Honeymoon Planning und Preparation
Decide where will you live. One extremely important question to decide well before the wedding day is where you will live after you are married. If one of you already has a house it may be easiest to move in together there; however, the place may not be big enough, particularly if it is a typical single person’s flat or bedsit, so this may not be practical. Or, you may be setting up your married life in a completely new area, and may have to find new accommodation from scratch.
Living with Relatives after the Honeymoon
If you are not well off you may decide to live with one or other sets of parents, or with another relative, until you can afford a place of your own. This, like most living arrangements, has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are that you don’t need to get involved in the trouble and expense of buying a house until you have had a chance to adjust to married life; you will be able to live more cheaply than if you were living on your own; you should be able to share some of the chores such as cooking, washing, cleaning, gardening, shopping, etc; and both couples will have someone else around for companionship. Potential problems are, of course, manifold, and this situation may be particularly difficult for the son or daughter-in-law who has married into the family; he or she may feel that they have not taken on a marriage partner but a whole family!
If you are going to live in this kind of arrangement when you are first married, talk it over all together and make sure that everyone is happy with it. Make clear certain conditions so that there will be no misunderstanding – for instance, exactly how much you are going to pay for housekeeping, how the chores will be divided, how you will pay for electricity, phone calls, laundry, etc. If at all possible, set a definite time limit on the arrangement – for instance that you will live there for a year while you save, and then start looking for a place of your own. Some families are able to make over a whole part of their house into a flat or annexe for the newly-married couple, which can mean that you have a lot of the advantages of living under one roof without many of the disadvantages.
Be sensible and realistic about how the arrangement is likely to work; for instance if you find it difficult to get on with one set of parents, it will be a very difficult start to your married life if you are constantly quarrelling. If it is your parents that you will be living with, be sensitive to the fact that your husband or wife will probably feel very left out at first as the newcomer to the home.
House-sharing after the Honeymoon
Sharing a home with friends has many of the advantages and potential disadvantages of living with relatives, but if you choose to live with friends you can at least ensure that you have similar tastes, interests and lifestyles. If you are looking at this kind of arrangement, make sure that all of you get on well together, that there is no danger of sexual tensions or jealousies among you, and that you are all able to communicate well if you are unhappy with any aspect of your living arrangements. Once again, make it clear at the outset what each person will be expected to contribute in terms of money, time and talents.
Renting Accommodation after the Honeymoon
Renting accommodation on your own can be a good half-way stage between leaving home and buying a house of your own; you will have independence and the chance to be together without the extra financial strains of owning and caring for your own house and having to make decisions on the rates, maintenance, etc. Of course not all renting is plain sailing. If you are renting a council house the conditions will be well laid out and your duties clearly detailed; the council will pay for the maintenance of the property and you will simply need to keep it in good order.
If you are renting privately, try to build up a good relationship with your landlord as he will be the key to whether you are happy in that flat or house. If possible, try and find out about the landlord before you make any firm arrangements, for instance, from other people in the same block of flats or in other properties administered by the same landlord. Find out whether he is helpful, difficult over money, cooperative over repairs, etc; also find out how often the rent has to be paid, whether a cheque or cash is preferred, whether this includes heating, lighting, gas, water, phone, etc.
It is also worthwhile checking on your rights as a tenant – unfortunately there are still some unscrupulous landlords around who may try to push you out with little notice, or put the rent up astronomically as soon as you are settled in. If the rent is not too high, renting accommodation can give you a good chance to save capital so that you can put a significant deposit on a house of your own, which is in turn a good way of reducing your mortgage payments, so although renting may be a little awkward at times it can be very useful for the newly-married couple.
Honeymoon Packing Preparations
It’s easy to neglect preparations for your honeymoon in the rush of preparations for the wedding day itself, but most of your packing can be done well in advance, with just the addition of last-minute things such as washing kits and money at the end. While there is plenty of time, think out carefully the kind of things you will need and begin assembling them, and this will save you a lot of headaches when the pressure is on.
Pack your clothes for the honeymoon. Choose clothes that are suitable for the climate of the place you will be visiting. Most people take far more clothes than they need when they go abroad; it’s horrifying how quickly they can mount up and make your suitcase feel as if it weighs a ton. Find out about the place that you will be staying; are you going to a self-catering place in the sun, in which case you will probably want only swimsuits, shorts and T-shirts and sundresses, with the occasional more elegant outfit, or are you going to an upmarket hotel where you will be expected to dress for dinner? Will you need long jeans or long-sleeved shirts to protect you from insects, sunburn, rough rides on camels or donkeys? Is there any special clothing you will need, for instance if you plan to do a lot of sailing, climbing, canoeing, etc?
Also, you will need to choose a practical set of clothes to change into after the formal part of the wedding reception is over; many women buy a special outfit so that they can still feel that they are celebrating a new life. Choose clothes that will be comfortable and crease resistant, especially if you will be travelling for quite a distance after the reception. Make sure that your outfit can be adapted for all kinds of weathers, for instance that you have a jacket, shawl or cardigan that can be worn or carried as the weather demands. Shown here are some ideal going-away outfits that could be adapted to suit your own needs and tastes.
Pack your Equipment for the Honeymoon
Find out as much as you can about the facilities of the hotel or guest house where you will be staying – for instance, it would be annoying to cart a hairdryer and travel iron several thousand miles only to discover that every room has their own provided. If you will be self-catering, do you need to take food with you or can it be bought nearby? If you are going on a special interest holiday, is there any equipment that you need to take with you? If so, add it to your list and collect it early on so that you aren’t scrabbling around trying to obtain it at the last minute.
Arrange and Pack the Documents Needed for your Honeymoon
Your documents will of course be the most important items of all; if you forget a swimsuit or underclothes it will be annoying but not disastrous as you can always buy replacements, but if you forget your passports or plane tickets you may not be able to travel at all.
Arrange any necessary visas and check they can be stamped in a post-dated passport. If a visa cannot be stamped in your post-dated passport, you will need to travel using a passport in your maiden name. As a precaution, take your marriage certificate with you if the tickets are booked in your married name. Obtain the necessary form signed by the officiant or Superintendent Registrar.
Decide whether to change the name in your passport. Some countries will not accept a passport that has not been amended (i.e. it is still in your maiden name), even if you carry your marriage certificate with you. Therefore, you must arrange to have a post-dated passport issued in your married name if needed.
Send the documents to the appropriate Passport Office. Your new passport will only be valid from the date of your wedding since it will be post-dated. It is possible to apply up to three months in advance, but allow a minimum of six weeks for it to be processed.
Insurance is vitally important, too; no-one wants to think of disasters happening on their honeymoon, but if they do it would at least be nice to have insurance cover for them. Make a list of all the documents you will need, and double-check it the day of the wedding.
List of other Preliminary Preparation for Honeymoon Planning
• Decide whether guests will contribute to the cost of your honeymoon or you will pay for it yourself
• Set a provisional budget /‘holiday of a lifetime’ or less extravagant, length of stay, etc./
• Discuss the type of holiday you both will enjoy /on the beach, sightseeing, touring or other/
• Identify suitable destinations /UK, abroad/
• Select the type of accommodation /hotel, self-catering apartment, villa, other/
• Decide on preferred method of travel /air, sea, rail, road/
• Decide how you wish to book your honeymoon /holiday Company, travel agent, website/
• Arrange overnight accommodation on the wedding night, if required
• Purchase maps, guidebooks and any GPS Upgrades
• Book the honeymoon in the name that will match your passport
• Arrange for full travel/medical insurance and apply for a European Health Insurance Card (European destinations only)
• Order currency and travellers cheques
• Consult your GP regarding any advised or necessary inoculations or medicines at least three weeks prior to your proposed departure date
• Ensure you have an adequate supply of regularly taken medication and precautionary items
• Check on the amount and weight of luggage that you are allowed to take
• Prepare an emergency kit in your hand luggage in the event that your luggage is mislaid or delayed reaching your destination – washbag, change of underwear and clothes, medication
• Make arrangements for any pets
• Arrange transport to and from the honeymoon departure point
• Advise neighbors of your itinerary and arrange for someone to check on your property while you are away
• Cancel newspaper delivery
• Cancel milk delivery
• Water houseplants
Luggage checklist for Honeymoon planning
□ Passports/visas □ Toiletries
□ Marriage certificate □ Cosmetics/nail polish
□ Currency/ travellers cheques □ Shampoo/hair dryer
□ Vaccination certificates □ Clothes
□ Tickets/hotel vouchers □ Accessories
□ Itinerary □ Jewelry
□ Travel insurance policy □Swimwear/beach towels
□ Cheque book/credit cards □ Dressing gown
□ Driving licenses □ Sunglasses
□ Car documents □ Sunscreen/after-sun lotion
□ Luggage keys □ First aid kit/insect repellent
□ Maps/guidebooks □ Salt tablets
□ Camera/video camera □ Contraception
□ Camera/phone/equipment chargers □ Medication
Honeymoon Travel Arrangements After The Wedding
After all the hard work of wedding organization you deserve a break. Even if you are on a tight budget, try to have a weekend away locally. You may want to postpone your honeymoon for a week or so if people have travelled from abroad for your wedding – it’s a shame not to see more of them. Your travel arrangements will need to be very carefully thought out, especially if you have a specific plane, train or boat that you need to catch after the reception. Be realistic about the time that you will be able to get away from the reception, and also make realistic assessments of how long it will take you to get to your destination, remembering that you will both be tired.
Many couples choose to spend their first night in an hotel in this country even if they are going abroad the next day – this can be an ideal way of recovering from the exhaustion of the day itself without having to cope in a foreign country as well. Many airports have hotels near them, and some of the hotels even have bridal suites so that you can really spend your first night in style.
The hotels may not be in very attractive settings, but all you are likely to want the first night is a good dinner and a comfortable bed!
If you will be driving away from the reception, don’t forget that your car is likely to be decorated in various appropriate ways. If this idea appals you, make sure that your car is well hidden and arrange for a trusted friend to drive you to its hiding place when you are ready. If you don’t mind having the car decorated, remember to allow some time in your timetable for stopping at a friendly garage and repairing the damage.
Alternatively, you may choose to leave your reception by taxi, or a friend could drive you to the station, car hire firm, etc. Whatever your travel arrangements are, double check them before the day itself and again on the morning of the wedding day; this could be a task that you could ask your best man to undertake. If you are using your own car, make sure that it is well supplied with petrol, oil and water, and that the tyres are pumped up.
You may choose to leave your reception by some more exotic means, such as a carriage and pair, a boat, or even a balloon! You could also arrange for the wedding car that brought you from the service to return and see you off to your honeymoon in real style: Confetti will probably be liberally sprinkled at this stage, so check your pockets, collars, etc, unless you want everyone to know that you are newlyweds!
Questions You Need to Answer Before Planning Your Honeymoon
Honeymoon destination used to be a luxury that only the rich could afford, but gradually the custom grew for most couples to take a few days off work, and now a fortnight’s honeymoon is fairly standard for most couples. When you are planning your own honeymoon, there are various questions to be taken into consideration.
Where will we go? Will someone have supplies of food, milk, etc, ready when we return?
How long will the holiday last? What tour operator are we travelling with?
Will we be touring or staying in one place? Who is our contact in case of difficulties?
What date will we leave? Is there a phone number or address where we can be reached?
Do we want to stay anywhere different the first night? Will we need any extra money for accommodation, petrol, tips, etc?
If so, where? Will we need money for meals?
What date will we return? Will we need extra money for sightseeing trips?
What transport will we need from the reception? How much spending money will we need?
What time will we need to leave the reception? How will we take this – currency, traveller’s cheques, etc?
Do we need to hire a car? Do we need foreign currency?
If so, when and where will we pick it up? If so, when do we pick it up?
Do we want to take our car abroad with us? Do we need visas for the country we’re visiting?
If so, what documents are needed? Do we need any injections?
What are the times of our travel arrangements on the outward journey? Do we both have current passports?
What are the times of our travel arrangements home? Do we both have suitable going-away outfits?
Does the bride’s passport need her name changed?
Pick a destination for Your Honeymoon
The venue of your honeymoon is, of course, one of the most important details to settle soon in the debate. You will need to talk over your priorities; are you looking for guaranteed sunshine? Good food? A particular sport, such as sailing or climbing or canoeing? A particular interest to follow, such as birdwatching, archaeology or exotic cooking? Do you want to take the opportunity to visit far-off places that you might never have the opportunity to see otherwise?
Fix on your priorities, and then choose a venue that fits in with them. Your honeymoon should be your own personal choice, and you don’t need to be influenced by other people’s ideas of where is or isn’t a suitable place for a honeymoon. Money will, of course, play a huge part in your arrangements; for instance your priority may be hot sunshine, but your budget will dictate whether you find this in Majorca or Hawaii! You will have spent a great deal of money on your wedding, unless you are one of the lucky couples whose parents have footed all the bills, and you don’t want to start your married life mortgaged up to the hilt; on the other hand you do want to have a holiday together that you can look back on as a real time of refreshment and enjoyment.
If you are definite about going abroad but need to do so on a strict budget, then you may want to fit in with an ordinary package tour. Venues that are popular for trips from this country, and therefore won’t be too expensive in terms of travel and accommodation costs, include the Balearic Islands (Majorca, Ibiza, etc), Malta, Spain and Portugal, France, Greece, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Germany-and the Channel Islands. Slightly more exotic destinations include North America, South America, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Sweden, Norway, Holland, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Corsica and North Africa.
If money really isn’t a problem – lucky you! Your options are numerous, and you will be able to choose a destination that others may only dream of. Your options could include exotic islands such as Bali, the Cayman Islands, the Seychelles, Trinidad and Tobago, the Maldives or the Virgin Islands. Other choices could be such places as India, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, etc.
Of course you don’t need to go abroad – especially if the forecast is for good weather over here. There are many very attractive parts of the British Isles, and numerous pretty places to stay when you are there, but costs can mount up for the very picturesque venues. Nevertheless if your main priority is not sun, but something such as fell walking, pony trekking, sightseeing, etc, a honeymoon in this country may well be your best bet.
Gay Honeymoon Destination Choices
If you want to have a romantic time and not worry about being stared at or hassled, go for a gay-friendly destination. These include:
• UK: Brighton, Bournemouth, Manchester, Blackpool, Torquay, London.
• US: Key West, Florida; New York City; Provincetown, Massachusetts; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Chicago; Las Vegas; California; Hawaii.
• Canada: Toronto, Vancouver.
• European cities: Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, Prague.
• Greece: Lesbos, Mykonos.
• Spain: Gran Canaria, Sitges, Ibiza, Fuerteventura, Majorca, Benidorm, Torremolinos, Australia and New Zealand: particularly Sydney and Auckland.
• South Africa: particularly Cape Town.
Travel agents says popular choices for women are Key West in Florida, the Greek island of Lesbos, and Provincetown in Massachusetts. For men, they generally find Gran Canaria is a popular choice throughout the summer, being replaced by South Africa and New Zealand during the winter.
Multi-centre holidays are becoming more popular, particularly for ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ honeymoon bookings. This might involve round-the-world trips with stop-offs in New York, Las Vegas, California, Thailand, or Singapore and then on to Australia or New Zealand for some beach relaxation. Why not time your trip to coincide with Sydney’s Mardi Gras or other Gay Pride events around the world?
The most important thing to think about is how you picture your ideal honeymoon, but in realistic surroundings.
The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office doesn’t give a list of countries to avoid, but warns same-sex couples to check guidebooks, the Internet or embassies to find out about different countries’ attitudes. It advises: ‘In some countries same-sex relationships are illegal and punishable by imprisonment, or even the death penalty. You should check attitudes towards same-sex relationships in the country you plan to visit, and exercise caution where unsure. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender travellers may have particular difficulties in countries where a large percentage of the population have strongly held religious beliefs which have traditionally been opposed to same-sex relationships.’ It also advises people to head for cities, rather than rural locations.
If you want to go the whole hog, many top-class hotels offer honeymoon packages. There are stunning five-star hotels that will do everything they can to make your honeymoon as special as possible – limousine transfers, champagne on arrival, spa treatments, whatever money will buy.
If you want to book a honeymoon suite in a particular hotel, it’s worth making enquiries as soon as possible so that the room can be reserved. Main advice is booking the honeymoon six to nine months before departure. You also need to point out that you are a same-sex honeymoon couple. This is to ensure that the tour operator and hotel extend the benefits to same-sex couples.
Consider the Length of Your Honeymoon
The length of your honeymoon will generally be dictated by two factors: work and money. Work may well restrict the time you have off, specific days you have to be back for meetings, etc, and when exactly you can take your honeymoon. Your budget will dictate some of your options, although there should be some flexibility even on the smallest budget. For instance, you may find that for the price of staying in an hotel in this country you could go abroad on a package trip for the same amount of time or could go self-catering for twice as long. Conversely you might decide that instead of going on a package trip for a fortnight to Ibiza, you would rather have a luxury 5-day trip to Morocco. Hunt around for the best bargains, and the type of trip that fits into your own ideas of what you want from your honeymoon.
Plan your budget for the Honeymoon
Even if your budget is very limited, it may still be possible for you to have several weeks away together at the start of your marriage. For instance, you may have a friend or a colleague who has a holiday home you could borrow free of charge. Many travel firms do special honeymoon packages or bargain breaks for couples trying to economise. You may also find that if you take your honeymoon at particular times of the year you can fit in with the offpeak seasons. Other ways of economising are to go camping (not everyone’s idea of a honeymoon!) or caravanning, to book in at a bed and breakfast guest house rather than an expensive hotel, or to choose a self-catering cottage or holiday flat. If you are determined to stay in an hotel, you can economise on their honeymoon suites which may well be very expensive; either book into an ordinary room, or book the honeymoon suite for a night or two and then a less expensive room for the rest of the stay.
Pictures from: freepik . com