What your favorite band has to do with your honeymoon

 Photo by Elise Sanchez Photography

Photo by Elise Sanchez Photography

I remember sitting there thinking, “You have got to be kidding me.”

I’d just opened up an email from the travel agent Mr. Smitten and I initially reached out to for help with our honeymoon and was—ahem—underwhelmed, to say the least. Just weeks before I’d sat down with her and outlined our non-negotiables for the trip: 1) boutique hotel 2) off the beaten path but still luxurious 3) in Central or South America.

The options I found in the email? Mega-resorts far from the top three countries on our list.

There was nothing wrong with the properties she sent, per se. Yet, there was EVERYTHING wrong with them. They may have been perfect for a different vacation at a different time in our lives, but they were not what Mr. Smitten and I were envisioning for the start of our happily-ever-after.

As someone who professionally designs travel now, I totally get that some clients’ requests can be challenging! But here’s the kicker, this woman may have been able to talk us into one of the destinations she’d proposed—IF she’d explained how it would better fulfill our honeymoon dreams than the destinations we’d been talking about for months.

There was just zero effort on her part to personalize her suggestions, which clearly weren’t about room availability (or lack thereof) or about our budget—common factors that could lead a travel pro to propose alternate ideas.

We felt ignored and unimportant and secondary. Basically, everything we didn’t want to feel when it came to our wedding…

This situation stressed me out at the time, but I'm so grateful for it today. Her lack of thoughtfulness finally put into motion my long-time dream of opening Smitten Honeymoons. It also shaped how I work with clients and what I hold most important in the process—understanding exactly what type of honeymoon THEY desire. Not what’s easiest for me to email over.

It’s the reason I ask couples personal (and fun) questions like: “If you and your fiancé were throwing a party, what band would you hire?” (Uhh, bonus points if you say Hanson...Yes, that Hanson!) Sometimes the questions may raise an eyebrow or two, but all of them are meant to better help my clients—soon-to-be brides and grooms like you—avoid the situation Mr. Smitten and I encountered.

In the end, we decided to part ways with that initial agent and the hubs hired a planning extraordinaire to get exactly what he (and I) both wanted. He liked her so much he even married her!

What is most important to you when hiring a travel professional?