Honeymoon Heaven and Hell

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If you think you might have unrealistic wedding day expectations, just wait until your honeymoon rolls around. Weddings are exhausting events both emotionally and physically. Yet somehow, only a few hours later, you're supposed to consummate your marriage and stay up all night packing in preparation for seven fun-filled days in Hawaii. Word to the wise: Not going to happen without a few glitches.

First things first, be realistic. Plan a honeymoon vacation in which you can play catch-up for the first day or so. Why? As mentioned before, the wedding is going to make you bone-tired. And flying on a crowded plane en route to that special honeymoon location is not going to be restful or relaxing. You've got to plan accordingly. Maybe allow for a relaxation day at some local hotel before you fly or sail out of town. More importantly, expect nothing from each other and just sit back and re-energize.

Once you get your honeymoon destination, take a chill pill and figure out the lay of the land for the first day. Jumping into scuba diving or mountain climbing two hours after you landed might not settle too well with your aching body. And even if you aren't aching, don't try to be Triathlon Joe or Jane. Nothing kills a week in paradise faster than a nasty sunburn or sprained joint. Prepare. Do a little tanning BEFORE the wedding so your skin will be ready for the tropical rays. If you know you are going to climb or scuba, then you might want to do a couple of trial runs at home to build up your stamina and abilities.

What type of Honeymoon destination best fits you? The world is wide open with many choices these days. You and your spouse-to-be should take some time to decide about how your honeymoon ideas can best fulfill your vacation dreams. You've got to ask yourself some basic questions. Do you want to be active and go white-water rafting in Colorado or is your cup of tea lying on some Caribbean beach and zoning out the world? And, once again, be realistic. You may want to see all of Europe, but you can't cram it into six days and seven nights. Memorable honeymoons are enjoyable vacations, not endurance races.

A very popular honeymoon trend is booking the all-inclusive vacation package. Simply stated, you pay one price and everything from airlines to gratuities is taken care of in advance. The two main venues of all-inclusive vacations are resorts and cruise ships. Resorts offer one amazing location (usually in a tropical paradise) where you can enjoy lots of land activities like golf, tennis, or sitting by the pool. Some resorts even have water toys like sailboats and jet skis to play with. Cruise ships do offer honeymoon suites, but are a bit more self-contained and are often a good deal more formal. You are given a certain "sitting" time for your meals and are sometimes asked to dress a particular way for specific dinnertime events. Although a good deal of onboard activities are planned, you are limited to what the ship has to offer while you are at sea. Nonetheless, the ship does drop anchor at various ports and many fun excursions are offered for passengers who want to regain their land legs.

Be a smart shopper and alert yourself to all the honeymoon package costs. Quite often in the packages that are not "all inclusive," vacationers can find themselves being nickel and dimed for bar drinks and extras like in-room snacks. This is why travel agents can be extremely valuable when planning honeymoons vacations. They'll help you sift through the chaff and find the best deal with a list of all the costs and all the freebies. They're well worth their weight in gold when it comes to saving you time and money during those stressful pre-wedding months.

Remember, it is not uncommon to be alone with each other on some romantic desert island and still get those honeymoon blues. The truth is you and your spouse just experienced one of the biggest emotional highs of your life. After months and months of wedding-planning ups and downs, the Big Day came and past and now suddenly you're Mr. and Mrs. That's a huge swing of the pendulum. Suddenly your new life is passing before your eyes. You're excited about the future, but already nostalgic about the short term past. And as your mind is racing a mile a minute, you realize this person sitting across from you is now your better half "in sickness and in health, 'til death do you part." Whoa! The seriousness of it all suddenly kicks in. But that's okay. It happens this way for everyone and it's important to use the honeymoon time to get closer to one another and adjust to your new life together.

So reach out, hold each other's hand, and repeat those special vows that ended in, "I do." This is the first day of the rest of your life. Enjoy... and put on some more sun block.