Downside of destination weddings: In-laws tagging along on honeymoon
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The adage "two is company, three's a crowd" may no longer apply to honeymoons.
Nearly one-third of travel agents said over the last year they have more engaged couples inviting friends and family to join them on their honeymoon, according to a Travel Guard survey of 429 agencies in March. Before you brace yourself for the psychological trauma of spending your wedding night with the in-laws in the adjoining hotel room, it's worth pointing out that wedding experts are skeptical this will ever be a hot trend. (Whew!)
"Most of our brides said that was not something they would consider, nor had they ever heard of it," said Anja Winikka, site director for wedding planning resource TheKnot.com, which recently asked its members to weigh in on the idea.
What's likely happening is that couples inviting guests to a destination wedding are also getting some guests for the honeymoon in that same location. In 2011, 24 percent of couples had a destination wedding, according to TheKnot.com. That's up from 20 percent in 2009.
"Most people who are planning a destination wedding do it with the full knowledge and intent that they're going to have an extended celebration with family and friends," said Stephanie Serino, a luxury travel consultant with the Tzell Travel Group. Many couples purposely plan events over several days both before and after the wedding, on the assumption that guests will stick around.
Even if there isn't a post-wedding group agenda, newlyweds honeymooning in the same locale shouldn't be surprised to run into guests days later. Itinerary overlaps are particularly common for weddings where guests are traveling long distances or to exotic places, said Alan Fields, co-author of "Bridal Bargains." After all, if you're spending hundreds of dollars and flying 10 hours from New York to Hawaii for a wedding, staying just long enough to attend the five-hour ceremony and reception is a waste. Guests often use wedding attendance as an excuse to take a vacation themselves, he said.
Winikka accidentally spent part of her honeymoon last spring with friends — after her destination wedding in Arizona, she and her husband did a honeymoon road-trip in the Southwest, visiting major sites including the Grand Canyon. "A couple friends of mine did the same first part of the trip," she said. "It was a little disconcerting."
Couples who aren't keen on the idea of sharing honeymoon time can take steps to boost their privacy. Consider splitting your honeymoon across different resorts or areas, Serino said. It can also help to request a room in a different part of the resort from the rest of the party.