"Many couples naturally assume that their honeymoon will be something akin to a chick flick with all its romance and passion," says Laura Brotherson, marriage and sex therapist. And while it will certainly be wonderful, it will also be filled with surprises—little things no one ever told you about. Here is the inside scoop on what really happens on a honeymoon.
1. The Trip Will Bring You Closer
Any vacation in which you share experiences and make memories will bond two people, but there's something to be said for the first time you check into a hotel as a married couple, just like there's a special thrill in telling the waiter you're celebrating your first days as husband and wife. It really hits you on your honeymoon that you're really in this together and it's official.
2. Sex Will Not Necessarily Be an Everyday Occurrence
We conducted a survey of 138 newlyweds and asked how many times did they, ahem, get busy? The answers ranged from multiple times a day to zero. The majority (32 percent) said they got down once a day.
One bride we surveyed shared that she thought something was wrong when her husband wasn't interested in sex on the daily. "When my husband declined to dive into bed with me on the fourth day of our honeymoon, I called a friend and wondered aloud if something was already wrong with our marriage. After all, aren't you supposed to have sex every day of this particular vacation?"
There's no "supposed to"—every couple is different, and that bride is in good company: 28 percent of the newlyweds said they were intimate every couple of days.
Another 28 percent answered more than once a day; 6 percent said the magic happened only once on the trip, and a final 6 percent shared that sex never happened at all.
3. Speaking of Getting Busy, the Actual Wedding Night Might Not Be Fireworks
"Couples may not realize how exhausted they may be after their wedding preparations, travel, and the wedding day celebrations," says Brotherson. "And after a long, though exciting, wedding day, the first night may not always be the best time to have a great sexual experience together."
4. You'll Learn New Things About Your Spouse
You might think you know everything about your partner, but 21 percent of brides we surveyed said they learned new things about them on the honeymoon. "I found out my husband likes spa treatments as much as I do," one bride dished. "He is excellent at driving on winding country roads," another bride revealed. "We should not go sea kayaking together," a third bride admitted.
5. You'll Share Your Newlywed Status
You might not wear "Mrs."-labeled everything (although if you do, do it with pride) but you'll definitely find yourself sharing the news. One bride shared that while she and her husband were in Maui, an older couple told her they'd been married for 50 years, at which point the normally reserved bride couldn't help but blurt out: "We've been married four days!"
In addition to sharing the good news with fellow travelers, make sure to mention it while making your hotel reservation and checking in. Most hotels and resorts have something special for newlyweds—from complimentary cocktails to room upgrades—so don't be shy and take advantage of this special time in your life.
6. You Might Find Yourself Avoiding Social Media
Sure, you'll want to check your phone and social media accounts occasionally, but many couples make an agreement to try and restrain themselves from social media and use it less than you usually would. The reason? You'll want to save special moments for the two of you, and the two of you alone. (Bonus: By avoiding social media, you'll return to tons of tagged wedding photos and comments that will extend that special newlywed time even more.)
7. You'll Wear Sexy Lingerie
Being surrounded by the snow capped Rockies or warm tropical beaches might dictate what you wear during the day, but you can pull out all the stops for a special nighttime ensemble that will work regardless of locale. Every honeymoon needs at least one sexy, special lingerie moment and regardless of style, color, or cut—you will both be glad you packed it.
8. You'll Indulge
While many newlyweds-to-be stick to strict nutritional, fitness, or lifestyle regimens in preparation for their big day, be sure to relax and live a little (or a lot) while honeymooning. Think about what indulgence means for you as individuals, and as a couple—and then do it. Whether it's a few cocktails and a delectable dessert, a luxurious spa treatment or two, or just ditching alarms and schedules, be sure to change things up and really let it all go to enjoy yourselves as much as you can.
9. You Just Might Catch a Sunrise
In your daily routine, sunrises usually mean alarm clocks and sunsets mean the day went by and another is on the way, but on vacation, they're magical. Witnessing both may be a bit exhausting, but be sure to set aside time to share at least one together. Wake up early one morning and watch the sunrise from a special spot. (Be sure to have the coffee ready.) Or, if waking up before dawn sounds just awful to you, opt for the latter and cozy up with some wine as you watch the sun set on an amazing day spent with your new spouse.
10. You'll Take Tons of Pictures
We all know a picture is worth a thousand words, but we happen to think wedding and honeymoon photos are worth even more. Be sure to snap tons of photos throughout your experience, while maintaining a balance between being present in the moment and enjoying it, and capturing it at the same time as well. You'll want to have tangible mementos of this once-in-a-lifetime trip to share for years and generations to come, so shoot away and then create an album or memory book upon your return.
11. The Honeymoon May Not Live up to Your Expectations
You've been dreaming about this particular trip long enough to have made every imaginary moment perfect. So that what you've dreamt up doesn't fall short, it's smart to discuss your expectations before you board your flight. Getting on the same page about everything from sex to how much R&R you'll crave can be "the best preparation for a wonderfully positive and fulfilling honeymoon experience," Brotherson says.
12. You'll Be Exhausted
Of course, your honeymoon will be filled with unforgettable and amazing moments, but just remember to not get upset if something unexpected happens—it's totally normal. "Most couples are exhausted," says relationship expert April Masini. "They've been planning for the wedding, are stressing about the marriage, and taking care of everyone but themselves."
To combat exhaustion, Masini suggests couples take a red-eye straight from the reception to the honeymoon. "Chances are you'll sleep on the plane and arrive at your destination during the day," Masini says. "You can nap and be ready for a first night—give or take a few time zones—rested and ready to romp."
Or, you can postpone your honeymoon for a week, month, or even longer. "This gives you a chance to rest up for a great honeymoon that you might otherwise snooze through," Masini notes.
13. You Might Just Stay in the Hotel Room and Unwind
What do people do on honeymoons? Sometimes, not much at all. One bride we surveyed shared that she was anticipating an adventure-filled vacation in Cancun—but found she and her groom never left the honeymoon suite. "I watched movies and read and he played video games," she said. "It sounds so boring, but we both just wanted to relax."
It's not just about needing to relax—it's also about taking a day (or more) to let the major life change sink in, together.
After all the planning and excitement, all we wanted to do was be able to decompress and be with each other, completely away from the world.
"The first day of our honeymoon, my husband and I stayed in the hotel room except to go get food. After all the planning and excitement, all we wanted to do was be able to decompress and be with each other, completely away from the world. After that, we went out and did tons of outdoor activities, but at first, we secluded ourselves in the room!" another bride shared.
14. You Might Fight—and That's Totally Normal
What in the world could there be to fight about on your honeymoon? A lot, actually. Spending 24/7 together with anyone can be tough, and that includes your new spouse.
"It's not unusual to get in an argument on your honeymoon because emotions are running high from the wedding," says Dr. Jane Greer, New York–based relationship expert. So, no need to speculate about "what this means for your future"—it just means you are a normal couple.
The best thing you can do after any disagreement is to take a breather, but this is particularly true when you're staying in close quarters with your S.O.
"Tell yourself to calm down and know that the more you yell, the worse things will get," says Dr. Greer. "Take a few minutes on your own to calm down, then regroup and agree to put the issue on hold."
There's never a good time to fight, but it's particularly rough when it happens just before you were heading out the door, whether it's off to a romantic dinner or surf lessons on the beach. As awkward as it may seem, Dr. Greer urges you to follow through with those plans. "To avoid ruining the rest of your trip, just remind yourself that moving on with the activities you had planned with your partner can actually help you with your anger," says Dr. Greer. "You can let them know that you're still upset and have feelings about your disagreement, but emphasize that you'd rather not let this issue spoil the fun time you have planned together."