My fairytale begins fourteen years ago on the bus to middle school. I was sitting in the back seat and a boy turned around and said, “Did anyone ever tell you that you look like roller girl?” My response was of course, “No”, and I ran off the bus and asked my mom who this was. We began to see each other everyday and the rest, well, that’s history. Who knew that all these years later that I would be marrying the man of my dreams?
We got engaged on Valentine’s Day and I was so excited to start planning our dream wedding. Unfortunately, both of us, nor our families were able to pay for the cost of the wedding and honeymoon, so we all decided to make contributions. I remember sitting on the computer fantasizing about honeymoons at exotic locations and trying to come up with ways to make that happen. Our wedding was in September, and with the hurricane season, we knew we had to pick a location that was out of the hurricane belt. Our choices were either Aruba or St. Lucia. After a lot of research and advice from our friends and family, we chose St. Lucia.
Sam and I are “beach people”, so with Aruba offering a wonderful beach but not as many exciting activities and sites, we chose St. Lucia. St Lucia, we were told, reminds people of Hawaii, but not as far. There were volcanos and rainforest to explore, as well as a beautiful beach and that was just what we were looking for.
There were so many beautiful and exotic hotels and resorts to stay at, but Sandals Grande St. Lucian was exactly what we wanted. We wanted to enjoy our time with other honeymooners if we wanted, but able to spend time alone as well. Sandals Grande offered an all-inclusive resort that had many restaurants, pools and a spa without having to leave the resort. We also decided that giving ourselves a few days after the wedding to leave for our honeymoon was the best plan and decided on September 18-25 was the perfect time to spend in paradise.
The resort offered many different rooms and after careful consideration, we chose the penthouse honeymoon beachfront concierge. This allowed us to get room service and concierge services during our stay while viewing the beautiful beach of St. Lucia. The package for the eight days was about $5,400 along with airfare that was about $2,200 roundtrip for both of us.
Now that the location and dates were set, it was how to get there that was the problem. And then, I stumbled upon the idea of a “honeymoon registry.” I was not sure what that was until I did some research and found out that instead of the traditional bridal shower where items to start your home are given, you can have a honeymoon registry and ask your friends and family for excursions and money towards your dream vacation. I was so excited about this new idea that I called my mom immediately and told her my idea. She loved it! I remember her saying, “You already have a home and all the blenders, toaster ovens and towels that you need. This is perfect for you!”
After careful researching, I came across Traveler’s Joy. I was immediately drawn in by how easy it was to make the registry page. Within fifteen minutes I had a page that I was able to add excursions and items as I pleased. The other factor that made us choose Traveler’s Joy was the service fee. We did not want guests to have to pay a registry fee, and Traveler’s Joy had the lowest percentage fee than any of the other honeymoon registry pages. It was the perfect choice.
I was given my own web address that I included on my shower invitation to make available to all of my guests. As my shower got closer and closer, I loved how I was able to view which excursions and gifts I had received, my honeymoon was becoming more and more real each day. Almost everything on our registry that we requested was purchased for us. From ziplining in the rainforest, horseback riding on the beach, and a candlelight dinner to a volcano tour and snuba diving, we could not wait Traveler’s Joy was safe and secure and offered Paypal, so it was easy to transfer the money right to my bank account after my honeymoon shower. I called our travel agent and she was able to schedule our excursions for the days that we were in St. Lucia. We were all set!
Our September wedding came up fast, like everyone says, and before we knew it, we were married and packing for our dream honeymoon. When we arrived at beautiful St. Lucia, it took us about two hours to get to the resort. Meanwhile, thanks to a family member, we had a private car to take in the beautiful mountains on our way there.
We were welcomed with hot towels and drinks and brought to the concierge that somehow already new us as, “Mr. and Mrs. Rocco.” They showed us our room and where everything was, and there we were, in our room filled with hibiscus flowers and champagne, excited to start our honeymoon.
Our mornings were spent enjoying breakfast on our patio, followed by an excursion sightseeing on the beautiful island of what St. Lucia has to offer, followed by a lazy afternoon sipping drinks by the sand and enjoying an afternoon snack at one of the many restaurants Sandals had. As we were lying on the beach chairs and looking at the sunset, I remember thinking, “How did I get to be so lucky to be here in paradise”?
The honeymoon flew by, as time tends to do, but we have so many wonderful memories to last us a lifetime. The resort was beautiful, but our favorite things included the excursions that were purchased for us from our honeymoon registry. The zipling through the rainforest was one of my favorites as well as snuba diving, which is a combination of scuba and snorkeling. The candlelight dinner on the beach with our table in a heart made out of sand with the waves crashing along the shore just a few feet away was so romantic.
On one of the days, our travel agent booked a dolphin and whale watching tour and a sunset cruise, both being four hours each. After the dolphin and whale watching tour, I knew I would not be able to get on another boat for quite some time from the motion sickness let alone in two hours for the second cruise. We went to the concierge and my husband let them know our dilemma. Unfortunately, they were not able to refund us for our second cruise, so we decided to ‘forget it’ and spend the rest of the day relaxing on the beach and enjoying the live music that always seemed to be playing no matter what time of day it was.
To our surprise, after coming back to our room the next day from horseback riding, we received a phone call. Sam answered the call and was told that he was about to receive an offer he could not refuse. Because of my motion sickness, we were upgraded to a private suite in one of the Rondovals for the rest of our stay, which was two and a half days. Ecstatic, we quickly packed our suitcases and were whisked away to our suite. The suite was amazing with our own pool and hot tub and we enjoyed the rest of our honeymoon in luxury thanks to the wonderful staff at the Sandals Grande.
After arriving home, all of our friends and family wanted to hear about our honeymoon. Our response was that it was absolutely beautiful in St. Lucia. We had the time of our lives enjoying the island and the resort. Our family could not believe how many things we got to experience while we were away. We showed all our friends and family our pictures and videos that we had taken, even though they could not do it justice with how beautiful it actually was there. We told them about our excursions and how wonderful the staff at Sandals Grande St Lucia were and how even on our last day as we were sadly walking around the resort, many of the staff waved and said, “Good bye Mr. and Mrs. Rocco. Have a safe flight and come again!”
Sam and I looked at each other in amazement of how everyone seemed to know us there and even joked that they must study our pictures when we arrive! We truly miss St. Lucia and hope to one day return to paradise. Our friends often say to us, “Wow, we should go there on our next vacation.” Our response in unison is always, “Definitely!” Traveler’s Joy helped to make our dream honeymoon a reality.