Do you have any honeymoon regrets?
I’ve been spending this week talking to new brides about what to expect when they get married, and I thought it was a good idea to revisit the honeymoon!
When we had been married for about 18 years, my husband and I took a second honeymoon. While the kids were at a two week stint at camp, we decided to go away just the two of us. We hadn’t really been away alone since our honeymoon, except when we spoke at marriage conferences, but that hardly counts because we were working. We’d done weekends, but nothing longer than that. So this was a big treat! Of course, we did see the kids in the middle of the week for visitors’ day, but I needed my kid fix anyway so that worked out fine.
(I actually wrote about some things that I learned from that trip in The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex–and my story of the truck stop dinner vs. the 5-star dinner is the story that I end every Girl Talk with–I’ll even end with it this weekend when I give my Girl Talk in Canberra, Australia!)
But anyway, that second honeymoon was WAAAAY better than the first. After our wedding, we paid big bucks to go down to a resort in the Poconos. I had these dreams of an amazing trip, and we took it. But was it really amazing? I’m not sure. There was so much pressure to make it an amazing trip, and we were still getting adjusted to everything (and each other).
Also, it’s kind of hard to go to a posh resort when you’re in your early 20s. It doesn’t feel right, and you’re always nervous that you’re doing something wrong. In your late 30s it’s totally different. At the Poconos lodge, they had four course meals all the time (what fork do you use?!?), people to put napkins on your lap (feels weird in your 20s), and set seating for the entertainment at night. For the comedy night, we were ushered to seats in the back, likely because we weren’t “preferred guests”. Seats were still available in the front at this point. And when you’re 21, you put up with it, but it was weird. The good thing was that the resort had lots to do: tennis, skating, dancing, etc. But in retrospect I think it was just too much.
And, to be honest, the sex is a lot better when you’ve had 18 years of practice.
After our initial honeymoon, we came back to our apartment and just stayed holed up for a week, not telling anyone we were home. We played games and rented classic movies and just had a grand old time. That felt more like a vacation, in some ways, than the honeymoon did.
This trip that we just took was amazing, and it set us up well for these empty nest years that we’re living through right now.
So, if I were to give newlyweds honeymoon advice, (assuming money is tight, as it usually is), I think I would say this:
1. Take a weekend in a nice place.
2. Spend a lot of time just getting to know each other at home, without having to go to work. Keep the video games off (or else play together). Go for lots of walks. Work out. Do something active.
3. If you do go away, remember that you can’t have sex all the time. Honestly. Make sure there’s something else to do, like sports, or hikes, or games.
4. Consider doing the big honeymoon trip on your first or even fifth anniversary, rather than right after the wedding. You’ll likely have more fun, and you’ll enjoy the place better!
5. Remember that right after the wedding, the fun part is getting to know each other. You don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money to do that. I’d recommend spending the money when you’re more comfortable with each other and things aren’t so new.
Of course, all of this is assuming the couple has not been living together prior to the wedding, and honestly are “getting to know each other”. I know that’s not the case with very many right now, but that would be my advice.
And I have a whole chapter of advice for the honeymoon in The Good Girl’s Guide to Sex! For both virgins and those with more sexual experience, there’s a lot of advice and some great tips to think about.
When Katie got married this February, she actually took her honeymoon with twenty of her in-laws! Her husband’s family was taking their annual family trip and was willing to have them come along for free. Katie was hesitant at first, and asked me what I thought. “Isn’t it weird to go with your in-laws on your honeymoon?” But the deal was that they only had to be with family at dinner, and the rest of the time they’d be able to enjoy the resort.
My response was to go for it! If you pay a huge amount of money for your honeymoon and then you get the flu, it’s a disaster. If someone else is paying, there’s not as much pressure. And that’s so much better.
Now, feel free to disagree, but what is your take? What would you do about this big honeymoon trip? What did you do? What do you wish you’d done differently? Let me know in the comments below!