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Image by Israel Baldago via Jenna & Haydn’s Luxe Twilight Engagement Shoot

Your wedding is the most exciting, thrilling and wonderful day in your life. As with anything great, it also requires tremendous effort that can come with strain and stress. That’s why a mini-moon is exactly what you need before the big day to switch off, unwind and just spend some quality time with your soon-to-be husband or wife.

What is a mini-moon?

The point of a mini-moon is to feel as if you are escaping the rat race but at the same time, be close enough and affordable so as to not break the bank. It’s a luxurious long weekend away at a close by destination so you are not wasting precious hours waiting at the airport. Instead you can spend those hours indulging in spa treatments, winery tours and just rest and relax before your impending nuptials.

So why should you take a mini-moon?

Image by Lee Calleja Thomas via Natalia & Tom ‘s Queensland Winter Engagement Photos

Less travel time

As the big day gets closer, you will feel the pressure mounting – vendors, guests and families all require your attention. The last thing you want is to spend too much time away and to be stressed when you are trying to take a break. That’s why a mini-moon is perfect – a quick break for a few days from the reality of wedding planning,

You don’t have to max out your leave

If you have taken your leave entitlement for your wedding and honeymoon, a mini-moon requires minimum disruption to your work commitments. Afterall, there are bills that still need to be paid!

Bonding time

Many couples have admitted that wedding planning is one of the biggest challenges they face as a couple. With everyone pulling you both to different directions, a mini-moon allows you both to escape from it all and focus on each other. The quality bonding time gives you both the opportunity to check in with each other to see how you are both feeling. 

Image by Andrea Sproxton via Shireen and Mitch’s Beach Engagement Shoot

Budget-friendly

A weekend away at the hot springs or two nights glamping underneath the stars are definitely more budget-friendly than 14 nights in Europe. Many modern-day couples are choosing to delay their honeymoon and save for a home so a mini-moon is perfect to keep your budget in check. Save the money and splurge on a well-deserved romantic dinner or a massage.

Honeymoon preview

If you haven’t picked a honeymoon destination, going on a mini-moon may give you a better idea of where to go for your honeymoon. Perhaps you had a hinterland getaway for your mini-moon and prefer a Caribbean getaway for your honeymoon. Whatever your preference or budget is, the choice is yours!

Ms Zigzag says: Married couples can concur, things get wild in the last few weeks leading up to the wedding day. Taking a quick weekend away with your fiancé/fiancée can help you find your way back to the same page.  

Polka Dot Honeymoons Directory Mid Banner

Image via Hotel Healdsburg

Daydreaming of crisp fresh air, blue skies, sprawling vineyards, exquisite wine and farm-to-table-cuisine? Look no further than Sonoma wine country in California. With more than 425 wineries, the rugged Pacific coastline and its proximity to San Francisco, Sonoma County is the perfect place to spend some quality time with your love. So whether you are planning a day trip, a quick weekend getaway, or your honeymoon, be sure to add Sonoma to your list!

Where to Stay

If you are planning on staying overnight in Sonoma County, head over to Healdsburg, a quaint and charming town approximately an hour and a half drive from the Golden Gate Bridge. The downtown is bustling with music, art galleries, exquisite food, and (of course) an extensive selection of tasting rooms from the best local vineyards.

Hotel Healdsburg is a wonderful option for those who want a boutique hotel in the town centre. After a romantic day of vineyard hopping or sipping hot chocolate while discovering the boutiques, art galleries and museums, head on back to the hotel to enjoy the country gardens, pool and spa. Sip on some bubbly by the fireplace before heading to dinner at the renowned Dry Creek Kitchen restaurant. The menu is sure to please all tastes with its progressive American fusion dishes that are paired exclusively with (you guessed it!) Sonoma County wine.

Image via Hotel Healdsburg

Vineyard-hopping

It is easy to feel overwhelmed with the seemingly endless options of breathtaking vineyards to visit. Fear not, below are a couple suggestions of truly special and romantic places that are sure to please all levels of wine connoisseurs.

Skipstone Winery

The winery is on Skipstone ranch, tucked away between two stunning hillsides in the mountains above the Alexander Valley. The wine is award-winning, the people are welcoming and the views are stunningly picturesque.

Visits to Skipstone are by reservation only, last approximately an hour and a half where guests are brought through a scenic walk of the organic vineyards and gardens followed by a seated private wine and olive oil tasting with small accompanying bites. If you visit in the autumn, the rolling hills will be filled with warm red, yellow and orange leaves. Be sure to enjoy every moment of this special journey with your loved one, this romantic afternoon is not to be missed!

Image via Hana Benkirane

Quivira Vineyards

Quivira is comprised of three separate vineyards, which are located within the stunning Dry Creek Valley. The tasting room at Wine Creek Ranch does not require reservations so it is perfect for a spontaneous drop-in. The friendly staff, laid-back feel and generous tasting menus are sure to make you and your beloved feel right at home. Make sure to sit outside on the patio to enjoy your wine flights while taking in the sunshine, fresh air and scenic rolling hills around you. If available, don’t miss out on the Late Harvest Sauvignon (a wonderful sweet dessert surprise)!

Image via Quivira Wines

Exploring the Pacific Coastline

In addition to the rolling hills and hundreds of vineyards, Sonoma County is also home to a stunningly rugged coastline. Take a break from the wine tasting and head over to Bodega Bay. The drive takes you along the coast on winding roads with beautiful views of the Pacific. Once you arrive at Bodega Bay, you can go on a small hike or simply sit on the benches and take in the view. If you are lucky, you may even spot some grey whales!

On the way back into town, be sure to stop by Patrick’s local saltwater taffy shop or Spud Point’s Crab Shack for a sweet or savoury snack.

Image via Hana Benkirane

Sonoma County is a truly special place that makes you feel at peace. Be sure to fully immerse yourself into the laidback yet sophisticated lifestyle with your beloved and enjoy every minute. You may just never want to leave!

Note: Sonoma County has recently suffered immense loss due to the California wildfires. The community’s compassion, camaraderie and resilience is further proof of how special this place truly is. Many of the above-mentioned wineries and restaurants have donated and stepped in to help their local communities.

Ms Zigzag says: While nearly every Aussie is familiar with the Napa Valley, we don’t seem to hear enough about the equally stunning Sonoma Wine Country. Locals and wine experts are mad for Sonoma, don’t miss it! 

About Hana Benkirane: Hello! My name is Hana. I’m a citizen of the world, holder of three passports and a modern nomad. I have moved to a different country every three years of my life and was bitten by the travel bug at a very early age.

Our honeymoons, destination weddings, elopements, mini-moons and romantic weekend trips took us all around the globe and back again on Polka Dot Honeymoons this year. Here’s a look at all of the exotic, romantic trips we loved armchair travelling to in 2017!

Image by Anika Reynolds

A Long Weekend in Paris

“From grand boulevards to intimate cobbled stone streets, Michelin star meals to casual crepe stands, and luxe fashion houses to street art stalls, Paris offers an exquisite mix of history, style, food, architecture and culture.”

Images by Dan Cartwright

Brooke and Paul’s Romantic Venice Elopement

The couple met at home – they grew up on the same street! Brooke tells “We actually both lived in the same street and met when we were 13 years old. We had a crush on each other for years and finally got together at the age of 20.”

Images via Dilra Tours

Top 5 Honeymoon Destinations in Sri Lanka

“Sri Lanka is one of the best honeymoon destinations in the world. It is a small island located in the south of India, known as the “pearl of the Indian ocean.”

Image by Brooke Miles Photography

Amazing Wedding Locations in the Whitsundays

“What better place to say ‘I do’ than in the Whitsundays! Situated on the same latitude as Rio de Janeiro and Tahiti, the region enjoys a tropical climate with an average of 274 sunny days per year.”

Image by Gold Hat Photography

Ash and Mitch’s Nusa Lembongan Destination Wedding

“Ash & Mitch wanted a day that was relaxed, warm and casual – the stunning resort offering the perfect backdrop to their day.”

Six Idyllic Islands for Rent in Australia

“Imagine having an entire island all to yourselves for your honeymoon, with not a soul to be seen, and nobody else but you and your beloved!”

Image by Maria Shiriaeva Photography

Laura and Justin’s Waterfall Bali Elopement

“The cascading waterfall in a hidden Ubud spot was the most incredible backdrop for today’s elopement. The newlyweds, who cast their eye far and wide across the world, searching for that perfect spot to say their vows, landed on beautiful Bali.”

Images by Angela Higgins

How to Take Honeymoon Photos like a Pro!

“Your honeymoon promises to be the holiday experience of a lifetime, so no doubt you’re hoping to capture some gorgeous photos during your romantic escape, to treasure for years to come.”

Image via Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa

Incredible Infinity Pools Around the World

“Infinity pools have long-held a mystical allure that captivates thousands of travellers. Blurring the line between man-made and nature, dive into these stunning infinity pools for an unforgettable swim.”

Image via Cape Hillsborough Resort

5 Best Places to Catch a Sunrise in The Whitsundays

“Captain Cook may not have been known as much of a wordsmith, but he did a pretty good job naming that part of the Queensland coast the locals affectionately call the “Whitsunnydays”. If ever there was a place that offered a million and one vantage points to capture the perfect sunrise, this is it.”