Your honeymoon is supposed to be romantic, intimate and maybe even a little adventurous. It can be a lot of dreamy things, depending on your personal style. But not everyone is so lucky -- even those lucky in love.
If your long-awaited getaway is eclipsed by some misfortune that leaves you embarrassed, sick or sidelined, something has gone drastically awry. These 10 horror honeymoon vignettes are such stories. Some are sad, others shocking. And you've got to hear them all because each one offers brides a valuable lesson.
10: I Came to Relax
After the wedding, they went straight to a nearby hotel for a one-night honeymoon. While Carla was anticipating a romantic dinner, Ben just wanted to stay in. He got comfy in a robe, flopped into bed and ordered room service -- a big steak loaded up with onions and beans on the side. Then, he ordered a movie on pay-per-view.
Carla spent her honeymoon in an intimate setting, just as she expected. But she didn't count on never leaving the room, watching action flicks all night long and choking on the smell of sirloin! Don't worry -- Ben made it up to her after the baby was born. He took her on a week-long Mediterranean cruise, and they both laughed about how clueless he'd been.
The Moral: Don't let your special trip spiral out of control! Remind your partner that you're celebrating your union, so you need to make joint decisions about dining and activities. If all else fails, let him lounge in the room while you make good use of the hotel's amenities -- spa, anyone?
9: H2O No!
Jennie had heard the warning enough times: Don't drink the water in Mexico! But when she was in Cozumel on her honeymoon, she forgot that advice also goes for ice cubes.
On their first night in town, Jennie and her new husband, Mike, sat outside on a crowded veranda listening to the ocean and a festive mariachi band. She ordered one fresh margarita on the rocks after another; her husband opted for cervezas. Everything was perfect until a terrible feeling hit her. Jennie knew instantly that it was Montezuma's revenge and made a beeline for her room.
She recovered within a few days, but Jennie regretted all the time she spent inside and away from the beach … and she didn't touch another margarita for months afterward. The bright side? Mike got to show off his bedside manner by playing nurse.
The Moral: Tie string around your finger if you have to, but remember to consume only bottled water and ice made with purified H20 in areas where tap water isn't reliably safe to drink.
8: Some Like It Raw
After 16 years together, Dan and Dave playfully explain they're happy together because they're both so similar. "For the most part, it makes our dynamic really easy," Dan says.
But there are certainly times their sameness backfires, like on their honeymoon. The couple readily admits neither is "detail-oriented," which is how they accidentally signed up for the wrong vacation. It was too late to back out by the time they realized their mistake, so off they went to a raw food retreat in northern New Mexico.
To their utter disappointment, the retreat was structured so that all 20 participants interacted with one another almost all day to prepare meals with raw foods. Breakfast usually took four hours to make from scratch. Lunch took three. "Kudos to the raw foodies dedicated to optimal health," Dave says, "but what about enjoying a glass of wine with your spouse while watching a sunset?"
The two extroverted social butterflies found little reprieve in the free time activities. Walk a labyrinth -- alone. Meditate -- alone. Attend a fire ceremony -- no s'mores allowed. When the retreat was over, Dan and Dave salvaged their honeymoon by walking over to the gorgeous, neighboring spa and promptly booking a room.
The Moral: Be sure you know what you're signing up for! Read reviews of your honeymoon destination and activities, and speak to the program's coordinator or hotel's concierge if you have any doubts.
7: Over Before It Started
This tale is a blast from the past with a modern moral.
Ed and Barbara met when he returned from serving in World War II. Barbara says he courted her with the fervor of a man in love: flowers, love letters and, in the pre-seatbelt era, he'd hold his arm across her in the car when he braked suddenly. It wasn't long before Ed popped the question.
A happy engagement turned sour for Barbara, who noticed that all of Ed's efforts to celebrate, praise and protect her stopped. Moments before the wedding ceremony, she finally asked him why. "Because I don't have to," Ed explained. He knew she never would've accepted his proposal if he didn't act chivalrous, and since he'd won her over, he didn't plan on keeping up the act.
Ed underestimated Barbara (who is a no-nonsense firecracker of a lady even today at age 85). Decked out in her gown and minutes away from the vows, Barbara told him how it was going to be. To save face, she'd marry him and go on the honeymoon, but they'd sleep in different rooms and get the marriage annulled three months later.
At the hotel in Florida where they honeymooned, she chatted up a handsome desk clerk … and the two got married a year later!
The Moral: Players can't fake it forever. Date Mr. Charming long enough to learn if he's all that he appears to be.
6: On Cancun Time
Sara and James spent the first few days of their honeymoon in Cancun, Mexico, sunbathing and sucking down frosty cocktails. They were ready for an adventure, and a sign in their hotel's lobby caught their attention. It read:
"Depart 8 a.m., return by 4 p.m. See Mayan ruins, cenotes and caves. Lunch provided: buffet of local delicacies!"
The couple's tour group left on time but didn't make it to the ruins until noon because they stopped at four other resorts to pick up more tourists along the way. After an hour on location, everyone packed up and drove to the cenotes for a swim and shower. By then, it was nearly 4 p.m., and Sara and James were ravenous. "Don't worry," they were assured, as the bus pulled up to a gas station in the middle of nowhere. "It's lunchtime!" The buffet they were promised consisted of spaghetti, soda and flan.
At this point, the exhausted honeymooners were ready to go back to the resort. But they were promised caves, and caves they would have! The group arrived at the caves at 5 p.m., an hour after they were meant to be back at the hotel.
After a two-hour tour, it was back on the bus, and they returned around 10 p.m. That night, Sara and James finally got around to trying out the giant soaking tub in their hotel room as they relaxed and laughed about their misadventures.
The Moral: Time is relative depending on where you are in the world, so try to pick up on cultural nuances when traveling. If you're taking an excursion, go prepared with snacks, water and a map.
5: The Boy Next Door
It's generally understood that by date No. 4 or 5 with a new partner, you talk a little about former flames. By the time you two are serious enough to get engaged, you probably know each other's romantic histories pretty well. Leaving out little details can come back to haunt you … and that's exactly what Brittany learned on her honeymoon.
She'd told her fiancé, Tim, that she had a serious boyfriend her senior year of college, but she didn't confess that they'd gotten back together five years later and dated again. Nor did she admit that she still thought about him. And read his old e-mails. And looked at his picture. It's one thing to carry a torch for an old boyfriend, but it's quite another to spend your honeymoon next door to him.
Yes, that's right. Brittany's ex and his new wife were honeymooning down the hall from Brittany and Tim. She had a hard time explaining her discomfort and red-flushed cheeks -- Tim didn't understand why a long-ago ex was having that effect on her. Over cocktails, Brittany finally spilled the beans. To her relief, Tim laughed. "I'm the one who got you in the end," he said. Brittany swears that his confidence was so charming, it finally pushed her ex out of her mind. She deleted the old e-mails and threw out the pictures when she got home.
The Moral: Share your romantic history and true feelings when you have the chance! No bride wants her honeymoon to be a moment of reckoning -- a tropical vacation is better spent sunbathing than explaining yourself.
4: Money Talks
Jackie's parents owned several dozen fast-food franchises. She grew up with every luxury and comfort, but she tried to downplay her wealth when she started dating. She'd learned that some men were just interested in her for her family's fortune.
But Jackie didn't have to worry about any of that with Tony. He absolutely swept her off her feet and seemed to share all of her values and hobbies. (Polo, anyone?) They got married in record time and found themselves on a fantasy honeymoon at a five-star resort in Germany, compliments of her mother and father.
When Jackie overheard Tony on the phone bragging about the posh digs and luxurious wedding he hadn't dropped a cent to pay for, she was more than a little ticked off. Tony came clean and admitted he was feeling insecure about not being the provider in the relationship -- the bragging wasn't what it seemed. Jackie hinted that he could still be a big shot on the honeymoon if he bought her a souvenir she'd been eyeing in the hotel gift shop. And that's how our bride went home with stunning emerald earrings.
The Moral: Be careful about revealing yourself before you've built up trust with your partner! If he treasures you before he finds out you're a Trump or Buffet, chances are he's into you for you, not your money.
3: Outlandish In-laws
Talking about his wife, Julie, makes Michael glow. Discussing his in-laws? That evokes an eye roll and a groan. He's got plenty of stories to explain that gut reaction -- including a honeymoon tale of horror.
Michael's in-laws sent a few gifts to the honeymooners' suite as a special surprise. They coordinated with the hotel before Michael and Julie arrived to have staff arrange some treats in their room. He was thrilled with the fruit basket and champagne, but the framed photo of Julie's parents was over the top -- as was a voice-recorded, custom-written book they made called "Our Love Journey." It was all about how they fell in love and got married. Of course, Michael and Julie were at the resort to celebrate their own love journey, and Michael says, "It was just way too much."
To this day, Michael and Julie can't talk about their honeymoon without dissolving into giggles. They're already planning the book they'll have planted in their daughter's honeymoon suite when she gets married.
The Moral: Draw boundaries and learn to laugh off family blunders when you can. If the in-laws are this invested in your marriage, you can at least bank on them babysitting when you need a night off in the future.
2: Check, Please
A very posh, very expensive honeymoon in Paris was always part of Rebecca's wedding fantasy. She didn't have much money and neither did her fiancé Garry, a fellow schoolteacher. But he was determined to make her happy.
The love-struck groom splurged on the bridal penthouse suite, five-course dinners, pricey souvenirs -- the works. He figured it was the trip of a lifetime, and they'd eventually pay it off.
Wandering through upscale Parisian boutiques, Rebecca made some offhand comments about money that piqued Garry's concern. They were just a few days into their trip when Rebecca revealed that she had some debt … and nothing to show for it. No property. No assets. No advanced degrees.
The couple talked it out and formed a plan to pay it down. Step No. 1? Drastically changing their spending habits. Even in the City of Lights, you can eat cheaply. Just ask Rebecca and Garry, who spent the rest of their evenings sharing crusty bread and stinky cheese -- and toasting with tap water. They've been married for five years now, and when things get a little tight between paychecks, they make a date with that very meal under the stars in their backyard!
The Moral: Before tying the knot, have an honest discussion about your respective financial commitments and goals. After "I do," there should be no big surprises in the money department.
1: Ahoy, Sailor!
Tropical, balmy, romantic -- a real postcard-perfect paradise.
Well, that's what Christy and Ryan expected to find on their honeymoon in St. Thomas. But they got something quite different. The honeymoon suite came loaded with fleas in the carpet and biting, bloodsucking sand flies swarming around the private balcony. There's nothing like painful bug bites to get you in the mood, right? That was bad enough. For Ryan, it got much worse.
While Christy was sunbathing one morning, Ryan took out a sailboat for his first (and maybe his last) time. Enraptured by the beauty of sea turtles, dolphins and the open ocean, Ryan's attention drifted. A gust of wind came up out of nowhere, inflated his sail, and pushed him careening into the beach. A crowd of people were pointing and laughing at the disoriented sailor. Ryan's pride and body were a little injured, and returning to a subpar room was salt in the wound. The couple wasn't too sad to wave goodbye to St. Thomas and start nesting in their new home. They booked their one-year anniversary trip in a decidedly untropical locale: Aspen!
The Moral: Get recommendations for resorts that friends and family have visited, or ask a travel agent for help. Do your due diligence and if possible, include a refund clause in your agreement before booking. And before you venture out on any excursions, be sure you understand how to use the recreation equipment!
Lots More Information
- 10 Honeymoon Destinations for Every Personality
- Aruba, Bahamas: 10 Caribbean Honeymoons
- House or Honeymoon? Why Some Couples Ditch the Getaway
- What to Pack (and Leave Behind) For Your Honeymoon
- Can I afford a honeymoon?
- Are all-inclusive honeymoons worth the cost?
- Why do some couples take a belated honeymoon?