When all the hoopla over the Royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton first started, I thought I was over it before it even began. However, when I saw the replays of the wedding later that day, something happened that I didn’t expect – I cried. Yes, I have to admit that though my own marriage didn’t last, I still get mushy at weddings. I always have so much hope for the newlyweds.
In the United States, the most popular months for weddings are June through September. A couple of generations ago, Niagara Falls was the most popular honeymoon destination. But that’s changed, and today’s brides are choosing to have their wedding in the same location as their honeymoon – it’s what the tourism industry calls a destination wedding, or “weddingmoon.”
Weddingmoons are popular for various reasons, including saving money. According to HoneymoonsBySunset.com the average wedding can cost more than $15,000, while the average weddingmoon can cost as little as $3,000. They’ve become so popular that most resort destinations now have an on-sight wedding planner.
Popular weddingmoon destinations include: cruises, the Caribbean, Mexico, Tahiti, Las Vegas, Walt Disneyworld, and believe it or not – Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Gatlinburg is known as “the wedding capital of the South.” Surrounded by the Smokey Mountains, it’s a weddingmoon destination popular for its more than 20 wedding chapels and its romantic chalets – with Jacuzzis in most bedrooms, and panoramic views of the mountains.
Disneyworld is right up there with Las Vegas as a top wedding destination in the U.S. The theme park’s Fairy Tale Wedding packages can include the chapel, cake, Mickey groom ear & Minnie bride ear hats, and a carriage ride in Cinderella’s magic pumpkin coach. And for those who think Disney is only
for families, you’d be surprised at the lodging and entertainment they have that’s perfect for a romantic honeymoon.
Not to be outdone, Sandals all-inclusive resorts has partnered with Martha Stewart to provide wedding packages costing between $1,600 and $3,700. Some of the items included in the packages are: the wedding consultant, marriage certificate, wedding cake, photographer and honeymoon dinner for two.
Back in the day, it was considered tasteless to have a big wedding at age 40. But today, many women 40 and over are getting married for the first time with all the bells and whistles. So if you’re planning a wedding, or just fantasizing for the future, consider a weddingmoon. And remember: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness” — Mark Twain.
Kalin Thomas is Women at Forty’s Travel & Leisure Editor. She is also Senior Writer/Photographer for SoulOfAmerica. Before starting her own multimedia company, Kalin spent 17 years at CNN where she won several awards for her work as producer/correspondent for CNN’s weekly travel program, CNN TravelNow. She is currently writing a book about her travels. For more information on Kalin, visit www.seetheworldproductions.com.