I have been absent. I have been going a little crazy. I’m here now…I think.
So, we’re getting married in about 9 months, yay! Needless to say, it’s made life a tiny bit crazy(er).
At first, our plans seemed so distant, and like we had so much time – we did, and still do – that it was all fun and daydreams. Well, now it’s time to start actually planning, and I’m filled with anxiety and stress over the decisions, and I don’t like it. We had originally planned to have an ‘elopement’, where just the 2 of us would go away and get married, then have a few parties here when we get back to celebrate with family and friends. Our families are very spread out, and large, and we just don’t have the budge for that, nor the mental bandwidth. I thought that because we weren’t planning a big shindig – yet – that it would be a piece of cake. All we have to do right now is pick a place to get married and have our honeymoon. No big deal, right? It certainly sounds like a dream come true. Yet, I’ve spent the last 2 months researching so many places to run off to and have our intimate 2 person dream trip that I’m going out of my mind with choices. It started off simple enough, we had our budget, and the Caribbean is so close, it seemed like a no-brainer. Who would have thought that the selection of where to go in the Caribbean could be so painfully overwhelming? Not this girl.
I expanded my search, looking at Central and South America, Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii, and any other place that seem dreamy. They all resulted in me realizing that flying for 12-20 hours was not the way we wanted to start our wedding trip. So I’ve narrowed it back down to the Caribbean, mostly. I’ve made lists, spreadsheets, figured out relative travel costs, pros and cons of each spot we like, attractions, language, distance, likelihood of hurricanes…and yet, here I sit. Lost. I thought about posting on here a month ago to ask for help, but figured since no one really had much to say about it on Facebook or Twitter (other than suggesting Jamaica, which I think is probably not where we want to go) when I asked, that no one else would either. But maybe that’s not true. Maybe someone in my network has magical answers to all of my questions! Maybe not, but maybe so!
I have taken breaks and come back, I’ve tried just following my heart, I’ve tried to use lists to force my brain to make a choice, and yet, I still have no clue. I’ve tried distracting myself with looking at dresses instead. I’ve enlisted the advice of travel agents. I’ve considered just going somewhere in the continental US for a week or two. This is not what we want, I realize, but it is a cheaper option if need be.
So right now I have lists. Michael is so supportive, and really just wants to make sure we can afford it, and we can go somewhere nice. Those are his only requirements. Sadly, I’m much more picky. It’s our wedding, it’s going to be amazing, and we’re going to have a great time. The only thing that matters is that we are together, and that we are getting married. I know these things. Yet, I still want to pick somewhere awesome because who knows when we’ll be able to do this again. I know that anywhere we go will be awesome, but I want the MOST awesome! I’m putting too much pressure on myself to pick the perfect place. There will be no perfect place. We will make any place perfect. Why can’t I just pick a place?!
What I really want is a spot that is more than just beaches, and where we are not stuck at a resort the whole time. There are lots of islands that offer so much more than just beach time, like volcanoes, rain forest, hiking, waterfalls, sailing, whale watching, scuba/snorkeling, and of course visiting the towns nearby. I am also concerned that we will blow our whole budget on our accommodations, and be stuck not doing things we want, or not able to eat while there. I want to have a ceremony for just us, with a nice dinner after, and some pictures to bring home. I thought that was no big deal, but most places want thousands and thousands of dollars to do this. If we go somewhere that is not a US territory, we’re going to get legally married here in town beforehand, then have a symbolic ceremony there. Which, in my mind, should be cheaper, but it doesn’t seem to work out that way.
So right now, our list looks like this:
Dominica – After all the research, this is now my personal dream trip. It might not be right for this trip, but it’s on my list of must see places. This beautifully underdeveloped island has volcanoes, rainforests, tons of whales, snorkeling, scuba, hiking, river trips, sea caves and not many people. It is a fairly natural island, so it would be like living at a gorgeous resort in the rainforest for a week. Downsides are that there aren’t great beaches (by Caribbean standards) and that because it’s off the beaten path, it’s expensive and time consuming to get there, it’s not set up for tourists, so it might be a little rougher than other islands. Would this be ‘roughing it’ too much for a honeymoon?? The whale watching (it’s the best in the Caribbean) is really the main draw for me.
St. Lucia – Seems fairly similar to Dominica in landscape. The attractions are about the same, whale watching might not be quite as good, but it’s still pretty great. They do have nicer beaches, but also a lot more tourism, and apparently crime. The flight cost and length is not much lower than Dominica. The bonus of going here would be more options for dining/accommodations, and better beaches.
St. John – USVI (Or St. Croix, St. Thomas) – Absolutely gorgeous beaches, and forests. Most of this island is a park, so much of it remains untouched. There is not as much to do as the 2 previous destinations, but the location is great. It is a hop away from lots of other islands if we wanted to explore those. We could also get married here without a wait time, which is a plus. It also seems like it would be a little more pricey than the other 2 above.
Virgin Gorda – Also has absolutely stunning beaches, and is convenient to other Virgin Islands. The main drawback here is the expense, it is fairly high end. The plus is the sailing, which we could do in most places, but it’s pretty great here.
Puerto Rico – This US territory is a pretty easy choice. It’s close, and fairly low cost. It has a little bit of everything, but maybe not the ‘best’ of anything. Beaches, rain forest, culture, caves, close to other islands for day trips, wild horses, coral reefs, the bio-luminescent bay, lots of culture and good food. The drawback for me here is that I feel like it’s the safe choice. We could marry easily, but it seems like it might end up not being exactly what we want. I read a lot of people who say that the crime is high, and getting around is tough, and that the beaches aren’t great. Beaches aren’t the main attraction, so who knows if that will end up being a big deal to us when we get there.
Turks and Caicos– It seems like if we wanted to sit on the beach the whole time, this would be our spot. We don’t, so I think it would end up being a waste of money. A lot of money.
Mexico – Riviera Maya – It appears to be gorgeous here, but I don’t know what we would do other than stay at a resort, which would get old.
Costa Rica – It seems like Costa Rica is a natural choice, for the nature and the beaches, and the culture, and the SLOTHS. I love sloths. But I don’t know if this is where I really want to go, there’s just something telling me to skip it for this trip.
Hawaii – This is not really at the top of my list. But it’s not been eliminated from the possibilities. It’s far, and expensive, and touristy. Those are 3 things I do not want. It’s also gorgeous.
So I’m putting the magical internet feelers out there. If you have any thoughts about any of these places, or words of wisdom on how I need to just shut up and choose because it doesn’t really matter, please do share with me! If you want to chat about your favorite vacation, or your honeymoon, wedding, or life in general, please share that as well!
In other news, I am really excited about all of this, I just want to make a decision so I can start planning all of the good stuff. A dress and rings and the parties afterward, oh my!
I hope all is well with you and thanks for ANY and all input!