Most of the weddings I've planned have been destination affairs, in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. I've found that the vast majority of my clients struggle with how to have a honeymoon, or even a mini-moon, immediately following their weddings. They've already invested quite a bit of money in travel just to get to their wedding destination.
While I've watched some brides and grooms jet off to places as far as the Galapagos Islands the day after a Caribbean destination wedding, more brides and grooms want to be able to have a true honeymoon experience without having to take more planes, trains and automobiles.
I ran into this problem when I got married, because my mom and most of her friends were staying at my wedding destination for a week after my big day. As much as I love them, I didn't want to hang out with them on my honeymoon. To return home from our wedding, we were going to have to fly back through San Juan anyway. So we flew to San Juan, got a rental car, and drove to a really fantastic boutique resort in Rincón, on the west side of Puerto Rico.
Some of my clients want to stay where they got married, especially if it's their first time at the destination. Their wedding weekend was emotional and hectic and they didn't get to see the beauty and history of their own wedding location, and they would feel cheated if they didn't get some alone time. But still, they struggle with the fact that so many of their guests will be turning their wedding weekend into their own vacations, so they don't want to stay in the same location as everybody else.
You can make a very private honeymoon for yourselves without switching destinations if you plan ahead. Find a very special hotel or villa that is not someplace anybody else from your wedding group is staying. The more private and remote, the better. Do not tell anybody exactly where the house is— even better, don't tell anybody that you're staying on the island. Keep your honeymoon destination a secret until you get home.
Plan your honeymoon activities ahead. Find a massage therapist who will come to your accommodations to spoil you. Make dinner reservations on the later end for better chances of privacy, and try out all the pricier spots you didn't when you were with a big group. Chances are your guests aren't vacationing at $16 a glass for house wine. They're more likely to be in the local bars and restaurants that are typical tourist hangouts.
Don't make any plans with anybody and don't tell anybody where you are, but be gracious if you run into your friends that week. A simple "shhh" and a finger to your lips, with a wink, will tell them that you're doing your own thing and don't want any company on your honeymoon, even if you love them. Then scoot out of there and resume the romance.
Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events, a full-service traditional and destination wedding planning company and Do-It-Yourself wedding planning consulting service for DIY brides and grooms based in the Washington, DC area. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show "Wedding Island," about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques. Sandy's book "How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional," will be released on March 1st, but is available online for pre-orders now where books are sold.