The Honeymoon Planning Do’s & Don’ts
When people don’t take the time to plan carefully, things can go wrong. This is not what you want to have happen on your honeymoon. Here are 8 things you should NOT do when planning your perfect honeymoon and 8 things you SHOULD DO when planning your perfect honeymoon:
DON’T PERMIT YOUR RELATIVES TO PLAN YOUR HONEYMOON ! …
A distinguished couple came to plan their son’s honeymoon because they were sponsoring it and their son was too busy to get involved. The father said, “I was at my club today, and asked the other men for ideas on the best resorts. They all agreed on one particular Caribbean resort as being the top of its class. What do you think of it?”
I answered, “Sir, it’s certainly in the top 20 of all Caribbean resorts, but do you think the atmosphere is right for this young couple?” He said, “I’m sure that if my friends liked it, my son will”. I asked, “What about the bride-to-be?” He replied, “We don’t know her very well, but I’m sure she will be impressed by this first-class resort. Just book it.”
When the documents arrived in our office, I called the father and suggested that the couple come in for the Departure Interview so they could learn about their resort. The father said “No, they’re very busy, I’m going to surprise them with this at the wedding reception.”
Three weeks later, the day after the couple arrived at their resort, the father called me to state that the couple had called him, upset, and desperately wanted to change hotels because the resort was too quiet and stuffy, full of guests age 50 and over. We changed them at great penalty. The father said to me, “When my next son gets married, he’s coming straight to you and I’m never planning another honeymoon!”
…Do realize your relatives aren’t living your lifestyle.
So many couples we find don’t want to take time researching Honeymoon destinations, so it’s natural that they turn to Grandmother, who’s traveled quite a bit, or Great Aunt Louise, or their Mother and Father. In all fairness to your relatives, they’re not wearing the same style clothes you’re wearing or listening to your music, and they haven’t taken a honeymoon trip in decades. It’s your honeymoon! It needs to reflect your younger tastes in accommodations and activities. Come in for an appointment and pick your perfect spot, and we’ll send your parents the bill.
DON’T CARBON COPY YOUR BEST FRIEND’S HONEYMOON…
A young man called and said, “I’m really in the dog house. It’s less than two months until our honeymoon, I haven’t planned anything, I’m going on a business trip tomorrow and I want to book it today! I just talked to my best friend, you sent him to this All-inclusive resort in St. Lucia for his honeymoon and they loved it. Book us at the same resort, same category room he had. I like everything he likes, so I’m sure we’ll be happy.”
I told him, “Sir, that is not the way we operate, we prefer to meet or teleconference with both of you so we can learn about your preferences first”, but he was adamant, so we booked it. Documents came in, we offered the man our Departure Appointment. “Beth, I can’t do this now. Just mail me the tickets because I’m surprising my fiancée”.
The day after they arrived at the resort, he called me, panic stricken. This surprise honeymoon was not working out. His fiancé hated the place because it was too noisy, too crowded, the dining room service was slow because it was packed, their room overlooked the bar with the band playing day and night.
He wanted to get out immediately, even with no refund, because his fiancé had been crying all night. She told him, “For a year, I’ve been planning our wedding for 450 guests, and all I wanted was a quiet, secluded resort in the Caribbean and this is what you give me!”
I checked every quiet resort on this island and five other nearby islands, and they were completely full. The couple checked out and came home four days early from their honeymoon.
…Do Remember: You’re not marrying your best friend’s wife!!
Your fiancée’s honeymoon desires might be quite different from theirs for this occasion. Your pal and his new wife might have a completely different set of priorities on choosing their honeymoon destination and resort. The best way to plan a perfect honeymoon is for both of you to meet with us so we can plan a trip tailored to your personal tastes.
DON’T LET THE “LOWEST PRICE DEAL” TURN INTO A LOW-CLASS HONEYMOON!…
A couple came in who wanted to discuss the various all-inclusive resorts and their prices in Jamaica. The lady wanted to know about the finer amenities at the higher-priced resorts, and her fiancé just wanted to know what was “the best deal” and the lowest price at any of these resorts. Against our advice, he insisted on booking the cheapest deal at the cheapest resort, and his fiancée was not too happy.
Months later, they arrived in Jamaica at and at 2:00 p.m. were calling me from the hotel frantically. Their room was dirty and small, the resort had a kid-free policy, so there were over 200 of them that week, everywhere. The couple had already been to the restaurant to eat lunch, and lunch was baloney sandwiches and potato chips, and screaming kids. Hardly the fabulous lunch buffet they were looking forward to!
She wanted out of there immediately, whatever the cost. They paid a huge penalty on this special cheap deal all-inclusive to leave, and in addition, had to pay $2,000 more to upgrade to the better all-inclusive 10 miles away that the lady had wanted in the first place. They called me when they got there and said the difference was night and day, and well worth the money.
…Do Remember: You Get What You Pay For.
Even though all the resorts may look good and sound good, there is a reason why they’re priced the way they are. There is a wide range in the quality of the food in the restaurants, the furnishings in the room, the overall atmosphere of the entire resort. So please, when you meet with us, listen to the contrast in the features vs. prices at each property and take the benefit of our firsthand experience when we suggest what you would be most happy with.
DONT’T LET THAT FREE TIMESHARE GIFT RUIN YOUR HONEYMOON…
A couple in my church from a very well-to-do family came in to see me five years ago. Their wedding for 500 people was at one of the area’s finest hotels. Everything about this wedding was first class – Stunning designer gown, two orchestras, the finest food and wines at the reception. They booked a fabulous honeymoon to Tahiti in an over-the-water bungalow, and they were so exited.
Then, three months later, her well-meaning uncle calls and offers them his time-share in Clearwater, Florida as his wedding gift to them. Her fiancé said, “I’m going to take your uncle’s offer. I’m going to cancel the honeymoon with Beth. With all the money we’ll save, we can furnish our new home, and I’ll give you Tahiti a few years from now.”
She was extremely disappointed. Years later, as I see them, they now have two beautiful children, and that promised trip to Tahiti still has never happened. She tells me she still regrets they did not go where THEY wanted to go when they had the chance!
…Do Remember: Your Honeymoon is supposed to be YOUR choice of destination.
Don’t let somebody else take that choice away from you. You planned the wedding of your dreams, make sure you get the honeymoon of your dreams to go along with it.
(P.S. – I’m sure you’re not going to be sitting on boxes in your new house!)
DON’T LET THE “GORGEOUS” PHOTOGRAPHS FOOL YOU…
A couple came in and the man stated, “I don’t know why she dragged me here. I’ve picked the island and hotel I like from pictures on the web. What do we need to see you for?” His fiancée replied, “I saw this woman speak at a Bridal Show, and I wanted to get a second opinion from an expert on where she would advise we should go”. I interviewed them, and suggested several island choices, but NOT the one he found on the web.
He asked why I wouldn’t recommend his selection. I told him that I had just been to that island one month before and that it had been badly damaged by a storm, a fact that the website pictures did not show. They took my advice and booked another island.
One month before departure, my client called to thank me for advising them not to go to this island, because a coworker who had booked over the Internet had just gotten back from his honeymoon on that island, and was in shock over the poor condition of everything.
…Do Recognize that Pictures Don’t Tell the Whole Story!
It’s the job of the Tourist Boards and hotels to cast the most favorable, appealing light on their island or resort. Due to storms, floods, political upheavals, change of ownership at hotels the reality upon arrival can be very different from the glossy photos you see on the web site or in the brochures. Your best bet is to work with one of our agents who travel regularly to these destinations to keep abreast of current conditions.
DON’T PLAN YOUR HONEYMOON BY YOURSELF…
A gentleman came into the office on a Saturday, without his fiancée. She told him, “I don’t care if their policy is to interview both of us to plan the honeymoon, I’m stressed out from all the wedding arrangements and it’s the man’s job to plan the honeymoon. Pick something, i’ll be happy with whatever you choose.”
We spent 90 minutes going over Caribbean islands. I gave him my suggestions and the corresponding brochures, which he was going to take home and show his fiancée. He admitted to being a workaholic who hadn’t had a real vacation in 10 years, and picking a destination, much less a resort, was going to be her decision.
Monday he calls and asks for a follow-up appointment, because nothing was clicking for her. We met again. He left with a range of new suggestions. Calls the next Monday. She’s still not thrilled with any of these selections. He wants one more appointment, and I said if he has to carry her in, he’s bringing her.
They came together, and in less than 45 minutes I had her fabulously excited about two new destinations because I could now interview the fiancee face to face and see her reactions and feelings to the places I was discussing. On Monday he called to book one of these two choices, happy at last that this task was now over, and that she was happy. He said, “Beth, you’re right, I should have brought her in the first time for the appointment and spared all of us this unnecessary waste of time.” They sent me a picture, saying they thoroughly enjoyed the honeymoon.
…Do Remember: Both of you are starting this new life together.
At a bridal show a few years ago, I asked the men in the audience to stand up and tell the ideas they had for honeymoon destinations. I heard, Mt. Rushmore, my parents’ house at the beach, driving and driving in the car until we feel like stopping at a neat town, and going to a fishing resort in the Florida Keys.
Then I asked their fiancées to stand up. None of the women concurred with these choices. They wanted Spain, the Greek Islands, Hawaii, and St. Lucia. I was amazed they had such varying opinions and apparently had not discussed them with each other. So ladies, please, do not tell your fiancé it’s his job alone to plan the honeymoon. It will take you either a lot longer to do, or you may end up not booking the best place for the two of you to go. You make the appointment and both of you come in and plan it together.
DONT’T BE SELFISH ABOUT YOUR HONEYMOON…
A man came in by himself and said to me, “If I’m paying for this honeymoon, I’m going to go where I want to go and do what I want to do.” His passion was mountain climbing, and since he was a busy young lawyer, he had not had a two-week vacation in his entire career. He wanted to go to Switzerland, drive to a different hotel every day and climb a different peak every day.
When I asked him if his fiancée shared this passion, he said, “Oh, she’d rather go to a Caribbean island, but I’d be too bored, and I’m not going to spend my money on something I have no interest in.” I drew up a proposal and faxed it to him.
He was quite happy with the first ten days of the itinerary, but was surprised that the last two nights were for a quaint romantic inn on a lake. I told him that his fiancée deserved a little break at the end for a little relaxation and romance and I wasn’t changing a thing. Since his best friend had referred him to me, he took my advice and booked it.
To his credit, he called me when they returned to thank me for saving his honeymoon. By day 4, she was bruised, battered and tired out from all this moving around and mountain climbing. By day 10, they were hardly speaking to one another. Then they got to the romantic inn which she fell in love with, and said “I wish more of our honeymoon had been like this. This is a real honeymoon now”. He said, “Beth, I may know the legal profession, but you sure know what women want on a honeymoon!”
..Do Remember The Honeymoon Must Satisfy Both of You
No matter who’s paying for it, it’s important to recognize that you both may want different things out of this one trip. Women want relaxation and romantic atmosphere – the cafes, the strolls along the beach; men like lots of activity. You need some give and take on this in your choice of destination. Don’t let YOUR hobby take over the honeymoon if it’s not one you both share. The wise man will know to please the lady on this one special trip.
DON’T STEP DOWN IN STYLE ON YOUR HONEYMOON…
One Saturday between appointments, I was getting a breath of fresh air on the sidewalk. Two BMW’s pull up, and out steps my next couple. Very attractive, smiling, stylishly dressed individuals. I thought, great, they’re both in positive moods and we’ll get a lot accomplished.
We went in, I asked them to fill out our Profile Sheet, and I went back to my office. About 10 minutes later, our receptionist ushered them in, and I noticed a definite chill in the woman’s body language, and the man seemed oblivious to this change in attitude. But I thought, what on earth happened in this last 10 minutes?
I proceeded to interview them and soon discovered the reason for her frostiness. This was a very successful young couple; he was a Vice President in his father’s firm, and she was a Vice President at her dot-com firm, and she sported a perfect 2-1/2 carat engagement ring. She wanted to go to Tahiti, Fiji or Bali. He had no definite ideas on where to go, since his vacations had consisted of going to his parents’ house in the Hamptons every year.
Noting their tastes, I just about died when I saw that he had circled $3,500 as the budget for their honeymoon. When I addressed the fact that this budget would not cover any of the places she was interested in, and that it was rather low for a couple with their obvious tastes, she turned to him and said, “Exactly. My receptionist spent this amount on her honeymoon, and our lifestyle is certainly different from hers.”
He turned to me and said, “Is this true? What should I be spending?” I said to him, “Sir, based on everything I can see that you’re wearing, driving, and investing in your wedding, you should be spending at least $10 – $15,000 on this honeymoon.” The fiancée turned to him and said, “We’re not settling for less on our honeymoon, because neither one of us will be happy with the results.”
I booked them to their own private luxury cottage on their own island in Fiji with fabulous service, gourmet food and wine, where the movie “Blue Lagoon” was filmed years ago. It was exactly their style and taste and they loved every minute of it.
…Do Take a Honeymoon that Reflects Your Best Taste
Many couples in this area with a very nice lifestyle wonder why the honeymoon they booked turns out to be disappointing. It’s very simple – you’re not going with your taste and lifestyle when it comes to pricing the honeymoon. You can’t get a BMW for Honda Civic prices. A smart couple will first pick a destination according to their taste, and pay the price that good taste requires.