Photo credit: Timo Stern on Unsplash

Honeymoons, Babymoons, Anniversary Moons and More

By Susan Farewell

A few weeks ago, I received a WhatsApp text from a honeymoon couple who had just landed at JFK after a two-week-long trip through France. They were overjoyed with the trip and couldn’t wait to tell me about it. I usually get “just landed” messages from my husband or daughter. But my clients, Greg Crocker and Marisa Preston, had become like family. Through the process of planning and re-planning and re-planning their honeymoon (due to Covid), I had gotten to know them well. Truth be told, I always get to know my clients well. It’s part of the process when custom designing trips.

I was a travel editor at BRIDE’S magazine for several years when honeymoons were pretty much plug-and-play. The majority of our readers–newly-engaged couples–would pick a destination (often an island resort,) and off they’d go hours after the bouquet was tossed. Identifying where to go was a matter of choosing an island that fit their wishes. Tennis? Golf? Endless beaches?

Today, everything has changed. Honeymoons are one of the many trips couples take and these trips are far from ordinary. Here are some of the ways partners are celebrating one another.

Pre-wedding Trips

Many couples are opting to go on honeymoon-like trips before they walk down the aisle. “Knowing we can travel well together is as important as knowing we can live together,” Greg, who grew up in Westport, told me. He and Marisa had taken trips abroad and in the US together. When the time came to choose where they wanted to go on their honeymoon and how they wanted to travel, they were already in sync. They knew exactly the places they planned to visit and the types of hotels, experiences and restaurants they wanted.

Babymoons

One of our clients, Ryan Callas, who grew up in Stamford and works in Westport, took a world-class trip to Italy with his then fiancé, now wife, Lisa. After that trip…the two were planning their wedding followed by a honeymoon trip to Greece. But then came Covid and everything changed. They still got married, but opted for a small, intimate wedding with a closer-to-home honeymoon at The Ocean House in Watch Hill. Soon after, their baby girl was on the way and three months before her arrival, they went on a babymoon to Chatham Bars Inn on Cape Cod. “After being in what felt like hibernation for most of the pregnancy with Covid, we needed a change of scenery,” explained Ryan. “When we arrived on the Cape, it felt like we were rejoining the world again. It was exactly the reset we needed for our mental health as we were preparing to become parents.”

No Cookie-cutter Trips

No two honeymoons should ever be alike. Period. For our soon-to-be-newlyweds, we always gather tons of information about their interests and wishes and design itineraries that encompass those. We pride ourselves on seeking out the rarest and most valuable finds in every destination. Many ideas come from the couples themselves who we encourage to think big. One of our newlywed couples, Devin and Erin Marino of Glen Ridge, NJ, had a dream of tooling around Tuscany in a vintage Alfa Romeo Spyder. We arranged for the car to be delivered to their hotel and off they went exploring Monteriggioni, San Gimignano and some of the most scenic roads in the Chianti Classico region.

Setting Up Home While Abroad

Surrounding themselves with mementos from around the world not only shows a couple’s shared interests, but it can be a lifelong quest they share.

We have honeymoon clients who seek out specific vineyards in France and Italy, Argentina and South Africa, shipping home wines to start their cellars. The couples who go to Morocco take measurements of rooms before leaving home so they can shop for rugs, Moroccan ottomans and chairs. And whether traveling to Scandinavia or the Antipodes, many of them are on the lookout for paintings and other artwork to grace the walls of their new home. For some couples, it’s all about taking great photos so they can enlarge and frame them once home.

Oh The Places You’ll Go and Experiences You’ll have!

Honeymoons have moved well beyond being “vacations” following the wedding. Today, they are shared personal journeys and often wonderful cultural experiences combining countries, even continents.

Many couples are setting their sights on distant places like Vietnam, Patagonia and Southern Africa. They are choosing destinations in the Middle East such as Jordan and Oman (with a couple of celebratory nights in Dubai). What we hear repeatedly is that “We want to do the big trips while we are young, have lots of energy and before having a family.”

Their itineraries include extraordinary experiences such as epic hikes, meals with local families and private excursions to and through archaeological sites. After a destination wedding on the Amalfi Coast, our clients Derek Quinzani and Hannah Mangum of Brooklyn, New York went on a three-week honeymoon in Italy and Greece. Along the way, they went truffle hunting, snorkeled through the caves and underwater passageways of Kleftiko where pirates hid out for centuries, and learned secrets of Santorini recipes in a cooking class.

Gifting a Honeymoon

Increasingly, we are getting requests from our regular clients who want to gift a honeymoon to their adult son and soon-to-be daughter-in-law. It’s not just parents who are gifting! We’ve had a request from a sister who wants to give her brother the kind of honeymoon we designed for her and her husband. What better gift than a travel experience!

Left Photo credit: Sergii Gulenok on Unsplash

Renewing Vows

All of these experiences are not only for our clients. As we’ve discovered, there are all sorts of ways to celebrate one another as a couple.

For our 20th wedding anniversary, my husband and I hiked in the Andes of Peru. After climbing to 13,200 feet, we renewed our wedding vows in front of our guide, Max. Not sure who was wiping away more tears, but it might have been Max.

Susan Farewell is the owner of Farewell Travels LLC, a Connecticut-based travel design firm. Contact her by calling 203-247-2317 or email here