How to honeymoon on a budget

By shinychris on May 14th, 2013

View From The Banana PlantageKara Segedin, travel expert at Cheapflights.co.uk, talks about how you can honeymoon in some of the beautiful places on the planet without spending the earth

Your honeymoon is a chance to do something slightly different. Although given the effort and emotional stress that can go into wedding planning, it’s completely understandable that a lot of couples want to splash out on a super luxury beach getaway where they are waited on hand and foot – particularly if they’ve spent months in negotiation with in-laws and event people, planning and focusing on tiny details.

If cash is tight or you want to save money for other things, how about looking at different accommodation options. Serviced apartments are great if you’d like a city centre location at a fraction of the cost – and can be a great way to explore a city whether you opt for Paris, Rome, Dubrovnik, Venice, or Prague. Save the cash here and you could cover more romantic destinations or a few fancy restaurants.

Carefully consider where you go and when – and whether you can afford to leave it late to book what you want. Most of all, make sure you do your research and compare – then sit back and enjoy your time together; you’ll never get another chance like it.

If you’re looking to budget and still want to go somewhere great, it pays to find out about shoulder season; this can be a great way of saving cash, particularly on some of the more popular long haul destinations like Barbados, St Lucia, the Maldives, Mauritius and Sri Lanka.

Shoulder season is between low and high seasons; it can be great for people with an eye on their wallet but who still want to bag a great holiday – and usually with decent weather! Shoulder season can be a good option because: it’s cheaper,  there is more space (on the beach or slopes), queues are generally shorter and it can be more temperate (no blazing sun – but pick your destination and it’s still sunny). If it’s the Med you can still get sun in mid to late September and early October if you pick wisely.

Post Easter, from mid-April onwards, prices in the Caribbean start to fall so you can begin to take advantage – you might get some rain but this tends to pass quickly and you’ll still get temperatures in the 70s and 80s (20s to early 30s Celsius). Mid November to mid-December might also be worth considering ahead of the crowds.

If you’re considering Shoulder Season, do check out dates and weather carefully – but there can be some great savings to be had. Who’d have thought two little words could save you so much?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACan honeymooners benefit from booking last minute?

Shoulder season bargains may be a better way of saving. While there are some last minute holiday bargains to be had, the last thing that most couples want to be doing is run around before the wedding, adding to nerves and rushing what is supposed to be a great experience.

That said, some couples are happy to leave things late, and, if you’re on a budget, opting for a last-minute break can be a useful tactic if you’re prepared to be flexible on destinations and you’re less concerned about when you go – for example if you decide to put the honeymoon off until significantly after the wedding.

Typically the best last minute savings are around 6 weeks before you’re due to travel. The big discounts here are on packages rather than flights – and there are great deals to be had if you’re prepared to be flexible and less specific about which hotel you opt for.

You’re less likely to get deals to the likes of Mauritius (less capacity; more competition) but there’s usually plenty of late capacity in the Caribbean and Bahamas. Late packages to Barbados and St Lucia are ripe for last minute deals if you pick your time. There are cheap – or even free – upgrades available on rooms and board on those resorts with inventory to move so it’s definitely worth checking your options.

Can newlyweds get free extras by mentioning they’re on their honeymoon? (free bubbly/spa treatments etc.)

Getting free extras and upgrades depends on where you go – but hotels tend to be quite generous with upgrades and free items if you’re prepared to splash the cash in the first place. Negotiating freebies is less likely in specialist honeymoon destinations, routes and resorts – there’s greater demand and competition from other couples; on the flipside they’re also more used to looking after guests and lavishing them with attention.

If you’re looking for free extras a lot of this is worth doing well in advance – not least so you’re not blagging in front of your partner. If you’re dealing with a travel operator over the phone  bear in mind agents can often put comments and requests on the booking so it’s certainly worth being nice and seeing if you can get this mentioned.

It’s not unheard of for brides taking their wedding dress as hand luggage (just to make sure it doesn’t get crushed) to get the odd upgrade. It’s certainly worth weaving your wedding into conversation at the check-in desk – and being super nice!!

What can you get? If there is capacity or you’re going at a quieter time, say shoulder season, there is certainly scope for room and board upgrades. If this isn’t an option hotels are often good with the smaller touches when it comes to honeymooners; free bubbly, spa treatments, chocolates, flowers and fruit baskets are all on offer to the right couples!

Looking at destinations? Thailand is great for free nights and things like spa treatments – although this isn’t just a honeymoon thing, and the Caribbean can be good for room or board upgrades if you’re prepared to leave it late and take a chance.

Will newlyweds be charged more by mentioning they’re on a honeymoon? (Do hotels bump up charges for ‘honeymoon’ rooms that are actually standard rooms)

There are sometimes mark ups on Honeymoon-friendly destinations and resorts – which makes comparing prices and doing your research essential.The biggest mark ups are in high season where there is higher demand and less capacity.

If you’re worried about this, it might be worth making your initial booking online to get the best deal – and then mentioning your honeymoon at a later date when you contact the hotel direct. A direct call to the hotel or follow up is also a good opportunity to have a discreet conversation about upgrades and remind them of your upcoming wedding; perhaps asking them about romantic restaurant recommendations? Book in advance for those special restaurants – and, again, there is certainly scope for extras like free bubbly and special personalised deserts; just make sure you notify in good time.

Again the bottom line is do your research, compare prices online – and don’t be afraid to negotiate a little on those special extras.


Honeymoon, News, Wedding Planning

9 in 10 couples rely on friends or credit cards to fund honeymoon

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on January 31st, 2013

beach-wedding-flickr-creative-commons-footloosietyWeddings can be an expensive experience and most of us will not have saved up thousands of pounds to throw a lavish affair once the question has been popped. Hey, we often struggle to make ends meet each month, let alone to save up for anything!

But if you are planning a wedding, the honeymoon still remains an integral part and is like the cherry on top, and something you of course don’t want to miss out on in that post-wedding bliss. But what do you do if your budget is pushed to the max?

According to a new poll by Unique Honeymoons magazine, couples are determined on having that all-important honeymoon and 94% of couples are finding ways to pay for it through friends as part of their wedding list (44%) or via credit cards (50%).

Have you opted for either of the two above or are you waiting to go on your honeymoon until you’ve saved up enough money for it?

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons / Footloosiety


Honeymoon inspiration: An iconic train journey on the Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express to romantic Italy

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on January 4th, 2013

Deciding on where to go on your honeymoon can be an arduous task. Do you go for the tropical paradise island? A foodie fantasy in Italy? Or simply get lost in translation in Tokyo with your love? For many there are simply too many places and things to do and see in this world.

If you’re not keen on simply sitting on a beach sipping mojitos for weeks, we’ve got a great honeymoon suggestion:  the Orient Express from London to Venice.

We’ve all heard of this iconic train journey which will transport your back to the glamour of the 1920s and 1930s. If you want romance, adventure and style for your honeymoon, this is the choice for you.

Step aboard elegant Art Deco carriages in London and get comfy as the train criss-cross Europe, rolling through sublime scenery to some of the continent’s most alluring cities, on its way to breathtakingly beautiful Venice.


The Orient-Express Signature Journey

If choosing the exclusive Signature Journey (6 days/5 nights), you will start your adventure by staying at the luxurious Ritz Hotel in Central London. The following morning you’ll be transferred to London Victoria where you’ll board the British Pullman which will take you to France and Calais.

There you’ll be greeted by the gleaming navy and gold Wagons-Lits carriages of the legendary ‘King of Trains’ Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Once ensconced in your plush, marquetry panelled cabin, white gloved liveried stewards will be on hand to top up the fine crystal glasses with champagne. And don’t forget your finest attire! Guests will dine in the beautiful original Art Deco dining cars, enjoying the finest cuisine with an ever changing landscape outside. Even if you want to spend most of your honeymoon looking lovingly into your partner’s eyes, it will be worth taking a moment to admire the scenery once in a while.

Awake the next morning amidst the Swiss Alps and, after a continental breakfast in your cabin, relax and enjoy the spectacular mountain scenery as it unfolds throughout the day as you get ever nearer the destination.

Upon arrival in Venice, a private transfer will whisk you to the famous Hotel Cipriani where you’ll stay for three nights in a Lagoon View Room with a balcony. Wait there’s more! Included in the package is a half day sightseeing your with a private guide (on the day of your choosing) and dinner at the hotel’s Fortuny restaurant on the final night.

As one of the most romantic places on earth, lose yourself in the web of canals and narrow streets that have made this city so famous. And make sure you stop by Harry’s Bar – home of the Bellini cocktail.

The 2013 season starts on 21 March and runs until early November. Prices start from £5,495 person, sharing, and includes the return flight to London, Business Class.

For more information and to enquire about extras on the train and at the hotel visit www.vsoe.com.

Images copyright: Orient-Express Hotels (UK) Ltd.

Honeymoon, Lingerie

A different Something Blue for your wedding… The Simone Perele Opera lingerie collection

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on March 23rd, 2012

If you haven’t decided what your something blue for your wedding should be, how about choosing something that is hidden from all eyes bar your new husband’s… The new Opera collection by French lingerie label Simone Perele is a lacey dream that that is both delicately feminine and stylish.

Now it might not fit with your wedding dress, but then there is always the honeymoon.

Available via Rigby & Peller, prices from £37.95 to £109.00.

Honeymoon, News

Get noticed on your beach honeymoon with Pistol Panties swimwear SS12 collection

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on March 21st, 2012

Who said you have to step out from the spotlight once your wedding day is over?

Get ready for your beach honeymoon by investing in colourful and playful swimwear from Pistol Panties.

Pistol Panties are launching their spring summer range with their very own pop-up store in Selfridges from 29th March. We hear there will be a vintage carousel and a unicorn centrepiece!

The Psychedelic Rodeo swimwear collection, designed by Deborah Flemming, oozes of 50’s vintage glamour but with a cheeky and sassy twist with animal and floral print and lurex.

We’re in love with Deborah’s designs already – time to hit the gym!

Feature, Honeymoon, Wedding Planning

How to plan a Las Vegas wedding

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on February 27th, 2012

As one of the most unique cities in the world, Las Vegas is a popular destination for weddings. With its glamorous character matched with an atmosphere unlike any other place on earth, each year around 120,000 couples opt to tie the knot in the fabulous Nevada city.

From ‘The King’ to honeymooning, we’ve put together a ‘how to’ guide with all the essentials you need to plan your perfect Las Vegas wedding.

Hen and stag nights
Also known as Sin City, with thousands of casinos on the famous Strip and Downtown Vegas (centered around Fremont Street), this is the place to have that celebratory last night as a bachelor or bachelorette. Head to a Black Jack table to try your luck while sipping on a Vesper or take in one of the many excellent shows available, some of which are perfect for hen and stag nights. How about a burlesque show for the gentlemen and the Chippendales for the ladies?

The wedding ceremony
Whatever your taste, Las Vegas is the place to have an unforgettable wedding. If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, try one of the special wedding services on offer from a Vegas wedding consultant. If an Elvis or Star Trek theme is not your cup of tea, the many luxurious hotels along the Strip have their own wedding chapels for a bit more splendour.

Iconic spots such as the drive-through altar at the Little White Wedding Chapel and the Graceland Wedding Chapel are must-sees on the Vegas map, but with more than 50 wedding chapels in town and plenty of other amazing wedding locations you will not have a problem finding a place to exchange your vows. The only thing stopping you is your imagination!

However, as there are so many weddings taking place each day, don’t expect to have a long ceremony. You are often allowed only a half-hour of chapel time, so if you’re planning to exchange vows you have written yourself, these might be best saved for the post-wedding drinks or dinner.

What do I wear to my Vegas wedding?
Las Vegas has no waiting period for getting married, so spur-of-the-moment weddings are a common occurrence which means the dress code is fairly relaxed. Most wedding chapels will have tuxes and gowns for hire, so if you don’t want to spend thousands on a dress you’ll wear for one night there is no need to. There are also plenty of other places to hire wedding dresses on short notice scattered around the city. Alternatively, invest in a pretty white dress, but remember it doesn’t need to be over the top Gypsy-wedding-style.

What is the wedding paperwork?
Even though there no requirements to be a Nevada resident, you must have a marriage licence. These can be obtained from the Marriage License Bureau and will cost you $60. You will also have to get a copy of your Nevada marriage certificate as proof of your marriage ($10) and an apostille from the Nevada Secretary of State ($20), both also from the Marriage License Bureau.

Before tying the knot, you will also have to provide proof of ID to prove your age so make sure you keep your passport on you.

The honeymoon
Honeymooning in Vegas could be a beautiful way to celebrate your first days as newlyweds. From the world-class dining, star studded shows, abundance of 24-hour casinos and vibrant nightlife you won’t be running short of ideas of things to do. Alternatively you could head to the famous Grand Canyon to escape the hustle and bustle of Sin City, or jet over to Los Angeles and the California coast for some seaside lounging.

Getting there
British Airways flies direct to Las Vegas from London while Virgin Atlantic offers direct routes from both London and Manchester. BMI also offers direct routes from Manchester.

Where can I find further information?

Marriage License Bureau
201 Clark Avenue
Las Vegas
Tel: 00 1 702 671 0600

American Embassy
24 Grosvenor Square
Tel: 0207 499 9000

Las Vegas Tourism


Honeymoon destination idea: Le Marche and Borgo Storico

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on October 20th, 2011

Italy remains a favourite for honeymooners for its romantic associations, gorgeous rolling hills and relaxed atmosphere. Many couples even choose to have their wedding ceremony in the boot shaped country. Places like Florence, Sorrento and the Garda Lake have long been popular destinations for couples on their honeymoon but a new Italian region has sprung to life in more recent years as a competitor: Le Marche.

A lesser known area of Italy, Le Marche is actually one of the most culturally interesting regions in Italy. It has the highest density of museums and galleries with approximately 100 historic cities, 106 castles and 71 important historic theatres, so if you feel like venturing out of your love nest there is plenty to see and do. Most importantly, the food and wine produce have managed to keep their authenticity and originality so that you can enjoy la cucina Italiana as it should be. And if you want to do a bit of shopping while in the fashionable country, we hear Le Marche also is home to a number of factory outlets for well-known Italian designers like Tod’s and Prada…

Finding a place to spend your first days – and nights – as newlyweds can be a pain as there are just so many options available, but we thought the Borgo Storico Seghetti Panichi might just fit the bill.

Dating back to the 1750s, the Borgo Storico is as much a national monument as it is a lived-in family home. Situated on a hill along the valley of the River Tronto, just a few kilometres from the beautiful medieval town of Ascoli Piceno, the Borgo offers a peaceful shelter from daily life – perfect for newlyweds! We’ve even been told that you can enjoy romantic candle lit dinners under the stars in a magical bio-energetic gardens at the Borgo. And did we mention there is a swimming pool? Sounds like La Dolce Vita.

You can get to Le Marche by flying to Ancona or Pescara, alternatively fly in to Rome or Bologna.

Celebrity Weddings, Gallery, Honeymoon

Sir Paul McCartney and his new Lady jet off to Caribbean honeymoon

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on October 17th, 2011

Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire

The newlyweds – who tied the knot at London’s Marylebone Register Office last Sunday – have jetted off to the small private island of Mustique in the Caribbean for their four-day honeymoon.

Lady McCartney, Nancy Shevell and Paul are believed to be staying at Rolling Stones singer Sir Mick Jagger’s luxury beachfront mansion, Stargroves, which usually costs £10,000 a week. The “Japanese-inspired home is located right on a coconut fringed beach with view of shimmering islands in the distance”. Sounds wonderful!

Trust the Sirs to have it all arranged; the couple can enjoy a floodlit tennis court and a 25ft swimming pool at the resort and also have a personal water sports instructor.

Here are some images from Stargroves…

Images via Mustique Island.

Feature, Gallery, Honeymoon

Gallery: Three of the world’s most luxurious honeymoon rooms

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on August 9th, 2011

If you’re in the process of planning your honeymoon and want something very different then read on.

Inspired by Kim Kardashian’s reportedly forthcoming no-expenses-spared wedding that might (or might not) put dear Kate and William’s royal affair to shame we started thinking about lavish hotel bedrooms that would make your honeymoon that once in a lifetime dream honeymoon.

We contacted Sovereign –the wedding and luxury holiday specialist – to find out what marvels they had to offer for lovebirds looking for a spectacular place to spend their first nights as a married couple. And boy did they come up trumps!

Here are our top three luxurious honeymoon rooms…

Atlantis The Palm, Dubai

Dubai is known as a playground for the rich and famous and where better to spend your first days  – and nights – as husband and wife than in the Atlantis The Palm on the edge of the world’s largest man-made island.

At only two-years, this hotel offers one of the more impressive rooms we’ve seen, The Lost Chambers, which gives a new meaning to sleeping with the fishes. Yes, that’s right, in front of the bed is a large window that looks directly into the hotel’s aquarium that houses 65,000 aquatic inhabitants.

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, Maldives

If a round bed with a view of crystal clear waters is more your thing (we all want to go there, let’s be honest), then the Sunset Villas at the Conrad Maldives is your best pick. Actually the villas are located IN the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean and offers a complete break from the hustle and bustle of UK living. The resort also has the world’s first all glass restaurant that lets you enjoy fine wine and food 16ft below sea level!

Mykonos Blu, Psarou, Greece

A little closer to home, in the Mediterranean, on the fashionable Greek island of Mykonos – an oasis of international travellers –  you find the Mykonos Blu. The luxurious junior suites boast an indoor Jacuzzi, a wet room and your very own private infinity pool – in the room! – with a view of the blue seas of the Mediterranean.

Celebrity Weddings, Honeymoon, News

Lily Allen honeymoons in Paris before heading to Glastonbury with hubby

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on June 23rd, 2011

Photo: Brian O'Sullivan/EMPICS Entertainment/PA

The pop star – who is three months pregnant – and her new husband Sam Cooper have enjoyed a visit to Paris where they have been shopping and dining out before they are heading to the muddy fields of Glastonbury in Somerset, South West England, for the second leg of their honeymoon.

Enjoying some much needed time to relax after the stress of organising the wedding, Lily did admit via Twitter that Paris wasn’t top on her list of post-wedding holiday destinations: “Paris was not my1st choice, but I’ve been advised not to fly by doctors, and it’s about as exotic as one can get without doing so.”

Lily and Sam are due to arrive at Glastonbury over the next couple of days for a weekend of music and festival life, glamping style – the couple have spent £8,000 on a VIP yurt tent backstage at the festival. As the first images from Glastonbury have emerged, we hope Lily and Sam have remembered to pack their wellies as it looks to be a muddy experience.

What is a yurt tent?

Yurt tents are silk lined, romantic and the most luxurious and chilled out way to enjoy a festival. They come with a double bed covered with Egyptian cotton sheets, a champagne fridge, sheep-skin rugs and chandeliers. The guests even get slippers!

Honeymoon, News, Picture Wall, The Royal Wedding, The Royal Wedding Photos

William and Kate’s island paradise honeymoon to the Seychelles

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on May 11th, 2011

The best kept secret of the Royal wedding – after Kate’s Alexander McQueen wedding dress of course – is finally out!

Prince William has whisked his new wife Duchess Catherine off on a luxury honeymoon to the Seychelles.

Felicite and Sisters Island © Raymond Sahuquet

The royal couple – who wed on 29 April in London’s Westminster Abbey – have flown out to a private island off the east coast of Africa for a 10 day romantic break for pampering and “complete privacy,” The Sun reports.

Anse Takamaka Mahé © Gerard Larose/STB

The island doesn’t offer much else that a four-poster bed, golden sandy beaches and plunge pools overlooking the Indian Ocean, but after having had the world following their every step for the last 6 months we’re sure Kate and Wills don’t mind some time to just enjoy each other’s company.

Sunset at Anse Severe La Digue © Gerard Larose/STB

Images via Seychelles.travel

Honeymoon, News, Special offer, The Royal Wedding

Free honeymoon package for couples called William and Kate during the Royal Wedding weekend

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on March 29th, 2011

If your name is Kate and you’ve married your William and want to relive the magic of your own honeymoon, Travelodge can make this happen.

To celebrate the forthcoming nuptials between Prince William and Kate Middleton the budget hotel chain is offering British couples called William and Kate a free honeymoon package during the Royal Wedding weekend 29th April to 31st April 2011.

Choose between any of the company’s 450 Travelodge hotels across England, Scotland and Wales. We like the idea of choosing one in London so you can be in the capital and celebrate the other Will and Kate’s day.

All you need to do is register your details at [email protected] – you’ll be asked to send proof of marriage so unless you do a Vegas-style quickie wedding being engaged won’t work.

Honeymoon, News

Russell Brand planning second honeymoon for Katy

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on March 15th, 2011

OK, we’ve been a bit obsessed with Russell Brand and Katy Perry lately, but do you blame us! The latest news from camp Perry-Brand say that Russell is planning a second honeymoon for him and his missus.

The British comic star married the ‘Firework’ singer in India last October before jetting to the Maldives in the Indian Ocean for a break but Russell has now decided to take his wife on a month-long trip to the Far East so they can spend some quality time together.  A source said: “Russell is desperate to treat Katy. Even if a great film role comes up he will turn it down for the trip as he wants more of a work/life balance and to enjoy his new wife.”

Russell, 35, and 26-year-old Katy are reportedly hoping to start a family soon but pals say the couple want to spend some quality time together first before settling down.

The source added to The Sun newspaper: “Katy’s been saying how she’ll want a break after the tour she is on. And while they’d love a beach holiday, they also want to be adventurous and see more of the world before they start a family.”  The pair’s original honeymoon in the Maldives was interrupted by a spider which bit Katy, leaving her needing medication.

According to recent research by Travelmatch.co.uk there has been a rise in the demand for four-week long honeymoons, otherwise known as the ‘honeymonth’. We do agree with Perry and Brand: while a beach resort holiday is great, adding some adventure and perhaps travelling to less visited destinations can be a fantastic experience!

If the celebrity couple really want a honeymoon with a difference that will take them to the most beautiful and breathtaking places, but one that is also rewarding, memorable and perhaps even life-changing they could look at overseas volunteering as a alternative option to traditional honeymooning…

Dr. Peter Slowe, founder of Projects Abroad has witnessed the rapid growth in popularity among newly-married couples embarking on so-called ‘honey-teering’. “The memories and experiences you will gain together whilst volunteering are ones you will remember and cherish for a lifetime.  The bed may not be a king-size four-poster, the cuisine may not be as opulent and exquisite as the standard luxury honeymoon trip, but the experience and self-gratification will be far grander and will live with you far longer.

If Katy and Russell end up climbing Machu Picchu in Peru, exploring the ancient Khmer culture in Cambodia or snorkelling off the exotic beaches of Fiji remains to be seen, but we wish them a bon voyage!

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