If you and your love are departing on your honeymoon only a few days or weeks after your wedding, chances are it will be a bit of a whirlwind! Apart from packing, spending time visiting relatives and daydreaming about romantic days away with your spouse, there probably won’t be much time (or motivation) between saying ‘I do’ and boarding your flight for thank you notes or household admin.
But, once the honeymoon is over, what’s next? Well apart from many years of married bliss, there are a few things you could put on your post-honeymoon to-do list to make life as a newlywed a little smoother!
Sort out your honeymoon photos: No doubt you will share a few honeymoon happy snaps on social media, but have you given much thought as to what you will ultimately do with all those gorgeous on-location photos? Firstly, ensure they’re safely stored, by keeping multiple copies on your laptops, saving them to a hard drive or using cloud storage. After the image storage is taken care of, you might like to cull, organise and refine them down into your treasured favourites to avoid holding on to digital clutter.
Then, it’s time to display! Although it might initially seem like a bit of a chore – it’s so nice to take the time to curate your photos into an album or professionally printed memory book, or print a few favourites to create your own gallery wall.
Thank your guests and vendors: Chances are, you won’t have time to write your thank you notes pre-honeymoon, but it really is important to acknowledge your guests’ attendance and gifts. Handwriting each one can be time consuming, but if you have the patience, it’s definitely worthwhile, as your guests will appreciate the gesture of a personal message. But if time doesn’t permit, a printed card with a wedding photo and general message of gratitude is perfectly acceptable too. You may also like to send a card to some of your vendors who helped make your day extra special – such as your photographer, wedding planner or dress designer.
Get your dress dry-cleaned: The sooner you get onto this the better, to ensure wine spills, grass stains and dirt can be removed! Make sure the dry cleaner you select is familiar with looking after gowns and delicate fabrics, and ideally opt for an eco dry cleaner who doesn’t use harsh products. Once cleaned, safely store your gown in an archive box or non-plastic garment bag which won’t emit fumes onto the fabric. For some professional tips, see What Would They Know? Sally Conant of Association of Wedding Gown Specialists as she chats about the importance of looking after your gown, post-wedding.
Archive your wedding memories: As well as photos, your wedding video and your dress, it’s a lovely idea to also treasure a few significant wedding items for future reminiscing. Purchase a large durable box (try Kikki K) and add some of the special details from the day, such as your invitation suite, menu, ceremony proceedings, an example of your favours or the original copies of your vows!
Ms Chinoiserie Says: Wonderful advice about the things to do after your honeymoon; sorting out your photos will help you re-live the precious moments….
About Anika: I’m a freelance writer with a love of weddings and creatively styled events. I have a penchant for pretty stationery and perfectly put together cheese plates, and a never-ending sense of wanderlust!
Katie MacLeod, a journalist and Scottish expat based in New York City, is the blogger behind Stories My Suitcase Could Tell, the award-winning travel blog that inspires readers to explore the world, at home and abroad.
When she’s not meeting reporting deadlines or blogging about travel, you’ll likely find her in her local coffee shop, with a latte, notebook, and a (large) slice of cake in front of her. She took some time out of her exciting adventures to share with us her secret honeymoon location which sounds amazing!
What is your favourite region?
This is such a hard question to answer! I suppose I’ll always have a soft spot for East Asia. I met my husband when I was living in China for a year, and we got engaged a few years later in Japan, so it’s a region that holds many special memories for me.
Plus, the food there is incredible: my time in China completely transformed my relationship with food. I went from being an incredibly picky eater who wouldn’t even eat pasta, to someone willing to try jellyfish, goat stew and chicken hearts!
Top resort recommendation
Full confession: I haven’t stayed in many resorts, and I tend to opt for boutique hotels or rental apartments. When I have stayed in resorts though – like in Mexico, or Kenya – I’ve loved the complete sense of relaxation that comes with it. There’s definitely something to be said for not having to worry about anything other than whether to relax by the pool, walk on the beach or which neighbourhood you’re going to explore that day.
In Kenya, I stayed at Diani Sea Resort on the coast near Mombasa and the setting was unbelievably beautiful. I was also able to go on local tours, like a safari drive through Tsavo West or a walk through the Old Town of Mombasa, so it really did feel like the best of both worlds; total relaxation coupled with cultural adventures.
Suggestions for great honeymoon activities
Great honeymoon activities are always going to be dependent on what the couple enjoy on holiday anyway. If you like to constantly be on the move when you travel, chances are that’s not going to change on your honeymoon! Equally, if you usually love lounging by the pool and indulging in spa treatments, a more slow-paced honeymoon is going to best.
One location that has something for everyone is Puerto Rico, where my husband and I spent our anniversary this year. There’s history, culture and good food in Old San Juan; relaxation on one of the world’s best beaches in Culebra; hiking in the El Yunque jungle and magical water sports in the form of kayaking on glowing bioluminescent lagoons by moonlight.
The ideal location for a proposal
Well, I suppose I’d have to say an intimate restaurant in Tokyo, with a feast of fresh food from the famous Tsukiji Market in front of you – seeing as that’s where I got engaged! I also think somewhere remote and beautiful would be a lovely backdrop for a proposal, like the sands of Luskentyre in the Hebrides, with the sea and mountains behind you.
Best kept secret honeymoon location
Scotland’s Outer Hebrides are something of a ‘secret’ in travel anyway – they receive far fewer visitors than other areas of Scotland, like Edinburgh, the Highlands or the Isle of Skye. Some savvy travellers are starting to pick up on their luxury potential, though; I know a few people who have chosen it as their honeymoon destination in the last year or two.
Besides, what’s more romantic than secluded high-end luxury accommodation, fresh local food, and a pristine white sand beach on your doorstep? For honeymooners, I’d recommend staying at likes of Whitefalls Spa Lodges, The Broch House, or the newly-opened Oran na Mara. My husband and I spent a weekend at The Broch House on the Isle of Harris a few years, and we’re still raving about it!
Xiamen, a coastal city in Fujian province in the southeast part of China may not be amongst the most popular tourism or honeymoon destinations in China, but it may just be the type of romantic spot you’re looking for if you want to explore somewhere off the beaten path. The name of the city means “door to the house” as it’s been known as the Gateway of China for a long time. A vibrant, affluent and modern place, Xiamen has some beautiful islands, lakes and a few heritage sites to see – not to mention amazing Chinese cuisine.
1. DoubleTree by Hilton – Wuyuan Bay Conveniently located in the new Central Business District, the 270-room DoubleTree by Hilton Xiamen – Wuyuan Bay provides spectacular views of Jinmen Harbour, Wuyuan Bay and Xiamen’s vibrant cityscape. Designed in soothing tones, every room in the luxury hotel comes with a custom-designed mattress, plus luxurious pillows and linens for a good night’s sleep.
Image via Double Tree by Hilton – Wuyuan Bay
2. Le Meridien Xiamen Le Meridien Xiamen is a luxury 4.5 star spa hotel, conveniently located close to sight-seeing destinations such as the Cultural Art Centre and South Putuo Temple. Go for a dip in the indoor pool or relax with one of the many spa treatments offered at the on-site spa centre. The suites at Le Meridien Xiamen offer views into the lush green courtyard.
Image via Le Meridien Xiamen
3. The Westin Xiamen Just over one and a half kilometres from Xiamen’s best shopping centres and parks, the 4.5 star luxury hotel also has five restaurants serving up delicious cuisines from Chinese to international. The Deluxe Suites in the Westin Xiamen are spacious and bright, decorated in neutral colours and red wood furnishings. Enjoy the amazing views of Xianyue Mountain through the floor-to-ceiling windows.
Image via Westin Xiamen
4. Pan Pacific Xiamen Indulge in the modern luxury of Pan Pacific Xiamen, located in the heart of Xiamen’s financial and entertainment district. At 29 storeys high, the modern hotel offers stunning views of Xiamen’s spectacular coastline. The hotel has 354 artistically decorated rooms with decors that reflect the urban city whilst still retaining an old-China charm.
Image via Pan Pacific Xiamen
5. Crowne Plaza Paragon Xiamen Only eight minutes away from Xiamen’s High-speed Railway Station and 20 minutes from the airport, this hotel is situated in the heart of the international luxury shopping area and global restaurants.
Image via Crowne Plaza Paragon Xiamen
5 Places to Visit
1. Gulangyu Island Renowned for its delicate natural beauty, ancient relics and varied architecture, Gulangyu island is on China’s list of Natural Scenic Spots and also ranks in the list of the ten most-scenic areas in Fujian province. The stereotype of China as an over-populated industrial powerhouse does not apply on the peaceful Gulangyu island: the island has only 20,000 permanent residents, all of whom enjoy a comfortable, relaxing life. Only electric-powered vehicles are permitted on the island, so the environment is free from the noise and pollution of combustion engines.
2. Shuzhuang Garden First built in 1931 on the southside of the island, Shuzhuang Garden was once a private villa. It became a garden park open to the public in 1955. Divided into two parts, the garden is exquisitely designed to embody the principles of Chinese traditional gardens.
3. South Putuo Temple Located at the foot of Wulao peak in the southeast of Xiamen City, the South Putuo Temple is a prosperous temple with many tourists visiting to pray for health and wealth. The Lotus Pool, when covered with lotus flowers in bloom provides a spectacular sight on a beautiful spring day. After a day of exploring the park gardens, enjoy some vegetarian cuisine served in the temple.
4. Sunlight Rock Located in the south-central part of the island, Sunlight Rock is Gulangyu island’s highest point with an altitude of 92.7 metres. Though it may not rank with high mountain peaks, Sunlight Rock appears superb and grand when seen from afar. The best time to visit is during sunrise when the morning light illuminates the granite in Sunlight Temple and the rocks are bathed with sunlight.
5. Wuyi Mountain They Wuyi Mountain is one of the most spectacularly beautiful areas of south-eastern China. Wuyishan Nature Reserve is well-known for its abundance of deep canyons, dense forest, waterfalls, animals, flora and fauna. The Nine-Bend Creek is the centrepiece of Wuyi mountain. The river is aptly named as it abruptly changes course nine times over its eight and half kilometre length. Explore the caves located directly adjacent to the two waterfalls along the creek to enjoy an unparalleled view through the cascade of water.
1. Cycle down the coastline along Huandao Road Huandao Road, the coastal road, is 31 kilometres long and has been listed as one of the Top 60 landmarks in New China. With perfect pavements, cycle ways and jogging tracks, Huandao Road is the best location for cycling while touring the well cleaned beaches and seaside scenery.
2. Shopping at Zhongshan Road Zhongshan Road, the oldest business street in Xiamen, is considered a “must see” location for travellers. Walking or shopping on Zhongshan Road, you will find a street with a combination of modern features and historical flavours – with busy, modern shopping malls and unique and ancient façade buildings. For food lovers, Zhongshan Road is home to many, famous and popular restaurants, some of which have a long history whilst others specialise in providing authentic local flavours and tastes.
3. Hiking at the Wanshi Botanical Garden Lose yourself in a jungle of over 5,000 species of tropical and sub-tropical plants at the Wanshi Botanical Garden. Built in 1960, the garden stretches nearly five kilometres, housing a wealth of plants in 29 different gardens. With a beautiful lake, it is a tranquil hideaway from the urban city life.
4. Have a stroll (and a drink) at Haiwan Park at night With a beautiful panoramic seaview, Haiwan Park is a large multi-purpose park with tourism, leisure and bars. The park has a lot of scenes relating to the sea, such as the waterfront railing, which has become a paradise for sea fishing. The Avenue of the Stars along Haiwan Park is 300 metres long and 40 metres wide, with 2,076 LED lights paved on the ground. Stay and watch the running music fountain which is composed of 240 water nozzles in the middle of the avenue.
5. Relaxing at a hot spring resort If you’re visiting Xiamen during the winter months, a visit to the hot springs can be an incredibly relaxing experience. Personal services and charming receptionists await you at the Trithorn Hotspring Resort. Enjoy the popular thermal stone beds in the resort for a warm place to nap on a cool winter’s afternoon.
Ms Chinoiserie Says: With its sophisticated vibe, luxury accommodation and fine cuisine Xiamen is quickly becoming one of the ‘must see’ honeymoon stop overs in China; the seaside promenade looks so beautiful at night!