect respite from how nuts things have been in Caracas recently.

    • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck Winokur

      Also, I totally had one of those “oh, fuck” moments when we got off the bus from Montevideo in Jose Ignacio. According to Google Maps, our inn was supposed to be just across the two lane highway from the bus stop, so I figured (I planned this whole thing) we’d just walk 20 yards and be there. Nope, not the case. Almost an hour later, after walking back and forth along the highway in the afternoon heat with all our luggage, we still hadn’t found the side street for our hotel. Finally, we break into a private estate and are promptly stopped by security guards asking where we think we’re headed. Luckily, everyone is so damn friendly that when we explained how lost we were, they called our hotel so someone could come pick us up off the side of the road. Three motorcycle trips later (that was all the innkeeper had with him at the time), we made it.

      • MisterEHolmes

        What a great story that makes, though!

        • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck Winokur

          Definitely. And now I I have a badass picture of me riding a motorcycle in Uruguay.

          • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck Winokur

            Said picture.

  • http://www.smittenchickens.com/ Sarah Hoppes

    We were supposed to spend our honeymoon in NOLA, but our pilot quit. I didn’t realize that was even something that could happen, but it did, and it was weird and dramatic.

    We spent a ridiculous amount of time listening to back and forth doubletalk from the airline, had to track down the luggage they lost (when we hadn’t flown anywhere yet!), and finally had to call his parents to pick us up. We cancelled our entire honeymoon on the car ride back to their house and planned a new one that night. We spent the first day of our honeymoon at Wraine’s Deli (a delicious stop on the highway between NYC and NH) and in his parents’ guest bedroom.

    We ended up going to Newport, RI since we could rent a car and avoid flying. It wasn’t New Orleans, but it was relaxing and beautiful, and we got a last minute priceline deal on the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed in in my life. I never would have thought of Newport as a honeymoon destination, but I highly recommend it!

  • jbryant6

    My fiance has only been on a plane once before and has never seen the ocean, while I have traveled quite a bit. We thought about doing an all-inclusive resort somewhere in the Caribbean, but we ended up booking our honeymoon in Key West. We’re staying at a small B&B and planning on doing some parasailing and adventure stuff on the water for the fiance, and relaxing couples massage time at the B&B for me. Plus lots of seafood and rum runners for the both of us! It’s not really the honeymoon I had in mind (I always wanted to , but for where we are at in our lives (especially regarding budget) I think it was the best option. And we are flying out on Tuesday after the wedding. We didn’t want to put it off too long and go into the summer (wedding is in April) but we didn’t want to fly out the day after the wedding either!

  • Aj

    My soon-to-be-wife (10 days!) and I got engaged in graduate school way back in July 2008. At the time we could not imagine affording a wedding or going on a “real vacation” (ie something other than visiting family or renting a motel room an hour away). Our dream vacation was an Olivia vacation because, well the very reason that we could be entirely ourselves, surrounded by our community, and do it all while laying a warm beach. At the time however, we could imagine getting legally married as we were planning to move to CA the next year. Oops. Fast forward to now – we’re both graduate and situated in our careers. We’ve already been on 2 (!) Olivia vacations. And we are finally getting married. And can afford it all. We have a few days off work following the wedding and then another Olivia vacation already planned for November. I’m glad we’ll get to wait to take our honeymoon. I’m also glad that we’re familiar enough with how Olivia resorts are structured that we have very realistic expectations. And while I’m not glad that we had to wait 6 years to marry, I’m glad that in that time thing we though would be unattainable or “once-in-a-lifetime” are not (which softened the blow when my fiancee was ill on our last vacation).

    • Aj

      Also, Olivia takes no planning and no adventurous spirit…perfect for us.

  • Ella

    Yay! So glad to hear from Elisabeth again!! :)

    We honeymooned immediately after our wedding. As in, left at 5am the next morning. I wanted desperately to do a brunch with the fam post-wedding, but we really wanted to take a cruise and our only option was to leave that morning.

    But let me say, cruising for a honeymoon? I’d highly recommend it. My husband had cruised once before as a teenager and wasn’t sure how he’d feel about it, but we had a blast. And you know what else? It forced us to slow down. We’re big do-ers, and it was hard to give ourselves permission to just lay around the cabin (spring for a balcony! so worth it) reading, watching movies, getting it on…It was lovely. We had a few scheduled outings so we felt accomplished, but not enough to take us out of the relaxation zone.

    That’s my two cents. Don’t write it off just because it’s what everyone else has done. We really loved it and loved being able to spend low-pressure time together + fun opportunities at the various places we stopped.

    • Elisabeth S.

      I am totally, totally, spending 2014 convincing K to go on a cruise. What did you think about the potentially problematic pieces — did you hop off in any ports that seemed overly shiny? Also, were you terrified of norovirus??

      • Ella

        Do it!! I LOVE cruises. Unlimited food? A different port every day (give or take)? Sleeping a lot? Yes. Hawaii was the absolute best cruise ever, but we did western Caribbean (cheap!) for the honeymoon. Definitely spring for the balcony — it’s a place outside where you can get some air and there are no other people but you. We read out on the balcony so often, and I wasn’t sure how much use we would get out of it, so I’m so glad we did that.

        I didn’t love the western Caribbean ports we stopped in — Jamaica was gorgeous but the people were very pushy. Grand Cayman and Cozumel are very .. touristy. Less shiny and more “this is our industry now buy some stuff”. My husband and I just kind of did our excursions and came back, but it was a pace that suited us. The excursions we did were really fun and definitely would recommend looking into doing something “planned” through the cruise or another tourism group.

        I would recommend the eastern cruise more, with St. Thomas and the Bahamas. It felt a little less tourist-y. You can also do cruises up the east coast to Rhode Island and Nova Scotia. I would love to do those!

        Meh, norovirus doesn’t scare me, but I have a freakishly good immune system. Honestly, I was at a work conference where half the people got norovirus, and that wasn’t even on a boat. So I guess that fear is out of me? Haha. But just be smart about it. They have Purel stations EVERYWHERE and are constantly wiping things down. So, it felt like things were manageable.

        I’m a big research/planner person, so I read up a lot on our cruise before we took it, so I felt pretty prepared. Good luck convincing K! Sometimes you can find REALLY good deals, and lots of cruises leave out of NYC so you definitely have an advantage there. :)

  • LN

    During the course of our 4-year relationship + 8 months of marriage, we’ve taken an international trip annually (hooray for work-accumulated airline miles!). After our wedding in June, we took a short road trip and stopped at a bunch of his favorite beer places and spent a little time in wine country. It was the perfect low-key post-wedding trip. I like to spread out my fun. So in December, for what we called our honeymoon but was during the time we’ve always taken our annual trip, we spent 2 weeks in Peru and climbed Machu Picchu. He’d never been camping or used a squat toilet but I knew he’d be fine. We’ve decided that every trip henceforth will be called a honeymoon. Why not celebrate Us every time?

    • LN

      We had a few days scheduled to relax post-hike but he ended up in bed sick, so I wandered around the area by myself. I guess one just has to have a good sense of humor sometimes and roll with the punches.

    • Meg Keene

      Yeah, we decided that too, and then I spent a lot of time crying in Italy (absurd I know) on our one year wedding anniversary trip when I realized that every trip was not, in fact, a honeymoon. I realized that honeymoons fleeting moments (now I’d compare it to the fleeting weeks with a new baby) that don’t come around again. I always find that news so crushing.

      Sigh. Well. That’s the heartbreaking beauty of life, right?

    • disqus_cTQ1xcnu4O

      We’re doing that too! Honeymoon Part I, Part II, Part III. That way there’s always something to look forward to.

  • Guest

    We were supposed to spend our honeymoon in NOLA, but our pilot quit. I didn’t realize that was even something that could happen, but it did, and it was weird and dramatic.

    We spent a ridiculous amount of time listening to back and forth doubletalk from the airline, had to track down the luggage they lost (when we hadn’t flown anywhere yet!), and finally had to call his parents to pick us up. We cancelled our entire honeymoon on the car ride back to their house and planned a new one that night. We spent the first day of our honeymoon at Wraine’s Deli (a delicious stop on the highway between NYC and NH) and in his parents’ guest bedroom.

    We ended up going to Newport, RI since we could rent a car and avoid flying. It wasn’t New Orleans, but it was relaxing and beautiful, and we got a last minute priceline deal on the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed in in my life. I never would have thought of Newport as a honeymoon destination, but I highly recommend it!

  • Kendra D

    We took a delayed honeymoon thirteen months after eloping. We went on many trips over the intervening year and just finally decided to call one our honeymoon. It was a cruise and was wonderful and fun. But, just the month prior we spent a week lazing on a beach in Croatia and that was by far our favorite trip. Luckily, we’ve learned that we like traveling and we’ll take any excuse. So our honeymoon didn’t have to be a end-all-be-all trip because we knew there would be more coming.

    I will say, if you are semi-unadventurous that I think cruising is one of the best ways to see places. You have the familiarity of the same room each night, English speaking staff at meal times and taking care of your room, and you can go see pretty cool places. You can also pick at each location how adventurous you feel – if you aren’t comfortable you can go on an excursion as long as you understand that you are paying for that comfort. If you do feel comfortable you can wander off on your own via walking or local transportation.

  • Guest

    We were supposed to spend our honeymoon in NOLA, but our pilot quit!

    I didn’t realize that was even something that could happen, but it did, and it was weird and dramatic.

    We spent a ridiculous amount of time listening to back and forth doubletalk from the airline, had to track down the luggage they lost (when we hadn’t flown anywhere yet!), and finally had to call his parents to pick us up. We cancelled our entire honeymoon on the car ride back to their house and planned a new one that night. We spent the first day of our honeymoon at Wraine’s Deli (a delicious stop on the highway between NYC and NH) and in his parents’ guest bedroom.

    We ended up going to Newport, RI since we could rent a car and avoid flying. It wasn’t New Orleans, but it was relaxing and beautiful, and we got a last minute priceline deal on the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed in in my life. I never would have thought of Newport as a honeymoon destination, but I highly recommend it!

    • http://www.smittenchickens.com/ Sarah Hoppes

      Disqus and I are fighting. I’ve left this comment like 87 times. My bad!

  • Keryl

    My soon to be husband and I will be getting married in Victoria, B.C. and then will be heading up island to Tofino for our honeymoon. It is about a 4-5 hour drive and when we get there there will be a cottage in the forest with a hot tub on the patio waiting for us. The beach is a few minutes walk away (I confirmed this in person). There will be plenty of opportunities for adventure, our ocean kayaking day trip is already booked, but there will also be plenty of time to relax and enjoy each others company. We didn’t want to deal with stressful things like airports and language barriers but still wanted to feel like we were on vacation and I think we found a good place for that. One day we’ll get to a sunny, tropical beach but for now, quasi stay-cation for the win!

    • Sarah

      We’re planning a very similar sounding trip to a cottage in the forest with hot tub on the patio just on the other side of Vancouver Island – to Cortes Island! – in June. I hope you guys have a great time, and would love to hear how it goes! Hooray for doppleganger honeymoons (although we’re getting married in New Hampshire, so I suppose airports are in store for us – and seaplanes!! … seaplane!)

  • InTheBurbs

    We live in MN and used Airbnb to rent a cabin in the WI woods for a week. We got married on a Friday night and the cabin rental started on Sunday – and we gave ourselves 2 days to get back to reality after coming home. I honestly wouldn’t do it any other way. We didn’t have any agenda, and spent quite a bit of time relaxing by the fireplace reading books and talking. We do have a big trip planned though – headed to Europe this fall.

  • Guest

    We were supposed to spend our honeymoon in NOLA, but our pilot quit! I didn’t realize that was even something that could happen, but it did, and it was weird and dramatic.

    We spent a ridiculous amount of time listening to back and forth doubletalk from the airline, had to track down the luggage they lost (when we hadn’t flown anywhere yet!), and finally had to call his parents to pick us up. They were headed home after the wedding, so they swung by the airport to rescue us. We cancelled our entire honeymoon on the car ride back to their house and planned a new one that night. We spent the first day of our honeymoon at Wraine’s Deli (a delicious stop on the highway between NYC and NH) and in his parents’ guest bedroom.

    We ended up going to Newport, RI since we could rent a car and avoid flying. It wasn’t New Orleans, but it was relaxing and beautiful, and we got a last minute priceline deal on the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed in in my life. I never would have thought of Newport as a honeymoon destination, but I highly recommend it!

  • Lollygagger9

    Oh honeymoon joys. I had a friend who spent her honeymoon in Mexico with a raging UTI. Un fun. Ours was good, but not what we expected. We went a month after our wedding (mostly due to my husband’s work deadlines), and decided to do a driving tour of Scotland and Ireland. We started in Scotland in early July, and it was rainy as expected. And GORGEOUS. By the time we hit Inverness it was warm, which was a lovely surprise. When we hit Edinburgh a day later … yikes. Heat wave!

    After Edinburgh we flew to Ireland for leg two, and they were in the midst of their worst heat wave in nearly a decade. Our car had no AC (which makes sense – IT’S IRELAND), so we drove from town to town where I then immediately washed our clothes in the sink because we each had packed for typical weather (jeans, t-shirts, windbreakers), not this. One hotel room we pre-paid for two nights; by the first morning I was near tears because I hadn’t slept and our room was averaging about 96 degrees in the middle of the night, so we said f it and paid for a night in a fancy hotel with AC. We were SO LUCKY to be on this amazing trip, and lucky that we could afford to do that, that I hated feeling so utterly uncomfortable.

  • Guest

    We were supposed to spend our honeymoon in NOLA, but our pilot quit! I didn’t realize that was even something that could happen, but it did, and it was weird and dramatic.

    Once we watched our disgruntled pilot walk away, we spent a ridiculous amount of time listening to back and forth doubletalk from the airline, had to track down the luggage they lost (when we hadn’t flown anywhere yet!), and finally had to call his parents to pick us up. They were headed home after the wedding, so they swung by the airport to rescue us. We cancelled our entire honeymoon on the car ride back to their house and planned a new one that night. We spent the first day of our honeymoon at Wraine’s Deli (a delicious stop on the highway between NYC and NH) and in his parents’ guest bedroom.

    We ended up going to Newport, RI since we could rent a car and avoid flying. It wasn’t New Orleans, but it was relaxing and beautiful, and we got a last minute priceline deal on the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed in in my life. I never would have thought of Newport as a honeymoon destination, but I highly recommend it!

  • http://www.smittenchickens.com/ Sarah Hoppes

    We were supposed to spend our honeymoon in New Orleans, but our pilot quit! I didn’t realize that was even something that could happen, but it did, and it was weird and dramatic.

    Once we watched our disgruntled pilot walk away, we spent a ridiculous amount of time listening to back and forth doubletalk from the airline, had to track down the luggage they lost (when we hadn’t flown anywhere yet!), and finally had to call his parents to pick us up.
    They were headed home after the wedding, so they swung by the airport to rescue us. We cancelled our entire honeymoon on the car ride back to their house and planned a new one that night. We spent the first day of our honeymoon at Wraine’s Deli (a delicious stop on the highway between NYC and NH) and in his parents’ guest bedroom.

    We ended up going to Newport, RI since we could rent a car and avoid flying. It wasn’t New Orleans, but it was relaxing and beautiful, and we got a last minute priceline deal on the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed in in my life. I never would have thought of Newport as a honeymoon destination, but I highly recommend it!

  • MisterEHolmes

    We’re taking one day off after our wedding to do nothing (mayyybe to see friends/family before they leave, but that will be on the DL) and then going to an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica. I’ve never been to one before, and I’m continually amazed that they really mean it when they say “all-inclusive.” I had to email to verify “you really mean all the restaurants are free? And as many drinks as we want? Even the alcoholic ones!?” So we’ll be spending out week on the beach, gettin’ jiggy in the hotel room, or otherwise playing very laidback tourists. And I’m looking forward to it. (And it really was shockingly affordable! Check TripAdvisor for deals).

    But the honeymoon is not The Trip. The Trip will happen next year, to Ireland, because I really really really want to go, but we decided a trip I really cared about was just too much for right after the wedding. This way, I’ll get time to decompress, and next year I can spend 6 months planning details of The Trip.

    Also International travelers: Do yourself a favor and a) buy travel insurance, just in case there’s another Icelandic volcano situation that cancels your trip and/or b) get a credit card with travel protection (bonus points for travel points! We got our flight for free!)

  • jashshea

    Other great trips I’d recommend: Portugal, Germany, Croatia, Chicago (holy shit chicago rules!), Montreal +/- Quebec, Vermont (in the fall!).

    • Lisa

      As someone currently living in Chicago, I love your shout-out! Chicago is AWESOME!! :)

  • Ally

    We wanted to go big with the honeymoon but also practical since, as Meg pointed out in another article today, SF is crazy expensive and we were planning to go right after our SF wedding. Enter: work trip to Amsterdam! Thanks to work covering one roundtrip ticket to Europe we were able to do a few days in G’s fav city (AMS) then jaunt off to Athens and Santorini for a week before returning to Amsterdam to celebrate his 30th bday/start my work event. It felt decadent but also practical and omg I swear that Santorini is the most magical place on earth and the food…ughh.

  • ej

    Because of up-in-the-air work schedules, we’re actually doing a pre-wedding honeymoon (we’re calling it a “honey-sun”…). We’ve gotten a few funny looks when explaining it to people, but we can’t count on having much time to travel after the wedding. We’re east-coast folks, so we’re planning on flying out to San Francisco and making our way up to Vancouver over 2 weeks (via Yosemite, Portland, Olympic National Park, and Seattle, by both train and rental car). We’ll be doing a fair amount of camping and staying with friends at the beginning, but we’re ending the trip in a nice hotel in Vancouver. Hoping it will be a good combination of fun and relaxation prior to the wedding excitement. Some people have been shocked that we’re spending time with other people during our honeymoon, but we’re so excited to be able to see people we don’t get to see very often (plus, it’s cheap!), and we’ll have plenty of time for just the 2 of us.

  • Alicia Landi

    Uhoh — I just booked our dream honeymoon in Costa Rica! Way to make me nervous, as we are similarly untraveled and unable to speak Spanish. Would you mind sharing the details of where you stayed on the Caribbean coast?

    • KerryMarie

      We are going to Costa Rica, too, and plan on spending time on the Caribbean coast! I would also love to hear more details!

      • Elisabeth S.

        It’s so subjective, you know? What didn’t work for us might be the tropical getaway of your dreams. We were technically near Puerto Viejo, although, with the biking, it felt like we were miles away. If I could do again, and had all the money, we’d pick a slightly ritzier, beach-ier place to stay so we didn’t feel so lonely. You must go to the Chocolate Forest Experience and take the tour — it is so, so amazing!

        • KerryMarie

          thank you! And Elizabeth, I hope you get a do-over!

        • Ellen

          I spent a semester in college in Costa Rica, and spent a week in a little B&B just south of Puerto Viejo. There was a cafe next door called Jungle Love. My friends and I were basically in heaven. It definitely wasn’t a trip for the faint of heart, though, and we were super-prepared, having been in CR for MONTHS at that point. If I were to go back to CR for my honeymoon I’d probably stay in the Manuel Antonio area, on the Pacific side.

  • KM

    I could have written this post, if you substitute PTSD and Life Changing Job Offer Stress for Elizabeth’s “pediatric ailments.” My wife and I got married in Vermont 2 weeks after my wife returned from a summer working in South Sudan, then took 4 days for our mini-moon in a sweet little Mass town on the way back to the city and real (married) life. Then we had 4 months of newlywed bliss until she finished her final grad school semester in January and left for full-time work in South Sudan. We planned our honeymoon for her second R&R (a full year after the wedding) and met in Bali for 2 weeks. I looked forward to the honeymoon not just for the honeymoon, but for an escape from my job that I hated and the chance to ReConnect with my wife that I had not seen in far too long. It was supposed to be That Once-In-A-Lifetime Trip — and it was, in many incredible ways — but we wasted (er, devoted) the entire first week of our honeymoon to catching up on sleep, recovering from PTSD and deconstructing (in heated discussions) my wife’s pending job offer that would significantly shift her career. There were exhausted tears. And too many days inside a hotel room. My lesson? Real Life Does Not Pause for Honeymoons, or You Should See Your Spouse More Than 6 Weeks of the Year if You Expect to Have a Carefree Vacation. That said, I also learned that we can get through any emotional turmoil together, and climb a volcano for 2 hours in the dark to make it to the summit for sunrise.

    • Elisabeth S.

      My lord that’s gorgeous. Also, the getting through emotional turmoil thing is no small feat. I do appreciate that we were each other’s best cheerleaders on this trip. At one point I was crying about something and said, “I JUST FEEL REALLY GLAD THAT YOU ARE HERE WITH ME.” K was like, That’s good! I guess? Since you married me?

      • KM

        Yes, this exactly. It is very affirming to realize, even amidst shared tears, that you are both so grateful to be married to the person you are having such a rough time with.

  • Nina

    Yay more Elisabeth! I’m sorry your honeymoon was a bummer. E’s parent’s had a similarly disastrous honeymoon. I believe E’s dad threw his back out and spent the honeymoon laying on the floor in pain! And it rained the whole time. On the bright side, they have an awesome marriage.

  • Jenna

    I think we might try to take our honeymoon trip (to Ireland!) a few months BEFORE the wedding! I have time off at the end of the summer that i will not have during the school year, and it just makes more sense. All we have to do now is come up with the money.

    We’re also planning to take a few days after the wedding to go somewhere–just us–but we’re going to keep that low-key and low-cost. A few days in Acadia or Down East, or just a little cabin in the woods. Thinking about those possibilities makes me feel so, so fortunate to live in Maine. :)

    • Elisabeth S.

      I can’t even tell you how much I miss living in Maine!! Friends of mine took off for a PRIVATE ISLAND post-wedding for their honeymoon. Someone knew someone who knew a caretaker et voila, just them and the bay. Also, I love your pre-wedding honeymoon idea!

  • Amanda

    We’re getting married in 3 days!!! We’re doing a staycation/mini-moon, and staying in a hotel in our (large) city Saturday and Sunday nights, and taking Monday off work. Then at the beginning of April, we’re headed to Costa Rica for a week. I’m glad we’re doing it this way…I’m not stressing over getting to the airport early after we partied all night, and I’m not stressing over trip details because we’ll have plenty of time to plan (and shop!) when we’re not up to our eyeballs trying to juggle wedding plans and work. Also, we’re skipping spring break and all the obnoxious drunk college kids.

  • Claire

    We just took our long delayed, eagerly anticipated honeymoon last month! 3.5 years after the wedding, but so worth the wait. We didn’t go anywhere right after our wedding because we chose to spend time with my siblings who had 1) flown in from Ghana and 2) DRIVEN from Guatemala to Minneapolis (6 months pregnant and with 5 kids in tow!) to celebrate with us. Then the usual suspects (work, money, family obligations) conspired to keep us grounded for the next few years. We took a few mini trips domestically, but have been yearning for that “honeymoon experience”.

    We finally booked 10 days to the Dominican Republic and boy was it amazing. Cabarete had world class kiteboarding for him AND a flying trapeze school for me. And yoga in a beachside loft and restaurants right on the beach. We went jungle hiking and waterfall jumping and it was all stunning.

    Then we went to Las Terrenas in the Samana Penninsula and went humpback whale watching and zip lining. And finally enjoyed a few days of alternating between poolside to beach lazing and just soaking up the sunshine before return to the arctic tundra. It was everything I hoped our honeymoon would be.

  • Mezza

    Elisabeth, your posts are always so timely for me – our wedding schedules really lined up!

    We got married in October and were barely able to take any time off at all, because I had just started a new job and she’s a high school teacher. But next month we are using her (very long, hooray Passover) spring break to go to Barcelona! We picked it because it has both city and beach, and while we’ve both been to Spain, we haven’t been to Barcelona, and it’s easy to plan since she’s fluent in Spanish. Currently we have plane tickets and an AirBnB apartment booked, and everything else is still undefined. I imagine it will include a lot of wine, a lot of food, and hopefully some beach. I also kinda want to go to Andorra just because it’s there and a weird place to say I’ve been.

    We did a honeymoon registry, and while not a lot of people actually picked items from it to fund, the overwhelming majority of our guests/families gave us money rather than physical gifts, so the wedding funded the trip. I really need to create a trip budget, though, because – one of my ideas was to go to an FC Barcelona game, as being in the stadium for a home game would be an awesome experience. HOWEVER. The game I’d planned to attend got canceled because Barcelona is now playing Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final that same week. It’s like if someone came to the US and thought they’d go see an American football game because they like the sport, and then it turned out that the only game available was the Super Bowl. Do I buy the insanely expensive tickets to what will undoubtedly be an amazing game and justify it with the idea of the honeymoon being The Trip?? (It’s not really The Trip. We’ve done much more extravagant/adventurous trips before, and will do more in the future. I don’t know how to justify it.)

    • Lindsey d.

      Honeymoon twins! We are headed to Barcelona in… woah… 11 days. We are going the Monday after our Saturday wedding, but we aren’t planning much. We have flights, a Homeaway apartment, tickets to La Sagrada Familia and plan to get soccer tickets tonight. FC Barcelona won’t be in town when we are (boo), so I think we settling for basically the AAA team. The only other thing we plan to plan is to get reservations for at least one amazing meal — FH is in charge of that. Beyond that, we are reading a Lonely Planet guidebook on the plane and trying not to fuss too much.

      • Mezza

        Have a great time! Sounds like we are taking similar approaches to the trip; hope it works for both of us!

        (Also, I actually tried to plan the flights around Barca playing a home game – didn’t quite turn out the way I’d expected.)

        • Lindsey d.

          When are you actually going? I realized last night that I accidentally bought La Sagrada Familia tickets for three days AFTER we leave Barcelona. I’d love to send them on to someone else instead of just ditching them (March 27 tickets, btw).

    • jashshea

      holy shit, i’m so jealous. El Classico! Enjoy.

  • lady brett

    oh, man, our honeymoon was the pinnacle of un-adventurous, but new and exciting, travelling! we took the midnight train (no, really, that’s the only time amtrak runs through our town) straight from the wedding to st. louis, which was totally new (and awesome). we spent the week primarily just wandering the town with very little destination (though the main point was to go to the city museum! and we also saw the zoo, art museum, and a cardinals’ game) and lounging around our trendy-modern b&b (the owner of which very shyly came out to us while we were there! adorable.) man, just thinking about our honeymoon is relaxing…

    • C

      We also took the midnight (okay, 11 pm) train on our wedding night (Empire Builder from Minneapolis to Portland)! A sleeper car with bunk beds might not quite scream “honeymoon” but having two straight days on the train was a relaxing and fun way to start our trip.

  • Annie

    We just decided to scale back our post-wedding trip plans. We were originally thinking Portugal, and now we’re thinking Vancouver / BC. We’ve never done a big trip together, and the idea of planning a non-inclusive trip in a country where we don’t speak the language immediately following the wedding was…daunting. We’re definitely the homebody sort, but BC seemed like the right amount of adventure and relaxation. After reading these comments, though, I’m wondering if we should postpone our BC trip until this time next year. That would give us a few months between the (October) wedding and our trip.

  • Annie

    Oh man! We just scaled back our plans from Portugal to Vancouver / BC. We’ve never done a big trip together, and the idea of planning a non-inclusive trip in a country where we can’t speak the language immediately after the wedding was…daunting. BC seems like the right mix of relaxing and fun stuff to do. Though after reading these comments, I’m wondering if we should delay our trip until this time next year to give ourselves some time between the (October) wedding and the trip.

    • Annie

      Whoops – thought the internet ate my comment. +1 on Discus problems today, and sorry for the double post.

      • Elisabeth S.

        Meg should weigh in on this! She’s a big advocate of honeymoon immediately post-wedding. If I had paused for longer, and realized that the trip we were planning wasn’t really us, I think a post-wedding trip would have been great. Also, I’m dying to go to BC!

    • macrain

      I’m pretty happy that we are going on our honeymoon 2 days after the wedding. A friend of mine who did the same described it as- you’re on such high, it’s like, let’s keep it going! Reading Meg’s thoughts in the APW book also really inspired me to want to do it right away. She talked about taking time away to absorb this huge thing that just happened. I think we will both need that.

      • Amanda

        We are also leaving 2 days after the wedding for our honeymoon and I am so excited! I did still want to build in some relaxing time so we are starting in the French Riviera for the first few days to unwind before heading up to Paris to look at all the things.

  • macrain

    Right now I’m in love with my honeymoon, because we haven’t gone yet. We’re headed to a Sandals in St. Lucia, an idea we initially found silly, and now have embraced like none other. Making the plans and booking our trip has been, so far, the BEST part of wedding planning. Isn’t that really the best part of a trip- before you go?

    I admire you guys for throwing in the towel and recognizing you were miserable- I tend to cling to those best laid plans as if the harder I cling, the more likely it is to work out.

    • http://www.smittenchickens.com/ Sarah Hoppes

      Oh, man. “I tend to cling to those best laid plans as if the harder I cling, the more likely it is to work out.”

      That’s me to an extreme.

      • Elisabeth S.

        That was totally me, until pink eye. Which in the grand scheme of things is no big deal, pink eye (well, until you host the Olympics, I guess). But it was actually incredibly liberating to throw in the towel. And we had such a lovely few days back in the city. Tangent — that’s a good idea for another post — staying way, way too long and not listening to gut instincts. I tend to do this when I think I’m supposed to be “strong”, not realizing that I’m wasting time.

  • http://twitter.com/mollyepollard Molly Pollard

    We don’t have enough money for a honeymoon right now (the wedding itself is almost beyond our means at this point, and it’s not going to be lavish by any stretch of the imagination). I had hoped to take a mini-moon to the Smokies since it’s a 2 hour drive from here, but even that’s looking to be a little more than we can afford. I think we’ll probably just spend the night in a nice hotel here in town, and hopefully we can plan a more extensive trip next year.

  • Fiona

    We’re going to stay in a friend’s house a few hours away, I think!
    Neither of us have any money at this juncture in our lives. But when we do, man oh man are we going to honeymoon. I knew when I was a little girl where I was going to honeymoon…way before I met the man. I spent a weekend with my family at an inn on the shore of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala that is built on the side of a mountain and leads down to a private bay on the lake. Also, you can only reach it by boat (they have a boat taxi). The food is amazing, the views are spectacular, it’s private as hell, and all around the lake are towns with cheap ass night clubs and massage parlors and shopping and all kinds of nonsense. When I have money…

  • http://cafeaubride.blogspot.com/ Catherine

    We’re going to Costa Rica too! In June. We fly from Colorado (where we’re getting married) to LAX (where we live) to Costa Rica all on that Sunday..I’m hoping the utter exhaustion will help with my fear of flying. Since we met we have planned on honeymooning in Italy but last month we scrapped those plans because of money. For the first half of the trip,we’re staying in a little eco-cottage thing run by two gay guys – perfect since we are both female and I’m seriously hoping to avoid any homophobia or weirdness. I made it clear that I want to be able to act like a normal couple on our trip…I had heard Costa Rica was pretty gay friendly? We’re staying by the ocean and then by the volcano..Arenal I think it’s called.

    • StevenPortland

      We spent the week of New Years one year at the swanky resort by Arenal volcano. Nice and relaxing.

      • http://cafeaubride.blogspot.com/ Catherine

        at Tabacon? by the hot springs? That’s where we are going. Glad to hear it’s a good pick! :)

        • StevenPortland

          Yes, Tabacon! Just a warning: don’t expect fantastic food, but it is a really nice place. The strangest thing we did was sign up for a nighttime tour of the rain forest. It was rather unnerving but I’m glad we did it. The hot springs are great!! Hope you have a great time there!

  • Lindsey d.

    We had Spain in mind from the start of our engagement, but then realized weddings are expensive. So plans scaled back to a road trip to Florida or Texas, but we couldn’t commit to anything because we simply didn’t love it. And then FH’s grandparents sent a very generous check with instructions to go on a great honeymoon. We booked tickets to Barcelona two weeks later. We leave Monday after our Saturday wedding (10 days!) and I’m not sure what I’m more excited about — the wedding or six days in Barcelona with my new husband. We aren’t planning much. We have flights, a Home Away apartment, and tickets to La Sagrada Familia (I hear it’s better to book in advance to avoid the lines). We are going to buy futbol tickets and make reservations for a nice dinner somewhere, but otherwise play it by ear and drink sangria. I usually over plan vacations in order to do all the things and end up a wreck by the end; here’s hoping that very few plans will lead to both relaxation and adventure.

    • http://www.superfantastic.blogs.com/ Superfantastic

      That’s what I LOVED about Barcelona – it’s all about aimless wandering and drinking sangria outside cafes. No, I’m not day drinking, I’m *participating in the culture*. Enjoy!

  • Gina

    I loved this. We probably won’t take our honeymoon until a year-plus after the wedding (backpacking in Alaska is the plan– yes, I know we need to bring a gun :-o), but this helped remind me that, even if building it up in your head is unavoidable, the important thing is that you’re with your person and you’ll survive the curveballs together.

    As an aside, even though we couldn’t take a honeymoon right after the wedding, I wish we HAD taken a couple days just to decompress and enjoy our new state of being together. I felt a little cheated that we didn’t get the chance to process it all.

  • Natalie

    Ooh, this is timely. We got engaged recently, and one thing my fiance wants us to do pretty early on is decide where we want to go on our honeymoon (we’ve set a date for next March). That way we can book the tickets and as this year goes on and gets crazy we can look at our tickets and know at the end of it we’re going some place great. But here’s the thing we’ve been stuck on: there are so many awesome places to go! Right now we’re stuck between a trip to New Zealand/Australia, and something more tropical – any one out there have any experience with one or both? Which one was better? Or which one would be better for March?

    (also, this month we’re going on a vacation with my family to Dubai (my parents live in Africa, so sometimes we get to meet them cool places – we’ll be in Dubai on the pre-anniversary of our wedding, which for some reason I am super stoked about. It’ll be like a pre-honeymoon :) )

    • AMK

      Oooh New Zealand! I spent a semester there in college and loved it. March is actually a great time to go – it is warm, but not terribly hot, and the days are really long. Just give yourself plenty of time to adjust to the time change so that you can still enjoy your time there.

    • KH_Tas

      I loved New Zealand, and shoulder season (we went in November) works well for a lot of things. I live in Australia, so I’m not sure whether I have more or less of an idea about it as a holiday destination.

  • Jenni Kissinger

    When we found out that we wouldn’t be able to go on our honeymoon due to my fiance’s work, I was pretty disappointed. Mostly because I was afraid that if we didn’t do it right away, we never would. I think you’re right that it would be too stressful to go right afterwards. Right now we’re aiming to go to New Zealand about two months after the wedding (no logistics made yet though). I don’t think we’ll be able to do a small getaway after the wedding. Just being home with him would be super great though ^.^

  • Kat91314

    We’re getting married in Cape Cod this September, so we’re just taking a couple extra days after the wedding to chill out and relax with family and friends that will still be around. My fiance works in a school district, so we’re literally not even thinking about the honeymoon until at least Christmas break or maybe even February or Spring break. We’re kicking around ideas of where we want to go, but really, I don’t want to plan anything or even seriously think about it until after the wedding itself is done with. One thing at a time, right?

  • http://www.superfantastic.blogs.com/ Superfantastic

    We spent nearly three weeks in Myanmar two months after the wedding. My husband got the flu within the first couple of days, I got it from him, and our honeymoon ended up being the longest dry spell of our nearly five year relationship. (Well, of any time we’ve been in the same place.) Fortunately, I hadn’t pictured a cozy romantic getaway (hence, Burma) so while it did suck that we both got sick, it didn’t crush any specific dreams. And it was pretty romantic of my still-recovering husband to borrow a bike to go into town to try to pantomime his way into any drugs that might help me once our supplies of Tylenol and Sudafed ran out. (Lesson: you cannot pack too much Tylenol.) And he tried to get me a coconut water to go from the hotel restaurant, but they couldn’t understand his request for a cup, so he ended up bringing me a coconut with a straw in it to bed. And I spent the first half of the trip asking various hotels for more blankets, more blankets, yes even more blankets for his freezing self and then cuddling him even though he was putting off waves of fiery heat. So yeah, romantic in a different way.

    Had we gone anywhere right after the wedding, I would have wanted it to be a relaxing, sit on the beach/swing in a hammock kind of trip. We prefer to go see stuff though, so waiting a while and then taking a more ambitious trip was the better solution or us.

  • Jessica

    I’m so sorry your trip to Costa Rica wasn’t all that you wanted it to be! My dude and I went to the Pacific coast for our honeymoon and were there at the start of the rainy season. It was really nice for us to be there, just the two of us, after all the wedding whirlwinds and face-time with so many people–it was especially nice to get away for 10 days before he started packing up to go overseas.

    We originally planned on a 2.5 week trip during the summer to Scandinavia, where we would backpack around. I think I’m going to propose we start saving for a trip there for next year.

    • Elisabeth S.

      I’ve heard great things about the Pacific side…but I’ve always, always wanted to go to Scandinavia. I think because I had Kirsten the American Girl doll, and was totally obsessed with pioneers and also Sweden, as any young urban New Yorker would be.

  • sarah l

    we went to an all-inclusive resort in jamaica about 3 weeks after the wedding and though the resort was pretty much every ridiculous thing I dreamed about, we had a little health issue of our own, kind of like yours, elisabeth!

    12 hours before our flight my husband slipped on the ice outside our home and impaled his hand on a fence post requiring 12 stitches. we went anyway, but stitches aren’t great for the beach, so we completely did not have the vacation we imagined. he was a great sport though and we got some rubber gloves so he could sit at the pool bar :)

    i thought a lot during the whole wedding and honeymoon process about setting up allowances for things to not be as amazing as i hoped (and in fact i was not really prepared for the reality where our wedding was more than the fantasy i’d been planning for 10 months!) – and for the honeymoon this meant that i wanted to go somewhere where i wasn’t going to feel guilty that i wasn’t having the trip of a lifetime if i just wanted to lie around. but i definitely had to prepare myself ahead of time and give myself permission to not do everything and to not feel bad if i just wanted a nap instead of experiencing a new culture. i’m soooo glad i did that pre-trip emotional work, because otherwise i’m not sure i’d have been as chill about cancelling the dolphin swim :(

  • Pippa

    Great post!
    I’d always imagined that the honeymoon would be my first chance to travel all around Europe, for months on end. Then we started planning the wedding and reality hit, so plans had to be downgraded just a tad.
    Now, I’m super excited for our honeymoon, although it’s so very different to what I’d imagined. After a few cosy days in the forest where we’re getting married, we’re flying over to Tasmania (we’re Australian) to walk one of the most remote bush tracks in the southern hemisphere: 7 – 9 days of us, newly married, and nature. We’ll be roughing it, and we’ve never done a multi-day trek before, but I’m just so excited.
    It’s proving to be more expensive than we thought, simply because of the amount of specialist equipment that we’re having to buy, but then we have that stuff forever (or until it breaks) and can go on so many more bushwalking adventures!
    We can (hopefully) go on international trips in the years to come, but this post-wedding time for us has been carved out as something special, something unique, and after the craziness of planning and pulling-off a whole wedding, I’m so looking forward to that week and a bit of us, no distractions, no timelines, just the earth and our new marriage :)

  • Caroline

    I like this. I always thought of the honeymoon as the one big, grand trip, but we definitely are not taking one big, grand honeymoon for a lot of reasons.

    Firstly, we’re broke students. The honeymoon budget is pretty small if it has to include airfares. If it doesn’t include airfares, it can include at least one or two extravagant by our standards dinners.

    Secondly, we will be exhausted. This is a really challenging semester for me, then immediately after it ends, we will go halfway across the country to visit his parents so my dad and his parents can meet, then fly the rest of the way across the country to introduce my partner to my great aunt and uncle who are like parents to my dad and who may be too frail to make it to the wedding. Then we will (hopefully) start intensive internships, which will end 1 week to 3 days before the wedding. Then we have the wedding, complete with friends and family who we have hardly seen in years. After that, we are going to want to CRASH hard.
    My honeymoon plans are basically, go somewhere nice, and a little more in nature than we live but near a cute town with good food. Eat said food. Go out to one expensive, crazy amazing and fancy dinner in super fancy clothes. (My thought is to spend about $200 on this, when our usual eating out budget is $45, and to rent something fabulous and way too fancy for the occasion from Rent the Runway.) Read books. Cuddle. Read more books. Maybe some leisurely strolls and a swim in an ocean or lake. Tons of sleep. More cuddles.

    Thirdly, we only have one week. Technically, we have 9 days between the wedding and the first day of classes, but we’ll need at least a day or two home before classes start. So we have about 7 days, including travel. If we don’t go far, we get to spend more time enjoying where we are. (Or sleeping).

    Thus, we’re going somewhere at most 3 hours drive away, and not too expensive. Our plan is we’ll take a big, adventuresome, long plane flights trip for our first anniversary. We’ll have all those miles from the miles credit card from the wedding expenses, and we’ll be more relaxed, and can take a longer vacation.

  • channamasala

    it is a privilege to have the money to travel, but if you could pull off this 2-week trip, you can do it again. Besides, Central America and the like aren’t that expensive to fly to from New York! You could try Guatemala (not really beachy but has a lot of other stuff to offer) or Panama (can be beachy if you go to the right places).

    Our honeymoon went off, surprisingly, without a hitch. We used our wedding gift money on a 4-week backpacking bus trip from Panama City to Guatemala City (with a few days in Panama City but staying in Antigua rather than Guatemala City at the other end, because Guate? No thanks), stopping in Boquete, Panama; Osa, Costa Rica; some little town in northern Costa Rica for an overnight; Ometepe, Nicaragua; Granada, Nicaragua; Tegucigalpa (just for a night); Copan Ruinas, Honduras; Tikal, Guatemala; Semuc Champey, Guatemala and Guatemala Antigua. We had a blast!

    But it was actually not the trip of a lifetime, although it would be for a lot of people and I’m not blind to that fact. The trip of a lifetime came a year later when we spent 7 weeks in Turkey (4 of them on a training course, but still!). And maybe we’ll even top that yet.

  • Lexilogical

    For our honeymoon, we did something completely different than our normal vacations. We went to an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica. Sandals in particular. We didn’t even pick the location, we just called them and talked to a travel agent about what prices were the most reasonable. The nice lady on the other side suggested a location based on a few questions, and we booked that one.

    And it was amazing. I’ve never done an all-inclusive before, but now I’m thinking this might be a more regular thing. We spent a week lounging on different beaches, reading by the pool, and being served drinks. Since it’s all-inclusive, you don’t have to worry about the price of the alcohol or food. And since everyone’s had a few drinks, all the other guests and most of the staff are friendly and talkative. Initially, I’d assumed it’d be a little dull, but you can always leave the resort as well. We chose not to, and there was always some event happening every night too. It was better than I expected for being what “everyone” seems to do.

    • laddibugg

      Yeah, I actually really want to do an all inclusive. Some people say you don’t get the ‘culture’ and stuff, but, you know what? As you said you can leave the resort, so that’s where I’ll find the culture. I don’t want to have to obsess over how much this meal is going to cost or how much our bar tab is.

  • tashamoes

    We’re planning a trip to the Azores (2 hr flight off the coast of Portugal) leaving a few days after the wedding. We had originally thought we’d stay pretty local and do a shorter trip, but found cheap flights (<$500 RT from Toronto!) and decided to do something more exotic. At first I was kind of apathetic about it all but once I looked at pictures and figured out where the Azores were (embarrassingly, I thought he meant the Ozarks…), I perked up. I think it will be great – black sand beaches, thermal springs, crater hikes, wine and pastries, volcanic cliffs.

    We haven't found anyone who has visited the Azores before…so if you have, I'd love to hear suggestions on what to see or where to visit.

    • Elisabeth S.

      Following this! I’ve ALWAYS wanted to go there! Report back to us!

  • EF

    This is where being a bi-national couple kinda sucks…but is kinda awesome.

    We’re getting married in the UK, and taking three days or so afterwards to rent a cottage in the middle of no where, where neither one of us will have to talk to anyone. We’re both sort of introverts, so being prepared to be really outgoing during the wedding/lead up is exhausting just to think about.
    That’ll be in January. Sometime later in 2015 — not sure when yet — we’ll head to New England (my home!) where we’ll meet up with friends who couldn’t fly over and have a mini-second-reception. Then we’re planning to do some hiking/camping through the White Mountains and Acadia, visit some sites of northern NE, and then head back down to Boston. Probably be the in the states for about 2 weeks. I think it’ll be grand.

    But we’re also travellers normally. He’s been all over Europe; mine’s a bit more limited, but I’ve been all over the USA, through western Europe, and China and Korea. We’d *really* like to go to New Zealand, but that’s just wicked expensive, and we couldn’t quite justify honeyfunding it. Maybe in a few years!

    • Cat

      Without sounding too stalky- where is your cottage? We’re planning our honeymoon in the UK and I would LOVE a few nights in the middle of nowhere!

      • EF

        I’ll recommend the Cotswolds! Lovely rolling hills, not too far from Oxford or London, but completely quiet and full of delightful villages (and cottages). We got one through The Guardian’s cottage listing. Look through Gloucester, Oxfordshire, or Warwickshire…and Quinton (not too far from Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon) is a nice place to start! (and not too far from where we’ll be staying)

        • Cat

          I think my thank you was eaten… so- Thank you! This is a great starting point :)

  • Elizabear

    We went to Greece for two weeks on the Monday after our Saturday wedding. We spent a week in Athens and a week on Santorini. I liked leaving right away. I over think things so waiting would have allowed me to come up with all the reasons it wasn’t practical to go on a honeymoon. It was fantastic. We had a travel agent do all the booking so we really did very little planning.

    I can’t say enough great things about Greece. We didn’t know the language, but it was okay! The food was the best. The views on Santorini are unbelievable. I could live the rest of my days in Athens–but that might be the Classicist in me :)

    We had some snafus (we both got tummy aches on different days) and an INTENSE (read terrifying) driving experience from Delphi back to Athens. I think they add to the story.

  • Glen

    We were planning a trip to Paris and the Cote d’Azur for our honeymoon, but my husband wanted to combine it with his fortieth b-day, which was about a year later. So that became our “big honeymoon” plan and we decided that we’d drive from Portland to Vancouver, with stops in Seattle and Mount St Helens, as our “little honeymoon” 3 months after our wedding. Then I got pregnant 1 month after our wedding. We still did the Portland-Vancouver trip, which was mostly awesome although pregnancy did slow me down a bit and made choosing food interesting (never threw up but lots of queasiness). And we’re still planning to go to Paris, now 2+ years after our wedding and with a 1+ year-old in tow. My dreams of the south of France will have to wait, as we’ve learned that while our daughter travels well, it works better for our family to stay in one location than to change hotels every few days. On the positive side, it will be wonderful to really get to know Paris.

  • Debra

    This is why I love APW. Who talks about a terrible honeymoon experience? No one. How many people have disappointing/awful honeymoon stories? Extrapolating from this list of commiseration…I’d say many.

    Also, having lived for a year in Costa Rica (working at a university nowhere near the beach) I can tell you I had trouble on some of my trips there and I spoke passable Spanish and knew the country. However, without the pressure of these travels (and travails) being “The Trip” I now gleefully tell the stories. From the awful, buggy (but cheap!) surfer motel at the beach to the discussion I once had with a Tico trying to explain the difference between the US address system and the Costa Rican “system’- which, if you don’t know, is just driving directions – my address in town read in Spanish “from the church, go east 50 meters and then south 150 meters” (me: so, I live at 222 south street. him: 222 from what:? me:…). Also, the rainy season is terrible.

    Thanks Elizabeth!

  • Lawyerette510

    We’re not sure what we’re doing. We’ve had a trip booked to go see his brother in Maui at the beginning of April, and then because of venue availability stuff moved our wedding from the originally desired time-frame of October to mid-May. So, we’re going to take the week after the wedding off, and just do something locally. We’ve got designs on a trip to the Canary Islands and Portugal next spring, but it means we’ve got to actually save up some PTO.

  • Belle11

    I also have to confess that my honeymoon was a bit of a let down. We went to Antigua for four days. Beautiful island, but I was bored. I think we were both bored. Food wasn’t great; booze wasn’t plentiful. Weather alternated between rain and oppressive humidity. Initially, I felt really bad for feeling this way and for my less-than-enthusiastic response whenever anyone would inquire about how the trip had been.

    “This was one trip in a long line of vacations that we’ll be lucky enough to take together” – this is what got me past the negativity. With some luck and planning, we’ll be taking many more vacations together. The honeymoon doesn’t have to be the best one ever – much like your wedding day doesn’t have to be the best day ever.

  • Stacey Fraser

    We did a mix that worked really well for us. We got married on a Saturday, recuperated and packed on Sunday (after a post-wedding harbor cruise with close friends and family), and drove up to Montreal (5 hours from where we are in New England) on Monday. Spent Tuesday-Friday there, then back to New England for July 4th weekend at my parents’ lake house.

    Then, 10 months later, midway through my husband’s yearlong deployment, we spent 15 amazing days in Scotland, visiting friends and exploring all over by ourselves as a second honeymoon. It worked really well for us to have a decent length getaway right after the wedding, then a full-blown amazing trip less than a year later.

  • Caitlin_DD

    This perhaps doesn’t count, but we just got back from a week long trip to Japan that we’re calling our honeymoon. When is our wedding? Um 2017? Maybe? At first that sounds a little silly, but we were so excited for this trip because we’ve both wanted to go our whole lives, and it was our last fun thing before we get down to the business of paying off student debt/rent/bills/more student debt. Now the pressure is off for after the wedding, we had a great trip when it was financially convenient, to the destination we would have probably picked anyway. Taking a sort of secret or pre-honeymoon might take the emotional pressure off the event, while still having a great getaway with your love.

    (On the destination side, seriously, go to Japan. It’s not at all as expensive as it’s made out to be, and, if you go to Tokyo, you will be living in the most convenient, polite, city on Earth, so help will be easy to find should anything go south. )

  • http://santorini888.net/ ANGELO

    The magical Greek island with thousands of beautiful pictures from all the parts of the island and most of them are at the big and famous caldera that was created after the great eruption of Santorini Volcano.If you visit Santorini in Greece for vacation it will be the best experience you have in your life http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5SzjXNpZPg

  • Rachel

    Sounds like quite an adventure you two had! We spent 2 days at home decompressing and coming down off the high of our wedding, then set off to the Dominican Republic for a week of sitting by the beach at a resort. Being isolated with our phones off for a week after the wedding was exactly what we needed. And I definitely recommend DR for the less adventurous (like myself). There are plenty of options if you want some adventure, but it’s perfectly acceptable to just lounge around the resort. Best perks of DR: cheaper flights from NY (4-5 hours), resorts are all inclusive and super budget friendly!