Back by popular demand is the perspective from my wonderful groom, Mike, who got the fun task of planning the honeymoon! Originally I was going to let him surprise me, but since I have amazing detective skills, I started to ask too many questions and then got involved with helping to choose a destination (which may be good since he is a sailor and I haven't exactly explained how easily I get sea sick)!
From Mike's perspective:
So I had mentioned in my last "guest blog" that I had been put in charge of planning the honeymoon. Right off the bat, it sounds like a fun, easy job to have, but once I got started, it turned out to be more than I thought! There were many questions that needed to be answered, and it wasn't just a, "Hey, this sounds fun, let's do this!" Even though I was in charge of the plans, I definitely had to make sure I had the bride's input so she would have fun too! The first question was when did we want to go? Traditionally, the bride and groom leave the day after the wedding and spend a week celebrating their marriage and relaxing together. But with all of the deals that you can cut with resorts and companies now, it may be more cost-effective to actually plan it during "off" season and get a deal on going somewhere great. We had talked about planning a trip in the winter to go somewhere warm and escape the snow. (Which after getting snow again last week, I was pretty sure that you can never really escape the snow in Minnesota, but Jen and her family assure me that at some point soon, it will indeed stop snowing!) To us, we wanted to have our vacation right after the wedding and have a nice relaxing break celebrating our marriage.
The second question was where did we want to go? We had discussed that we definitely wanted to go somewhere warm. Like I had said before, Jen had mentioned she wanted to go back to Hawaii (returning to the "scene of the crime" where we met). I convinced her we would go back to Hawaii again soon, and so we decided to choose somewhere we had not been to before. A cruise sounded pretty good to me, because everything you want is right there with you on the ship, and you always have a "home base" to go to no matter which islands you pull in to. You also get to see multiple islands without having to pack and unpack your bags multiple times or hop on a plane for a flight to another locale.
Although the appeal of being back out to sea (albeit on the surface in the sunshine vice underwater on a submarine with 150 of my closest friends) was somewhat of a draw, we decided we wanted to be on an island somewhere to enjoy the beach and sun and not have to be restricted to a schedule of a cruise ship.
We decided that we wanted to do all-inclusive resort. I had looked at some different options where we could just stayed at a hotel and enjoyed the island . . . there was a definite draw of not having to worry about costs of food and drink while we were on our honeymoon. Right now, Sandals Resorts are having some amazing deals on vacation packages, and it includes more than just food and drink. You also gain access to water sports, snorkel/scuba diving gear, golf packages, and for a little extra cost, you can include some spa days. Now the major part of my decision-making process . . . which island to go to! I have spent a good amount of time in the Caribbean, so I definitely wanted to try something new. Between different cruises that I've been on for spring break (Jamaica, St. Maarten, Cozumel, Grand Cayman) and sailing with my dad and brother, Matt, in the British Virgin Islands, I definitely had a lot of area covered. So we decided to try out St. Lucia. We have had friends who had vacationed there before, and it came highly recommended. St. Lucia also has three Sandals resorts on the island, and there is a free shuttle that will take you between all three (included in the reservation!) so you can try all the different restaurants and events that they offer! It is a great service that Sandals offers, and you really get three resorts for the price of one!
Sandals also offers planning for the entire trip and it can the airfare trip as well. Since we aren't leaving on the Sunday after the wedding (we are actually leaving Monday, since we'll have a little family reunion on Sunday), we booked the tickets on our own. Bing.com offers a great planning tool, allowing for flexibility and different choices in airlines, which we used to book ours. If you are traveling a long distance for your honeymoon (like we are, it's four flights to get down there!), you can break up your flight over two days and stop over at another location (we could've done Miami or San Juan) for another night in paradise. We decided to get down to St. Lucia in one day, so we can start the vacation right away! There are a lot of options out there for honeymoons and many different tools you can use to get the best deal. Because people are less apt to go on a vacation, many resorts and companies offer those great getaway deals that you won't find all the time.We did!
The honeymoon is booked, and we have another big "check" completed on our list!