10 Tips To Enjoy Your Honeymoon

Last Thursday, with our anniversary approaching, I mentioned how I was constantly reminded with old posts on Facebook and Timehop about the perfect wedding week we had. Well, this week I am receiving honeymoon posts.

Oh my gosh, I want to go back!

Sidney and I had a wonderful time in Cancun. Our honeymoon was very special and we talk about it often. I thought it might be helpful if I offered my two cents to newlyweds on how to get the most out of a honeymoon experience. I will aim to do this by giving 10 brief tips on how to maximize your once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Sidney and I had an incredible honeymoon at the Sun Palace in Cancun. Tonight I offer my 10 best tips for enjoying your honeymoon.

Take a day to recuperate before flying out – Many couples will hop on a plane the day after their wedding. Sidney and I reserved the Sunday after our Saturday ceremony to just stay in town. This allowed us to pack, say goodbye to visiting family, and decompress just a bit. If you can budget two full days of rest I think that is even better! Some couples will wait six months or a year before departing on their honeymoon but I think it is nice to go with that “wedding glow” still radiant.

Scout out your destination – Chances are you did a lot of research before booking your honeymoon. However, you most likely did that research a year ago. When our honeymoon was about a month away, I started checking Trip Advisor and social media on a daily basis to find out the latest about our resort. I did this so that I would be completely updated on the activities, opportunities, and issues occurring at the Sun Palace. When we checked in that first day, I felt connected and knowledgeable about my surroundings.

Bring sunscreen and other personal items with you – The week before our wedding, we went to Target and purchased sunscreen, lotion, and other products. If you are going to a tropical destination, you will definitely want to do this. If you forget, not only will you be purchasing unfamiliar products, you will be paying extremely inflated prices for something that would only cost you $5 at home.

Pinch yourself – When you arrive at your honeymoon location, hold your spouse’s hand and take it all in for a moment. Breathe the air, admire the blue waters, and run your toes through the white sand. Just take a second to recognize that you are in a beautiful part of the world with your best friend. Pinch yourself and acknowledge that several sunny days in a tropical paradise await you….then go have fun.

Make defining moments – Sidney and I wanted to relax more than anything on our honeymoon. However, that didn’t mean we wanted to be beach bums the entire duration of our trip. We made sure to leave the resort a few times and create some memories. We swam with dolphins, had a blast at a club, and explored downtown Cancun.

Be Romantic – This is your honeymoon for Pete’s sake! Tell your spouse how much you love her and treat her like a princess. Coordinate with the resort to see if there is anything special that can be done. Where we stayed, the staff would sprinkle rose petals on our bed when we returned at night. Champagne would also be waiting. They also set up a candle-lit ocean dinner for the two of us to enjoy. However, in the end, it falls on our shoulders to do all we can to make the trip romantic.

Document it (professionally) – If you are out of the country, using your phone to take photos and video can be problematic. Additionally, who wants to be on their phone during their honeymoon? To make sure we would always remember the beautiful area we stayed at, Sidney and I took advantage of a professional photoshoot service. It was worth every cent. Not only did we have one of the most talented photographers ever, but she made the experience fun and worked extremely hard. The next morning we were able to pick up our photos and they looked incredible. To this day we treasure them.

Branch out just a bit – Your honeymoon is about you and your spouse. Make sure to spend 90% of the time with just her. However, chances are you will be staying at a place with other honeymooners as well. Those people are just as excited and passionate to be there as you are. Because of this common ground, it is very easy to talk to them. Sid and I made several new friends from not just the United States but other places around the world on our honeymoon. You don’t have to do it a lot, but it is rewarding to share your happiness with others.

Identify fine line between indulging and moderation – If you stay at an all-inclusive property, you will have delicious food and refreshing drinks offered to you at every moment. You paid good money for that so spoil yourself and forget about your diet. However, try not to go absolutely nuts because a stomachache later in the night or a hangover the next day is not ideal.

Prepare yourself to leave – It is depressing when your honeymoon ends. However, just focus on what a great time you had and the memories you made. Also, perk yourself up by reminding yourself that the sooner you get home, the sooner you really get to begin the exciting endeavor of married life.

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I can’t stress enough how special a honeymoon is. Use the tips above, but if nothing else, just enjoy yourself and treat your spouse well. Don’t Blink.

Our Memorable Photo Shoot in Cancun

Sidney and I wanted to bring back something from Cancun that would always remind us of our honeymoon. Of course we could have purchased one of the million items from the flea market but those souvenirs have a way of getting lost. Rather, we wanted to almost freeze a moment in time. We wanted to have something that would take us right back to the white sandy beach and the turquoise water.

We wanted to forever remember our honeymoon.

We wanted to forever remember our honeymoon.

In our hotel lobby was a kiosk operated by a company called DreamArt Photography. Early on in our honeymoon, I asked the lady working at the kiosk what time it was (we didn’t carry our phones around). She pleasantly told me the time but while I stood there my eyes caught the large monitor displaying rotating photos of happy couples. The pictures weren’t like anything I had ever seen. Each image contained so much detail, so much personality, so much emotion. Best of all, the photos were set against the backdrop of the beautiful beach at the resort we were staying at, Sun Palace.

DreamArt Photography is a company that takes candid photos of couples in tropical locations.

DreamArt Photography is a company that takes candid photos of couples in tropical locations.

For a second I turned away from the kiosk and started walking back to the elevator but then I went back to the desk and talked to the woman about the photos. She told me how DreamArt Photography worked and explained rates and availability with me. I knew if Sidney and I took time out of our vacation to do a photo shoot, we wouldn’t regret it.

I knew the photos I saw of other happy couples would morph into photos like this if we went through with our own photo shoot with DreamArt Photography.

I knew the photos I saw of other happy couples would morph into photos like this if we went through with our own photo shoot with DreamArt Photography.

I pitched the idea to Sidney a day later. I was sensitive to the fact that she probably wouldn’t want to waste precious morning time to be in front of a camera while people on the beach stared at us. But she was totally down for it! The two of us knew this would be that special keepsake from our honeymoon that we would always cherish. Also, like I said, we didn’t have our phones with us much of the trip so we didn’t have many of our own photos from our time in Cancun. This would fill that void.

We wanted something that would remind us of beautiful Cancun.

We wanted something that would remind us of beautiful Cancun.

We scheduled our session on Thursday of our honeymoon week. On Friday morning we were the stars of a photo shoot! DreamArt Photography contracts out superb independent photographers. The day of our session we met ours. When we met her, she sat us down in the hotel lobby and gave us a quick pep talk. In her thick accent, the photographer told us that we would work together to create great shots. She told us the effort we put in would be the direct result of the final product.

In order for our photo shoot to be successful we were going to have to work hard and have fun.

In order for our photo shoot to be successful we were going to have to work hard and have fun.

We started by taking photos in casual clothes around the resort. We went on staircases, patios, and balconies. We even posed on the hotel floor itself. I guess I shouldn’t even use the word “pose.” Our photographer was strictly against anything that was posed. Rather, she would just have us interact. For example, for the floor shot she just told us to get comfortable and then she directed me to “whisper something sweet into your wife’s ear.”

This was one of our photos on the floor.

This was one of our photos on the floor.

After we did our more formal shots around the resort, it was time to hit the beach. Sidney and I changed outfits and then we walked out on the sand with our photographer. This was where the real work of the shoot took place. Our photographer had us running back and forth along the shore. She had us kicking sand. She had us splashing water at each other. She had us doing all of this over and over. One particular point that sticks out to me was when I picked up Sidney and spun her around…about 8 different times. I was so incredibly dizzy that I thought I would pass out.

I was so dizzy after we perfected this shot. However, I love how it turned out.

I was so dizzy after we perfected this shot. However, I love how it turned out.

By the time our shoot was over we were ready for drinks! We had given 100% but our photographer probably gave 110%. While we were in comfortable beach clothes she was not. She worked extremely hard to get all the shots that she thought we would be happy with. As we walked off the beach, she told us she took over 1,000 photos of us.

These piggy back photos were some of our favorites that she took.

These piggy back photos were some of our favorites that she took.

The next morning was when we got to view our photos. We went back to the kiosk where our photographer arrived to give the files to the lady working the kiosk. Sidney and I then sat down as the lady played the images for us on the monitor. It was such a cool experience! The photographer had narrowed her work down to about 100 photos or so and most of them looked great. We had just never really seen photographs of us like that before. After we went through all the images, the DreamArt employee went through a couple rounds with us to narrow it down to 12-13 images that we would actually purchase. We made our cuts and by the time we were headed to the airport later that day, we had a true reminder of our honeymoon bliss contained right on a flash drive.

The photos look absolutely effortless. But believe us, there was plenty of effort poured in.

The photos look absolutely effortless. But believe us, there was plenty of effort poured in.

I would 100% recommend DreamArt Photography or other similar companies that set up shop at resorts in tropical locations. You truly get amazing work. Not only that, but I believe it is the best way to take advantage of the beautiful area you are in, an area which you probably won’t visit too many other times in the future. We wanted to cement Cancun in our hearts forever, and these photos will help us do that. Don’t Blink.

Our Mexican Honeymoon

Some couples take their honeymoons right after the wedding, others wait until six months or even a year down the road. Sidney and I did the former but it was semi-delayed. We got married on a Saturday afternoon but didn’t leave until Monday. This allowed us to have a final day with out-of-town family and to do some packing.

On that Monday morning, we flew to Cancun. After going through customs and getting through the airport we hopped on a van that took us to our home for the next five days.

Sidney and I in the van taking us to the Sun Palace Resort.

Sidney and I in the van taking us to the Sun Palace Resort.

I booked our honeymoon at the Sun Palace. This particular resort marketed itself on being an adults-only, intimate property built for couples. It also made it known that the service offered would be second to none.

Sidney and I at the start of our honeymoon.

Sidney and I at the start of our honeymoon.

Definitely no false advertising here.

The Sun Palace was spectacular. When they brought us a damp towel and a drink the moment we stepped into the place I knew we were in good hands. Our room overlooked the beach. We had an oversized jacuzzi that was in the regular room area. Our refrigerator was fully stocked with sodas, juices, and different types of beer. We had a liquor dispenser with four different bottles. Mind you, this was an all-inclusive resort so we could go absolutely nuts on all the alcohol, entertainment, and food we wanted.

This was the view from our room balcony. This is completely unfiltered, I took this from my iPhone. It was beautiful.

This was the view from our room balcony. This is completely unfiltered, I took this from my iPhone. It was beautiful.

Ah yes, let me quickly describe the food. It was phenomenal. The place had four different restaurants (Asian, Italian, Mexican, steakhouse) where we could eat at on a nightly basis. We could enjoy all the drinks, appetizers, salads/soups, entrees, and desserts we wanted. We both liked the Asian restaurant the best. One night the resort gave us a special honeymoon dinner where we sat outside and ate from a menu prepared just for us.

The food was so good and I took so many photos that I had to make a collage of collages! Here are some of the dishes we ate.

The food was so good and I took so many photos that I had to make a collage of collages! Here are some of the dishes we ate.

For breakfast and lunch, Sun Palace offered a buffet but that ugly word (“buffet”) doesn’t do it justice. What was offered was a wide selection of the freshest meats, pastas, breads, and fruits you will ever find. I looked forward to that morning meal each day and savored every bite on my plate. One final note on food before I give it a rest…the room service was delicious and fun. One night we ordered cheesecake and French fries. Another night we ordered pepperoni pizza. Another evening we ordered ice cream sandwiches. One morning we had them bring us up pancakes, eggs, sausage, and fruit.

My mouth is watering just looking at this. The food was just so fresh and delicious.

My mouth is watering just looking at this. The food was just so fresh and delicious.

I promise we did more than just eat. A lot of our time at the resort was spent at the gorgeous infinity pool that overlooked the white sand beach. We caught some rays, spent time at the swim up bar, played water volleyball, and relaxed at the edge of the pool where we admired the view. During the late afternoons and evenings we would hang out in the lounge bar where we would enjoy the entertainment (someone would be singing or playing an instrument), nibble on appetizers, and/or play ping pong. One night we were selected to participate in a string of activities where we had to compete against three other couples in front of what seemed like every guest at the resort.

I snapped this photo of a portion of the pool we hung out at so you can see how it overlooked the ocean.

I snapped this photo of a portion of the pool we hung out at so you can see how it overlooked the ocean.

We went off the resort every now and then too. We traveled to an island where we swam with dolphins. We paid a visit to the flea market. We ate at an authentic Mexican restaurant. We went to a sister resort of the Sun Palace that had what seemed like 50 different pools and 100 different restaurants. We hit up a club. All of these experiences were fun and I will share a little bit more about certain ones in future blog posts.

Sidney and I enjoying a Mexican sunset after our romantic honeymoon dinner.

Sidney and I enjoying a Mexican sunset after our romantic honeymoon dinner.

Besides just spending time together, another big highlight of the honeymoon was meeting people. Throughout those five days, Sidney and I met a lot of other couples. We chatted and hung out with newlyweds that married on the same date as us! We also met people who were celebrating anniversaries, renewing their vows, or just enjoying a romantic getaway.

Sidney and I with some of the people we met in Mexico. This is us at the swim up bar (photo credit to Angela).

Sidney and I with some of the people we met in Mexico. This is us at the swim up bar (photo credit to Angela).

The honeymoon was a perfect mix of about 70% relaxation and 30% going out and doing things. Best of all, it was romantic. Aside from cheesy honeymoon t-shirts the Sun Palace gave us, they did several more meaningful things. They would sprinkle rose petals on our bed, send up champagne to our room, and pretty much every staff member would tell us congratulations. Our honeymoon felt like…well…our honeymoon?

We have many experiences and great photos to remember our honeymoon by.

We have many experiences and great photos to remember our honeymoon by.

Sidney and I would like to return one day to the Sun Palace. Until then, we have some really cool experiences and photos to remember it by. We certainly enjoyed our five days in paradise. Don’t Blink.

Super Size This Thursday Rundown

Thank you for welcoming my blog back inside the screen of your computer or smart device. It is time for the weekly tradition of the Thursday Rundown…

“Concussion” – On Martin Luther King Day, Sidney and I went to the mall and decided to watch a movie. We did not look at showtimes before arriving and went up to the box office blind. The only movie that was showing in the next half hour was Will Smith’s “Concussion.” Although not my first choice of films, we bought tickets to see it. The movie exceeded my expectations, mostly because my brother gave it such an uninspired review. I had no idea that Smith had assumed a Nigerian accent for the role until the first scene of the film but he was fabulous. I enjoyed the story and social commentary that defined the production. I would recommend “Concussion.”

Our "Concussion" tickets from this past Monday.

Our “Concussion” tickets from this past Monday.

Trump – Sorry to all my readers who despise him but I can’t stop talking about Donald Trump! Each day he seems to grab the headlines and increase his stock. I am observing this all in awe. Again, this is not because I idolize the guy but rather because I admire his calculated strategy. I have to give him credit and say I was very impressed with his debate performance last week. His improvement from the first debate (where I ripped him) to the one this past Thursday was remarkable. As we get closer and closer to Iowa, the race keeps getting better and better.

“Super Size Me” – It only took me about 13 years to finally see one of the most famous documentaries ever made. Last evening I sat down and watched “Super Size Me.” I enjoyed watching the filmmaker go to different McDonalds restaurants around the nation and stuff his face. I also found the history and interviews contained in the documentary very interesting. However, I didn’t take his results too seriously. I would have found it more intriguing if he went on a McDonalds diet but didn’t super size everything and also found the time to exercise a few times a week. I think the filmmaker was too set on proving his point that McDonalds is terribly unhealthy. I mean come on, I could gain just as much weight by going on a “mother’s cooking diet” where I only ate large portions of my mom’s food and didn’t exercise A diet that was somewhere between Jared’s Subway diet and the super size method mixed with some physical activity would have produced a better documentary with more impactful results.

In honor of a documentary about eating hamburgers, here is a photo of me just about to eat a hamburger.

In honor of a documentary about eating hamburgers, here is a photo of me just about to eat a hamburger.

Super Bowl Choice – It hurt watching the Seahawks get eliminated last weekend. I was thankful though that Seattle actually made a game out of it after trailing 31-0 at the half. No questions asked, I definitely want to see a Carolina Panthers vs. Denver Broncos Super Bowl. When it comes to the NFC rep, I want to see the team repping the Carolinas make it! The Panthers have had such a good year, I would like to see it culminate in a Super Bowl appearance. As for the AFC rep, I detest the New England Patriots so much that the motivation to see the other team advance is already there. Adding more to my case for cheering for the Broncos is that I am a Peyton Manning fan and I would have no problem seeing him reach another Super Bowl.

Wedding Update #16 – I do have a significant item to report in this latest update…I booked our honeymoon!! After much research and discussion about what we exactly wanted, Sidney and I will be staying at the Sun Palace in Cancun. We ended up booking with the Sun Palace because it is a couples only resort and it consistently appeared high on lists ranking the best hotels in Mexico. I depend on Instagram to gain honest feedback on hotels/restaurants/venues/etc. and everyone I messaged remarked that Sun Palace is nothing short of superb. Take a look for yourself if you want, we can’t wait to go!

We will be going to a resort that is basically made for honeymooners...the Sun Palace.

We will be going to a resort that is basically made for honeymooners…the Sun Palace.

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Take solace in the fact that the days are getting longer. Late January might not be the best time of the year but each day is a gift. Have a great weekend. Don’t Blink.