The Honeymoon Departure: Getting Out of Dodge

You’re close. Soon you’ll be on the beach, slurping mango daiquiris (the honeymoon is the only time a man is permitted to have a daiquiri), and having the most sex since college.

Maybe. You’re still not out of the woods. If you bungle the departure, you’ll spend your honeymoon on the phone with airlines, frantically searching for emergency hotels, or begging for transportation like Steve Martin in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. It’s not rocket science so we’ll keep this brief. 10 quick rules:

Rule 1
Don’t leave the next morning

We can’t stress this enough. After an 18-hour wedding day, you don’t want to haul your hung-over ass out of bed at 5am. There will be many, many awful mornings in your marriage. Why start with the first one?

Rule 2
Don’t leave the next afternoon

Most wedding-porn agrees with the “no next morning” policy, but then, in the next breath, they suggest an afternoon getaway. We dissent. Instead, give yourself the entire day to brush off your hangover, catch up with your wife, open gifts, thank your family and friends, unwind, exchange lingerie (hopefully a one-sided exchange), and, well, screw like jackrabbits.

Rule 3
Call ahead to insist on perks

Lobby for discounts, perks, and hook-ups before you actually arrive at the honeymoon. Otherwise you blemish the romance. Do you remember that movie where George Clooney is on a date, charms the woman, and then hands the waiter a coupon for 15% off? Me neither

Rule 4
Lie about when you’re leaving

You don’t technically have to “lie,” per se, but you can be vague about your exact departure. If your wedding is on Saturday night, say, don’t announce that your flight is on Monday morning. Like vultures, guests will feast upon this gap in your schedule, suggesting a Sunday lunch and dinner.

Handy tool: say that you’re busy getting ready for your departure on Sunday. See how that works? It sounds like you leave on Sunday, but what you’re technically saying is that on Sunday, you’re getting ready for your departure (which is actually on Monday).

To clarify: we’re not recommending that you tell a bald-lie to your parents and pretend that you’re in Hawaii when you’re actually two blocks away. Bad karma, plus you’ll probably get caught. And you’ll want to see them on Sunday and pay your respects. The secret, however, is to be vague before the weekend so that you can leave the day mostly free of obligations.

Rule 5
Get anal, make a checklist

Two reasons to do this well in advance. 1) After the wedding, you owe it to yourself to unwind and relax, not stress about whether your camera needs a new rechargeable battery. More importantly, 2) It gives you something not-wretched to do leading up to your wedding. Rummaging through your swimsuits, sunblock, and sandals is the second best remedy for pre-wedding jitters, trailing only alcohol. Here is The Plunge’s honeymoon checklist.

Rule 6
Triple-check the reservations

Yes, we know it’s obvious. Yes, we know this advice is about as helpful as us counseling, “When you eat a banana, make sure that before you start eating, you peel it.” Still. This is so important, so mission-critical, that it needs to be emphasized. Remember, you’re the one running point on Honeymoon Planning. If you screw up you’ll never hear the end of it. Don’t just rely on e-mail or the internet, actually go old-school and call the hotel, resort, and restaurants.

Rule 7
Confirm your passport status

You’ve already done this, right? Check the expiration date. Check your fiancée’s expiration date. If you screwed the pooch and forgot to renew them, relax, you can get a rush service (for a king’s ransom) at sites like this.

Rule 8
Tell your fiancée that you will not go through the wedding ceremony if she insists on buying this

Rule 9
Use her hold name

There’s at least a 70% chance that you don’t want to see your wife chained up at a Gitmo-esque detention center. To avoid drama with airport security, therefore, it’s better to use her maiden name for the plane tickets. And if you have an issue over whether she’s taking your name or not, here is our advice on the name game.

Rule 10
Buffer the back-end

No, this isn’t sex-talk. Just imagine the most perfect tropical getaway…and then flying home at 3am and getting up for work the next morning. Don’t begin your marriage in hell. Instead, give yourself at least one “buffer day” at the end of your trip. This might be the first night home in weeks. Give some space before the ugly reality of work e-mail, deadlines, and quarterly budget meetings. If vacation time is tight, it’s actually more relaxing to have one less day in paradise to preserve your buffer. Trust us. You’ll thank us later.

Rule 11
Don’t get killed

And one bonus step: especially in light of the recent news in Mexico, if you’re traveling to a foreign country, check the news for any safety updates, cancellations, or civil war. A honeymoon, ideally, should not end in death.

Next up: your most important mission of the honeymoon–not getting your new wife pregnant.

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