I now understand completely why honeymoons are SO important. After all the decisions, details and detante that went into planning our wedding, we both really need to take a serious break from reality. That said, planning a honeymoon means even more decisions.
Of course when people know you're a travel agent they usually say things like - "Oh, at least planning your Honeymoon is easy, Right?" There is a great big world of honeymoon possibilities out there. Even I had problems shifting my brain between excited bride and professional travel agent mode. I'll walk you thru some of the steps I went thru in my own brain and hopefully this will help you too.
To get started, you really do need some sort of plan...a blueprint or outline to help keep you focused and on track. Without a plan you'll become easily confused and quickly overwhelmed. Of course I KNEW this but I let my excitement run away with my imagination.
Try making the easy decisions first...like WHEN you plan to take your honeymoon. Most couples plan their honeymoon right after their wedding ceremony. I DO highly recommend that you give yourselves at least a day or two between your reception and departure date. Breathe, relax and enjoy the moments as much as possible. Nobody wants to be rushing to catch a flight at the crack of dawn with a champagne hangover - right!
The next big questions is how much are you looking to spend? I often suggest setting a honeymoon budget before you start to think about destinations. Nothing will spur heated "discussions" between you and your would be spouse quicker than talking about money and spending. This may sound a bit backwards to talk about money first but trust me, planning a budget will help you to search and shop smarter.
Where in the world is your perfect honeymoon spot?...If you know when you'll be honeymooning and how much you have to spend, this will help you decide where you should go. If you know you can travel for 3 weeks and have a budget of $25k you'll have many more destination options than if you only have 3 days and a $2,500 budget.
Long before I became a travel agent, I dreamed of a romantic honeymoon to a Carribean island. My beloved and I would spend hours laying on a tropical beach under swaying palm trees. Never in my wildest "nightmares" thought I would have such a hard time choosing an exact resort.
As a travel agent, I know a LOT of fantastic resorts in breath taking spots all over Caribbean. We only have a week of vacation so we didn't want to fly too far. Philadelphia airport offers non stop flights to the Dominican Republic so that helped me to at least narrow down our destination choice to Punta Cana. My problem was the excited bride in me now had a "short list" of over 30 resort possibilities!
Of course my fiance was one of those people who thought "You're a travel agent so this part should be easy for you to handle". He left the decision making up to me- that is until I chose a resort that he didn't like. Suddenly he had tons of opinions. This is when I realized I was experiencing the exact same stress and aggravation my clients have when they come to me after hours of online searching looking for guidance. I took a deep breath and a step back which helped switch my brain back into travel agent mode once again.
When I work with clients, I first listen to all of their logistics like I mentioned....the "who, what, where, when & How much" part of the planning. Once I have these facts in order, I want to hear more about my client's wish lists - there needs, preferences and all the little things that make them happy. It's my job then to sort thru all the clutter and present them with a handful of fantastic options that come as close to perfection as I can possibly creat for them.
After my fiance told me what he didn't like, it was easy to create a short wish list of exactly what he did want...
- large resort with pleny of activities
- swim out suite
- great beach
My wish list included...
- adults only resort
- upscale ammenities
- No big casino on site
- Romatic setting
Once i saw our wish lists down in black and white, it was easy to whittle my 30 resort choices down to a short list of 3. Instead of being confused and frustrated, my fiance got really excited when he saw the 3 choices I presented to him. He knew right away which one was the right choice for him (kinda like when we first met he says).
BINGO...We chose the Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium and we booked a Royal Deluxe Swim up Suite. Right now the thought of waking up in paradise, sipping my coffee and dipping right into the pool is really the main thing keeping me going at this point. (and of course, the idea that I'll be spending my life with the man I love).
This entire wedding planning experience has taught me to be FAR MORE PATIENT and understanding with my wedding couples when I help them with their honeymoons. You seriously don't understand the stress of wedding planning until you find yourself knee deep in the middle of it all.
PS....My sister just got engaged so our family will be going thru this entire process all over AGAIN next year. I am doing my very best to convince her to save all her sanity and plan a destination wedding. Honestly, if my fiance didn't have elderly relatives who can't travel far I certainly would have certainly chose this option. After seeing how stressed out I've been lately, I think I almost have my sister convinced!