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True-to-You Honeymoon

The thing about planning a wedding on a budget means, by default, you have to plan a honeymoon on a budget. I think we all have this image in our head of a romantic, tropical getaway in the Caribbean. I admit that was my dream honeymoon, especially since we’ll be getting married in November when beach weather here is long gone. Neither one of us are really “beach people” but it would be a lot of fun to explore an island and eat local food. And I’ve been dying to leave the country.

But by the time you add up the cost of 2 round trip flights and all-inclusive stays, the cost ends up being about our total wedding budget. Not gonna happen. I don’t even have a passport right now! And in case you were wondering, there are no all-inclusive resorts in the continental United States. I’ve looked.

A co-worker told me a few weeks ago that it doesn’t matter where you go on your honeymoon, just go somewhere. The down time after the crazy last few weeks of wedding planning and all that family being in town will be necessary, and you want to start the marriage off by relaxing and enjoying each other’s company.

My absolute favorite place in the country is Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He’s never been there before, but he likes the mountains, I know he’ll love exploring with me, and I’ll get to show him a place that’s been a huge piece of my life for the very first time. So we’ve pretty much decided we’ll rent a cabin in the woods somewhere around there.

Still, I couldn’t shake the idea that it wasn’t going to feel like a honeymoon because it wasn’t what I built up in my head, or what the magazines and tourism commercials want you to do.

And then he said the perfect thing at the perfect moment. He said it doesn’t matter where we go as long as we’re together, and where we’re going will be more meaningful because it’s a place I love. 

He is 100% right. We’re not going there because the brochure says that’s where we should go, or because it’s on the latest “Top 10″ list. The mountains are true to who we are. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect place to start our marriage than the place I feel most at home and at peace.

(Plus there’s this cheese shop I’ve been dying to go to in Gatlinburg. And a required stop at the Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen.)

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