You should look back at your honeymoon as one of the best holidays of your life. A special time after your wedding day when you spent an uninterrupted spell together as husband and wife for the first time, really relaxing after all the responsibilities of planning your big day and getting to know one another even better.
That’s quite a tall order. But again, a lot of the success of your special break will be due to your pre-planning. So we’ve put together a few questions that you should ask yourselves, so you really end up with the honeymoon you both want.
When should we go on honeymoon?
This depends on a lot of factors including your budget and the time of year you’re getting married. (Of course, you don’t have to go away immediately after your wedding on your substantial holiday – you could go on a mini-moon instead and enjoy a longer break later.) If you’re marrying in the winter and want to hit the sunshine, then you’re probably going to be looking at somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere.
Think Thailand, South Africa or even Australia if time permits. Alternatively, if the sun isn’t your thing and you’re quite adventurous, then you could have a winter-based honeymoon. Maybe go skiing in the Alps or do some winter-sightseeing in an iconic city like Venice or Rome (which will be much less crowded than during the summer months). You’ll also benefit from reduced room rates in hotels if you go off-season.
Where should we go?
You need to both sit down and talk through what you want to get out of this special break. Do you just want to flop on a beach, read books, talk and not do anything much? In that case, a sunny destination would be best. Try a hotel somewhere like the Caribbean that specialises in honeymoons. Sandals have some great deals for honeymooners and you’ll be treated in a very special way with sparkling wine on arrival, flower petals on your bed and breakfast in bed.
Alternatively, if you’d like something a bit more action-packed then you’ve a number of options. You could go on a safari in Africa and see elephant, lion and rhino in the wild. Hire an open-top car and drive the Pacific Highway on the West Coast of the USA, visiting Los Angeles, San Francisco and travel all the way up to the Canadian Border. Or if a city break appeals then there’s shopping and skyscraper viewing in New York City, or maybe a romantic trip to a European city like Paris.
How long should it last?
This one is entirely up to you. Many couples opt for a classic fortnight or 10 days somewhere special, returning renewed after the rigours of the build-up to the wedding. Or maybe a week would be sufficient for you. If you’ve got responsibilities back home like children or a business to run, then you might just take a long weekend. On the other hand, some couples take a honeymoon that goes on for months – a sort of gap year – backpacking around Asia or South America. It all depends on your circumstances and your funds.
What about the weather?
Some of you are going to be sun-worshippers. In which case you need to check the climate at the time of year you’re visiting your resort or destination. Remember that the Caribbean has a hurricane season from September to October which can bring short bursts of rain. If you’re planning an African safari, the rainy season is around June, July and August.
In Asia, monsoon season is June to September. The upside is that if you go at these times, considered to be off season, then you’ll get a cheaper deal. Also some places can be uncomfortably hot in the summer for sightseeing – like the Egypt, Venice or Dubai. Do your research carefully and talk to your travel agent.
If you’d like to take this opportunity to travel around a bit, then there are a number of ways of doing this. If you’ve always fancied visiting Canada, then you can take the trans Canada railway all the way from the east to the west coast. A safari in Kenya also fits the bill – you could spend a few days in the bush viewing wild animals through your binoculars, then a few days relaxing on the white sands of the Indian Ocean, with a bit of deep-sea fishing and snorkelling amongst the coral reef.
Should we plan it ourselves?
This all depends really on how much time you have to plan it or whether you’d rather hand it over to the experts. If you’re organising a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon, you might want to investigate the services offered by reputable agents like Kuoni, who offer a bridal registry service whereby your guests can contribute towards your honeymoon as a wedding present. Kuoni offers just about every sort of destination you can imagine – from the beaches of Bali to the snowy mountains of Switzerland. Buy Our Honeymoon is also a favourite with our real brides, where guests can contribute to certain activities – their website is well worth a look.