Honeymoon Destinations

Choosing a Wedding Destination

Many couples, reasonably enough, choose to be married close to home. But more and more, people are reaching for other states or other countries for their wedding destination.

The reasons aren't hard to understand. If you plan to have your honeymoon someplace far away, it can be very convenient for the bride and groom to get married in that same area. It also lends an air of the unique, romantic or exotic. Getting married in Tuscany, for example, could easily fill all those roles.

But how to choose? There are fifty highly popular areas and hundreds that would be excellent choices. Fortunately, there are some simple guidelines that will help narrow the options to manageable size.

Budget is, for most people, the first consideration.

But the low-cost choice is sometimes less clear-cut than one might think. There are dozens of sites that offer package discounts on all inclusive vacations for honeymoons. That can also include facilities for a wedding ceremony and reception.

Also, there are Wedding Registries that allow friends and relatives to offer wedding gifts in the form of places to go and things to do. That can be anything from a complete trip to just airfare or a night in a hotel in one city.

So, the cost may well turn out to be substantially less than at first it appears. Even those, like most of us, who have to consider budget will often want to stretch a point for the wedding. After all, it's not something we do every day. We can often trim other areas in order to make room for something special.

Once that hurdle is passed, the world becomes full of options. 

Ceremonies and receptions in Las Vegas are common. That will be no surprise. The city offers everything from wacky two-minute weddings with Elvis as the residing official to the most elaborate and elegant events at The Bellagio and other fine venues.

A romantic tropical isle like Tahiti can offer everything a couple is looking for. If your guest list is small, it may not be too much of a stretch for everyone to fly over and attend. Then it's off to one of the finest honeymoons possible. With some of the deals mentioned above, it can be very affordable.

Europe remains wide open and a favorite for many. Germany offers weddings on a canal boat. A couple can get married in a restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. The lush, romantic countryside of Ireland is perfect for nuptial vows. Venice is one of the most popular destinations for anyone planning a wedding and honeymoon.

Though money is a factor the main criteria is simply to choose the desired atmosphere. The details, including the exact destination, will then easily fall into place.

Legal issues are a mixed bag, but thousands of couples overcome them every year. Every state recognizes the ceremony performed in another. Most ceremonies outside the U.S. are legal and honored in the U.S. without doing anything special. But getting married in a foreign country does require some additional planning. That, in turn, means taking extra time to make arrangements. Fortunately, that's easier than ever.

Set your budget, choose your location, then research the venues and any local laws. Three simple ways to choose your ideal wedding destination.


Great Honeymoon Hotels Around the World

There's nothing better than a honeymoon in some far off place. Get away from the familiar and find a destination that offers memories for a lifetime. But, when you get there, you need someplace to stay, right? Here are some of the top-rated honeymoon hotels around the globe.


The U.S. has several of the best places to stay, which shouldn't be surprising given how many 4-star hotels it hosts. A few offer honeymoon packages that can serve any budget.


The Setai in Miami, Florida offers a hot, steamy honeymoon place to stay. The room decor offers dark granite and sensual teak, with silk bedspreads. Enjoy the spa, patterned after those in Bali.


Prefer something farther west? No problem. Stay at The Resort at Paws Up. This Rocky Mountain retreat offers a traditional farmhouse setting and plenty of barbecue. Enjoy some horseback riding then relax with an Après Adventure massage.


Maybe you like the outdoors, but want to get even farther away. British Columbia offers beautiful mountains, dense forests and the entire outdoors feel. The King Pacific Lodge allows you to pass the time fly-fishing or just cuddled up in front of the cozy fireplace. Located on Princess Royal Island, you'll have lots of privacy while you enjoy the view of the glaciers.


Perhaps you're determined to get far, far away. Excellent idea!


How about a trip to Bhutan where you can enjoy your honeymoon in the Paro in Amankora Paro? Breathtaking views of the Himalayas and no crowds make for a delightful stay. Enjoy your own buhkari stove in the room while you relish the isolation. A perfect spot to be alone.


A bit too far, for some? Maybe a little too slow for others? Fine, go to Paris and stay at the Hôtel du Petit Moulin. You'll find everything from 17th century architecture to Chagall paintings. Definitely for those looking for a unique experience in a metropolitan setting.

But you can 'go French' without going to France. French Polynesia has long been one of the world's most popular honeymoon destinations. Taha's Island is near Bora Bora and can only be reached by boat or helicopter, so you'll have plenty of privacy. Enjoy a private bungalow and walk along one of the most romantic beaches in the world.

Baja, too, remains near the top of the list for honeymoon destinations. If that's where you want to head, you can do no better than to stay at The Esperanza. Luxury suites are decorated with handcrafted furniture. Each has a private terrace with a view of the Sea of Cortez. Relax in the spa. Watch the sun go down on the beautiful Mexican coast. Or, make up a picnic basket and head out to a nearby isolated beach.

There are a hundred superb honeymoon hotels around the world that cater to newlyweds. Whether you want mountain air, metropolitan excitement or a relaxing stay on the beach you'll easily find a honeymoon hotel just right for you. 

Honeymoon Ideas 

Planning a wedding is a huge effort for most couples. But one of the many great rewards comes from taking that honeymoon trip. These too take a little planning, but of a type that is incredible fun. No one size fits all, of course. The 'best' honeymoon is the one that's best for each individual couple. And by that measure, the options are endless. Consider the following honeymoon ideas...

Some will prefer a romantic cruise to the Caribbean. Lying out on sunny beaches in winter helps get your heart racing while you relax. Love is a paradox, so why not? But if cruising is your style, there are a lot more choices, including Tahiti, Mexico or even Scandinavia.

Picture yourself sailing around the Greek Isles or the Mediterranean. Set off on a voyage to the south of France while you explore each other. Stop over in Lisbon or Barcelona. Enjoy the ocean breeze off Hawaii, or ship off to Alaska and enjoy the surprisingly warm summers as you look for grizzly bears.

If you and your new spouse are animal lovers, or connoisseurs of the great outdoors, it doesn't get any greater than Africa. Honeymoon safari packages abound. Sail down the Nile. Take a trek across the veldt. Explore the mountain jungles and see live gorillas outside a zoo for the first time.

Africa is an incredibly diverse continent that offers far more than crocodiles and monkeys. See the elephants of Tanzania and enjoy the most spectacular sunsets on the planet. Stay at Ngorongoro Crater Lodge on the edge of the Serengeti in Tanzania. Or, try the Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge in Kruger National Park, South Africa.

Maybe you'd like to incorporate your favorite winter sport, skiing, in your honeymoon. Easy. No matter where you live, it's winter somewhere that offers a great honeymoon destination spot. 

You can enjoy a snow bound lodge in Montana in February while you ski Big Sky near Yellowstone National Park. Or, head for Chamonix in the French Alps. Club Med offers honeymoon packages that are affordable and offer lots of extras like great dining and outstanding accommodations.

Maybe you're planning a June wedding but still want to include skiing as part of your honeymoon. No problem. Anything south of the equator will find you in the middle of the winter season. Head to Thredbo, Jindabyne, Smiggen Holes or any dozen other popular ski resorts in the land down under, Australia.

Ah, but you are the romantic type and for you that means a tropical paradise. Your dreams are only a flight or cruise away. You can find honeymoon packages for Tahiti, St. Barts, Antigua or a dozen other perennially popular tropical honeymoon destinations. Go snorkeling while the rest of the Northern Hemisphere shivers. Lay on the beach and develop some tan lines to explore back in your bungalow.

No matter what country you see as your ideal honeymoon destination, no matter what atmosphere you're after for that special trip, there is a whole world of choices just waiting for you.

Honeymoon Planning Suggestions

Planning the wedding was a huge undertaking. You spent months working out the place, the guest list, the clothes.... It was endless. Do you really want to go through that again to plan your honeymoon? Not necessary! A few simple tasks, an email here and there, and you can be set for the trip of a lifetime.

Topic number one in honeymoon planning, of course, is where to go. Sure, you could argue about it until your 50th wedding anniversary. But this can actually be one of the most fun parts of the whole experience. You had enough in common to get married. You can agree on a honeymoon destination.

Rather than try to pick the exact location at first, start by considering the type of honeymoon atmosphere you want. Do tropical beaches appeal to you? Maybe laying on the beach is about as exciting to you as filling out your tax form. Everyone is unique. The green hills of Ireland will sound romantic to one couple. Another may prefer sunny Rome. Still others may find Aruba the perfect honeymoon atmosphere. Choosing isolated versus metropolitan versus tropical will help guide your specific destination choice.

Once you know the type and place, it's straightforward to develop a budget. You might have received an all inclusive honeymoon vacation as a wedding gift. Signing up at a Honeymoon Registry will improve your odds, too! But even on your own, there's a place to suit every budget.

Inexpensive packages are available for honeymoon couples in Las Vegas. Or, suppose you live in London. You can set off on a trip around Paris, then stay in a château in the wine country for a very modest cost. The train trip in and out is easy and gives you something extra to do. For those with more to spend, of course, the options become wider. But even the Hotel Ritz in Madrid offers terrific deals for newlyweds.

Part of the process, which will affect choice of location and budgeting, is deciding on a time of year. Your wedding can take place in June, but you may want to have the honeymoon in February. You get to relax from all the craziness leading up to the wedding and can take advantage of off-season rates. Cruises and hotels often lower their prices during these periods.

Take into account that when it's summer in the Northern Hemisphere it's winter in the Southern, and vice versa. If you get married January 1 in Chicago, it's still January 1 in Sydney. But while you're fighting ice, the Australians are baking.

The key to any successful honeymoon vacation is to explore all your options early. Sure, your mind is filled with all the things you need to do to have the wedding come off perfectly. So treat yourself and look into the honeymoon of your choice. Location, budget and more will all be easier if you take it one step at a time well in advance.

Honeymoon Registry

The idea of a wedding registry is well established. Prospective couples planning a wedding register with stores and then let their friends know where they've registered. Those interested in buying gifts can see a list of items that the couple needs and wants. That way, the buyer knows they're getting something the couple will value. Everybody wins.

The idea has long ago been extended to include honeymoons. Hotel accommodations, side excursions and much more can be included on a honeymoon registry. In the same way as a wedding registry, the couple simply lets their guests know about it. No obligation to buy.

However, unlike typical wedding registries, some honeymoon registries do cost up front. The arrangements differ widely, though. In some cases a flat fee is charged. In others, a percentage to anyone purchasing a listed gift for the honeymoon couple.

According to the companies, this covers their cost of making arrangements with hotel chains, airlines, resorts and tour or entertainment operators for good prices. The Big Day (http://www.thebigday.com/) is one of the larger, more well-established honeymoon registries. Traveler's Joy (http://www.travelersjoy.com) is another.

Gifts run the gamut of everything imaginable. Unlike a wedding gift registry, though, the focus is on things and activities a couple will typically pay for on a honeymoon.

It may be something as common (albeit stunning) as a 4-night stay in a spectacular hotel in St. Petersburg, Russia. Or, it could be an all-day boat ride along the River Neva for the happy couple staying there. Honeymoon registry gifts can pay for one meal or all of them at the hotel. Some even pay for cocktails before dinner.

Some honeymooners love to enjoy all the activities they dreamed of while on their vacation. Hot air balloon rides are a popular choice. It's something couples often talk about, but at $100-$200 per person often put off. It makes for a great gift. In many cases, the money isn't fully paid for up front, though. A deposit might be registered, with the full amount only required if the couple actually uses the gift.

But that introduces a bit of fine print to watch out for. Registry policies, and those covering individual gifts, can vary widely. On some, the gift dollars never expire. If the couple doesn't take advantage of the generous offer in, say, two years, the activity is still there if they should want to do so later. 

Many others expire. When they expire, the money may be returned (minus a service fee) or the company may keep it entirely. There's nothing fraudulent about the practice. It's simply up to those registering to read the contract as they would any other and to make a decision accordingly.

Honeymoon registries have their pros and cons. Sometimes prices can actually be lower for those who book through the hotel's online website, for example. But a honeymoon registry can also be a convenient and effective way for friends and loved ones to give the couple a Jeep safari in Africa or a private bungalow in Aruba.

Top Honeymoon Destinations

What's the best honeymoon destination in the world? The one YOU want to visit, of course. Naturally, that will vary from one couple to the next. Still, there are a number of outstanding honeymoon destinations that rank high year after year.




Tahiti is often near the top of the list. That won't surprise anyone. Ever since Marlon Brando made love to his bride on this tropical island, other couples have been curious to see why. Ok, it probably happened long before. But nothing spells romance like a good movie.


Go snorkeling in crystal clear green waters. Dry off on the sun-kissed beaches while you kiss each other. You can continue back in your private bungalow. Then take off for a bicycle tour around lush green jungles. Relax later at one of the world-class spas where you can both be treated like movie stars.




Another tropical paradise that makes the 'Top 10' lists is Fiji. No wonder. Look up 'breathtaking sunsets' in the dictionary and you'll find a picture of Fiji. Ride horseback through the surf next to pure blue water. Look down and see the bottom. Then go scuba diving and touch it.


Honeymoon packages include the finest of French champagnes as you celebrate your new marriage. Stay at Turtle Island and you'll enjoy a quiet romantic dinner on the pier. It's no wonder the producers of the Blue Lagoon film chose to shoot here. No sets required. This is the real thing.




Maybe you like the idea of seeing the Pacific, but a tropical isle isn't what you had in mind. Simple. Go to Australia and New Zealand. Often mentioned together, each has a unique atmosphere. 


Sydney offers all that a big city can to any honeymoon couple looking for that. Museums, boat rides or even a trip to the desert or mountains is an option here. New Zealand is lush and laid back. You'll find some of the world's most beautiful gorges on this green mountain paradise. Later you can sip one of the world's best wines at a winery right on the island.


South Africa


This isn't one that comes to mind for many couples looking for honeymoon destinations. Yet it frequently ranks in the top 20. The reasons aren't hard to see. South Africa provides everything from exciting nightclubs to dense jungles. You can prowl around the dance floor setting. Or, you can enjoy tours where the leopards hunt you.


For a safer look at the animals, visit the Johannesburg Zoo then make your way back to your 4-star hotel. Take a short flight to Kruger National Park and stay in the Sabi Sands area. You'll easily find first-class accommodations at a private lodge.



No matter what country or atmosphere you want for your unique honeymoon, there's a unique spot that offers it. If you can't decide, put on a blindfold and spin the globe. Your finger will very likely come down on one of the top honeymoon destinations in the world.


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