Sponsored: 5 Things You Should Know Before You Book Your Honeymoon

 Caribbean, Honeymoons, Honeymoons & Destination Weddings  Comments Off on Sponsored: 5 Things You Should Know Before You Book Your Honeymoon
Jul 212015
 
Sandals Grande Antigua Resort and Spa Honeymoon

Photo: Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa

Honeymoons are different from other vacations. In a sense, they're more important, even for couples who have been together for some time, because of their connection to the wedding. Here, in collaboration with our sponsor Sandals, we rounded up a few tips on how to help ensure yours is as amazing as possible.

1. Scout it out.
Do enough research that you're confident that you're picking the right place for the two of you. An ideal way to select the right destination is to experience it in real life. Consider this deal: Sandals Resorts offers a special "Test Drive Your Honeymoon" package that will let you check out your honeymoon resort choice in advance, and receive a $500 credit toward your honeymoon when you book. Best of all, in addition to peace of mind, you get to take a much-needed break in the middle of wedding planning and spend a weekend that's just about the two of you, a wide white stretch of beach, the feeling of the sunshine on your skin, and toasts to your pending nuptials. And while you can clink glasses of wine at dinner, we suggest pool-side toasts with a couple of frozen cocktails topped with those little paper umbrellas.

2. Know that this is an escape.
After the intensity of the wedding, you should expect to be tired. Add to that the overwhelming amazingness of having everyone you love in one place on The Big Day, and we guarantee that the two of you will want some seriously quiet alone time. Our advice: For the first couple days of your honeymoon, don't plan anything at all. Allow yourselves to sleep in, order room service if you miss a meal, and just do what feels good. After that, you can take it all in — from the spa if that's your thing to water sports, golf, and even some fun tours.

3. Remember that perfection doesn't always look like you thought it would.
You know those couple little things that went wrong — or at least not as planned — but they didn't ruin your wedding at all? Expect the same to be true on your honeymoon. After all, nobody can control the weather, and flight delays are pretty common. Let go of the idea that this vacation needs to be flawless, and you'll be able to relax and enjoy it for what it is, rather than what you thought it would be.

4. Take a deep breath.
Once you're there — at the resort you chose, in your honeymoon lair — be mindful of just how amazing it is to have your first vacation as newlyweds. This is a moment you have waited a long time for, and you want to make sure you enjoy it. So unplug your laptop — Facebook and Instagram, thank-you notes, and certainly work, too, can wait — and focus on each other. Send a group thank-you email to the closest people in your life, letting them know how much you appreciate all they did to make your wedding special. Then close by saying the two of you are going off the grid for a while and you'll talk to them when you get home.

5. Make it your own.
Bring with you the things you need to ensure you get to live out the vacation of your fantasies. If you chose your honeymoon suite because it has the most amazing hot tub, plan ahead and pack your favorite bath salts or buy a new bubble bath you're excited to use. If the two of you love to read on the beach together, make enough room in your suitcase for the books you need to make that happen. If you don't expect to automatically find everything you have at home, you'll be thrilled by the unexpected treats, like the calypso band playing after dinner or the shockingly good tropical fruit.

Apr 292015
 
Things To Do In The Cayman Islands

Photo: Courtesy of Cayman Islands Department of Tourism

Easy to reach and accessible once you're there, the trip of isles — Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman — that make up the Cayman Islands offer gorgeous white-sand beaches and clear blue Caribbean water, without hassle or a long flight — which makes it the perfect honeymoon destination. Here, we break down seven things newlyweds absolutely must do once they arrive to paradise.

1. Splurge on a luxe hotel.
When it comes to your honeymoon resort, where you stay defines your trip. Pick the decadent Ritz-Carlton in Grand Cayman, and you'll not only be on stunning Seven Mile Beach, you'll have a classic, colonial-style room and the kind of polished service that makes all the difference when you spend most of your time at your hotel.

2. Enjoy a few unforgettable meals.
There are some truly great restaurants on Grand Cayman. Michael Schwartz of Miami's Michael's Genuine Food and Drink opened an outpost here, and it's casual, fun, and every bit as good as the original. Our advice: Don't leave without trying the Peanuts and Popcorn dessert, a caloric splurge that's worth the extra treadmill time. Also, even if you're not staying at the Ritz-Carlton, you'll want to dine at Blue by Eric Ripert, an amazing restaurant by Manhattan's France-born master of all things seafood. Also, be sure to book a table at Anchor & Den at the Grand Cayman Marriott for just-caught seafood and out-of-this-world jerk pork.

3. Treat yourselves to a spa day.
Nothing makes the stress of wedding planning — and the intensity of the big day itself — melt away quite like a spa day. Book a 90-minute minute couples' massage at The Westin Grand Cayman to truly give yourself a chance to relax and let go. Bonus: It comes with a half-hour in a private Jacuzzi tub.

4. Meet some of the locals.
One of the most popular things to do in the Cayman Islands is a swim with the stingrays. Head to Stingray City for the afternoon, and you'll get to take a dip in warm, shallow water with more than two dozen of these magnificent creatures.

See more: 5 Reasons We Love Honeymooning in the Caribbean

5. Try your hand at fishing.
If you or your new husband enjoy fishing, the unspoiled shores of the Cayman Islands are a great place to fly fish and spin cast. Serious fishermen and women should consider staying at the Southern Cross Club on Little Cayman, where the staff can show you where on-site you can fish for bonefish and jacks, or take you off-shore fishing so you catch marlin, wahoo, mahi-mahi, and even tuna.

6. Hit the reef.
You don't want to leave the islands without observing the gorgeous sea creatures just under the surface of the water. Visit Rum Point Beach for a morning of snorkeling, and keep your eyes open for school of blue tang fish and rainbow colored parrot fish. If sea turtles are more your thing, go to Eden Rock. Either way, be sure to pack an underwater camera, even a disposable one, so you can take the perfect selfies with your new finned friends, and don't forget to apply sunscreen to the top of your head so you don't get the signature snorkeler's telltale sunburn.

7. Go farm-to-table.
Le Soleil D'Or on Cayman Brac has a 20-acre organic farm that supplies much of the produce for the resort. Dine on the fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and even edible flowers grown here, as well as locally hatched eggs. Stay here, and not only will your meals be made from these fresh ingredients, but you can also sign up for guided farm and garden tours — on which you can pick fruit and vegetables, and try your hand at jamming and preserving fruits by canning — as well as a wide variety of cooking classes and even private dinners designed just for the two of you.

The Cayman Islands are not only a fabulous place to honeymoon, but it's also a gorgeous locale for a destination wedding! Pick up our June/July issue, which hits stands on May 5, to check out new ways to do island "I do's." We photographed some of the most stunning wedding dresses on Grand Cayman's famous Seven Mile Beach!

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