Destination Dilemma: A Question of Taste

Jon PaulWhenever my friends get engaged, I’m typically the 7th person they contact with the good news. My name appears on their call sheet sometime after the gushing parents or supportive siblings followed by the (un)lucky chosen ones in the wedding party. Sometime during the lull in our conversation, right after I’ve said, “That’s so wonderful!” I know exactly what’s coming next. The real reason behind the call is the question, “Where we should go on honeymoon?”

My years as a globetrotter for magazines Condé Nast Traveler and Bon Appétit, my cross-country book tour for Alphabet City (if it’s Tuesday, it must be Lubbock), and my travel columns for ABCityblog.com, all have made me the go-to gay for vacation advice in my circle of friends (and friends of friends of friends).

I’m thrilled to put that knowledge to work for couples on GayWeddings.com, providing advice on getaways, and tips on tasteful destination wedding planning. And by all means, ask me your own special questions and I’ll do my best to provide expert guidance. Near or far, chic or cheap, we’ll cover it all here—because there’s no cookie cutter approach to travel. It’s all a matter of taste.

So, where should you go on honeymoon? That depends on several things. Here’s my cheat sheet of questions I ask newly engaged couples to assist in their planning. In future columns, I’ll get specific on spots I adore and tips for pulling off that memorable destination wedding. So let the planning begin!

What time of year is your wedding?

If you are planning a destination wedding, or intend to take a honeymoon right after your nuptials, seasonal weather can play an important part in your decision. Summer is hurricane season in the Caribbean, a traditional getaway favorite. Take the risk, and you might be able to score a big price break. Winter can be cold in Europe if you’re planning something on the Continent, but Sweden is a steal when it snows. And Hawaii seems to be Goldilocks’ favorite—it’s seasonally just right, all the time. Remember that south of the equator countries enjoy opposite seasons from the US. So, a winter wedding stateside could mean a sunny holiday wine tasting in Argentina.

How much time can you spend away?

For many couples, a honeymoon is the only time in their lives when they’ll get to take 2 weeks off from work. If that’s the case, consider a longer trip—a country you’ve always dreamed of exploring like Viet Nam or South Africa. If you have more limited time, say a week, then depending on where you live, you may want to consider only destinations with direct flights from your hometown—otherwise you might spend valuable sun time sitting on a runway.

What’s the budget?

Don’t go into this with your eyes wide shut. Open them up and do some planning with your partner. There’s nothing like a trip to expose differences in spending priorities. On our first trip together, my economist boyfriend had a rude awakening about what his fancy pants partner considered “affordable” in a hotel. Better to both be involved in the planning so there are no surprises. If you are true travel junkies, consider asking friends and family to donate airline miles or cash towards that dream vacation—if you aren’t already asking them to attend your out-of-town nuptials.

What’s the point?

Are you hoping for some rest and relaxation after the big day? Does your spouse like adventure? Or do you want something memorable that you’ll think back on time and again. Memorable doesn’t always mean exotic. It could be Provincetown, someplace you might revisit annually. Make sure the goal of the getaway is clear in your head—as well as that of your future spouse.

What type of travelers are you?

Promise me this isn’t the first time you and your loved one have traveled together. There’s nothing like getting out of town to teach you some important truths. So make sure there aren’t any surprises. Are you a beach person but your partner prefers cities? Then maybe you need a combo getaway like cosmopolitan Sydney followed by the beaches of Australia’s Byron Bay. Do you both hate planning and moving to different hotels all the time? Maybe a luxury Crystal Cruise or action-packed Atlantis sailing is in your future.

Are you making a statement?

By taking the plunge you are transforming yourself—and the world around you—demonstrating to your loved ones the importance of equality in gay marriage. Do you want to extend your political stance by only choosing pro gay-marriage destinations? If so, your choices may be more limited, but still wonderful. Besides US options like Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington DC, much of the world is your oyster: Amsterdam, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and now Mexico City. But maybe it’s political enough for you to show up in a gay-friendly destination with your spouse and hold hands on the beach.

In future posts, I’ll be exploring all these places in-depth. But in the meantime, if you’re planning a getaway soon, let me hear from you. I’d love to weigh in with some taste-y advice.

While it may be a lot to consider, the rewards, and the memories, are worth the proper planning. There’s no real right or wrong or perfect honeymoon or destination wedding spot. Like I said, it’s all just a matter of taste.


Jon Paul Buchmeyer is the author of the award-winning humorous memoir Alphabet City: My So-Called Sitcom Life and writes frequently for Condé Nast Traveler and Bon Appétit magazines. In addition, he is the author of his own popular blogs: ABCityblog.com and Poptimistic.com.