Brian and I have always dreamed of going to the Galapagos Islands. When we were dating, we decided that would be the perfect destination for our someday honeymoon.
Then we got engaged, started planning a wedding and woke up from our pipe dream.
Unless we wanted to be in debt for the next, oh I don't know, 100 years, there was no way we could afford to pay for a wedding and go on an exotic, two-week long trip. We were both disappointed. Okay, I was more like devastated. We decided we would re-examine our finances after the wedding and book our dream honeymoon a few months later.
That was fine with me except I had an overwhelming fear that we might not ever go. And what were we going to do right after the wedding? Hang out at home and hide from our families so we could get some peace and quiet? I came up with a different, much more affordable solution -- we could go on a "mini moon."
Brian gave me a miniscule budget and put me in charge of finding a not-too-far place (driving distance) we could go for a few days to just unwind after the wedding. I chose Block Island, an adorable, laidback island right off the coast of Rhode Island. We had gone there on our first ever vacation and I had always wanted to go back.
So we went to Block Island right after our wedding and we had probably the best, most romantic three days of our lives. We slept in and ate decadent dessert for dinner and took long bike rides and saw seals splashing around in the ocean. Seals.
We've been married a few months now and it's easy to see that our "mini moon" was actually our honeymoon. Sure, we still plan on going to the Galapagos Islands at some point but I'm so glad we didn't hold out for it. You shouldn't either. You really must go on a honeymoon... ANY honeymoon. Here's why:
1. It's NOW or never.
You went way over-budget for the wedding. You used all your vacation time this year. You don't have anyone to watch the dog. Sure - you can probably think of a million nagging reasons not to go on a honeymoon. But here's the only reason you need to book your honeymoon: If you don't do it now, there's a very good chance you NEVER will.
I hate to be a buzzkill but I've seen it happen time and time again. Couples put off booking their honeymoon with the promise that they will go on an amazing trip eventually. They'll do it once they've paid off all their wedding vendors or they'll do it once the craziness of the wedding has died down. But life always ends up getting in the way. The longer you put it off, the smaller your window of opportunity becomes and before you know it, your 1 year anniversary is right around the corner and you're no closer to booking your honeymoon than you were before the wedding.
Just do it.
2. The memories.
Whether you're going on a weekend camping trip or staying in 5 star hotels throughout Europe, your honeymoon is all about making your first memories together, as a married couple. Even if you've been on vacations before, just the two of you, your honeymoon is different because it marks the beginning of a new era in your relationship. The memories you'll create on your honeymoon will be some of the fondest of your lifetime together. You'll look back on that trip and revel at how young, naïve and stupid happy your were. Isn't that what being newlyweds is all about?
Besides, after you're married, who knows when you'll have the opportunity to go on a solo trip with your hubby again (if ever). Once you have kids and decide to bring them along, it's no longer a vacation. It's a business trip.
3. The photos.
You know how every time you embark on an exciting journey (and what's more exciting than going on your honeymoon?), people always say, "Take lots of pictures!"? Well seriously, I want you to do this. Take TONS of photos of yourselves on your honeymoon. You'll both be in the best shape of your lives from all those pre-wedding work outs. And even better, your post-wedding glow will radiant in every single photo you take.
My parents were 19 when they got married. 19. They went to the Poconos for a long weekend for their honeymoon. My favorite picture of them from that trip is one of them standing in front of a nameless bar, making goofy faces. They look like two kids at summer camp. Turns out, they got kicked out of that bar just a few minutes before the photo was taken because they weren't legally old enough to drink on their honeymoon. I freakin' love that picture.
Just like I've convinced you to get the wedding album, I also hope you heed this advice and take a bajillion photos on your honeymoon. The memories from that trip will fade a bit in time, as will the "honeymoon period", but every time you take out your photo album from your honeymoon, it'll remind you all over again of the absolute best time of your life. Together. Say cheeeeeeeeese!
4. The perks.
When I was booking my honeymoon, I called around to a bunch of hotels searching for the best deal. We had like pretty much no money to spend but I still wanted it to feel special. So I said the magic word: HONEYMOON. As soon as someone hears that you're booking a room for your honeymoon, they literally just start giving you free stuff. I'm not kidding. Every single person I spoke to said something like this, "Oh it's your honeymoon? Congratulations! How exciting. Well in that case we will throw in a free bottle of champagne upon your arrival and upgrade you to a suite at no additional charge." I chose our hotel based on my favorite freebie (which happened to be complimentary bike rentals).
And it certainly doesn't stop once you're actually on your honeymoon. To the embarrassment of my husband, I mentioned to just about everyone we came in contact with that it was our honeymoon. We were given free rounds of drinks, free dessert and countless offers to take our picture. I even know a couple who got upgraded to first class on their way to Hawaii when they mentioned to the stewardess that they were on their honeymoon and the groom was terrified of flying.
The point is that the world is full of good, generous people who want your honeymoon to be just as spectacular as you do. Take advantage of the perks. You can only say the word HONEYMOON and watch the magic show that ensues exactly once in your life.
5. The escape.
Even though your wedding was supposed to be all about the two of you, you probably didn't even get two full minutes of time to yourselves before you were ushered to the next photo op or required to say hi to your distant cousin's weird new boyfriend. Really, most weddings are all about joining two families together and throwing one hell of a party. And that's okay. But it's really, really, really important that you and your new husband get the chance to celebrate your new marriage in your own way. A way that has nothing to do with anyone else but the two of you.
The honeymoon is your escape from the wedding mayhem. You just had a whirlwind weekend - Friday night was the rehearsal dinner, Saturday was the actual wedding and Sunday was the brunch. You've most likely taken more photos in the past seventy-two hours than you have in your entire life. You've been smiling and socializing and smiling some more and every time you go to grab your new husband's hand, to give him that reassuring squeeze, you're being pulled in yet another direction. Wedding weekends are crazy and the only way to truly get away from all that craziness to quite literally go away. Even if you guys hide out in the bed and breakfast two towns over and watch bad TV and eat ice cream in bed, you need some time to yourselves.
Now go book your honeymoon!!!