Some couples are opting to make their first trip as newlyweds that little bit more magical by planning a surprise honeymoon.
What is a surprise honeymoon?
A surprise honeymoon is when one person takes full control of planning the trip and keeps it a secret from their partner until they embark on the holiday.
“Honeymoon planning is special enough, but when one partner takes the full reigns, it’s even more exciting!” says Lauren Hutchinson of Kuoni.
Planning a surprise honeymoon is the perfect way to take the stress of booking a holiday off your partner – they already have a lot on their plate planning a wedding, after all!
It also eliminates the chance of them being struck with post-wedding blues, as there will be something to look forward to after the big day, with the element of surprise making it even more exciting.
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to planning a surprise honeymoon, though. Read on for everything you need to know about booking a surprise honeymoon.
Agree on Honeymoon Dates
It’s important that you and your partner decide together when you want to go on your honeymoon.
Consider whether you want to go on honeymoon straight after your wedding, whether you want to have a UK minimoon right after the day and then go on your honeymoon, or whether you want to wait a few months before embarking on your trip.
With surprise honeymoons, we’d advise waiting a few days before jetting off, otherwise it’s a lot on your plate to get married and then whisk your partner off all in a matter of days.
Create a Honeymoon Wish List
While you’re taking control of planning the honeymoon, it doesn’t mean you can’t create a wish list together to help decide what you’re going to book; from dream locations, to activities you’d like to do, to things your accommodation must have (infinity swimming pools, we’re looking at you!), it’s important to have an idea of what your partner’s perfect honeymoon looks like.
We’re sure you’ve had many chats over the years about places you’d love to go, but a honeymoon is a whole different kettle of fish!
While you might have chatted extensively about a once in a lifetime trip to Australia, if your partner is hoping for a relaxed honeymoon in a private villa, a trip around Oz might catch them off guard.
Decide Who’s Packing
If you want your partner to pack their own suitcase, you’ll need to give away a few details of the honeymoon and activities.
For example, if you’re jetting off to Mauritius, let them know they need to prepare for a hot climate, and to pack lots of swimwear. If you’re planning a trip to America with hikes, advise them on the kind of footwear to pack. Similarly, if it’s a five-star resort with fine dining, recommend they pack enough fancy outfits to cover them for the whole holiday.
If you want to keep the whole holiday a surprise, you’ll need to pack their bag for them. Ask them to compile a list of things they can’t live without on holiday (eye masks and ear plugs, perhaps, or face creams and perfumes) and be sure to pop them in the bag.
If you don’t feel confident planning a honeymoon all on your own, there are plenty of travel companies who can help, including Sandals.
“For guests booking a surprise honeymoon at one of our Sandals or Beaches resorts, we can ensure that the trip is done in secret so that any partner is completely surprised,” says Sandals’ Senior Weddings Executive, Lina Daukantaite.
“Guests can either choose to arrange their honeymoon discreetly with our call centre team, book a personal appointment at our Sandals Luxury Travel Store in London or by visiting a local travel agent; providing them with all of the necessary details on their partner’s behalf. Flights and accommodation can also be arranged in secret, with any confirmation and correspondence details just shared with the lead organiser to avoid any key details being revealed before the trip.”
Kuoni are also experts in planning surprise honeymoons, as Lauren explains: “Our experts can be discreet as you want us to be, and that’s the beauty of handing all the planning over to us! I have been lucky enough to organise a surprise honeymoon for my customer; his partner dreamed of spending her honeymoon on the shores of the Hawaiian islands, but not knowing whether it was do-able for his budget, he led her to believe they would be travelling to the Canaries instead.”
“As time has gone on, the honeymoon has become more lavish with sprinkles of luxury throughout their dreamy trip, adding surprise limousine transfers from their hotels, a helicopter over the Grand Canyon, and the most amazing boutique hotel within the hills of Maui.”
“The bride to be has no idea! Here at Kuoni, we are the experts in wowing our customers, but this is a whole other ball game! I am constantly in contact with the Groom on how he will break the surprise.”
If your partner knows your phone and email password and you have a joint account, make sure to book everything on a different credit card and have confirmations send to a different email address.
“Keep all your contact details and telephone numbers on something your partner cannot access!” warns Lauren. “The last thing you want is them reading an email they shouldn’t!”
While we’re certain you’ll plan an amazing holiday, do keep your partner’s expectations in check. Don’t let them believe they’re going to stay in an over-the-water villa if you’ve booked a luxury hotel room.
If you feel the pressure of planning a surprise honeymoon would be too much for you, why not plan the destination and accommodation together, but you take control of little surprises when you’re there such as upgrading your airfare, booking romantic restaurants and planning activities you know they’ll love.
“Get the airline involved where you can,” Lauren suggests. “Cabin crew can be amazing at making special occasions memorable, from at the check-in desk to in the air.”
Think About Honeymoon Logistics
It’s boring to think about practicalities when you’re planning a romantic honeymoon, but it’s important to remember the boring aspects when booking a surprise trip.
For example, do you need visa for where you’re travelling to? You’ll need to sort these for both yourself and your partner.
Check when your partner’s passport is valid until; some destinations require your passport to be valid for a certain amount of time to allow you into the country.
For example, people visiting America need their passport to be valid for six months beyond the period of their intended stay in the United States. If your partner’s passport is near expiry, you’ll need to make sure they renew it, adding another element to the planning process.
Consider Your Honeymoon Fund
It’s not unusual for couples to ask for monetary contributions to their honeymoon as a wedding gift from their guests, but this can be tricky if you’re planning a surprise honeymoon.
Guests tend to like to know what they’re contributing towards, so simply asking for money towards a mystery trip might mean some guests don’t give you anything as they don’t know where their money is going.
It’s worth considering whether you want to tell guests, and if they can be trusted not to accidentally let the surprise slip. If you want to keep it completely to yourself, be prepared that you might not receive as much money towards your honeymoon fund.
Decide when You’ll Tell Your Partner
With the dreamy destination chosen, the bags meticulously packed and all the luxurious experiences booked in, all that’s left to decide is when you’ll tell you partner what the plan is.
It depends on how soon after your wedding you’re going on your honeymoon, but options include on your wedding night (if you’re not asleep before your head hits the pillow!), the morning after your wedding while enjoying your first breakfast as newlyweds, or you could wait until you’re on the way to the airport, or even keep it a secret until check in – it’s up to you!