During the wedding planning process, I always find it interesting to compare my previous expectations to what pans out in reality. For instance, when I went dress shopping, I was expecting to be overwhelmed with emotions when I found "the one." As you know, it didn't happen...but that is just one of the realities of the planning process I've had to deal with!
I experienced another one while planning the honeymoon. Ahhhh the honeymoon. I always thought that this would be one of the most exciting trips to plan, and I was imagining sunshine and rainbows and unicorns. However, the reality was more like Mr. Buttons and I kind of put it on the back burner. At the "6 months to the wedding" mark, I really started to pull myself together and get serious about booking something. I was so busy with planning the wedding that planning a honeymoon on top of it was just a lot to process!
In an ideal world, Mr. Buttons would probably have liked to surprise me by picking where we went. However, because he knows me so well, he was aware that I wouldn't like to be surprised, and would want at least SOME input on the decision.
So...what were our criteria for the trip?
- Sunshine/tropical - we really love the beach...
- Relatively close to Florida - I am not a very good traveler, and long plane rides would really do me in...so any thoughts of Hawaii, Australia, etc. were nixed right away
- Affordability - Mr. Buttons and I do like to get bang for our buck, so we wanted to find some place that was reasonably priced but still was spectacular
- Seclusion - Mr. Buttons preferred that we find a honeymoon location that featured separate cottages, villas, etc. so that we wouldn't feel like we were in a hotel. This was his biggest request.
So, Mr. Buttons and I scoured Trip Advisor, asked recommendations from friends and travel agents, and created a list about a mile long of potential locations to travel to. I won't go over the long list of contenders because it would take me a few hours...but essentially it came down to a decision between an all-inclusive resort and an "a la carte" one. Although the allure of the all-inclusives was strong (who wouldn't want free drinks all day long, as well as all you can eat food?), we ended up selecting the latter.
All images from Rockhouse Hotel website
The Rockhouse Hotel is a boutique hotel in Negril, Jamaica. You may recognize it...Mrs. Ant was married there! And...coincidentally, when we announced to our families that we selected this hotel, we discovered that Mr. Buttons' brother and his wife honeymooned there a few years back! The ratings on Trip Advisor were glowing, and I was completely sucked in as soon we we visited the website.
It features only 34 rooms (8 premium villas, 12 villas, and 14 standard rooms), which Mr. Buttons was a big fan of. Hopefully that means peace, quiet, and seclusion for the two of us!
A really nice draw for me was their spa; they use a line of spa products made from only natural ingredients indigenous to the Caribbean.
Another thing I love about the hotel? They give back to the local community by donating to schools. Also, they are constantly improving their environmental practices and minimizing their use of natural resources, air emissions, and hazardous materials.
Mr. Buttons and I were thrilled to book our trip to the Rockhouse...and I can't wait to report back on our experience after the wedding!
What criteria factored in to your honeymoon search? What location did you end up selecting (or hope to select)?