As someone who is getting married at the end of the year, and also being in the industry, I’m pretty well placed to share my guide to the art of planning a honeymoon. A lot of couples choose to plan the honeymoon together and, even if this is the case, these tips will all still be very useful. However, legend or tradition has it that responsibility for the honeymoon has long fallen to the groom; and my – what a duty this is. Not only does it need to be impeccably slick and thoughtful, it must also hit that ‘once in a lifetime’ note… in a good way.

So, if you’re in the traditional camp and taking charge of the planning, let me share my little guide to organising the ultimate honeymoon for your bride. You’ll be living off the brownie points for years.

Start Planning the Honeymoon Well in Advance

I’d recommend you start planning at least six months before departure. You’ll then have plenty of time to chat through your ideas together or with a travel expert, secure availability, and play around with the itinerary until it is perfect.

Surprise Her with Something Special

Even if she knows where you’re going, it’s a nice touch to plan a little surprise such as a hike before sunrise or a hot air balloon ride. Whatever it is, make sure you hold a little something back to surprise her with.

Couple in Hot Air Balloon

Consider a Mini-Moon, with a Bigger Trip Later On

Mini-moons are becoming increasingly popular. Brides and grooms take a few days after the big day, followed by a bigger trip a little later in the year. Why do one when you can do two, I say? If this appeals to you, check out these European mini-moon ideas, and city mini-moon destinations.

Don’t Book the Exact Same Honeymoon Your Best Mate Did

When planning a honeymoon, make her feel special by putting a little bit of time and thought into proceedings, personalising the trip.

Don’t Fall Into the Honeymoon Trap

The honeymoon trap is a metaphorical place that could become all too real if some simple steps aren’t taken. I’m talking about those conveyor-belt style honeymoons where you find yourself all tables-for-two, virtually on top of the couple next door. You might as well be eating the same piece of spaghetti as your next door neighbour’s wife, á la Lady and the Tramp. If this is not for you, flag this at the outset. This nicely flows on to…

Don’t Assume You Have to ‘Fly and Flop’ on Honeymoon

Yes, it’s all about the sumptuous Egyptian cotton sheets and miles of bleached white sand. But you can still hike a mountain, swim with whale sharks or spot giraffes if you’ve always wanted to.

Torres del Paine, Patagonia

Torres del Paine, Patagonia

Stay in Amazing Hotels

Planning a honeymoon is the one time you need to find somewhere incredible to stay, especially for the debut night. There are so many beautiful boutique hotels with authentic interiors, set amidst staggering scenery; you just need to know where to look. For this, try a tour operator who knows boutique hotels inside out.

Don’t Try and Book It All By Yourself

Yes, everything is available at your fingertips thanks to the internet. But planning a honeymoon (more than any other trip) really needs someone’s undivided attention. Don’t take on too much and become overwhelmed. Try a specialist tour operator who can add some creativity into proceedings, then you can pass it all off as your own work.

Talk About It As a Couple

Okay, so you might have always wanted to go cage diving with crocodiles in the depths of South Africa, but she might want to just chill on the beach. Sounds obvious, but talk it through. There’s always somewhere that can suit you both, and if it is a surprise, ‘compromise’ is the buzz word.

Coral Reef Scuba Diving

Coral Reef Scuba Diving

Don’t Assume Flight Upgrades Are Complimentary As Standard

Unfortunately, flight upgrades are becoming a rare occurrence for honeymooners. If you want to fly first class for your special trip you’ll need to book it.

Take Some Advice If Packing Her Suitcase For a Surprise Honeymoon

This could result in near disaster. Don’t forget to pack her underwear, swimwear, footwear and beauty essentials… in fact, definitely consult a close, female friend. Better still, book your bride-to-be in for a stylist day to kit her out for her trip.

And my honeymoon? Well, I can’t tell you in case my bride is reading, but it is going to be epic.

Guest post by Tom Marchant of Black Tomato

Images from…

Hot Air Balloon: Shaun Menary Photography

Torres del Paine, Patagonia: Flickr by Bill Hertha (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 License)

Scuba Diving: Black Tomato