By Kristin Devoto and Sea Island Life staff
Preparing for a wedding, even with the help of a talented event coordinator, is a massive undertaking. It’s the day that the couple will remember forever, encompassing everything that they feel for each other while simultaneously putting their guests’ comfort above all else. After devoting months to determining every aspect of the occasion—from the venue down to the napkin rings—some newlyweds decide against planning a lengthy, exotic honeymoon, and instead opt for a mini-moon. A growing movement in the wedding world, these shortened honeymoons offer all of the romance minus the stress. “This trend is catching on and is a wonderful outlet for many couples that otherwise would not have the time or finances to get away for an eight-to-10-day trip,” says Katie Huebel, owner and founder of Charleston, S.C.-based WED-Wedding.Event.Design. “Most couples look at a mini-moon as a great getaway to enjoy immediately and then can plan a longer getaway at a later date when time and money are less of an issue. It is a game changer for many.”
Choosing a Mini-Moon
While mini-moons are, by definition, miniature versions of honeymoons, just how much smaller they are can vary greatly. That’s often determined by the wedding location and the motivation for choosing a mini-moon. Factors often include budget, travel logistics and time away from work. “Many couples take on new jobs and have less time for vacation days, which dictates less time for a full week honeymoon,” Huebel says. “A mini-moon allows couples to enjoy a few days post-wedding and still fill their requirements at work.”
Traditional mini-moons are often within driving distance. A quick weekend escape to a relatively nearby destination can offer just the right amount of time away for many newlyweds. Since the duration of the getaway is limited, Huebel suggests working with a reputable travel agent to make the most of your trip, and keeping travel time to a minimum.
Destination weddings offer the opportunity to enjoy a mini-moon at a distant locale without having to travel to another site at all. Once the vows are said, the cake is cut and the farewell brunch has been enjoyed, the happy husband and wife are often exhausted. Instantly setting off for a grand European adventure might feel impossible. The logistics alone are tough to comprehend—an immediate honeymoon would require both bride and groom to pack and carry everything needed for several days of wedding events and their full vacation. Staying put for a few days, though, to soak in the beauty of the destination they chose for their marriage, and recoup some energy, often seems much more attainable.
A mini-moon turned out to be the perfect option for Lisa and Wes Wyatt. The couple—Lisa is from New Jersey and Wes is from Philadelphia—wed at Sea Island over Memorial Day weekend in 2015. On Thursday and Friday, they had events leading up to the wedding ceremony on Saturday. Since taking so much time off from their jobs at once would be difficult for them, the couple planned to take their honeymoon, a cruise across the Atlantic and a stay in Paris, that upcoming August.
After their wedding, the newlyweds were both exhilarated and worn out. “The plan was to go home Monday,” Lisa explains. “We realized there was no way we were getting on a plane. We asked if we could extend [the trip] and decided to stay two more days and make it a mini-moon.”
For couples like the Wyatts, separate trips—a relaxing mini-moon directly after their wedding, followed by a full-length honeymoon several months later—may be ideal. “I think [mini-moons are] a wonderful idea, especially for anyone planning a delayed honeymoon,” Lisa says. “There’s no way to go right back to work and regular life—you need to relax.”
Taking it Easy
Elizabeth Killgallon, Sea Island’s associate director of catering, agrees that mini-moons are a great way to extend the experience
and unwind. “You’ve spent so much time and energy prepping for the wedding that by the time the final guest says goodbye, you and your new spouse are ready to relax,” she says. “Sit back and enjoy the memories that were created over such a busy wedding weekend.”
Huebel agrees. “Weddings are bigger than life nowadays and it is very important for couples to have that time post-wedding to [rest] in an environment all to themselves,” she says. “The week leading up to a wedding is spent being ‘on’ for all of your family and friends. It is a wonderful time but also very stressful. Having a break away from the ‘pomp and circumstance’ of a wedding weekend is key to then re-entering life as a newly married couple.”
The Wyatts spent their wedding night in the main building of The Cloister, in a suite across from the clubroom where their reception took place. “We were sitting on the balcony watching the sunset when we just decided to stay for the ability to spend time alone together,” Lisa says.
Upping the Romance
Mini-moons may be shorter in length, but that doesn’t mean that newlyweds can’t pack in a full honeymoon’s worth of romance—which, of course, is equally important to relaxation after the wedding. Huebel says the key is finding a destination with amenities that will meet each partner’s interests. “If deep-sea fishing excites the groom and a day at the spa excites the bride, then plan accordingly,” she says.
Perhaps even more important than identifying a location with activities for each partner is choosing one that offers experiences that they will enjoy together. “It is very important for couples to assess what they love to do together and then build a trip that reflects those interests,” Huebel says.
After all the wedding excitement, it’s almost guaranteed that newlyweds will benefit from some quiet time. A couple’s spa treatment is a great way to combine much-needed relaxation with romance. The Spa at Sea Island offers a couple’s room where partners can enjoy hours of rejuvenating treatments together, from a bath soak to a massage.
For the ultimate privacy and serenity, Killgallon suggests that mini-mooners at the resort stay at The Lodge, a five-star property complete with butler service. The butlers are available 24/7 and are happy to help with nearly everything, from making reservations to scheduling activities, which allows couples to skip the planning and have the maximum amount of time to focus on each other. “They can sip a cocktail as dinner is served on the terrace and enjoy the sunset over the water while the butler draws them a rose-petal bath,” she says.
Ultimately, the memories created during a couple’s mini-moon are likely to be as cherished as those of the wedding itself. The time together, even if it’s relatively brief, allows newlyweds to reflect on their wedding experience before returning to everyday life as a well-rested new family.
Sea Island offers a wide variety of amenities to cater to mini-mooners’ interests.
After all the time spent considering where to hold their wedding, couples are often too busy before the big day to enjoy the local activities. “People choose Sea Island for so many reasons: the venues, the food, the things to do,” says Elizabeth Killgallon, Sea Island’s associate director of catering. Whether you’re looking for outdoor action, delicious cuisine or relaxation, here are just a few of the many options that the resort offers for mini-mooners.
For the Adventurer:
After they have had some downtime, adventure lovers will have a grown-up field day with all of the action available at Sea Island. From the water, they can set off on a stand-up paddleboard, kiteboard, kayak or Hobie Cat. Then back on land, the Sea Island Shooting School and Broadfield, A Sea Island Sporting Club and Lodge, both offer exciting sport shooting experiences.
For the Foodie:
In addition to the traditionally elegant dinner served at the Forbes Five-Star Georgian Room, guests and members have a wide variety of other dining options at the resort, from rustic Italian fare at Tavola to the classic American steakhouse cuisine at Colt & Alison. For a hands-on experience, couples can arrange a private cooking class with resort chefs, or a wine tasting event.
For the Lounger:
Relaxing at one of our adult-only pools is a great way to unwind. With food and cocktail service, it could easily serve as an all-day activity. For an even more restorative experience, couples can rent a private poolside cabana at the Beach Club, which includes chaise lounges, a sitting area, shower, restroom, flat-screen TV, stocked refrigerator and a food and beverage concierge.