Honeymoons are different from other vacations. In a sense, they're more important, even for couples who have been together for some time, because of their connection to the wedding. Here, in collaboration with our sponsor Sandals, we rounded up a few tips on how to help ensure yours is as amazing as possible.
1. Scout it out.
Do enough research that you're confident that you're picking the right place for the two of you. An ideal way to select the right destination is to experience it in real life. Consider this deal: Sandals Resorts offers a special "Test Drive Your Honeymoon" package that will let you check out your honeymoon resort choice in advance, and receive a $500 credit toward your honeymoon when you book. Best of all, in addition to peace of mind, you get to take a much-needed break in the middle of wedding planning and spend a weekend that's just about the two of you, a wide white stretch of beach, the feeling of the sunshine on your skin, and toasts to your pending nuptials. And while you can clink glasses of wine at dinner, we suggest pool-side toasts with a couple of frozen cocktails topped with those little paper umbrellas.
2. Know that this is an escape.
After the intensity of the wedding, you should expect to be tired. Add to that the overwhelming amazingness of having everyone you love in one place on The Big Day, and we guarantee that the two of you will want some seriously quiet alone time. Our advice: For the first couple days of your honeymoon, don't plan anything at all. Allow yourselves to sleep in, order room service if you miss a meal, and just do what feels good. After that, you can take it all in — from the spa if that's your thing to water sports, golf, and even some fun tours.
3. Remember that perfection doesn't always look like you thought it would.
You know those couple little things that went wrong — or at least not as planned — but they didn't ruin your wedding at all? Expect the same to be true on your honeymoon. After all, nobody can control the weather, and flight delays are pretty common. Let go of the idea that this vacation needs to be flawless, and you'll be able to relax and enjoy it for what it is, rather than what you thought it would be.
4. Take a deep breath.
Once you're there — at the resort you chose, in your honeymoon lair — be mindful of just how amazing it is to have your first vacation as newlyweds. This is a moment you have waited a long time for, and you want to make sure you enjoy it. So unplug your laptop — Facebook and Instagram, thank-you notes, and certainly work, too, can wait — and focus on each other. Send a group thank-you email to the closest people in your life, letting them know how much you appreciate all they did to make your wedding special. Then close by saying the two of you are going off the grid for a while and you'll talk to them when you get home.
5. Make it your own.
Bring with you the things you need to ensure you get to live out the vacation of your fantasies. If you chose your honeymoon suite because it has the most amazing hot tub, plan ahead and pack your favorite bath salts or buy a new bubble bath you're excited to use. If the two of you love to read on the beach together, make enough room in your suitcase for the books you need to make that happen. If you don't expect to automatically find everything you have at home, you'll be thrilled by the unexpected treats, like the calypso band playing after dinner or the shockingly good tropical fruit.