On the flipside, don't be so brief that you barely have time to take your shoes off. Weddings are crowded, loud, traumatic events, and you'll want some time before you have to get back to reality. Three days is usually a good minimum—longer than a weekend, shorter than can cause problems if real life is anxiously awaiting your return.
7. Embrace the Cliche
You may have an irresistible urge to avoid other newlyweds on your honeymoon, and perhaps that's why you're ruling out tropical islands and mountain getaways. But before you buy two round trip tickets to Manhattan (or London, or even Paris) just remember that your wedding is a big chaotic event, and you might not wish to follow it up by visiting a big, chaotic city. Even the most stubborn of urban adventurers can become fond of sand and sun when confronting a serious case of post-marriage exhaustion.
8. Know Your Adventure Threshold
Perhaps you read that last tip and you're still not convinced. That's fine—you are perfectly within your rights to prove that the dream honeymoon can also be the dream vacation. Still, do everything you can to cut down on flight times and ratchet up the creature comforts, even if it means spending a little extra. You'll appreciate that you did.
9. Know Your Spending Limit
As with everything else involved with this damned event, the honeymoon is going to set you back some scratch, so figure out what you have to spend in advance and plan accordingly. You may have to make some choices between having a short vacation in the lap of luxury or a longer one with half the amenities. On one hand, you can't miss what you haven't experienced, so having half the amenities may be just fine for you. On the other hand, you may never get a chance to go all out again with so few other considerations, so it might do you right (and earn you years of goodwill with your fiancee) to opt for luxury. If you can afford both, bring us along, please.
10. Make Sure People Know You're on a Honeymoon
Many hotels and resorts basically exist to service honeymooners. So as you're calling around to places and making reservations, don't be shy about telling people that you'll be on your honeymoon. Some may provide chilled champagne upon your arrival, a more private room, or even something as simple as fresh flowers. When you unlock the door for the first time, these amenities can be a nice reminder that this isn't just another vacation.
11. Do Something, Do Anything
If you plan to postpone the honeymoon, you nevertheless must make plans to get away for a few days immediately following the wedding. A family cabin, a bed and breakfast, a motel with a pool that's ten miles from your house—whatever it is, go there and get acquainted with your new life companion. Otherwise your life might not feel different enough after the wedding to have justified all of the activity.
Excerpted from The Groom's Instruction Manual by Shandon Fowler. © 2008 Quirk Books.