Movies always make it look so magical: The vows have been made, the bouquet has been tossed, the bride and groom run down the aisle in a flurry of rose petals and duck into a waiting car. They drive away to a burst of applause, trailing streamers and waving from windows scrawled with “Just Married!” Off they’re whisked to some private paradisiac honeymoon where they’ll sip umbrella drinks, hold hands in the sunset and discover new ways to stare into each other’s eyes.
It probably comes as no surprise (though, just to be sure, you might want to sit down) that real life isn’t like the movies. More often than not, you can’t wait to get out of your stifling cupcake of a wedding dress and into some shoes that aren’t pinching or sinking in the grass as you try to pose for the photos that will forever commemorate this day.
The truth is, more and more couples are opting out of traditional honeymoons. Certainly, a tropical island vay-cay sounds delightful, but so does saving that last little dribble of money not spent on making your wedding a fluffy facsimile fairytale.
I, for instance, have yet to go on my honeymoon. My husband and I are about to celebrate our second wedding anniversary next month and we have yet to sip umbrella drinks and hold hands in the sunset (at least on a honeymoon). We’ve lived in the Pyrenees Mountains, Paris, Sacramento and New York in the four years we’ve been together, so by the time our wedding came around, we didn’t feel the need to rush off to an exciting, exotic locale—we’d been living in one(s). A friend’s dad was particularly nonplussed when he asked if we were going to honeymoon in Paris. We said no, we’d been living there, so it was less a romantic destination than our former—much-missed—residence. He incredulously replied, “Well, I think Paris is very romantic.” (My husband’s favorite response: “We think so, too—we got engaged there.”)
If traditional honeymooning is in your budget and your desires, by all means, go for it. But for others who are interested in other—equally romantic—options, there are quite a few. Two of our newly wed friends asked people to forgo the blenders and candlesticks and instead chip in for a series of mini-honeymoons to places they’d always wanted to go—Monterey to see the aquarium, Ashland to see Shakespeare. Others have opted for a “honeymoon registry,” a website like www.honeyfund.com or www.travelersjoy.com where you select your desired destination and friends can donate the dinero to get you there.
Whichever you choose, the same rule applies to honeymoons as it does to other wedding rituals: It’s your life. Now toss off those shoes and ride off into your sunset. Streamers and umbrella drinks optional.