Considering there were more than 250 guests at Sarah Drake and Douglas Orr's October wedding ceremony, it's no wonder they didn't have much time to plan their honeymoon.
"We thought ... we have to plan for this huge wedding, so lets go to Hawaii," said Drake, 26, of Marietta. "We both decided it would be a good place to go - it's still in the United States."
When it comes to planning a honeymoon, there are lots of things a couple should take into consideration, including what the weather conditions will be like.
"It was a mutual agreement to go somewhere warm and sunny," Drake said. "It worked out well - it never rained the whole time we were there."
Although Drake and Orr went to Hawaii and therefore did not need passports, Ruth Nagy, director of travel operations for AAA East Central, pointed out that couples who choose to honeymoon outside the United States do need them.
"It will have to be put in the bride's maiden name ... so all the reservations have to be done in the bride's maiden name because that's the name that will be on her (identification)," Nagy said.
Source: www.honeymooners reviewguide.com
Start with a budget and be willing to be flexible with your dates, because if you don't travel during the weekend, the cost of your trip may be lowered by a few hundred dollars.
Research airline travel, car rental and lodging costs, as well as any special rates, promotions or tours that are ideal for honeymooners.
Consider what the weather conditions will be in a certain location when planning your honeymoon.
Once you've figured out where you're going, determine what documents you'll need, such as passports. Ask your physician about required medical clearances or strange diseases to watch out for, as well as shots you'll need. Passports, driver's licenses, airline tickets, credit cards and the travel itinerary should be photocopied in case of theft or loss.
Be mindful of travel advisories issued by the U.S. State Department. Take note of the location and contact information of the local U.S. embassy in case of an emergency.
Plan what you'll do on your honeymoon by requesting maps and brochures from the local tourism bureau. You can save time and be at ease if you look over a travel guide, such as a Frommer's guide, prior to arriving at your destination.
Although Drake and Orr planned their own honeymoon, Nagy said it's a good idea for couples to use a travel agent.
"They have enough planning to do," she said. "They can turn it over to that travel agent and not have to worry too much about it."
Nagy noted that these days, lots of couples are having destination weddings, wherein their ceremony and honeymoon are held at the same place.
"Instead of them going through all of the stress of planing a wedding, there are some all-inclusive resorts (that) if you stay enough nights for a honeymoon, they'll provide the wedding complimentary," she said, noting that Cancun, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic are some of the most popular destinations.
Drake said she booked flights and hotel rooms prior to arriving in Hawaii, but their daily activities were planned while she and her husband were there, which actually worked out quite well.
"It wasn't as busy as it could have been I think because we were there in October versus the summer or holidays," she said. "We were definitely able to do everything we wanted to do just by scheduling it while we were there."
During their two-week stay in Hawaii, the couple visited the islands of Oahu, Kauai and Maui, as well as the Big Island. Their activities included snorkeling, hiking, horseback riding and a boat trip through sea caves. They also took a helicopter tour over volcanoes, went tubing on a mountain irrigation waterway and took a submarine tour in the Pacific Ocean.
"It was an awesome trip - we want to go back someday," Drake said.
Lower Salem residents Janel and Eddie McConnell, married in September, also want to return to their honeymoon spot some day.
The couple took a seven-day cruise to Alaska aboard a Holland America Line ship, which they booked through a travel agent in the early part of last year.
"He had done a cruise, but I'd never been on a cruise and we are both very outdoorsy people, and that's one thing we kept saying is we wanted to go to Alaska," said Janel, 21. "When we planned it, they were already filling up and we were lucky to get a room to stay in."
Among their activities were gold panning, a visit to the governor's mansion in Juno and a historical tour of Skagway. There were also plenty of things to do on the ship, Janel said.
"It was very fun, except we experienced some major high seas and it was very rough for a couple days," she noted.
The website cruisesavvy.com indicates it's a good idea for those who are prone to nausea to travel on extra large ships because they don't get tossed around as much. Additionally, staying in a low and central cabin with a window or balcony means a person is close to the ship's center of gravity and can look out at the horizon and is less likely to feel ill.
For those who want a taste of the outdoors on their honeymoon but don't want to take to the waves, there are other options.
Brianne and Kevin Moore honeymooned at Smoke Hole Resort in West Virginia over Labor Day weekend. During their visit, they toured caverns, went horseback riding, toured Cass Scenic Railroad and went hiking and fishing.
"I had never been there but he had, so he is the one who came up with the idea," said Brianne Moore, 30, of Newport. "Ever since we'd gotten together we talked about going to the mountains to see the sights."
She said since her husband had been there before, he was able to navigate them to the different activities, which was helpful.
Moore said the weather was great and she highly recommended it as a honeymoon spot for other couples.
"It was perfect," she said.