23 JAN 2019: Honeymoons are supposed to be the trip of a life time, creating warm, happy memories that last forever. But all too often they there can be disasters that most of us will confess after a glass or more often a bottle of wine. I’m pretty good at planning honeymoons, I’ve had three.

My first honeymoon was in Niagara Falls, I had morning sickness. The next one was a little better, but not much. Both Cam Norton, my late second husband and I knew that after putting on a wedding that included 350 people, blended families, and family members who simply did not get on, we needed some down time-time to relax walk the beach, swim for hours, and do nothing.

I wasn’t writing travel in those days, so we listened when an expert told us late fall wasn’t a good time to visit the Caribbean. Instead of looking for an island paradise we decided to go to Greece, a country we both loved. Well, we loved Greece in a different time of year. Greece in November was cold, sullen and rainy. Those heavenly tavernas were either closed, or it was too cold and rainy to sit outside. I came home sullen, and mad at myself for not doing more research on my own.

We made the best of it but now that I do write travel, I’m usually spending at least some of November in the Caribbean, and in most places, the bugs are no worse and often a lot better than black flies in Muskoka in June.

My third wedding was perfect. Why? We let Sandals do all the work. When our butler called us in Canada to introduce himself and ask what brands he should stock in our bar, I knew this time it would be wonderful.

“I’ve always said Sandals does romance well, and they do, but they do details even better.”

When I asked Tom, who was marrying me for the second time, what comes to mind, he said, “I didn’t understand why people would have a destination wedding. But soon after we arrived, I got it.

“Now I understand why people go to a resort to get married. We sat with the wedding co-ordinator and senior staff and had all the arrangements done in less than two hours, from the location, the flowers, the music the cake, menu for dinner, photo locations, etc.”

We even had a full moon. There were all kinds of pictures, the food was delicious, and hot, and the wedding cake fabulous.

It was all perfect. The rest of the week was to enjoy the guests, and property. It was perfect.” Day after day we relaxed and enjoyed the weather, the pools, the beach and oh the food. We liked the entertainment and we liked being together. There is no cooking or clean up, just time to enjoy each other.

Our daughter Jayne, who flew in from Australia a day before us changed her mind too. “Ma, as you know I’m a back packer, at least used to be. I’m now getting this all-inclusive bit. “She had so much fun, she changed her plans and stayed an extra week.

“She’s still on FB with some of the people she met at the resort.”

We spent the day at the spa, the day before the wedding and my bridesmaid, colleague, and friend Anita Draycott, told everyone about the wedding ... so, many of them came, so did the folks around the pool, and I invited the spa staff. They were all great guests. My other bridesmaid Joan Haines did a fabulous job or organizing us.

What impressed me about our Sandals wedding was that they had second guessed everything. There were two cameras, two sound systems. A backup for any problems. Even two set tables for dinner, one in and one out in case of rain. They were ready for any problems. And so of course there weren’t any. I’ve watched a lot of destination weddings and never seen the wedding planners so organized.

Two months away from our 10-year anniversary, Sandals Whitehouse is now called Sandals South Coast, and has had wonderful things added to the property. They have an over the water wedding chapel, an over the water bar, with hammocks around it. They have over the water suites. They’ve also put in fire pits. I mentioned it would be fun to re-new our vows.

“Not,” said himself. “I still haven’t forgotten that when you got home, you felt so guilty you had two parties one weekend after another for all our friends and relatives. You were so rushed with the arrangements, you had to cancel your hair appointment”, he reminded me. We were exhausted afterwards.

At Sandals we simply enjoyed the property, our guests, and our love. I guess being married twice to the same man is a little like renewing vows. So maybe we’ll just go on holidays.

9_ion Image credit: Jayne Ion




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Sam Ion

The expert on All Inclusives, Sam delivers up-to-date info on alternate Wednesdays in her column Not Just All Inclusives.

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