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Image by Quince & Mulberry Studios

“Quick, sweetie wake up… it’s snowing!!”  I screamed with delight, as I woke Dan filled with enchantment of a white Christmas in New York.

It was six months after returning from our blissful honeymoon in Bali that we found ourselves on part II of our honeymoon, this time a winter honeymoon in New York, colder than we had ever been before in our lives, prepped with a ‘to- do’ list but ready to lose ourselves in the magic of this city. We had done a lot of pre-reading and planning of things we absolutely wanted to do while we were there, but the great thing was that we had three weeks over Christmas and new year to submerse ourselves in the New York lifestyle.

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Images by Quince & Mulberry Studios

What we were most taken with almost right away was the festive spirit, the smell of fresh pine, the streets lined with fairy lights and doors adorned with wreaths which created an anticipation and sense of wonder as to what the festive season would bring.

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Images by Quince & Mulberry Studios

Our home away from home was the Midtown Holiday Inn which is located in the Hell’s Kitchen district, and a short walk to Central Park and Times Square, so the perfect base for our New York adventures.

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Before we left I had already organised to meet a local photographer for a lifestyle session. I really wanted to be able to look back on our trip and have some beautiful photographs of Dan and I, to our remember our trip together and I wanted someone who would be able to capture ‘us’ just being ‘us’ in New York and not just a whole bunch of selfies or photos with one but not the other.

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Image credit: (left) Quince & Mulberry Studios / (right) Cassidy Parker-Smith

When I contacted Cassidy Parker-Smith, we instantly hit it off, and her infectious enthusiasm had me so very excited. I chose Cassidy after falling in love with her style. I loved the way she crops moments and the honesty she captures from the people in her images. Cassidy also went above and beyond, offering us advise on things to see and do in New York to ensure we had the best stay possible.

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 Image credit:  Cassidy Parker-Smith

Before the shoot Dan and I decided we would leave an item out of our to do list and save it for the day of the shoot. This ended up being the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. Friends of ours mentioned that we should take a love lock to put on the bridge, which we did and Cassidy so eloquently captured the moment. These are some of my favourite photos.

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      Image credit:  Cassidy Parker-Smith

I recently spent the good part of a weekend designing an album to both include our photographs from New York as well as Cassidy’s images. It has ended up being a two volume, 400 odd page catalogue of stories. I wish I could explain the wonderment of reviewing  all the images in a tangible product oozing with love, excitement and the enchantment of all that is New York.

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Image credit:  Cassidy Parker-Smith

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Image by Quince & Mulberry Studios

Swirl divider10 Our Honeymoon In Bali

Ms Zigzag says: This article was originally published in May 2014, however considering it is winter in NYC right now and the festive season is well underway, I thought this would be great inspiration to share with couples heading over to NYC for a winter wonderland honeymoon. Brrr, rug up! 

Kate says: “I’m Kate, a photographer living in Brisbane, seeking and photographing people; documenting stories through images. Each picture I take is a piece of my heart; just how I see yours, as I see your story unfolding, piece by piece, frame by frame.”

Polka Dot Honeymoons Directory Mid Banner

Photo by Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash

Hey Dotties, I signed on as the Speciality Blog Editor right here at Polka Dot Bride about three months ago, and I have loved every minute working with Ms Polka and our passionate team who are literally ‘dotted’ all over the world working together to bring you feel-good wedding blogs.

What you may not know about me though is that I got hitched just in February of this year! Boy, where has the time gone? I’m an Australian residing in NYC and look, there’s no two ways around it – life as an expat is full on, especially in the city that never sleeps. So, it’s no wonder really that my husband (Mr Zigzag) and I haven’t planned our honeymoon even though  it has been nine (NINE!) months since we said ‘I do.’

However, I don’t think the ‘delayed honeymoon’ is overly rare for newlyweds these days. For various reasons including work commitments, the weather (some like their honeymoon hot, some like it cold!), and financial limitations after throwing the most expensive party of your life (your wedding!), couples often put their honeymoon on the back-burner until the time is right for them.

Well, the time is right for me to at least start daydreaming about where Mr Zigzag and I would like to go on our honeymoon and I think I know the very best place to start – our Real Honeymoons stories. Our Real Honeymoons are written by real couples in their own words. There’s no better recommendation than an independent account of a trip written by people who have been there first-hand. There’s no laundry lists of ‘where to stay’ ‘what to do’ ‘what to eat’, rather these stories are written from the heart, with anecdotes and little details that make a couple’s trip uniquely theirs.

Here are a couple of the Real Honeymoons stories on our little love blog that are awakening a serious case of wanderlust in me.

Beautiful Bora Bora – Roxanna and John

“They say that the honeymoon is the best part of any wedding follow-up, and it most certainly proved as such for me and my husband! The nerves, hard work and anxiety in the lead up to our wedding last July certainly took its toll. But all of it was forgotten during our beautiful Bora Bora honeymoon!

The destination itself was my husband John’s idea, as he knew only too well that I always dreamed of spending a perfect summer vacation in Tahiti. So, to surprise me, he booked one of the Bora Bora honeymoon packages with a local tourist agency and kept quiet about it until the wedding day! (And there I was, thinking we had spent our wedding budget on the venue, restaurant and church ceremony arrangements, not daring to ask how much money we had left for the honeymoon trip!) In a word, our stay on Bora Bora was amazing, we had the time of our lives!” – Roxanna.

Read the full story here.

Blissful Vietnamese Honeymoon

“When my husband and I planned our honeymoon, one thing was immediately clear to both of us – this would be a relaxation holiday. All of our previous travels had involved exploring urban metropolises, famed historical sites or visiting family and friends, so the idea of getting away from it all to simply relax was incredibly appealing.

We settled on Vietnam as our destination or more specifically, the Fusion Maia resort in Da Nang. Billed as Asia’s first all-spa inclusive resort, Fusion Maia boasts an enviable spa with all treatments included as part of the nightly room rate. This means that on each day of your stay, you will receive at a minimum (I repeat, at a minimum) two spa treatments each – and more if you can handle them. Hello happiness!”

Read full story here.

Antarctic Adventure Honeymoon

“On January 29th, 2013 just ten days after our beautiful wedding in Hobart, James and I set sail aboard L’Austral from Ushuaia, Argentina. We were headed for Antarctica and the perfect adventure to begin married life together.

The ship was luxurious, the service without fault and the people we met from all over the world amazing! But what truly made the journey were the captain and the naturalist guides on board. They went out of their way to ensure we would experience Antarctica for the remarkable place it is and undertake activities which we felt privileged to be a part of.”

Read full story here.

Honeymoon to Paris and Italy – Natalie and Jonathon

“In terms of the ‘Honeymoon’ part, I’d recommend searching around for a travel agent you are happy with. You need someone that understands your budget, what you are trying to achieve and will be contactable during your travels. Moreover, one that is flexible when you change your mind a million times about what you want to do and where you want to go. We were lucky that my friend is a travel agent and accommodated our excitement. One question I keep getting asked, was how we had such a good time when we didn’t know the language. My answer, Lonely Planet phrasebooks, saying key phrases with a smile such as “Hello, it’s lovely to meet you, we are on our honeymoon from Australia, do you speak English?” Knowing this in French and Italian got us by, everyone was willing to help and responded in English with accurate pointing to things and nodding.

We flew Emirates straight to Paris for 3-days and stayed at The Scribe Hotel. The concierge were amazing, they helped us book our dinners at local cafes, gave us directions, and even sent flowers, real French champagne and sweets to our room after I commented on the how amazing flowers smelt in Paris. During our days, we pre-booked a tour of Versailles, The Louvre, and a river cruise which included dinner at the Eiffel Tower and the late session at the Moulin Rouge (most travel agents have deals like this). The rest of the time we walked around Paris in search of hot chocolate and Laduree after slowly freezing from the temperature changes from home.” – Natalie.

Real full story here.

Ms Zigzag says: I’ve always had a fascination for Bora Bora… Now all I have to do is get Mr Zigzag on board! We’ll see how I go with that… 

For our entire reel of Real Honeymoons stories, click here. There’s plenty more romantic trips to read about!

Image via Jade Mountain

December is such a romantic month for a wedding. However, if you want to travel light, you may need to put some thoughts into where to go on a honeymoon. Thankfully, from the Caribbean to the South Pacific, there are still a handful of paradises available for our December newlyweds.

1. St Lucia, Carribean

December is one of the best months of the year to visit the Caribbean – the hurricane season has blown over to be replaced by long sunny days, low humidity and cooling breezes. St Lucia is arguably the most beautiful of the larger Caribbean islands. Hidden among forested hills and colonial plantations are some of the most exquisite beachfront hotels.

Where to Stay

Jade Mountain is a spider-web of zigzagging stone walkways and cascading koi ponds. Every one of its vast suites has one wall completely open to the breathtaking panoramic ocean views, and most boast private infinity pools to admire it from. This hilltop hotel is the ultimate honeymooner’s hideaway.

Image via Jade Mountain

What to Do

Explore the Castries Waterworks Reserve where there is something for everyone. Spend an afternoon gliding up and down a mountainside over the rainforest canopy in an eight-seater gondola. Accompanied by an informative guide, spot the dazzling heliconias and hummingbirds. For the thrill-seekers, go zip-lining down the mountainside.

2. Dubai. UAE

Dubai is a great honeymoon option, especially if you are en-route to Europe. The region promises 26 degrees Celcius and eight hours of sunshine in December.

Where to Stay

The spectacular One&Only The Palm resort, stretched out over the Persian Gulf on Dubai’s tree-shaped Palm Island, has all the indulgent service and impeccable dining you’d expect from a luxury UAE hotspot.

Image via One&Only The Palm

What to Do

Dubai is the ultimate playground for the rich and famous, with every indulgence imaginable available…for the right price if you ask the right person. From the towering Burj Khalifa and the singing Dubai Fountain, there are so many sights to see it’s almost a sensory overload. To experience a more traditional perspective of Dubai, take a water taxi along the Dubai Creek and take a stroll in the Bastakiya Quarter, a quiet former fishing village before all of Dubai’s development came to fruition.

3. Sal, Cape Verde Islands

For an exotic honeymoon, the Cape Verde Islands are perfect in December where you can expect eight hours of sun and 27 degrees Celcius. With white sand beaches, dramatic landscapes and a mix of African, Brazilian and Portuguese influences, the Atlantic islands offer tremendous value.

Where to Stay

Melia Llana Beach Resort is a five star, adults-only, all-inclusive resort on the windy Cape Verde island of Sal. There’s a stylish beach vibe, with a huge pool featuring a swim-up bar and myriad of lounging options. A total of 303 rooms and suites offer varying perks, from pool/sea views and terraces to direct private pool access, whirlpools and more.

Image by Melia Llana

What to do

The best way to experience Cape Verde is to go on an island-hopping trip: explore a still-active volcano, followed by walking through some jaw-dropping mountain scenery. If you are feeling adventurous, you might head to the islands’ cultural cities before going back to the beach for a few relaxing days on golden sands. The rugged and green landscapes on Santo Antao and the musical scene on Sao Vincente will complete your trip of a lifetime.

Image via Cape Verde Experience

4. New South Wales, Australia

On the home front, December is early summer with long days and golden sunshine, perfect for a long drive down to wineries or exploring the magnificent coastline.

Where to Stay

The Spicers Vineyards Estate in Hunter Valley is a modern manor house set amid a patchwork of grapevines and kitchen gardens. Just two hours away from Sydney, it’s ideal for a quickie weekend. You and your sweetheart could spend your entire summer with some vino-therapy in Spicers’ Spa Anise or sample the fruits of the estate.

Image via Spicers Vineyard Estate

What to Do

When you are done sampling the wine and feasting on farm-fresh fare, enjoy a coastal drive along New South Wales’ spectacular coastline which includes whale-watching, national parks, beaches, kangaroos and koalas.

Image via Wexas

5. Cook Islands, South Pacific

Beyond Australia lies the Cook Islands where you can enjoy year-round sunshine and laid-back island life.

Where to Stay

The Little Polynesian Resort on Rarotonga in the Cook Islands is one of the finest accommodations the island has to offer. Just 10 bungalows plotted right on the white sands of the beach, it’s the definition of seclusion. Built with traditional Cook Islands architecture in mind, each bungalow boasts high ceilings, mahogany floors and hand carved details throughout.

Image via The Little Polynesian Resort

What to Do

While the seductive sun, surf and sand combo of Rarotonga’s beautiful beaches claim many honeymooners, the rugged cliffs and dense jungle in the interior of the island yields many ancient sites, local legends and scenic views. Take a cross-island walk that traverses the jungle-like scenery and explore the ancient temples and hidden waterfalls.

Image via Tobia Peciva

Ms Zigzag says: I like the idea of escaping the Christmas silly season at home and honeymooning in December.