If you couldn’t tell from all of my previous posts, we had an incredible honeymoon! It was a week of pure relaxation in paradise! I know a lot of you are in the midst of planning your own dream honeymoons and I wanted to share with you some tips and advice we picked up along the way.
This tip is pretty basic, but it is an important one! We researched everything! TripAdvisor and YouTube were my favorite sources to gain travel information and insider tips. Doing your homework pays off, because you’re able to find the best deals and the best activities before you even arrive at your destination!
Start Shopping Early
I started shopping for the honeymoon even before it was officially booked! At the time, I didn’t know where exactly we would be vacationing, but I knew it would be someplace tropical. Seeing as we would be honeymooning in late October/early November, I knew finding fun resort wear in New England in the Fall would be rather difficult, so I started stocking up on swimsuits and summer dresses back in February! I kept buying cute items as I saw them. I resisted the urge to wear any of my new honeymoon wardrobe before we actually left because I wanted the items to still feel new for the trip! I kept all of my purchases in shopping bags on the floor of my closet (out of sight, out of mind…and therefore no temptation to wear)! When it was finally time to start to pack, I was amazed at everything I had acquired! I had completely forgotten about quite a few of the pieces! By the way, by starting to shop early, I was able to shop around and take advantage of sales!
Now with all of that said…
Don’t Over Pack
I did (I usually always do)! I brought way too much stuff! But in my defense, I had to pack for three weeks (the week before the wedding spent in Miami, the wedding weekend in Delray Beach, and then the honeymoon)! We managed to fit everything into four carry on bags (two each) and two checked bags.
|My luggage is definitely easy to spot at the baggage claim!|
Mr. B brought far less than I, but he did forget a few key items (like sneakers for our hike and his new belt…more on that when I start my recaps). We took advantage of the laundry service at our resort and had some of our clothes laundered for us, which had I known about this service prior, I might have brought less (probably not, but it’s a nice thought).
As you can see from all of my previous honeymoon posts, we did quite a bit of sightseeing while on our honeymoon! Mr. B and I met several other honeymooning couples at our resort, and when we all compared what activities we had done, for the most part the other couples spent their days at the hotel by the beach. We could have totally done that too because it was an amazing resort with a beyond gorgeous beach, but we wanted to see the island, and the funny thing is…we didn’t even make it to the other side of St. Lucia! There’s a whole other side by the island’s capitol of Castries that we just didn’t have the time to explore! (We plan to make it over there on our next trip.)
With that said, we did do quite a bit, but it never seemed like we were constantly on the go. The activities we did were all fairly close to the resort and enabled us to return by lunchtime so we could enjoy a nice meal by the water. We then spent the rest of the day beach side! After watching the sunset by the shore we would relax by our private pool. It was pure paradise!
The last excursion we did was a fun one. We went zip-lining! Neither of us had ever done it before, so we were both excited. The place we went to do it at was small, which was perfect for beginners like us! It was on a plantation (the Morne Cobaril Estate in Soufriere) and the the zip-line course went into the forest on the grounds.
I’m kind of scared of heights, so was a little terrifying at first, but I got the hang of it. For some reason I kept getting stuck out in the middle of the line and would then have to pull myself to the other end! Apparently I was gripping too tightly! Eventually I could make it all the way across! Our guides kept showing us all of these fancy ways to zip across. Mr. Beanstalk rather enjoyed flying in the trees with no hands. I, however, stuck with the simple two-handed method.
So our next little excursion was not planned at all! Actually, what we ended up doing was something we wanted to do, just not in the way in which it happened! Let me explain…
Mr. Beanstalk forgot to pack sneakers, which meant he didn’t have any appropriate shoes for our hike up Gros Piton. The hike was something we both really wanted to do (er, attempt), so it was decided…a trip into town to buy some shoes was in order!
At our hotel’s beach there were several little water taxis parked in the water, waiting to take guests anywhere they want, any time of the day! So one morning after breakfast, we found a docked boat and headed into the town of Soufriere.
View of our hotel’s beach from the water
This was supposed to be a quick trip, several hours, just enough time to buy some shoes (and maybe some other souvenirs too). As soon as we got off the dock we were greeted by some locals asking where we were going, what we were doing, etc. Mr. B is super friendly, so we stopped and chatted with them. I have to admit, I’m not as social as Mr. B in these types of situations, I always have my guard up (I’ve seen way too many TV shows where these types of innocent interactions turn into something pretty bad).
One of the gentleman was telling us he runs a tour company called Simon Says Tours. The name sounded familiar to me, but I couldn’t place it. He was telling us we just had to see the Diamond Falls Botanical Garden and drive-in volcano! We told him we planned to do the volcano with our hotel—it was actually a very nice spa excursion that took in the volcano and mineral baths and ended with a massage and lunch (a tour I was really looking forward to!).
Simon, the man we were speaking with, said he could take us on the same tour for a lot less and we’d get to see the garden, plus have time for a little shopping afterward (minus lunch and the massage, of course). I will admit, I didn’t want to. I didn’t know the guy. However, Mr. Beanstalk thought it was a great idea (he’s way more adventurous)! I, being the paranoid one, was a little scared and slightly frazzled. I’m a planner. I like to plan everything out in advance so that I’m well prepared and properly dressed, so taking a tour that we hadn’t planned on doing that day through me for a loop!
Plus the whole situation made me uneasy. Here we were getting into a van, alone, with a man (a very friendly man, but still) and his young son. We didn’t know them at all! Anything cold happen to us!
Another excursion we were stoked to do was hike the Gros Piton! Gros Piton is the second largest mountain on St. Lucia, after Mt. Gimie, and rises 2,619 feet. We had heard it was a tough hike, but didn’t realize how tough until we started the actual hike!
Gros Piton, as seen from the water
We woke up early and had a hearty breakfast on the beach. It was pouring while we ate, but by the time we left for the mountain the storm had passed.
Before we arrived on St. Lucia, we did a bit of research and picked out a few activities that we really wanted to do. As soon as we settled into our villa, we let Linus, our butler for the week, know what we planned to do. He then took our requests and booked all of our excursions. We didn’t have to do a thing. He organized all of the logistics (cars, times, etc.) so we could really enjoy our honeymoon.
Our first excursion was one we were both really looking forward to. We visited the Hotel Chocolat and got to see firsthand how chocolate is made!
Our tour group was small, maybe 10 individuals (I believe we were the youngest). The tour started in the hotel’s restaurant, Boucan, where we were given a brief history of the property. We then headed out to the plantation, which is conveniently located on the same grounds as the hotel. It was interesting to see the hotel, because it was one we were considering staying at. (Ultimately, I think we made the right lodging decision for us because, even though this hotel was incredible, it was very small with no direct beach access, which was a must for me!) However, the view of the Pitons from Boucan were incredible!
After a long and ever so winding car ride from the airport, we were finally at our hotel, The Jalousie Plantation. We walked down a few steps and there was our villa. It was gorgeous! Linus, our butler for the week, gave us a tour of our new home and we were beyond excited with what we saw! It was super private and had a beautiful view of the Piton Mountains. He also gave us two Firefly phones that we were to use to contact him…whenever we wanted or needed to!
So here it is, our honeymoon villa…
We left for our honeymoon on Tuesday (our wedding was on Sunday). This worked out perfectly because we were able to sleep in on Monday and then take our time as we drove back down to Miami from our wedding weekend in Delray Beach. Once in Miami, we headed to my house where Mr. B was able to do some laundry (we’d been in Florida for about a week now) and we could veg out on the couch as we watched TruTV and munched on leftover candy and cupcakes (the most PERFECT way to spend the day!). We would have relaxed poolside, but there was a slight chill in the air. (It was actually really cold for Miami standards.)
Later that night, my parents drove us to the airport and we checked into a room at the MIA Hotel (Miami International Airport Hotel). The MIA Hotel is conveniently located right in the American Airlines terminal (the airline we would be flying)! I was skeptical about staying there, because, well, it’s located in the airport, and it was our honeymoon, after all! But when push came to shove, staying there made the most sense! If we’d stayed anywhere else (including my house) we’d have had to get up super early to drive to the airport in order to make our 8:00 AM flight to St. Lucia! I think it’s safe to say we both were a bit scared of missing the flight, seeing as the week before I missed mine, which resulted in tears and over 12 hours spent at Logan Airport!
Miami Airport Hotel at night / Image via Expedia
The MIA Hotel was nice, for what it was—a place to sleep before our honeymoon began! And I have to admit, I’ve flown to and from Miami a gazillion times and have always secretly wanted to stay in the hotel. It’s sort of a retro landmark, right smack in the airport!
Friday marked two months that the Beanstalks have been married. Don’t worry, that’s not the reason behind this post. I’m writing to let you all know about something that arrived in the mail that day…
There was an outer box with this inside.
Our wedding photos from 1313 Photography!!!
Let’s go back in time for a bit, shall we? Back to last spring when the Beanstalks were still planning their wedding! So, we had our venue…the amazing Sundy House in Delray Beach, Florida. The Sundy House was going to be where both our ceremony and reception were going to take place. With that said, we had no idea who was going to actually marry us! You might remember how I posted about my Catholic upbringing and my personal struggle with a church wedding (to have or to have not)…well, even though we ultimately decided not to wed in a house of worship, I still wanted our ceremony to be religious (or have religious aspects). It was going to be an outdoor garden ceremony and I knew finding a Catholic priest was probably not going to happen. But I still wanted our ceremony to reflect the Catholic faith, to an extent.
Back in the springtime, when I broke my foot and was on my leave from work, I spent my days sitting on the couch, doing wedding research online (what else was a soon-to-be-bride supposed to do?). It was during this time that I realized the clock was ticking and we needed to find an officiant and soon! I had just read Real Simple Weddings (highly recommend this magazine to anyone planning a wedding) and used some of their suggested links to help start my search for an officiant. I still had hopes of finding someone with a Catholic affiliation, but kept my options open. I don’t even remember what I searched for, but I stumbled upon Archbishop Sean Alexander’s website. Sean Alexander used to be a Catholic archbishop but had left the church for spiritual reasons. Sean Alexander’s website sums up his religious walk best: He became “bishop of an interdenominational ministry which enabled him to serve all faith communities, including the catholic faith in a different capacity.”
One month ago today the Beanstalks got married! I can’t believe a month has flown by, yet at the same time it feels like it has been ages since we were surrounded by our family saying our vows in Florida. You might be wondering, how does it feel to be married? To be honest, it feels pretty much the same. Nothing has changed in our relationship, but at the same time something has…we’re actually married! Referring to him as my husband is still taking some getting used to. I actually called him my “fiance” last week! Oops!
Being married is amazing and we both couldn’t be happier! I have a partner in life to share everything with. He makes me laugh and always is able to cheer me up whenever I’m down or having a bad day. If I had to say one thing that is different now that we are married, it is knowing that I have someone to take care of me forever. There’s a sense of security and protection I now feel that is more prominent than when we were just dating.
So in a nutshell, that’s our relationship after the wedding. How about my life…how has that been post-wedding? Again, I will use my word of the day…amazing! Before the wedding, my days consisted of DIY projects and various wedding tasks. For the 15 months we were engaged, our wedding was my life! It’s all I thought about or talked about with my family. I was a huge DIY bride, so almost every day was filled with shopping trips to gather supplies or crafting. But the funny thing is, I enjoyed every minute of it. Yes, it got crazy stressful at times, especially the last two months, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Even as we approached the last few days leading up to the wedding (a time when most brides are completely over wedding DIY crafts) and I had to cut certain projects, I kept wishing for the same thing…more time (so that I could tackle even more)!
One little detail that I just had to incorporate into our wedding day was customized cocktail napkins! Over the months, I had seen so many cute images of how couples had made their day even more personal by including custom napkins, that I knew I wanted to do so as well!
Back during the end of September, I went to have coffee with my FMIL and FSIL. However, there was no coffee. Instead there was tea! And tons of familiar faces! I walked into the oh-so-charming dining room of the little restaurant and gasped at what I saw! I was so confused at first, I didn’t know why everyone was there, and then it dawned on…they were there for me! Mr. Beanstalk’s mother had planned a surprise bridal shower for me!!! I was so surprised and excited by this touching gesture.
|They gave me a “Bride” sash (that I didn’t want to take off) and a little flower crown to wear!|
It was such a delightful day. We sipped different flavors of tea (I’ve become a a big tea consumer in recent months…I adore English Breakfast Tea as a late afternoon drink) so this was a real treat for me! As we drank our warm beverages and chatted amongst each other, tiny sandwiches were served. They were served on platters and set in the middle of the tables. Once we had finished all of the finger sandwiches, tiny scones and pastries were brought out for our enjoyment! Everything I tried, I loved!
I shared with you the story about Mr. B’s wedding band, and my paranoia after my order was in, but I never shared my actual ring tale! Let me give you a little background info first. Getting wedding bands was something we kept putting off and putting off because we always felt that we had so much time to do it (that was kind of the theme with most of our wedding planning)! However, just because we waited awhile, didn’t mean that we didn’t do our homework! I spent quite a bit of time scouring the internet looking for the perfect band to accompany my heirloom engagement ring.
This was taken with my phone on my Birthday, right after Mr. B proposed! Shortly after this, we went to have it sized and have the prongs replaced.
My engagement ring is very classic. It’s a delicate yellow gold band with a round diamond in the middle (I really don’t know how to describe diamonds so please bare with me). This ring belonged to Mr. Beanstalk’s late maternal grandmother. Even though I never met her, we still have quite a bit in common. We attended the same art school and had a shared passion for children’s book illustration (she was actually a published children’s author/illustrator)! I love my ring and couldn’t have asked for anything more!
Just over a week ago something amazing happened. Something I’d been planning for over a year! Something I poured my creative soul into and spent hours upon hours designing and conceptualizing. The Beanstalks got married! I’m now officially a MRS.!
The Beanstalk sisters just moments before the ceremony.