When in Amsterdam … cruise the canals!

When in Amsterdam … cruise the canals!

Amsterdam is a maze of circular canals—165 of them stretching more than 30 miles, to be exact. While exploring the historic city’s waterways via beautiful brick walkways and more than 1,200 bridges was a highlight for me, there is one quintessential way any couple on their honeymoon must see the “Venice of the North” (a.k.a Amsterdam): Via a canal cruise!

wow your hubby or wife on your honeymoon

wow your hubby or wife on your honeymoon

It’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of surprise honeymoons, where one half of a couple is charged with planning everything and keeping it all a secret—including the destination. This is mostly because the honeymoon is such a significant vacation, and I cringe at the thought of there being unmet expectations between brides and grooms when it comes to how to spend the start of their happily-ever-after.

On the other hand, what I am 1,000 percent in love with?

Couples creating smaller surprises for each other throughout their honeymoon, which makes space for memorable, thoughtful moments without the same risks inherent with keeping the entire vacation a surprise!

Delicious & fun: Uplevel your Paris honeymoon with this Versailles tour

Delicious & fun: Uplevel your Paris honeymoon with this Versailles tour

My favorite meal on my recent trip to Europe with Mr. Smitten, my sister and her hubby wasn’t at the Michelin Star awarded Le Jules Verne, located hallway up the Eiffel Tower. It wasn’t our delicious dinner at the hippest hotel in Amsterdam, The Hoxton. It wasn’t even our beautiful breakfasts or dinners aboard our U by Uniworld river cruise, meticulously curated to accommodate my dietary restrictions.

Rather, the dining experience that made my heart (and taste buds) sing was a smorgasbord of fresh raspberries, truffle brie, olives, macarons and white wine that we enjoyed while sitting in the grass at the end of the Palace of Versailles’ Grand Canal—the sun warming our faces and our Fat Tire Tours guide, Nick, recounting the ground’s storied past.

Real-life Honeymoon: Smitten in St. Lucia

Real-life Honeymoon: Smitten in St. Lucia

When I started working with Shawn and Hannah on their dream honeymoon, I knew it was going to be fun. Like, really, really fun. They are some of the most enjoyable people to be around, partly because they are constantly making each other laugh and are always up for a new adventure. I also knew that the year leading up their wedding had been filled with some amazing life events, and that they’d be ready for—and so deserving of—some serious rest and relaxation after their wedding. Thankfully, St. Lucia left them smitten. In their own words, here’s what Shawn and Hannah had to say about their honeymoon on this idyllic island in the Caribbean.

Honeymoon hack: skip every line at the eiffel tower

Honeymoon hack: skip every line at the eiffel tower

It’s no secret that going up the Eiffel Tower is a highlight for thousands of couples on their honeymoon every year in Paris—or that it can literally take hours of standing around to cross the experience off their bucket list. Thankfully, there is a memorable way to get around spending any time in any lines at all. Even better? This Eiffel-Tower hack is a perfectly romantic addition to any honeymoon itinerary.

That time I ate pigeon in Paris....(and loved it)

That time I ate pigeon in Paris....(and loved it)

“We’ll be serving pigeon tonight,” she said. “Is that okay with everyone at your table?” This was one of the first things our waitress asked after seating my sister, her hubby, Mr. Smitten and me on the Bustronome Voyage Gourmand in Paris last month. Never having tried pigeon—or ever having it occur to me that people eat pigeon—I shook my head yes and wondered what other surprises the evening would hold...

I changed my mind about this honeymoon destination

I changed my mind about this honeymoon destination

When Mr. Smitten and I were considering honeymoon destinations, I didn’t even give Mexico a glance. In my mind, doing so would result in a honeymoon filled with everything I didn’t want: mega resorts, drunken college kids and loud music that thumped from dusk to dawn. I'm embarrassed to admit how wrong I was. Now, I can't stop dreaming about returning. Here's why...

Easily overlooked honeymoon essentials

Easily overlooked honeymoon essentials

There are a handful of no-brainers when it comes to packing for your honeymoon—items that you so obviously need to bring you don’t think twice about whether they deserve a coveted spot in your suitcase. Passport? Cellphone charger? Swimsuit? Love of your life? Check, check, check and check. Other items, however, are easier to overlook. Depending on your honeymoon destination, remembering these five things can make a world of difference.

Capture more than selfies on your honeymoon

Capture more than selfies on your honeymoon

It’s rare to recognize the significance of a moment while you’re in it, but in the years afterward the importance of such times—which often involve major life events like weddings, honeymoons and vacations more generally—become crystal clear. That’s why today I adore professional photoshoots when I’m traveling, even if it’s just me flying solo. The moments matter. Having someone help preserve them can be such a worthwhile decision.

10 signs you should DIY your honeymoon

10 signs you should DIY your honeymoon

Some couples instantly know they want to hand the stress and time commitment of designing their honeymoon over to a professional. For others who have planned their own vacays in the past it’s not always such a quick decision. If you’re on the fence about how to approach planning your honeymoon, here are 10 signs you may be better off DIYing your honeymoon rather than working with a pro.