While we were planning our wedding we always thought we would never be able to afford to go on a honeymoon, we had always said that once the wedding was over our honeymoon would be spent at home in our own house giving our head some peace. It got to the beginning of 2017, we were on our final countdown to the wedding and we started to think maybe we deserved some time away. Our first thoughts were maybe we should just take the weekend and have a minimoon in Ireland somewhere, so we booked a weekend in Donegal, in the Redcastle hotel (www.redcastlehoteldonegal.com). After this was booked we got the itch to go further, we knew we couldn’t really afford it with the massive cost of a wedding, so we started looking into how much a once in a lifetime trip would cost and how we would be able to afford it. Let me just start with this, we would have been totally fine moneywise if we hadn’t bought our home in the middle of our wedding planning process but no regrets. So, we began our research, hubby to be and I sat down and thought about where we wanted to go and came up with Mexico, the Caribbean, Thailand or a massive road trip across the USA. All of these options sound amazing and I would love to do each of them!
When we were choosing places to go our thought process was pretty much this…let’s go somewhere we will never be able to go to again, a once in a lifetime experience, total 5* and no kids. It’s not that we don’t like children actually we love them but we didn’t want to listen to other people’s children when we wanted to be in total relaxation mode. We had a look around and we asked friends and family about their honeymoons, where they went and what they thought of their destinations. The number one piece of advice we received was to
“go somewhere you will never be able to go once you have a family”.
Let me tell you how we narrowed it down. We looked at Mexico and it is somewhere we would love to visit but a number of our siblings had gone there on their honeymoons and absolutely loved it but if you know me or Brian you will know that we don’t like to go anywhere or do anything that everyone else has done. After being the younger children in our households we have a small chip on our shoulders about copying anything our siblings have done. So that was Mexico off the honeymoon list and onto the future holiday list. Thailand was at the top of the list for a while because it was so inexpensive and there was so much to do but we found that we would love to travel around a little and see multiple islands and beaches and we weren’t too keen to do this while on honeymoon so we decided against it, again this has been added to the future holiday list. For a long time, Brian and I have wanted to do a USA road trip. We looked into an east coast road trip, a west coast road trip and the route 66 trip, we did some research into this and seen how viable it would be on our budget and it was working out a little too expensive and again we thought we may not want a holiday that was all go. A road trip in the USA would be incredible and definitely something we will look into in the future. But for our honeymoon, it just wasn’t relaxing enough. Lastly, we looked into the Caribbean, to us this was the picture-perfect place, blue skies, bright blue sea, white beaches, next decision was what island and what kind of resort we wanted to go to. When we decided on where we wanted to go we took a trip to Virgin holidays travel agent to have a discussion about prices and options. We wanted a package holiday so it would be as stress-free as possible. I guess the reason for a honeymoon is to relax after all the wedding planning so we didn’t want a big job of planning a honeymoon.
For what we decided on you will have to wait until my next post…
We were very lucky when we booked our weekend in Donegal because we had bumped into the Redcastle Hotel’s promotional team while shopping in Belfast in Victoria Square where they had a deal on. We had a conversation with the staff there and discussed what facilities were there and if they would do something special for us as we would be newlyweds at the time of visiting. The promotional staff took our details and our wants and needs and emailed us the following day, it was a nice touch to have such fast response to our personal enquiry and overall we were really impressed. When we decided on a minimoon we wanted a hotel that had a nice restaurant and spa on site and was in a beautiful location and Redcastle ticked both of those boxes.
When we arrived at the Redcastle hotel we had arrived earlier than check in but the staff were fabulous and took our bags and gave us a €10 voucher to spend in the bar, we quickly obliged and went to the bar to discover they had a large gin selection which we were over the moon about as we would be fond of the gin. When our room was ready a member of staff walked us to our room and carried our bags which was a lovely touch. Once we had arrived at our room we discovered that we had been upgraded to a beautiful corner suite right on the sea. Which unfortunately I don’t have any photographs of.
To say that our trip in Donegal was relaxing is an understatement, which is exactly what we had wanted when we booked but after living a fast-paced life for the past two years it was a bit of a shock for both of us and I have to admit we were a little bored. The hotel has its own 9 hole golf course but as neither Brian and I play, we didn’t have any want to use this facility. Part of the package we booked included dinner for both nights we stayed which was so good as it meant that we could both have a drink and we didn’t have to think about driving anywhere.
While on our weekend away we took advantage of all the facilities available to us, we had a bath in our room which is quite unusual so that was one of the first things I had done when we arrived. We used the Spa and Brian and I got a couple’s massage and it was amazing! There is nothing nicer than a full body massage after two years of wedding planning. After our massage Brian and I went to the swimming pool to check out their leisure facilities, this was nice although a little dated, but the pool overlooked the sea and it was a relaxing environment, there were hot tub and jets in the pool which was quite soothing.
We also used the restaurant on both nights we were staying at the hotel and the food was lovely, my only criticism is that with the offer we had booked through there was a special menu that was quite limited and it did not change so although this would be perfect if you were only staying the one night it was a little repetitive for us as we were eating there two nights in a row.
Overall our weekend away was exactly what we needed and we felt very special during our stay. We went on our minimoon just after our wedding as we waited a couple of months to go on our big honeymoon. I would recommend this method to everyone post-wedding as it allowed us to save some money and see many of our guests again after the wedding. We had been told by friends and family that when they went on their honeymoon straight away they felt like they had missed the buzz about their wedding and when they came back from their honeymoon they had wedding blues as they had the high of their wedding and the high of their honeymoon and once they had come home it was a hard crash back to reality. So, having our wedding in August and then waiting until October to have our honeymoon was perfect for us and our little trip to Redcastle allowed us to ease back into reality post wedding and we still had the big honeymoon to look forward to! Its almost like we were floating for a few months and once we had come home from our honeymoon we had mostly adjusted to married life and being back to work.