TO PREMOON OR NOT TO PREMOON: THAT IS THE QUESTION

The eponymous hero contemplated suicide in the second half of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and it was way less fun than when I contemplated a bunch of honeymoon options.

Must confess, I am a complete travel-fiend. I love everything about it: researching, planning, packing, being in transit, arriving in an unknown place and soaking everything up to look back on in my mind’s eye when it’s a rainy day.

I love making up a flask of tea and rounds of sandwiches for a long road-trip, creating playlists to listen to on the journey and plotting out our route on the road atlas. Plane journeys are even more exciting because you can watch movies and mix miniature cocktails en-route and the airport shops are a perfect excuse to splurge on paperbacks, glossy magazines and fruit pastilles beforehand. Also, I always make sure I sample about five different Chanel perfumes in duty-free so that I can asphyxiate the poor soul sitting next to me in the economy cabin.

But we all know that travel can be expensive and as you may have gathered from reading about our DIY wedding and my sample sale dress find, I thrive off getting good value for money and sniffing out a bargain.

Steve and I have become super-savvy about where, when and how we book plus we’re also getting very good at negotiating! We’re also mindful about what we’re spending in other areas so we can save up for a special trip.

When we arrived at honeymoon talk, back in November, Steve and I agreed on a modest budget and then I hungrily got down to the task of sourcing the most exciting, best-value honeymoon I could find.

Mindful of having the advantage of the six-week school holiday and having heard that it was possible to hunt down a bargain, I began to research twin-centre honeymoons. I had three options in mind: New York with a Caribbean island, California with Hawaii or Sri Lanka with the Maldives. All had a hugely exotic appeal to us but Steve had already road-tripped from San Francisco to Los Angeles ten years ago and we were both concerned that barefoot luxury could get claustrophobic on a postage-stamp sized island in the Maldives. We love a good chill-out but we also like pottering about and exploring.

To be honest, I was desperate to see New York (pictured above by Dark Cyanide). Steve has been there a few times before on work trips but I’ve never ever been. On one trip Steve took a wonderful photo of the Flatiron Building and we have it enlarged in black and white and framed on our kitchen wall. I looked at it every day and dreamed about walking along the high line with Steve, meandering in and out of bookshops and looking up at those buildings.

I wanted to see New York bands like Yeah Yeah Yeahs in their home habitat and actually go to a baseball game. At this stage, I had even made a geeky pinterest board of all the Nora Ephron places we would visit: Café Lalo where Kathleen Kelly waited for NY152 (and Joe Fox showed up instead) in You’ve Got Mail; the top of the Empire State Building where Annie arranged to meet Sam in Sleepless in Seattle; and Katz’s “I’ll have what she’s having” Delicatessen in When Harry Met Sally.

Pouring over photos of Manhattan delicatessens and floating rum-shacks, I delved deeper into New York and Caribbean research. It all looked so tantalising but I felt increasingly dismayed at how eye-wateringly expensive New York in summer was and that the Caribbean seemed to be extortionate – even in the low-season when we were planning to go. I had run smack into a brick wall; the twin centred New York and Caribbean combo all of a sudden seemed horrendously out of our league. In fact, the Caribbean on its own was turning out to be prohibitively expensive.

Steve, having been forced to watch the entirety of the Sex and the City box set with me, had more than a slight inkling that I regarded New York as the ultimate pilgrimage. He said: “Sarah, it’s half the price to go in April. Why don’t we just go to New York then and it can be our pre-moon?”

I was hesitant at first, worrying about how far our funds would stretch. However, my arm was easily twisted when I discovered our bargain honeymoon (which I’ll tell you about in my next post) and I realised our budget would allow us to do both.

And so it’s official, we are flying to New York at Easter for seven blissful nights. We’re staying at One UN – a shiny skyscraper overlooking the East River. Each room has a huge bed and an enormous window with a view of those dreamy buildings – I can’t wait for us to be lying in our big bed, feet all tired from walking all day and looking out at that view.

Steve and I struggled to make it work for us financially, but has anyone out there found a bargain twin-centred honeymoon? Are you planning to take your honeymoon straight after your wedding or are you going to break it up a little? Oh and please send any NYC food, cocktail, exploring tips my way!

-Sarah- x

Lots more travel-tales on my instagram @sweetpeasandsighs