5 Questions to Ask Before Planning a "Surprise" Honeymoon

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Occasionally I encounter couples who have decided that one of them will plan the honeymoon on his or her own—and keep it a surprise from their soon-to-be spouse until they’re boarding their plane to paradise.

While this approach may sound like a sweet gesture and a thrilling secret, here are five questions to ask yourself before deciding to keep your honeymoon destination a surprise.

Will you know what to tell your future hubby or wife to pack?

If you’re honeymooning somewhere warm, it may seem easy enough to tell your significant other to pack clothes appropriate for summer. A honeymoon at the beach, however, requires vastly different items than Paris in July. Therefore, if you’re keeping your destination a surprise, it’s imperative you’re as specific as possible about the nature of the vacation and what items are essential for the love of your life to stow in his or her suitcase.

Will you and your future spouse use a honeymoon registry?

If you’ll be requesting guests contribute to your dream vacation rather than (or in addition to) a traditional gift registry, your guests will likely want to know details of your honeymoon—both because they will be incredibly excited for you and because they’ll be curious about what exactly they are gifting you.

Posting the ins and outs of your travel plans on your registry’s site and sharing them with family and friends can make it difficult to keep your honeymoon a surprise from your other half. Alternately, not sharing the details of your honeymoon may mean fewer guests are willing to contribute to your honeymoon registry.

Will the surprise be more fun than dreaming about your destination together?

Brides and grooms often choose to honeymoon in exotic places they’ve long-dreamed about visiting. For many couples, discussing their destination and making plans together for how they’ll spend their days in paradise builds excitement. These conversations can turn into fond memories, and they can create opportunities for couples to learn more about what items are on each other’s bucket list.

Will your honeymoon plans be bigger than your love’s travel dreams?

Surprises can be amazing. They also can fall flat. Shouldering a trip as important as your honeymoon comes with a lot of pressure to make it perfect. Therefore, it’s important to manage expectations during the planning process.

For example, if your significant other is secretly envisioning a three-week respite in a private overwater bungalow, but after working with your honeymoon consultant you discover your budget may require splitting your stay between a less expensive option and the overwater bungalow, shortening your time abroad, or choosing a destination closer to home you may be setting your soon-to-be-spouse up for disappointment.

To ensure you’re both on the same page and understand what you can realistically expect within your budget, it can be helpful to include your future hubby or wife in the planning process.

Will you know what's important to your spouse for this once-in-a-lifetime trip?

Let’s say over the course of your relationship you’ve heard the love of your life repeatedly say he or she would love to trek across Costa Rica someday, visiting the country’s incredible parks and absorbing its wildlife on long jungle hikes. Armed with this dream, you go ahead and plan exactly what the love of your life has been discussing for years. Come your honeymoon, however, things seem off. Why isn’t your favorite person in the world over the moon about the trip you painstakingly planned to fulfill his or her dreams?

While the vacation you planned may have perfectly brought to life one of your spouse’s travel dreams, it doesn’t mean it was the perfect HONEYMOON for him or her.

In other words, his or her dream honeymoon may look different than you expect. For example, it’s not uncommon for a couple to add in a few more days of relaxation on their honeymoon than they otherwise might and/or splurge for room upgrades, spa treatments, and big-ticket bucket-list experiences.

After a year or more of whirlwind wedding planning and an exhausting—but blissful—couple of days with family and friends leading up to your ceremony, this makes sense. However, if you’ve never discussed what you envision for your honeymoon, these details are easy to overlook.

A honeymoon is unlike any other vacation. Without clear communication during the planning process, you risk missing the honeymoon bullseye.

Travel tip:

If you love surprises, one of the best ways to make your honeymoon extra special—without the stress of keeping the destination a total secret—is to work with your honeymoon consultant to plan an extraordinary day or evening for your future husband or wife AFTER you’ve decided on a destination together.

This could include a surprise dinner in an unforgettable location, a bucket-list experience your spouse isn’t expecting to cross off on his or her honeymoon, or anything else you and your consultant can dream up. The options are endless!