I never knew how much I would appreciate a honeymoon. To me, the big sha-bang was always the wedding. I spent my childhood dreaming about my wedding dress, my first dance, my flowers, my bridesmaids, and my venue, but never about my honeymoon. I just figured it would be a vacation.
No. It was SO much more than a vacation. If I could give all soon-to-be brides advice at the beginning of wedding planning it would be this: skimp on cake, skimp on flowers, skimp on whatever you need to skimp on in order to take a nice, relaxing, long honeymoon.
I had no idea how much fun the honeymoon would be. After crazily planning our wedding in 5 months from 1,200 miles away, we needed a nice relaxing honeymoon. Neither of us were picky where we went, so when Sandals was offering the cheapest rooms (and the flights to match) for Grande Ocho Rios in Jamaica, we were in.
I can not tell you how much we loved Jamaica, especially with Sandals. I promise, Sandals is not sponsoring this post, we just loved it that much. Grande Ocho Rios was awesome. It was huge; there were two sides of the resort and you had to take a bus to get from one side to the other. We stayed on the "Manor House Side" with the big, giant pool. We had our own private villa with a private pool that we shared with four other villas. It was heaven.
The best thing about this resort was that there was always something going on. There was a volleyball game in the Manor pool, or there was karaoke in piano bar, or there was a talent show in the amphitheater. You could rent kayaks, you could go snorkeling, or you could learn to sail. But while all this was going on, you could also lay in a hammock and listen to the ocean, or you could swim up to the bar and talk with the locals who work there, or you could feel completely secluded.
Every night, dinner was an event. We would get dressed up, and pick the restaurant (actually restaurants, thanks to J) we wanted to go to. Sometimes there were street parties for dinner. Others there were beach parties. Others, we simply settled on one of the resorts 8 amazing restaurants. But we always took a picture before going out.
We only ventured off the resort twice. Now, this is completely not our style, but that just goes to show you how different a honeymoon is than a regular vacation. We were more than happy just relaxing at the resort. But, when we did venture out, we went to the art market and got some really awesome artwork, and we went zip lining. That was an adventure.
First, we piled into a small little van. All 17 of us. And then we drove on a one lane highway ("It's one way, both ways" said our driver) up the side of the mountain. Yes, we did see vans very similar to ours on the side of the road... 25 feet down in the bush. And yes, there was one point when we stalled and rolled backward down the mountain for a minute. But we got there, and the drive was more than worth it.
On our last night, there was a beach party. The set up amazing food stations, lots of tables, and entertainment. Little did we know, we would become the entertainment. You see, our MC for the night asked for people who wanted to learn to dance Raggae like a true Jamaican. Well, we did, of course. Unfortunately, it became painfully aware to us after we had already raced up there that this was a dance contest not a dance lesson. Whoops.
Well, I won second runner up. But my new husband was crowned Jamaican Dance KING. He won the whole contest, and has not let me live it down, to this day.
So that was fun. As much fun as we had on our honeymoon, I don't think it would have been the same if we didn't meet all the amazing Jamaican people who worked at the resort. We made friends with "playmakers," bartenders, and waiters. Hands down, the best thing about Jamaica is its people. And the beaches don't hurt.
So there you have it. Not just our honeymoon, but our whole wedding. In a week. Now it's time for me to celebrate one amazing year with my husband. It's been the best year of my life, and if the next 50 are half as good as this one, I can't imagine anything being better.