From the hot weather to the even hotter sex appeal of Barbados, I was always a fan of the sunny Caribbean island. There’s something about that deliciously attractive location that makes it one of my favourite destinations, so when Liz told me she’s getting married I immediately knew what I wanted my wedding gift for her to be. She’s my best friend and her husband’s a lovely guy, and I knew that she absolutely deserved the greatest damn vacation in the world (thanks for putting up with me all these years, Liz!)
Not to brag (well, maybe a little), but I’m pretty sure Liz and her hubby had the time of their lives. Aside from seeing her happy, the whole thing did give me some experience with honeymoon organization and planning, especially because I was organizing it for someone else and had to get every detail right. I’d like to share all that I’ve learned in hopes it might help you plan your own honeymoon and see the wonders of Barbados for yourself!
Consider the Time of Year
Something to bear in mind when travelling to Barbados is the time of the year. While you can’t really fully influence when your friends have time to go on their honeymoon, you should be aware that hurricanes can sometimes be a problem during August, September, and October. It’s rarely a real issue, however, and if those months suit your friends best, then go for it. They might have adventurous weather, but that won’t be likely to ruin the fun.
However, from January to April, the weather will be the least humid, and there’s something so splendidly relaxing about going to a vacation in the middle of winter or early spring and getting a gorgeous tan while everyone else is shivering back home.
Probe your Friend for Details
Be subtle about it! I’m sure you can pull this off with ease, just ask your friend to tell you about the wedding and what she plans to do after, and she’s bound to babble happily and give you all the details you need. That way you’ll know exactly what she wants and expects after getting married, and you can also slip the idea of Barbados somewhere in the conversation and make her excited about the destination.
Learn Their Schedule
If you’re helping her with the wedding, you’re probably privy to her personal schedule and have at least a general idea about when she’ll get time off from work and when she can afford to go to Barbados. Once you know that, you’ll be able to start booking the hotel and the plane tickets.
Consider Giving Them the Gift in Advance
While getting up to give a speech at their wedding and announcing to the whole room you’re gifting your best friend a honeymoon trip is a very movie thing to do, in real life it’s kind of impractical. They’ll probably already have something planned by then, and they’ll generally need time to prepare their documents, packing essentials, and get time off from work. Besides, telling them in advance doesn’t lessen the impact and the generosity of your gift. On the contrary, you might help the bride feel relieved because it’s one less thing she’ll need to plan and worry about. Invite them over for dinner, then spring the surprise on them during dessert!
Do Your Research
The earlier you start, the better price you’ll get for the trip. Start at least 6-8 months before the wedding, especially if you want to get them premium rooms at a luxury resort. Barbados has everything from golf courses and great surfing spots at Bathsheba Beach, to the calm turquoise waters of Dover Beach. I had visited this island before so I had the luck of knowing what’s out there, but if you’ve never been you better read up and learn all you can about this paradise location.
You can make a whole itinerary or just give your friends a few suggestions on what you think they should see. Harrison’s Cave is a popular attraction, and it’s definitely one of the must-see places. It’s a pretty limestone cave that will give them ample opportunity to take plenty of photos, but if they’re fans of good booze maybe they’d enjoy visiting the St. Nicholas Abbey – a rum distillery and a 350 year plantation home that houses a museum and several gardens and orchards. Another great, romantic place are the Hunter’s Gardens, which are filled with not only interesting and unique plants, but animals such as hummingbirds and small monkeys.
When I was doing my research, I found this agency, and I see they have recently done an entire piece on honeymoon planning, so it might be a good place to start. Remember to look at at least ten different agency offers, because you never know which one can have a special offer.
Set Aside a Budget
How much are you willing to invest in this? If you want to go all-in and cover all the expenses of the trip, then you’ll definitely need to set aside the budget for it and make sure you do it. You don’t want to end up pulling away at the last moment, and you don’t want to get lost in the dreamy excitement of making your friends happy without considering all the costs carefully. For the most part, booking the accommodation and buying the plane tickets is more than enough, and you can leave the rest to the couple itself.
Even if you know your friend really well, try not to over-plan the honeymoon and jot down every detail on their itinerary. You might not know what her husband would enjoy the most, and you want to leave them the room to make their own plans and pick what they’re interested in seeing. Perhaps they’re adventurous spirits who want to soak up the Bajan atmosphere of Bridgetown and its amazing bars, or maybe they are history buffs who’d enjoy seeing the Garrison Savannah Area. Even if you know them well, let them figure this out on their own. They’ll appreciate being able to make their own customized idea of a perfect honeymoon.
Being generous with your friends always feels good. Liz and I have been there for each other through thick and thin, and being able to give her something that helped her kick-start her new life in a good way made me immensely happy and satisfied. If you can afford making a grand gesture like this for your friend, I say go for it. Money aside, it will solidify your friendship and make the bond between you even stronger. And hey, Barbados is pretty amazing!