Like many folks planning their wedding, we had a tough time deciding how much time, money, and effort to devote to our post-wedding getaway. So many decisions...where, when, how long, how lavish?
For us, the timing was easy. Due to our summer school and work schedules, there was only one week that would be feasible for us to leave town and those seven days, August 7-14, happened to be nine weeks after our wedding.
Where to go was not as straightforward. We nixed our "dream honeymoon" of New Zealand because it was an impossible dream, at least in terms of time. Then, we pondered Hawaii and Costa Rica but it's so darn hot in North Carolina where we live that destinations with cooler climates were more enticing. We needed somewhere relatively nearby and easy to travel to and we wanted somewhere breezy and preferably near water. Atlantic Canada was the perfect choice.
A jaunt to the Maine coast the previous autumn was our impetus for looking into Canada. Of the four Atlantic Provinces, we placed our bets on Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island based on information that we gathered from friends and acquaintances who had traveled there before.
Looking back, it was a whirlwind; we stayed in four different accommodations in seven nights. Our first stop was Halifax, a bustling college town on the south shore of Nova Scotia. We stayed at the Halliburton Inn, a lovely boutique hotel in the heart of the city. We even ordered a honeymoon package that included champagne and a cheese plate upon our arrival. For our third night we mixed it up by staying in the same city but switching to a Holiday Inn to save a few bucks and check out a new part of town. Our time in Halifax was spent exploring the city by foot, eating delicious (but expensive) food and sampling the wide array of local brews.
The next part of our trip required that we rent a car and drive six hours to the northern tip of the country, Cape Breton Island. There we stayed at a classy resort, the Keltic Lodge, which was by far our most luxurious stay. I thoroughly enjoyed my "rosemary mint" body treatment at the on-site Aveda spa. Meanwhile, Joel spent his time hiking and jumping rocks along the ocean. The highlight of our time in Cape Breton was the whale watching expedition. We joined a boatful of people on the Fiddlin' Whales Tours and spotted close to 10 whales during our two hour adventure!
For the last couple days of our trip, we took it easy on Prince Edward Island. We rode the 80 minute ferry ride to get to PEI and drove another hour to reach our destination, but it was worth it. We stayed at Cavendish Inn and Cottages in the hometown of Lucy Maud Montgomery and her eternal heroine, Anne of Green Gables. The region is literally referred to as "Anne's Land." We were curious about the fuss surrounding Anne but we spent most of our time on the beach where the sand is a beautiful rusty red color.
The total cost of our honeymoon, including airfare and all expenses related to traveling, was approximately $4,500. Our goal was to receive $3,000 in gifts from Travelers Joy and the total amount of money requested was $3,215. So, while the money we received did not cover every expense of our trip, we did reach our goal and we were more than pleased to have the majority of honeymoon covered.
I would recommend Traveler's Joy to any couple who desires a nontraditional registry, loves to travel, and is willing to plan their honeymoon well in advance. Because of the necessary planning to create our registry, our trip went much more smoothly that it would have normally.
Lastly, I would like to add that not everyone was on board for our honeymoon registry idea. After all, we live in the South where most couples register for china at Belk's. I had more than a few people give me strange looks when I explained our plan. However, for every skeptic, we had four others who told us that our webpage on Traveler's Joy was the coolest registry they had ever seen and they appreciated the opportunity to be a part of our honeymoon. In the end, most of the people who weren't sure about a honeymoon registry came around and loved it. And for those traditional folks, they will still go to Belk's and buy you a silver platter where you like it or not. My advice is to register at (at least) one store so that people have options in what to give you for your wedding. Another piece of advice is to register at Traveler's Joy for every possible thing that you may need money for because it's better to be safe than sorry.
We recommend Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island for any couple who wants an active honeymoon - driving, city sightseeing, hiking, whale watching, and swimming are all par for the course - and who enjoys cool weather and the outdoors. As for Traveler's Joy, we wholeheartedly recommend this service to all engaged couples planning their honeymoon. It could not have been easier for us to set up a webpage and collect our money and our guests assured us that it was simple to navigate and purchase gifts. We are so appreciative of Traveler's Joy - it was truly one of our best finds when planning our wedding.