We asked wedding industry insiders and top travel experts to weigh in with their best advice for the trip of a lifetime — your honeymoon.
Traditionally the most important day of your life is followed by the most important trip of your life: the honeymoon. It's a chance to go somewhere new, celebrate just the two of you, and unwind — preferably with a cocktail or two in hand. For some, planning an awesome trip can be just as challenging as the big day itself, so it's important to keep a few things in mind. From the practical (take off your new rings when you're swimming) to the romantic (focus on each other), we tapped our network of wedding industry insiders and travel experts for their top 11 tips for honeymooners.
1. Wait a Day or Two...
The notion of jetting off to your honeymoon the morning after your wedding may be romantic, but consider waiting a couple of days before you go. This will give you a chance to catch your breath — you can say good-bye to out-of-town guests, finish packing, and maybe even rest up a bit so you can enjoy every minute of the trip.
– Amy Conway, editor-in-chief, Martha Stewart Weddings
2. ... Or Plan a Mini Moon
Take a "mini moon" the weekend after the wedding and plan the grand honeymoon for sometime in the first year after you marry. Most couples are exhausted the day after and need quiet, peace, and rest.
– Karen Cunningham, wedding photographer, Karen Cunningham Photography
3. Say No to Added Pressure
Get the honeymoon off your list and don't create a bunch of pressure for yourself to craft the trip of a lifetime. If you do it right after the wedding, you're going to be exhausted the first few days anyway and will basically stay in bed and eat and drink. Outsource as much of the honeymoon planning as you can and don't try to squeeze in too much — Fathom's honeymoon guides are actually an amazing resource for this — you're guaranteed to have a great trip and they've done all the legwork for you.
– Marissa Wilson Gibbons, co-founder, Riley & Grey
4. Leave the Planning to the Experts
Outsource and delegate as much as possible. Whether that means crowd-sourcing an itinerary from your friends, hiring some of the stellar services in the industry, or considering an upscale approach to an all-inclusive like Aman Resorts. This is one of the times you and your partner don't want to have to worry about a thing so you can enjoy the experience fully and with ease.
– Jess Levin, CEO and founder, Carats & Cake
5. When It Comes to Destinations, Less Is More
My best advice for honeymooners: Less is more. As Americans with limited vacation time, we're often in the mindset that we need to "fit everything in." Your honeymoon is not the time to follow this rule. We always suggest honeymooners spend more time in a destination than normal, or even choose a single destination to totally let go of all the wedding stress rather than moving around every other day. However, if you do want to use your honeymoon to take an epic vacation, consider pushing it back a few months. Not only will you have something to look forward to after the wedding, but you'll have the energy to hit the ground running!
– Alex Erdman, partner, Local Foreigner
6. Be Spontaneous
When planning your honeymoon, stay true to who you are as travelers. If your idea of a memorable vacation is eating your way through a big city or doing something active like hiking, it's not worth the time and money it'll take to reach a five-star beach resort halfway around the world. But no matter where you go, make sure to build in a few days of relaxation and don't plan every hour of every day. There's nothing more romantic than being spontaneous!
– Brooke Porter-Katz, senior editor, Martha Stewart Living
7. Think Outside the Box
Before you know it, you'll be back home from your honeymoon — business as usual — so aside from unwinding as much as possible, think outside the box and do something you'd never think to do in "normal" life. Try a new food, spend time sightseeing, or book an excursion that's not exactly in your comfort zone. No matter what you decide to embark on, you'll be experiencing it with a travel companion/partner-in-crime/adventure buddy that you'll have for the rest of your life. That's special, so make it count, and don't forget to document it all!
– Kellee Khalil, founder and CEO, Loverly
8. But Take It Easy
Don't do too much — honeymoons are often the first big expensive trip that grooms have arranged themselves, and they need to be led quite firmly by the hand. Packing/unpacking every day is out of the question, as are full days of sight seeing. You need to allow time for long lazy lunches and even longer siestas, time to digest the wedding itself and breathe a big sigh of relief that you are finally married. And when we're planning honeymoons on the Amalfi Coast, we forbid people from hiring convertibles — indeed any car — in the summer months. It's guaranteed to result in the first argument of married life!
– Emily FitzRoy, founder, Bellini Travel
9. Simplify Your Beauty Routine
I think of weddings and honeymoons as a really fun party with everyone you love followed by a lot of presents and a vacation. It's pretty much the best time ever — but it's not without stress and all of the activity can wreak havoc on your skin. My best advice for honeymooners is to decompress from the wedding busyness and simplify. While at your wedding, you are going to have flawless hair and makeup. Honeymoon self-care should be more about what's easy: moisture for the airplane in the form of a good mist and mask and, ideally, SPF for the tropical location you immediately head to.
– Becca Perkins, founder and head makeup artist, Rouge NY
10. Put Your Phone Away
Truly unplug. If you are using the camera on your phone, keep the data turned off. The entire point of a honeymoon is to connect. With each other. Not the rest of the digital world. The weeks and months leading up to the wedding are a crush of responsibilities to other people, deadlines, and pressures. The honeymoon is a precious time to do nothing but focus on your new spouse.
– Michael Hainey, author of After Visiting Friends and executive director of editorial, Esquire
11. Take Your New Jewelry Off
As a jewelry designer who has heard plenty of honeymoon stories, I can tell you that that the ocean is full of new wedding rings! I think it's why people with metal detectors have luck at the beach. Take the rings off the first few times you swim. It is easy to lose them in water when your hands shrink from the temperature and pressure.
– Anna Bario, co-founder and designer, Bario Neal
Buy the Fathom Honeymoon Guides
Fall in love with a set of 3-day itineraries to the most romantic cities in Italy (Amalfi Coast, Florence, Rome, and Venice). The smart, charming ebooks for iPhone have everything you need for a dream Italian holiday. (Marriage, by the way, is optional.)