When you start planning a wedding, you’ll quickly discover that people feel very comfortable letting you know exactly how they feel about your decisions. Particularly with regard to two things:
1) The size of your wedding.
2) Your honeymoon plans.
The first is the most annoying and least helpful. Perfectly polite friends who would never, ever be so rude as to reveal a reaction when you tell them what neighborhood you live in, or where you went to college, somehow feel perfectly comfortable going wide-eyed and gasping when you tell them that you plan to have 200 people to your wedding. You’d think you told them that you deliberately got pregnant with twins so you could abort one and keep “the skinnier one.” Their facial expressions make you feel like you’ve chosen a path of such extreme decadence that it borders on the improper.
It’s pretty infuriating. If you’re paying for the wedding yourself, then why is it anyone’s business? And if you aren’t paying for the wedding, chances are it’s your parents that are forcing you to invite dozens of extra people. Either way, keep that stinkeye to yourself. I’ve been to 350-person weddings that I found perfectly lovely and intimate. Frankly, it makes me want to say to those judgy people: “If you were one of my IVF twins, it’d be second trimester sayonara.”
But the honeymoon people actually tend to have informative—if completely contradictory—advice. Here’s a little roundup of the stuff I’ve heard so far:
1) “Go somewhere you will feel comfortable.” I like this advice. It makes perfect sense to me.
2) “Go on an adventure. Go somewhere you would never, ever go otherwise!” This also makes sense, because it’s hard to pull off a super long vacation unless it’s your honeymoon. But if you think about it, it’s kind of exactly the opposite logic of the advice in #1.
3) “Go somewhere that feels really, really far away.” See above.
4) “Go sit on a beach where you can just relax and enjoy each other’s company. After the wedding you’ll need it.”
5) “Whatever you do, don’t just go sit on a beach. That gets boring after two days.”
6) “Avoid cities.” I get this one a lot, and it used to make a lot of sense to me. Cities are great, but they are not escapes. They are certainly rarely relaxing, and they’re definitely not intimate. Except, not long ago, I talked to my friend Paul and he said:
7) “We just rented an apartment in Paris for a week, and it was incredible.” Of course it was.
8) “Go on a safari!!!!!!” Everyone who has gone on a safari will tell you to go on a safari. It’s like people who went to Burning Man. I know I’m learning the wrong lesson here, but to me this just feels oppressive. I get it, you see the wonder of life. Lions sleep all day and when they wake up, they have bed-head! But seriously, we’ll do that when we have kids—when we’re going to really need to be reminded why life is wonderful.
In the end, we’ve decided to go to Italy. (More on that later.) We’ve both been to Rome and Florence, and Cub’s spent a fair amount of time in Milan for work. But there are plenty of parts of the country we haven’t seen. While we were debating what to do, two friends of ours told us about their trip to Tuscany and Provence. They gave us the input I found the most helpful: “After ten days, both of us had gained ten pounds.” THAT is what I want to do on my honeymoon.
I’m planning it now, but looks like we’ll start in Piedmont wine country, travel down to Cinque Terre, spend a few days in Tuscany, and end with two days in Venice. It’ll be a perfect combination of comfort, adventure, remoteness, seaside, and city. Safari not included.