Make your honeymoon sweeter than ever
Creators News Service
When it comes to stressful situations, few events can compete with your wedding day, one of life's major milestones. By the time you make your exit from the reception after a day of whirlwind activity, both you and your new spouse are in dire need of a vacation.
That's probably why the honeymoon was invented.
It's the time to unwind and relax after months of planning and making decisions on everything from the guest list to the reception menu. Ask many newlyweds and they'll tell you that the favorite part of their wedding was the honeymoon. Couples may be tempted to plan their own honeymoon online, but travel experts recommend consulting an agent -- they can save both time and money.
"Travel agents will do all the work and research for you and it's complimentary," said Wayne Johnson of All Honeymoons and Romantic Travel in Marietta, Ga.
Debbie Smith of Smith World Travel in Westminster, Colo., agreed. "Go through a travel agent. Don't try to do it on your own," Smith said. "There are two points of view on it. You can do it online, but if you make a mistake online, you still have to pay for it. We've also been doing it for many years and know where to send you on a honeymoon, what the best locations are, what the weather is like. We can get you prices from numerous tour companies instead of just one website."
A popular money-saving option is to stay at an all-inclusive resort, where almost everything is included.
"The thing about the all-inclusives is that they can pre-pay for it and it includes their tips and drinks and all their meals and they have little else to pay for once they're there," Smith said. "It's going to include non-motorized water sports. Motorized sports like Jet Skis are extra. But if everything's already paid for, this doesn't end up being very expensive."
Smith estimated that a deluxe honeymoon will cost between $4,000 and $6,000, and a more moderate trip will run from $2,000 to $2,500. They typically last five to seven days.
The Caribbean and Hawaii remain popular destinations, but for those seeking a little more adventure, Johnson said Costa Rica is emerging as a new favorite.
"There are just so many things to do. There are exotic animals, there's rafting, there are zip line tours. You have the rain forest and volcanoes as well as the beach. A lot of people go for a couple of days up in the mountains or in the rain forest and then a couple of days on the beach," Johnson said.
Some couples opt for a destination wedding, which combines the wedding and the honeymoon, a trend that Sandals resorts calls weddingmoons. They are commonly held at all-inclusive properties in an exotic locale. Some cruise ships have onboard chapels and offer destination weddings, with the ceremony, reception and honeymoon all held on the ship. The wedding party boards early, before the rest of passengers arrive. Guests have the option of staying on the ship and enjoying the cruise or getting off the ship after the reception.
"It's really economical," said Rusty Pickett of Shellback Cruises in Charleston, S.C. "For about 50 people -- wedding, reception, DJ, photography -- you can probably do it for about $8,000. The price for the cruise is a separate entity, but it's only a couple of thousand more. I think it's one of the most affordable weddings out there. It's just not in a church."
Cruises remain popular with honeymooners regardless of where the ceremony and reception are held, with Caribbean ports of call still the favorite destinations, Pickett said. They're also popular because they keep the cost down without sacrificing the experience.
"The cruise is the way to go. My business is about 70 percent cruises and 30 percent other stuff, and I think if cruising is in your mix you can get a lot more bang for your buck," Pickett said. "On the right cruise line there will be lots of other honeymooners there so there will be a core group of people that are similar to you."