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Off to the honeymoon!
— By Jim Cornelius —

The wedding is over. The vows have been exchanged. The cake is eaten, the champagne drunk. It's time to blow off all the stress and head off for that magical two weeks in the sun.
And the sun is what most honeymooners seek.

Tropical Beach Honeymoon“The top destinations tend to be sunny, tropical places,” said Phil Arends.

Using a qualified travel agent is a good way to ensure that the trip is as magical as you dreamed.

“Just as they go to a wedding planner, I think an agent can take care of the details so (the couple) doesn't have to worry about them,” Arends said.

Arends advises booking six to nine months in advance, especially if the couple is looking to book that honeymoon resort suite with the balcony overlooking the ocean.

Planning early also gives couples a better sense of the costs they'll incur, which is critical to budgeting for the wedding.

Arends says more and more couples are going for the once-in-a-lifetime trip for their honeymoon, often requesting financial contributions in lieu of gifts.

Arends says it's important to clearly define the kind of honeymoon experience you're
looking for and to be realistic about costs.

To be cost effective — and for the pure fun of it — many couples are also choosing “destination weddings” where the wedding is held in an exotic location.

Sisters is, in fact, one of those destination sites, with couples honeymooning right here and wedding parties enjoying hiking, rafting, skiing and other attractions of the area. That's a good option even for couples who live here.

Arends sees more and more couples deferring their honeymoon to a later date — especially if they're getting married in the summer and planning a tropical vacation.

“A lot of sun spots aren't necessarily ideal if they're getting married in the summer,” he said.

A deferred honeymoon can also be a bit less rushed.

If you're leaving right after the wedding, Arends recommends giving yourself a day before travel to decompress and to make sure the travel plans and documents are all in order. That way, “they can start the honeymoon relaxed.”

No matter how well you plan, things may go awry. Arends counsels couples not to be
so fixated on expectations of magic that setbacks ruin the experience.

“You've got to go with the flow,” he said. “There's always times when the flight might be delayed, the weather might not be perfect, the room might not be exactly what you thought it would be.”

That's not so important.

“You're going to be with the person you're going to spend the rest of your life with; you
love them,” he said. “It doesn't really matter.”

• Click here to visit our directory of Travel Agencies.





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