Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Honeymoon help?

So, have we talked about anything except the wedding recently? No? That's what I thought too. Is that a problem? Well, let's hope not because I'm about to talk about it again. Hooray!

Sorry for the overload, but it feels like a lot of things have been happening all at once recently, and I would be a bad blogger if I didn't keep you all updated, right? Well, that's what I keep telling myself, anyway.

First of all, this weekend Torsten and I met with a potential officiant, and it went much, much better than last time. This guy is a Unitarian Universalist minister, and he does secular weddings too, and actually even though he's a minister and we are totally non-religious, we found that we had very similar views about people and morality and commitment. We talked for an hour and felt very comfortable and relaxed with him. We liked the sample ceremonies he gave us and I think we'll be able to come up with a ceremony that is very personal and intimate and emotional, very us. I mailed him the deposit yesterday, so that is one more thing done.

And also? Remember how the save-the-dates turned out not to meet my standards of purple? And how I was saying that it was a lesson learned because now I knew not to just order the invitations we had planned on without seeing a sample first? Well, it was a good thing that happened because the invitations? Although they were definitely a nice shade of purple? They felt very cheap and flimsy. And they just weren't that interesting.

So, we got back on the hunt and wound up finding what we both think is the absolute perfect invitation. We found it at this really cool website called Baron Cards. They don't have a DC one readily available, but they will customize the skyline for us for a $45 flat fee. So the ones we want will look like the one below, except with a DC skyline and the letters WDC, and also instead of "You're Invited" it will probably say "Jess & Torsten" or something similar.

Now, the last wedding-related thing I want to talk about is the one I actually need your advice on, and that's the honeymoon. As most of you know, we're getting married in November 1, which is three days before the presidential election. So, the first question is, after our wedding, do we leave on our honeymoon right away? Do I try to get an absentee ballot so I can vote in advance? And then would we watch the election returns from wherever we are, assuming that they are broadcast in English? Or, alternatively, do we wait a couple days before we leave? And if so, what do we do? Do we go back to work for those two days? Do we waste vacation days (of which we do not have a lot of extras) lying around at home? I seriously do not know what to do.

So then the other question is, where do we go? And how do we book it? The things we know are that we want to go somewhere warm and beachy, not in the US but also not too far away, and preferably somewhere all-inclusive. We are thinking either Mexico or the Dominican Republic at this point, although Panama and Brazil are also under consideration. But even once we pick a destination, how do we pick the resort? There are so many to choose from and they all sound great to me. And what's the best way to make it affordable? Do we find a travel agent? Can you get honeymoon deals on Orbitz or other travel discount websites?

And also, can you tell from all the questions that we have absolutely no clue what to do? It seems unfair that one is expected to plan the biggest party of their life AND one of the biggest trips of their life AT THE SAME TIME. It's just too much. Luckily, I have you guys to save the day! Right?


  1. Go ahead and get the absentee ballot. There's something to be said for leaving soon after. We got married on a Saturday, headed to the city where the airport was on Sunday, flew out Monday.

    We went on a cruise...I highly, highly, very highly recommend it. It was wonderful!

  2. I am no help with any of those questions! Because we: stayed in the US, live in tropical Florida so wanted to go to the mountians, stayed at two different bread & breakfast inns, one in Asheville, NC and one in Atlanta, got married on saturday, rested and packed sunday, and drove 10 hours to NC monday, drove back home Friday of same week and rested over the weekend.

    I will be interested to hear what the others say! :)

  3. I'm not married nor engaged, but I am a huge political news junkie, so if it was okay with my hypothetical future husband I would take my honeymoon after the election. I think of it as a courtesy to him and myself because I would want to be on the beach or on safari or whatnot, instead of madly checking CNN.

    A close friend of mine got married last summer and she and her husband actually went back to work for a week after their wedding, then left on their cruise. I guess it's not traditional or normal, but it worked for them, and I don't think anyone would look askance at that. (Especially in DC!)

  4. I tagged you for a meme! Which is no help with your questions. But I will say that I wouldn't want to lay around waiting after the wedding. It would seem pointless and wasteful. And then after the fact, when I had two less vacation days to use for something else, I would regret that. I think I would rather get going on a big exciting trip!

  5. OK, I have been married twice, so I am an EXPERT. :) The first time, we waited 3 weeks before we went on our honeymoon (blackout dates for our frequent flier miles) and we went back to work in the interim. I didn't like it. Even though we went to London and Dublin, it was kind of anti-climatic since we were already married for 3 weeks.

    With Jason, we got married on Saturday, used Sunday to put away all of our gifts and pack for our honeymoon, and then left Monday morning. I liked having the day off in between to catch up on laundry and packing, things I didn't want to add to my regular wedding preparation/stress.

    I don't know how much vacation you guys have, but if you can spend 2 days at home just enjoying your newlywed status while you pack and vote and everything, it might be less stressful/fewer things to coordinate.

    For travel sites, sometimes has honeymoon deals. You can also call a hotel directly to see if they can give you a lower price than you find online. Also, lots of people I know have good luck with And I scour the reviews; obviously, people who are unhappy should be taken with a grain of salt (since they're more likely to leave a review vs. someone who had a good experience), but if every reviewer is unhappy, that might be a sign.

  6. The Bahamas! Seriously. Very cool and chill, not too expensive. I have friends who went to the Sandals resort and they only had good things to say :)

    Woo, how exciting!

  7. I actually didn't have a honeymoon. I don't regret it but I am making sure we take a nice vacay before we have kids. I think it's important to at least have one all alone getaway

  8. Umm, we have talked about every single thing on this post already. So, I will simply reiterate what we've already discussed.

    1. Happy you found a good officiant.
    2. Love those invitations.
    3. Research absentee ballots or "work from home".
    4. Lots of internet research for the honeymoon. I think travel agents charge fees and boo to fees.

    That's all. Will discuss more in depth later, I'm sure. :)

  9. Those invitations look great!

    About the honeymoon, I'm not much help so I'll just sit back and listen to what the others have to say.

  10. oh man, that is a rough decision with the voting. i like P&D's idea, if you can manage to scrounge up the vacation days...

    as for caribbean destinations, i'm kind of an expert there.. 11 islands and counting, i believe? you know what, let me just email you some info on that :-)

  11. I like the invitations very much! And I also think you should go with an absentee ballot so that you can get it over with.

    Regardless of where you go for your honeymoon, I can't overemphasize the day of rest before leaving. If you can prepare for the rehearsal and the wedding AND manage to pack, good for you! I wasn't, though, despite my best intentions, so that Sunday before we left was a great cushion.

    That said, we went on a cruise, which I didn't think I'd like as much as I did. Now, I preach the gospel of cruises. I loved that everything was planned out for me: I didn't have to look for restaurants, find transportation, navigate streets, or anything. We booked a couple of excursions ahead of time (historical tour and snorkeling), but for the majority of the trip, we just wandered around and did whatever seemed fun, and it was all covered. I imagine that you could get the same kind of feeling from an all-inclusive resort, too. I would not have picked a cruise on my own, but it was such a relief not to have to engineer a honeymoon after planning the wedding. I was just done, you know? Are you a member of AAA? They have good discounts and can maybe narrow down the choices for you, if not provide references or recommendations.

    Can't wait to hear what you decide!

  12. My personal reaction is to stay in town for the election.

    This is just me, but here's my ranking: 1. Presidential election. 2. getting married.

    (I'm a political science major and a politics junkie. It's okay if you rank your wedding above the election:))

    It would be nice to stay in town, get used to married life and then have a vacay after. Perhaps Thanksgiving, because then you'll have extra days to go and you wouldn't spend vacation days doing it.

  13. I'm not too much help here since I've never been married or engaged... BUT I know my friend went to St. Lucia for her honeymoon. They stayed at a Sandles (all-inclusive, couples only) resort and loved it!

  14. Those invitations are too cute.

    I would absentee it and head out of town Monday! Don't let things like the real world interfere with your newlywedded bliss:)

    Once you determine a place to go, I would just research the heck out of it by checking Orbitz, yahoo travel,, etc. The user reviews are so helpful.

  15. Well, we got married in Puerto Rico, and I highly recommend that as a honeymoon destination. It has a definitely Caribbean feel, but it's close (only about a 4 hour flight from TX), and no passport/customs issues (not that you guys care about that), since it's an American Territory.

  16. DON"T GO BACK TO WORK! You are going to be exhausted and blissed out. Either head out right away or wait a couple days and vote and then go.

    We got married on Saturday. Had another party on Sunday. And then flew to Paris on Monday...and then promptly proceeded to sleep for days!

  17. We took our honeymoon nearly 6 months after our wedding- we got married almost the same time as you (Nov 5) but then didn't have many vacation days left for the year, so we took a "mini-moon" to a B&B a couple hours away for 2 days, then took a longer trip to the Caribbean in March. Caribbean is awesome.

    We used a travel agent, which I have never done before or since but which proved to be awesome in this context because I had so much to do planning the wedding, I didn't have any extra time or energy to plan a trip, too. And I think travel agents get paid their fees by the places you end up going, so we didn't have to pay any fees, which was awesome.

  18. I'd say absentee, I'm not sure how tight a race the general election will be this year. I think someone suggested it also but 3 coworkers honeymooned in St. Lucia and loved it.

  19. The nice thing about getting married in early November is you will miss most tourists on your honeymoon. No whiny kids. No bratty teenagers. Cuz, they're all in school!

    I have the name of a great travel agent to help you. She's out of Chicago, but ... she saved a friend's honeymoon that had been botched by a different travel agent. And this friend lived in New York when the planning took place.

  20. Hmmm... Personally, I think an over-night in a nice, local hotel (providing you can find one that close to the election) right after the wedding would be good. Then, after the election, head out to your honeymoon destination (Bahamas... mmmmmm... ).

    Weddings are very exchiting, but they're also exhausting and draining. Having a break before you go on the big trip will allow you to unwind and be refreshed and ready to go have fun somewhere.

    Plus packing for the trip won't be "one more thing" added to your already crowded list of things to do before the wedding.

    Also, if you do the absentee ballot (which I would do anyway, just because) remember, there are newspapers everywhere, and even if they're not in English, I'm sure the message will be pretty clear.

  21. I plan on not taking my honeymoon right after my wedding (the imaginary one in my head)because I don't want the headache of having to figure out both. Also, I can't imagine missing the election so I would at least wait until after that. As far as where to go, not much help. I have been to an all inclusive in Cancun which was fun but I have no idea what it was called since it was almost ten years ago. My sister loves the all inclusives in Cabo.

  22. I vote for Greece. Not for any specific reason, I've just always wanted to go to Greece...

  23. We'r going to Morocco and we're going 6 months AFTER the wedding. There is no way I could do all this, have the wedding, deal with all the people in town, the dog, packing and then try to leave town. Sounds like a nightmare....

  24. It's a lot to plan all at once- a wedding and a honeymoon- and so much pressure to have it be wonderfully perfect. Aack! But really there are so many great destinations. Out of that list, I've only been to Mexico but it was dreamy. I stayed in the Yucatan Penisula. Gorgeous!

    I'd say mail in your absentee ballot and don't waste any vacation days. You can get results via the web or international news.

  25. First I'd figure out how much money you have to spend on the honeymoon, what you want to do (e.g., are in interested in snorkling or just lying on the beach) and then start looking into resorts that offer what you want. The Bahahamas and Jamaica are both warm/beachy at the time of year and relatively close (well closer than say Brazil) to DC, so I'd think the airfare would be cheaper. I'd look into orbitz/travelocity package deals. I think travelocity offers other user reviews, which are helpful. But oh I just thought isn't November hurricane season? Something to look into. You also might want to go to the library and look at travel magazines for ideas.

  26. never having planned a wedding or a honeymoon, i will draw from friends, my sister and my BF, all said that they were SO tired the day after their wedding they wish they had or were glad they put off the honeymoon for days/week(s)
    you could go back to work for a week and then head out from the 8th to whenever.

    and i agree, DO an absentee ballot, even if you will be there, no need to have yet another thing to worry about.

  27. Ok, first off, I love the invites! LOVE THEM!!

    For the honeymoon, I suppose it depends on what you like---judging from your BLOG though, I think you guys like everything. We planned a Disney honeymoon and changed our minds at the last minute and ended up going to The White Mountains of New Hampshire---It was September, and beautiful and very low stress. We moved at our own pace, relaxed and had a lot of fun.

    We were married on Saturday and left on Monday. I say get the absentee ballot and leave ASAP

  28. well a few things-
    love the invites! so cute!

    as far as the honeymoon - we are using a travel agent who works at home, and as far as I know there are no fees. It might be worth making a couple calls - or see if anyone you know can recommend. That can help alleviate the 'shit I have to plan 2 huge things at once' feeling. I've always wanted to go to Costa Rica. And we're leaving like 2.5 weeks later, its a little bummer but I think is totally worth it in the end

  29. I will give you a full report of the Dominican after I get back! Also, I've been on a cruise and they are amazing, too. The food is wonderful and there are so many excursions to go on at the ports and so much to do while on the ship. Plus, they aren't as expensive as you'd think!

  30. hmmm. i wouldn't postpone the honeymoon. i think i would get the absentee ballot. no need to miss voting, but also no need to put off the best vacation ever just to cast it.

  31. I am having the same problem as you! We wanted to honeymoon in Greece for a week, then fly to Germany to visit family who can't come to the wedding for a week, but that gets to be hella expensive. So now we are back at square one and can't decide if we should go right after the wedding or wait a few weeks....sigh.

    I've heard that all inclusive is the way to go. It leaves a lot less for you to worry about and saves you money. I recommend researching online, that's what I've been doing.

    Good luck! And let me know if you find out anything cool because I am stumped over here! =)

  32. 1. I say go on your honeymoon when it feels good to you. Sometimes it's nice to wait a few days and come down from the wedding stress, but sometimes its nice to just get away. Chances of you being able to watch election results where ever you are are high.
    2. We went to Mexico on our honeymoon and booked it through Expedia. I like the discount sites because they give you pictures and reviews of the places you're looking at. A travel agent isn't going to be able to offer you the sames deals, but they may have more insight. All-inclusive saved us on our honeymoon. We didn't have a lot of money left over after the wedding and it was nice to not have to leave the hotel if we didn't want to. On a normal vacation I would want to travel around, but I mostly wanted to relax on the beach at the hotel on my honeymoon.
    3. I LOVE the invitations.

  33. Wow--you have finally given me a reason to be glad for Oregon's voting system. We vote by mail in ballot--for every election.

  34. I am a huge CNN junkie when it comes to elections, so I understand the need to constantly be checking and I personally love the excitement that surrounds it, so I would want to stay in a location where I could have that excitement. I like the idea of taking the several days off (maybe try to work from home if you can to save vacation days). Then you can regroup, pack, do laundry, organize gifts, and after the new president is decided - jet off to your fabulous vacation!

  35. We left on the Monday after our wedding to give ourselves a day to get it together. Trust me, you will be glad you do the honeymoon immediately after. You SO need that break.

    Also, Tripadvisor! The best website ever!! Reviews written by real people with real candid photos so you can see what you are getting into.

    Also, I cannot say enough good things about the Turks and Caicos. I have pictures and recs if you are interested. We went to Maui for our honeymoon. Stereotypical, but so great. Ah, the Four Seasons. I still cry a little when I think about that I am no longer there.

  36. I don't know about the honeymoon thing (never having had one myself) but if it were me, I would probably care less about the election and more about my honeymoon... but I think that's because I'm selfish and I don't really care about politics. :) Then again, I live in Oregon too, so maybe I'd go the whole mail-in route. I always forget to mail that sucker in though.
    Your invitations are really cute, by the way.

  37. I'm not much help, but I say vote absentee, leave immediately and have a great time!

  38. Holy hell, I feel so strongly you should go to the Dominican Republic. HOM's brother just went to Punta Cana and it was paradise. Plus, you can get 7 nights, all inclusive, for like $900 a person. And, while I appreciate your patriotic nature, you will be ready for a vacation and sticking around to vote might be kind of a let down. Just a thought. Good luck with your decisions. The invites are rad.

  39. so I am de-lurking to comment about this, because I have a Dominican Republic recommendation for you. I went to the DR about a year ago and stayed at the Barcelo Bavaro resort in Punta Cana. It is EXCELLENT. There are 5 different hotels within the resort, and it is all inclusive (drinks too!). There is a golf course, casino, disco. I have nothing but good things to say about it. The rooms were awesome, there was a ton to do, the beach was beautiful. My comment is getting a little long, but email me if you want any more details (I have a ton!)

  40. I love those invitations! Gorgeous!

    Do not. delay your honeymoon for the election. Vote absentee, sail away and forget about it all for a while! (And this is coming from a gal who thinks nothing is more romantic than watching election returns with my sweetie... nothing, that is, except A HONEYMOON.)

  41. I'd offer advice, but my habit of traveling usually involves seeing cheap fare, going "Ooh! I wanna go!" and then figuring it out as I go along.

    Also. I really like your invitation. It's very...classy. And done up.

    Lastly. Go a day or two after the wedding. Give yourself some time to relax, unpack, pack, and then go. SPOIL yourselves!

  42. we went with a unitarian universalist too, and were very happy.

    As for the honeymoon, I had mine right away and loved it because we could sustain that "wedding high" for a whole week and a half. I would think it to be a little depressing to go home the next day and resume "normal" living. I think the honeymoon is a nice buffer.

  43. I think there's a lot to be said for leaving for your honeymoon right away. You're going to need the vacation, but spending a day or two at home sleeping would probably be nice as well.

    If I were going on a honeymoon, I'd probably go to Scandinavia, I wouldn't do a cruise, but I'm just not a cruise person. You'd probably be able to find me on the beach as well. Somewhere nice and relaxing and quiet to spend time together.

  44. I personally wouldn't waste my vacation days. We left on Sunday night after the wedding and didn't have any stress about moving so quickly after the wedding. The only thing you might have that I didn't was more out of town/country guests, which might be reason to stick around another couple of days. As to where? I'm no help, as beachy vacations aren't really my thing. We went mountain biking. :-)

  45. Love the new invites! Too cool.

    I love politics - LOVE. So, I would end up going back to work Monday, Tuesday AND Wednesday in case it is close and the results aren't clear on Tuesday... have a house party to watch the elections - as BYOB and potluck so I wouldn't have to do much, then set out on my honeymoon on Thursday. Since you asked.

  46. Those invitations are cool - I've never seen anything like them!

    Honeymoons....*sigh* We spent one whole MONTH bumming around Western Canada waiting for my immigration paperwork to go through and neither of us considered it a real honeymoon. We were so tired by the time we actually got 'home'. For our first anniversary, we went to Maui for a week and it was amazing.
    As regards the election. Well, since there'll always be more elections and since you'll only have one real honeymoon in your life, I say get the absentee ballots and jet! Assuming you're anywhere in say, The World, you'll hear about the election results though maybe not for individual states. If it's that important though, why no go someplace warm that's still in America? and then go someplace more exotic for your first anniversary? Wherever you go though, try to sleep in the same place for the whole week. We hotel-hopped and it was just not fun. It was so much better in Maui to be in one spot and take day-trips from there.
    Okay that's my 8 cents.

    Personally, I think the deaf officiant would've been funnier...but suit yourself. ;)

  47. Also, get the absentee ballot so that's done and you don't have to worry about it one iota.

  48. yeesh! all of that sounds spectacularly exciting and frustrating and gah! I'm not sure I ever want to deal with the whole idea of a wedding.

  49. I'm no help whatsoever. But I heart those invitations!

  50. We got married on a Saturday at the end of November. Spent Sunday packing and traveling to the airport. Left for Cancun on Monday morning. The weather at that time of year in Cancun was fabulous -- not too hot and definitely not too cool. We used a travel agent but she was a friend from church and cut us a deal on her costs. Also, I say go ahead and get the absentee ballot. Don't wait to go on your honeymoon. There's just something really special about those first few days of marriage.

  51. As a political gal myself, I say go vote and then go on your honeymoon. You won't want to miss the Election coverage. Or, file an absentee ballot, and take off to avoid the long lines at the polls. :) As for locations, I've heard St. Lucia is nice. I wouldn't know though, my husband failed to book our honeymoon -- it was the one thing he had control over, too. We've been married almost seven years. :D

  52. I say vote absentee and check the news! I personally think that somewhere like Playa del Carmen is a perfect spot for a honeymoon and one of my favorite resorts there is the Iberostar. The weather should be perfect for November and I know for a fact that they have CNN! There is also a fellow blogger that does travel and had a resort wedding about a year ago, here is her info if you want to check her out:

    Vacations, Honeymoon, Destinaton Weddings
    Beach Bum Vacation
    About Beach Bum Marcie
    877-943-8282 x23

  53. Hello there!!

    Kat sent me your way. I'm a travel agent and can help you with this if you are interested. :) I have been all over the Caribbean and Mexico and work 24/7. Feel free to email me at if you are interested in speaking with me or go to our website and fill out a request form. We can help you find the PERFECT destination. :) - just make sure to choose me :).

    I love your blog!! I am so glad I found you. I am going to have to link you!! :) Congrats on the wedding and I love the Save the Dates. :)

  54. I've heard Costa Rica is a) warm, b) cheap, and c) incredibly cool!

    Baja California can be nice, especially if you're up for things like sea kayaking in the Gulf of California.

    Or, how about Cuba by way of Cancun (or would that risk Torsten's status in the states?)

    Speaking of warm and nice in November, the Central Coast of California is lovely. I know you said nothing stateside, but Santa Barbara to San Luis Obispo is really nice, even in November.

    That's my two cents. As for the rest, vote absentee and don't worry about whether you'll be able to see the results. It'll be the biggest news story of 2008, so it'll be carried every where.

  55. I'd say go with the absentee ballot...and get a travel agent, I think it is better to have someone to answer all of your questions.

  56. I cannot say enough about Apple Vacations. I always thought people that booked on-line were freaks and now we are off to to Playa Del Carmen for 6 days in April on a 6 Golden Apple Vacation. All the hotels are based on apples and the more apples the more exclusive. They are guaranteed and all detailed on the website. Air hotel AND excursions are all done through the website. AWESOME! It only took 20 friends to tell me before I believed. Whatever.

  57. Oh, WHEW. THAT kind of "honeymoon advice."

  58. I say vote absentee and leave right away! Once your vote is cast you can't change the results by staring at the TV with baited breath (like the rest of us non-honeymooning schmucks).

    As for a location, my parents absolutely fell in LOVE with the Sandals in Saint Lucia. There are three, they stayed at the smallest one. Apparently it's beautiful, quiet, and it's adults-only (ie- no screaming kids crowding the swim-up bar ordering milkshakes, which my BFF swears ruined her honeymoon).

    There... there's a bunch of wedding advice from the least-married person you sort-of know. Enjoy! :)

  59. Whew! That's a lot to plan. I can't help as we did the cheap thing and stayed at a local B & B the first night, came back to mom and dad's to open prezzies and left to start our new life (we were moving to start University). My hubby planned the honeymoon as a surprise. It was fun and relaxing but not exotic!

    I'd love to do some of the things people are suggesting! So fun!

  60. We just booked our honeymoon yesterday! Woot, woot! We're leaving the Monday after and going to San Francisco, spending 4 nights then heading to Napa Valley for 2 nights. We'll return on a Sunday and have the next day off work since it will be Memorial Day. We originally wanted to go to Aruba. Specifically, Bucuti.
    We hope to make it there maybe for our 1 year anniversary. I can send you the info of the travel agent we were talking with if you'd like. I have also heard good things about beach bum vacations.
    I vote for doing an absentee ballot.
    Good luck!