When my now-husband and I got engaged in June of 2015, I couldn’t have been more ready to start planning our wedding. A lifelong lover of calendars and paper planners (like our brand-new Brit + Co planners for Target, so cute!), I couldn’t wait to dig into the details, draw up some to-do lists, and figure out exactly what I would need to do to plan the most beautiful day ever. I was a woman obsessed.
Within a few weeks, I realized that there was one more big thing to consider: our honeymoon. My then-fiance and I knew that we wanted to take some time for ourselves after the wedding chaos had subsided. We talked about how much we could budget for our trip and discussed the kind of vacation we wanted to go on. Luckily, we both agreed. We wanted to take the shortest flight we could get to the most beautiful place possible, and once we got there we wanted to do — quite frankly — little to nothing. By the end of that conversation, I was itching to grab my trusty planner and start researching potential locations. Instead, my (wonderful, amazing, perfect) now-husband suggested that he take on all honeymoon plans… without me. I would find out where we were going after we were married.
At first, I thought the whole idea seemed a little old-school. A new wife, following her husband blindly onto a plane, having had no input whatsoever? Ew. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was pretty brilliant. I would offload some major planning responsibility, and there would be a seriously exciting surprise to look forward to when I was finished coordinating the other logistics of our nuptials. Plus, we’d already discussed some basic parameters and figured out a realistic collective budget. I agreed.
Over the course of our engagement, so many people were totally shocked when I told them that my fiance was handling our honeymoon plans — maybe because they know me, and they couldn’t wrap their head around the fact that I’d ceded so much control over a major milestone. My response to their surprise was always the same: “We’re getting married. I trust him to plan something amazing. And, honestly, I don’t care where we go as long we’re together.” It was true! (I also happen to be married to someone who’s a nut about research, which only added to my faith that he’d make it totally perfect.)
In the end, we had a beautiful wedding and the most incredible honeymoon, and I credit much of the magic of our first getaway as husband and wife to our decision to make it a surprise. Here are six reasons that I would totally recommend this approach to any newly engaged couple:
1. It streamlined the planning process. Anyone who’s planned a wedding knows that it’s a process that can quickly grow out of control. There are guest lists to finalize, dietary restrictions to be mindful of, venues to visit, dresses to fit… and that’s only a fraction of it. Add in the logistics of what’s supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, and you can forget sleeping — let alone actually enjoying the months leading up to your big day. My now-husband was a great help in planning the wedding when I needed it, but — in our relationship, at least — it was helpful for us to have clear, defined responsibilities during what could have otherwise been a super-contentious time. I managed the vast majority of details for the wedding itself, while he was in charge of our honeymoon plans. It gave us each an opportunity to “stay in our lane,” which I truly believe cut back on a lot of pre-“I do” stress.
2. It took something off my very full plate. I am a control freak by nature (guilty!), but knowing that I had handed over one large task to my fiance gave me a huge sense of relief. In a perfect world, I would have loved to say that I’d planned the perfect wedding and the perfect honeymoon all on my own, but that’s just not realistic! Instead, I was able to focus on staying in touch with my day-of vendors and spending hours working on DIY reception decor — without stressing about flights, hotel reservations, and travel insurance — and my husband wasn’t put in the awkward position of constantly asking how he could help me as I slowly fell to pieces under the weight of a million tasks. (Sound familiar, bridal veterans?)
3. It canceled out any post-wedding blues. There’s really nothing to be sad about the day after your wedding… After all, you’re married! Let’s be honest for a hot second, though — there’s a bit of an emotional hangover in the afterglow of the big day. After months of careful planning, you get one (hopefully) perfect weekend of love, happiness, friends, and family, and then it’s suddenly over. Yes, your life of married bliss with your partner is only beginning, but it still feels a little funky to realize that the (mostly) magical engagement phase is behind you. I found that, because my husband had kept the plans for our honeymoon under wraps and I hadn’t had to take on any of the planning responsibility, the fact that we still had a romantic vacation ahead of us almost felt like a surprise in itself! Having been out of the loop on all things honeymoon for the year we were engaged, I was that much more excited by the prospect of a one-on-one trip with my new hubs, which definitely helped dull the effects of that emotional hangover.
4. It meant a lot to my husband to take it on. My then-fiance is not the kind of guy who would have excelled at helping me make centerpieces or hand-address envelopes, but he really wanted to take an active role in planning our special day. He took a lot of pride in the fact that I trusted him to coordinate our honeymoon from start to finish (and only begged him for clues a few times), and it gave him an opportunity to invest his own time and love into a trip that was memorable for both of us.
5. It set a healthy precedent for meaningful gestures in our marriage. In the seven years that my spouse and I were together before we got married, we talked a lot about the value of meaningful gestures and loving surprises in our relationship. Okay, so, maybe I talked a lot about them. (Oops!) In any case, it’s something we’ve both committed to work on over the course of our time together, and while a beautiful honeymoon is perhaps an extreme example, it was something that set a fun precedent of romance and surprises in our marriage. My husband realized how rewarding it was to orchestrate a surprise, and I was reminded of how good it feels to be on the receiving end of one. We’ve definitely been inspired in our first year of marriage to keep the special gestures going, even if they’re of the smaller, simpler variety.
6. It was fun! Who doesn’t love a surprise (as long as it’s a good surprise, of course)? When one partner plans the honeymoon, leaving the other in the dark, it adds an extra element of excitement to an already magical experience. No regrets about it here!
What do you think of surprise honeymoons? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty and Alli Hoff Kosik)