By Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer
Honeymoons look a little different today than in the past. Instead of heading out of town immediately after their wedding ceremony, many couples are waiting to go on their honeymoon. Sometimes they wait up to a year to celebrate their union.
In the past, newlyweds received crock pots and silverware. Today some couples are opting for a HoneyFund instead, where they receive money as a gift and often earmark those funds for a honeymoon. More and more couples live together prior to marriage and wait to get married later in life, so gifting money makes sense since they already have towels.
In light of the changing honeymoon scene, we were curious as to where, when and how couples travel in order to celebrate their nuptials. Couples enjoy a variety of destinations and often opt for adventure over comfort but going on a honeymoon still means splurging a little.
Emily Taylor and Aaron McCloskey tied the knot in September 2017. They spent a mini-moon in their favorite Colorado destination, Buena Vista. Due to work obligations, they waited a month before heading out on their actual honeymoon.
“We’ve seen many couples wait a while after their wedding to honeymoon,” says Christine Forster, owner of My Big Day Events in Loveland. “For many, it’s related to vacation time and for others, they wait because it makes more sense monetarily.”
Forster went on to explain that if there is a trend in the wedding industry right now, it’s that couples feel the freedom to do exactly what they want, without pressure to follow a family tradition.
This is true of Christi Seidman who married Dr. Marc Seidman in 2009. The Seidmans decided to do a family honeymoon that included Christi’s nine-year-old daughter. They stayed in an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic that included childcare so they could indulge in romantic evenings together. Plus, as an all-inclusive, there was plenty to do as a family. Perhaps not a traditional honeymoon, but it worked well for the Seidmans.
Taylor and McCloskey intended to travel to Indonesia but volcanic activity in the country changed their minds. Instead, they made a last-minute decision to travel to Sri Lanka.
“We knew it had a mix of beaches, mountains, tasty food and cultural experiences,” says Taylor, an outdoor lifestyle and adventure photographer. Her photog spirit was the only thing that exhausted McCloskey.
“We are very compatible travel partners,” says Taylor, “But as he is part of ‘team photog’ he has to give in.”
As life partners, most couples we chatted with seem to travel well together although several commented that eating at the right time is important.
“Don’t wait until 10 p.m. to eat,” says Whitney Way, co-owner of City Star Brewing in Berthoud with husband John Way.
Childers’ honeymoon included Rome. Taylor and McCloskey honeymooned in Sri Lanka.
The Seidman’s honeymoon in the Dominican Republic included their nine-year-old daughter.
“In Bosnia Herzegovina, we had a creekside picnic and turned plastic water bottles into wine glasses by hacking them in half.”
On their honeymoon, the Ways spent two weeks in Eastern Europe. Eating in a timely fashion is Way’s first piece of honeymoon advice but she also advises newlyweds to travel soon after the wedding.
“A honeymoon should be sooner than later,” says Way. “Go while the wedding bells are still ringing. Make it special and celebratory—and allow yourself a little splurge.”
“Our honeymoon was a luxury adventure,” she adds. With a honeymoon fund from friends and family, the Ways were able to enjoy a finer way of travel than they would otherwise.
Way also recommends keeping a journal, something she wishes she had done during all her life travels. Because of journaling, Way was able to recall vividly the anxiety of going across borders and not being able to speak or read the language.
“We got lost once while trying to cross the border from Bosnia Herzegovina to Croatia,” she recalls, using her journal as a reference. “We could see the border crossing but couldn’t get there.”
Eventually, a policeman jumped in their car and proceeded to direct them to the border crossing line. These are the types of stressful situations that can test a relationship and behavior is always better on a full stomach.
Vanessa and Nick Childers married in September 2018 and took an Italian honeymoon during the summer of 2019. They had to wait until Nick, who is a schoolteacher, was done for the season. Eating was not a problem on their trip because it was a top priority for these two foodies.
They spent 12 days eating and drinking their way through Italy. Part of the trip was dedicated to meeting Vanessa’s extended Italian family.
“My family ended up being the most loving and generous people I’ve met,” says Childers. “They took us on tours of the region we wouldn’t have known about otherwise and fed us homemade delights as well as incredible meals from their favorite restaurants.”
Childers’ extended family even came to the train to tell the couple goodbye and to give them going away gifts such as homemade sausage and biscotti. This is one of her favorite honeymoon memories.
“We just couldn’t believe the love we’d acquired for these people who’d been strangers three days prior,” she says. “It was so meaningful.” Meeting relatives on a honeymoon may not be traditional but it can obviously create an incredible memory.
Seidman also acknowledged a wonderful family memory from their nontraditional experience. After getting the opportunity to tour a local school in the Dominican Republic, Seidman’s daughter was moved. For months prior to the trip, she’d been putting aside a third of her allowance to use for charitable giving.
“She decided to donate it all to the school,” says Seidman. “Giving that small amount of money to such a worthy cause was a very meaningful experience for her.”
While all the couples interviewed came away with impactful experiences, sometimes the trip was just plain fun.
“In Bosnia Herzegovina, we had a creekside picnic and turned plastic water bottles into wine glasses by hacking them in half,” says Way.
Taylor and McCloskey rode in a tuk-tuk for three hours and passed an elephant on the road. “No tuk-tuk should ever travel that far,” states Taylor, who also traveled by scooter and boat on her honeymoon.
While each of the couples we talked to were busy during their trips, downtime is encouraged. “Plan just enough,” says Childers. “Create a loose outline but leave room for magic to happen.”
While planning plays an important part of any excursion, a honeymoon should be especially enjoyable. After all, this is an extra special trip and extra special care should be applied, and according to our couples, priority should be given to eating because no matter how well two people travel together, no relationship is hangry proof.
Grand Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park.
Colorado is a wedding hotspot so it’s no wonder that it is filled with honeymoon destinations. From hot springs to romantic hikes, the Centennial State has everything, except an ocean.
I Love You in Bright Lights, Denver
Looking for a city destination but don’t have the funds to travel? Denver has become more and more popular over the years and for good reason. The various neighborhoods offer their own types of flavor, whether it is jazz at Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox in downtown or fine dining in Cherry Creek.
Denver’s arts scene hosts grand productions at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and world-class exhibits at the Denver Art Museum. Take a stroll through the Art District on Santa Fe and purchase an affordable art piece that will be a reminder of this urban honeymoon.
The city has exquisite accommodations from luxurious suites at The Crawford at Denver’s Union Station to old-fashioned romance at historic Brown Palace. Hop in a pedicab or take a ride in the hotel’s courtesy car.
I Love You Deeply, Grand Lake
Experience the charm of a genuine small town and the romance of being near the deepest lake in Colorado. Bordering Rocky Mountain National Park and Grand Lake, this lake town is the perfect place to be with your sweetheart.
Whether it’s a winter stay with a frozen lake as a backdrop or a summery holiday when the boardwalks are bustling with tourists, this is a quintessential Colorado getaway. Want to curl up in front of a roaring fire? Want to hit the trails in this beautiful area? Want to look for wildlife in Rocky Mountain National Park? Grand Lake has everything.
I Love You Wildly, Ouray
Tucked into the San Juan Mountains, Ouray offers views, hikes and soaks. It’s a mountain town that makes no apologies for not having a ski resort and doesn’t need to. Newlyweds keep busy in the summer on horseback with Action Adventure Trail Rides or in the winter at the world-famous Ouray Ice Park.
One of the prettiest communities in Colorado, a honeymoon here includes a soak at the town’s famous hot springs pool or a stay at one of several lodging establishments that have their own hot springs pools.
No matter what destination a couple chooses, Colorado makes a magical honeymoon destination.