From Prague to Peru, American couples are more becoming more daring in their honeymooning. The seven day trips to Hawaii have been replaced with month-long excursions to Havana (by way of Canada, of course), sandals have been traded in for hiking boots, and “all-inclusive resorts” may as well be a swear word. Perhaps it’s because we are vacationing less than ever and a honeymoon provides the perfect opportunity to go all out, or the increased popularity of swapping wedding china for travel crowd-funding registries, but the post-wedding vacay has become just as big, if not bigger, than the wedding itself. After ten years of being together with my fiancé, and never having taken a true couple’s vacation (due to budding careers and traveling to two different states every year for the holidays), we decided to make our honeymoon THE event of the decade. So, we set a few simple ground rules:
1. Choose cities in Europe neither one of us has been
2. Whatever we save up, that’s what we use
3. We can’t tell each other where we picked
That’s right. I’m not sure if it’s because we’re romantics or both have degrees in Drama, but we decided to keep our destination spots a secret from each other. I chose the arrival city, he the departure. We were each responsible for booking the flights, hotels, and whatever activities we wanted in our cities. Then (because I like to test my limits against wedding stress) we left several days in the middle COMPLETELY UNPLANNED for us to go wherever we felt in the moment–and somehow get to the final destination city. Our choices would be revealed to each other the morning of the wedding via a gift exchange through our wedding party.
Packing was fun in that we had no idea what we were doing. I had chosen Iceland and secretly tried to get him to pack a sweater without being too revealing. “It’s like LA weather at night,” is the best I gave him. He packed a hoodie (thank God for the vintage stores in Reykjavik because boots cost a bajillion Krona’s). In terms of finances, we each saved up doing everything from a “chore jar” to working overtime. Because we had been living together for the last few years and had wine glasses for every grape in existence, we created a honeymoon registry on www.travelersjoy.com It took three phone calls to convince my mother we didn’t need a third crock pot. There was a brief moment of panic the week before the wedding when my husband’s car broke down – twice – wiping out a very significant chunk of our budget. After many tears we were able to just say, “If all we do is walk around Europe together, that’s enough.”
After months of painful secrecy and hearing how nuts we were from friends and family, our picks were finally revealed on the day of the wedding. My husband sent me wine from his destination city and this video here made with the help of Fiverr. Honeymoon Reveal
I gave him a bottle Icelandic water…everyone agrees he won. The next day we were on a red eye from NYC to Reykjavik, in sandals. We decided to short form blog about our honeymoon on Facebook, which was oddly one of our favorite things to do together. I can’t even properly express the joy of finding free WiFi and then tweeting together under the stars in downtown Dubrovnik. There were a couple nights we spent stressing about our next move, but for the most part having it unplanned kept us present to what we really wanted to do with our time. All of the missteps – like finding out our hotel in Iceland was actually in a different city and the numerous times we exclaimed, “Oh crap that flight went up 50 euros since yesterday!” have already turned into unbeatable memories. Although meeting our AirBnB host in the middle of Montenegro, with our only directions being to “just ask a local to find me”, did make me question my husband’s planning abilities and general sanity.
This is the moment I found out my husband’s destination spot