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When it comes right down to it, weddings are about pleasing other people more than they are about pleasing the couple at the center of it all. Sure, the soon-to-be newlyweds get to pick out the food and the venue and the music (among hundreds of other things), but most of those decisions are made to ensure the guests enjoy themselves.

The honeymoon, on the other hand, is all about the happy couple and planning a vacation. So what should couples be considering as they chart that first big trip of their happily ever after?

Location, location, location

Warm-weather destinations — especially those offering the hot new trend of private over-water bungalows — remain a popular honeymoon choice for Region couples.

“We continue to send couples to warm, sunny, tropical locations such as Mexico, the Caribbean and Hawaii,” says Martha King of Edgerton Travel in LaPorte. “Tropical beach locations evoke the essence of romance that many honeymooners are looking for in their vacation.”

Many of the trips that King and her team book in these destinations are to all-inclusive resorts that wrap food, drink, amenities and entertainment into one upfront price, allowing newlyweds to focus on relaxing and enjoying themselves.

Tyler Stiscak of CS Elements Travel in Valparaiso has also sent a number of couples to the Caribbean in recent years and agrees that the all-inclusive beach honeymoon remains a winner. 

“Most of our clients like to book their honeymoons to places such as Jamaica, the Bahamas and St. Lucia,” he says. “The Caribbean is a perfect getaway, especially in the off-season, since rates are usually lower because there aren’t as many people traveling at that time. Another perk, of course, is that Region couples get to escape our lake effect winters!”

Beyond the beach

While they may opt for a relaxing beach vacation, many couples want more than to lie around for a week. King says young, active couples are showing more interest in so-called soft adventure activities beyond the surf and sand, including zip-lining, river rafting, hiking and snorkeling or scuba, with destinations such as Costa Rica becoming popular. But adventure awaits in many other parts of the world as well.

“Italy would be another awesome choice for active honeymooners,” King says. “Hiking through Cinque Terre, with its spectacular views and quaint seaside villages, could be combined with a stay in a Tuscan villa or a few days in Venice. What's more romantic than a gondola ride on a Venetian canal?”

Italy would, of course, be a great place to indulge yet another passion for today’s young couples — exploring the world of taste.

“Whether eating food from local spots in other countries to experiencing new tastes and culture to five-star dining at the resorts to indulge in some of the best foods they could ever have, cuisine has become a big part of the planning for many couples,” Stiscak says.

Planning pays

Regardless of the cost, King and Stiscak agree that the better the planning, the better the trip. Couples should start researching early to secure preferred flights and destinations, and should check whether their hotel or resort has special honeymoon amenities, packages or rates.

And while it may seem a bit self-serving, both also agree that an experienced travel agent can ease the stress of honeymoon planning — especially when there are so many other details fighting for a couple’s time and attention.

“Wherever a couple chooses to honeymoon, whatever type of experience they seek, the focus should be on relaxing after the stress of the wedding and enjoying each other's company,” King says.