This Is How Your Wedding Can Help Pay for Your Honeymoon (Yes, Really)

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If we’re being honest, after all of the planning and preparing that goes into your Big Day, there’s nothing quite like taking a step back to de-stress and relax. Which is why a honeymoon with your sweetie is sooo important. But if you’re worried about cutting into your wedding budget to race off to Bora Bora post-nuptials: don’t be. With SPG Weddings, your dream day will actually earn you Starpoints® towards that honeymoon in paradise. We’re talking free honeymoon nights, you guys. Learn more below.

So we all know SPG Weddings as the perfect place to say “I do” with awesome hotels + resorts located around the world, plus a team of talented Wedding Specialists that are dedicated to crafting that dream day for you and yours. But did you know that you can actually earn bonus Starpoints® when you host your celebration at participating SPG Hotels & Resorts located in North America, Mexico, Latin America and Canada? Well, you can. Which means you can have that awesome party you’ve always wanted (think luxurious accommodations, top-notch service and fun-filled activities), plus a honeymoon that you and yours sooo deserve. It’s such a win-win.

Planning that wedding of a lifetime is a total blast, but planning that wedding of a lifetime PLUS an amazing honeymoon? Even better. To earn those fab Starpoints®, contact SPG Weddings today. You can earn up to 100,000 bonus Starpoints® the moment you sign your contract, receive a complimentary guest room on your wedding night AND a sparkling toast for you and your guests during the reception. And we mentioned the gorgeous locales, right? From Hawaii to Paris to Bora Bora (and more!), it just doesn’t get any better. This is one awesome way to celebrate your nuptials, loves.

*Offer is valid on weddings held by December 31, 2018.

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4 Steps to an Unforgettable Honeymoon

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First comes wedding, then comes…happy honeymoon times! This post-nuptial trip is a time of connection and celebration (and, hopefully, several afternoons spent in cabanas with some cocktails). Since so much of your focus is on the wedding, it’s easy to let the honeymoon slip to the back of your mind. However, with a little thought, you can ensure that this special trip is filled with memories you’ll treasure forever.

Choose Your Adventure

The key to a blissful honeymoon is picking the right place. Now, the right place will vary couple to couple. Think about your tastes and follow your passions to the perfect locale. Are you Anglophiles who love history and strong cups of tea? Say “cheerio” to England! Do you both love sunbathing and drinks decorated with umbrellas and pineapple wedges? Embrace the island life in Ibiza or Hawaii! Of course, your vacation preferences may diverge but don’t worry. Mixing it up on a trip leads to real adventures and may expose you to things you didn’t know you loved. So if your partner is dreaming of Oktoberfest in Germany but you have your heart set on a cruise, go for a compromise, like a riverboat trip down the Danube. It’s fun to see each other in different elements so consider it all part of the experience!

Plan the Itinerary

It’s a good idea to plan ahead to minimize stress and that “how do we get to the hotel??” feeling. You’ll want to figure out transportation ahead of time and buy tickets for some of the we-must-see-these attractions (oftentimes, they’re cheaper online). But once you have those things squared away, feel free to relax and keep your agenda a little, well, open-ended. When you arrive, you might learn about some hidden gems from locals or feel like you want to relax more than hit a ton of sights. This attitude will keep you and your partner from feeling pressured. After all your wedding planning, the last thing you want is stress!

Think Outside the Box

Tradition dictates that the honeymoon immediately follows the wedding. I say, forget tradition! Maybe you want to save up some money before going on a big trip. Maybe you’re still in school or your partner can’t get enough time off from work for a honeymoon. Maybe the idea of heading out town right after the wedding is way too overwhelming. Don’t feel compelled to do anyone else’s version of your honeymoon. I’ve worked with many couples who’ve waited a year to save up for their ideal trip and some who even opted for staycations. No matter what you decide, the only two opinions that matter are yours and his.

Unplug From the World

Set down the phones and leave the computers in the hotel suite. Enjoy walking hand-in-hand down the beach and staying up late with a bottle of local wine, sharing your dreams and secrets. These are the days you’ll be missing and that’s the beauty of life together.

xoxo,

Desiree Hartsock

 

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This Little White Dress Collection is Everything You’ll Ever Need

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A couple weeks ago, we announced the Launch Party for Lilly Pulitzer’s new Lilly White Dress Collection, and if you think we busted out our party shoes and hit the retail floor running, you’re right. It was an afternoon of yummy treats + drinks, plus a whole lot of falling in love with some stunning attire. Couldn’t make all of the festivities? No worries. The celebration is still continuing online.

What’s better than spending the day soaking in one of the prettiest lineups of little white dresses you’ll ever lay your eyes upon, aka, the Lilly White Dress Collection? Well, actually… nothing. Which is why our Launch Party experience was so darn awesome. From chatting with the talented + knowledgeable staff to browsing each and every gorgeous number (check out The Ashlyn Shift Dress – it’s amazing) to sipping on tasty drinks, this was a day that was made for anyone who is tying the knot, honeymooning in paradise or simply planning to bop around the beach all summer long.

The one thing that stood out about Lilly Pulitzer’s new Lilly White Dress Collection? It’s versatility. Because whether you are looking for the perfect dress for that seaside wedding, a chic frock for your rehearsal dinner or a lineup of fab attire that will look fab as you honeymoon through the islands, the new Lilly White Dress Collection has you totally covered. Which makes perfect sense, really, since Lilly Pulitzer stands for Resort 365 and that means rockin’ a beautiful white frock all year long. There are no rules when it’s sunny, loves.

Head to Lilly Pulitzer today to check out the Lilly White Dress Collection online. This is a party that just keeps on going and, trust us… you need to get to know this collection. It’s awesome.

Photography: Sara Kauss Photography

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Lilly Pulitzer is Hosting the Party of the Year – We’ll See You There

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When Lilly Pulitzer announced the launch of her new Lilly White Dress Collection, we threw a virtual party. But what’s better than breaking out the bubbly in our yoga pants? Putting on our sparkliest heels and joining the fun at a retail location near you. Yep, on March 4th, we’ll be enjoying a day of light bites, tasty sweets, yummy drinks and presents, all in celebration of this totally chic attire. We sooo hope to see you there.

When it comes to stunning white dresses that are a must for special events, pre-wedding activities and honeymooning in style, the Lilly White Dress Collection is IT. Think crazy beautiful attire that is perfect for bopping around the beach, toasting the ones you love at your rehearsal dinner or saying “I do” seaside. From the golden details of the Suzette to the flattering fit and flare of the Tilly to the fab fringe detailing of the Simona, each and every piece in this amazing collection is stop you in your tracks gorgeous… and so worthy of a celebration.

Whether you’re looking for that stand-out frock for your bridal shower, honeymoon, wedding or something else entirely, join us for the party of the year on March 4th at a Lilly Pulitzer location near you. Because Lilly Pulitzer + SMP + YOU = sooo much fun. Can’t attend in person? No worries. The celebration continues online here.

Grab your besties and mark those calendars for Saturday, March 4th, you guys. Because missing even a moment of this event is not an option.

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Everything You Need to Travel In Style

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Some items are wedding registry givens (aka pots and pans, serving dishes and stemware) but how about those often forgotten pieces that are ideal for this time in your life (aka when else will you invest in them)? With a honeymoon on the horizon, there’s no better time to add luggage to that registry checklist of yours. Whether your style is chic and trendy or simple and classic, we’ve got all the options so you can pick the pieces perfectly suited for you and your partner to embark on the world together!

The Best Luggage to Register For

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The Best Luggage to Register For

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The Smart Bride + Groom’s Guide to Wedding Registries

SMP’s Wedding Registry ABCs | Unique Wedding Registry Ideas | 10 Must-Have Registry Items

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8 Couples Who Prove Love Only Gets Better With Age

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If you ask us, love is like a fine wine that only gets better with age and in honor of Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we’ve found eight couples who prove it. These sweethearts have spent decades by each other’s side and their stories will remind you why marriage truly matters. Cheers to love beyond the wedding day!

“Three children and six grandchildren later and we’re still together, and enjoying a life together that most folks envy, and many families only hope for. I have a funny feeling that this journey is far from over. We have so much still to see, so many places to experience, and still so very memories to share.”

Fred and Theresa, married 45 years

“Their love story began in high school – Ken says he saw Phyllis playing the piano in the school orchestra and fell in love – Phyllis says it took her awhile to be interested in him. But we know the end of the story! Fifty-seven years, two children, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren later their love for each other is greater and stronger.”

Ken and Phyllis, married 50 years

They built a life together and fulfilled a promise to take care of each other. It is that simple and that extraordinary.”

Kate Ignatowski on her grandparents’ love story, married 66 years

“We dated for a year and a half before Harold proposed on Valentine’s Day. On our honeymoon we went to Yellowstone National Park and Harold told me that he had been saving 50 cent pieces, one at a time, so that he could take me on the trip!”

Harold and Lorraine, married 58 years

Meet Nina & Gramps: they have been married 61 years, have never taken their rings off, and remain the best of friends.”

Lauren Wells Events on her grandparents’ love story, married 61 years

“As they walked to school each day Morton carried Mary’s books for her, they were always there for each other, years later Mary became a French teacher and Morton a doctor. Mary and Morton have now been married 60 years, since that day they have scarcely spent a moment apart. “

Morton and Mary, married 60 years

“I love you for everything you’ve been through with me. You have put up with me for all of these years, and I am as lucky now as I was the day I married you.”

Larry and Caroline, married 54 years

“If I could describe what a life of happiness looks like, I would tell you the love story of my grandparents. This handsome young sailor swept my then 15-year-old grandma off her feet, they married, had three children, 6 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren. They have traveled the world together, owned businesses, built homes, traveled cross country (and to Alaska) in their motorhome, and have had a blast doing it all!”

Shayna San Nicolas on her grandparents’ love story, married 61 years

P.S. Even More ‘Marriage Matters’ Stories This Way!

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Want To Elope in Italy? This is Exactly Why You Should.

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Admittedly, there were more than a few times during my wedding planning process that I wanted to throw in the towel and just elope. We compromised by having a pared down guest list and splurging on our honeymoon—but still, part of me thinks if we could do it again, that this kind of scene would be an absolute dream. Captured by Krystle Akin, every bit of this Italian elopement surrounds the beautiful couple. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

From the Bride… Anthony and I met our senior year of high school. Even though we had both been going to the same school all four years, we had never crossed paths until we were in the same prom group right before graduation. We both had different dates, but all I really remember was him. We talked all night and we were both amazed at how easy it felt.

Graduation came and went – I was in a relationship and he flew to Croatia for the summer to visit family. We stayed in touch as friends from time to time, but went to college in different cities. One year later I was no longer in a relationship and Anthony contacted me after hearing the news. I am so happy he did, because I can’t imagine my life without him. He became my person and I became his. Fast forward 6 ½ years later, Anthony surprised me with a birthday trip to one of my favorite cities: Charleston, South Carolina where he asked me to marry him.

We tried planning a traditional wedding, but it just never felt right. It was all too stressful and overwhelming. Not to mention the cost! We decided that if we were going to spend the money we wanted it to be on something for us. Something less stressful so that we could be in the moment on our wedding day. We are both very private people and we knew an audience would only make us anxious.

We had already booked our photographer, Krystle Akin, and when I told her that we were thinking of eloping to Italy she offered to travel to our destination. We are so happy that she did! Photography was one of the most important aspects of the wedding for me and having a native Texan with us on that day made us feel at home.

We chose Italy, because when we imagined our wedding day Italy is what we saw. The landscapes are epically romantic and we wanted EPIC. I found Borgo Santo Pietro while wanderlusting over Smith Hotels as I typically do. It was perfect. There are no words to describe how stunning Borgo is unless you visit yourself. When we arrived from Siena and sat on the front lawn overlooking the Italian countryside our eyes welled up with tears…and we aren’t even the type of people who make a habit of being overly emotional in public. It was Heaven on Earth and in that moment we knew we made the right decision. The location and main house of the villa has so much rich history. So, not only is it beautiful, but it truly feels special. On our second day there we had an intimate ceremony in the gardens and I remember every stress-free second. We spent our honeymoon traveling all over Italy and it is a time in our life that we will never forget.

If I were to give any tips on planning a destination elopement without breaking the bank I would say it is important to pick 2 or 3 things that are important to you. Splurge on those things. For us it was the location and the photography. I knew that if the location was right everything else would fall into place and if the photography was great I would always have beautiful memories to cherish. For me, my dress was also very important. That dress is what made me feel like a bride. Also, even though it was an elopement planning can be difficult from another country. Since we were so far from our venue we decided to hire a coordinator. We were introduced to Simona Coltellini through Borgo and she made planning that much easier with her vast knowledge of the location.

From Krystle AkinWhile planning a wedding back in the states for over a year Chelsea and Anthony decided instead of having honeymoon in Italy they would get married too. Traveling Italy for two weeks seeing such towns as Rome, Florence, Siena and Positano just to name a few the couple stayed at Borgo Santo Pietro and exchanged vows on a sunny Thursday afternoon. With only the officiant/planner and photographer at the ceremony they committed forever with thoughtful vows and many heartfelt tears. See, these two have known each other since high school and have dated for years. They know the ins and out of each other and even went through purchasing their new home during their engagement. With taking the entire day to slow down, take in the beauty of the Tuscan landscape and not being rushed was a wedding unlike any I have captured before. Not worrying about time we ventured around the gorgeous five star estate and documented its many areas it has to offer for photographs.

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Photography: Krystle Akin | Event Planning: AEB Tuscan Weddings | Wedding Dress: Essence Of Australia | Shoes: Adrianna Papell | Wedding Bands: Americus Diamonds | Suit: J. Crew | Venue: Borgo Santo Pietro | Calligraphy Vow Books: Etsy | Floral: Bianchi Fiori | Grooms Gift: Longines | Jewels: Mikimoto | Ring Box: The Mrs Box | Wedding Dress Hanger: Anthropologie

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5 Ways to Make Your Wedding Registry Meaningful

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Hi SMP brides! Shelby here from Pretty in the Pines! With less than six months left until our wedding, we’ve started the process of registering for gifts. Before making any decisions, I decided to do some research and learn how to make a registry more meaningful and give it some purpose. I kept the following five tips in mind when creating our registry and I hope they’ll help you through the process.

Think About Future Traditions with Holidays in Mind.

When you begin your registry, really think about the family traditions you’ll want to have after you’re married. Personally, I would love to eventually be able to host family dinners around the holidays, something we’ve never had the chance to do.  We don’t have any large sets of plates for families of six or more, so we decided it would be smart to register for entertaining and dining sets for large family gatherings. One thing we use all of the time is our bar cart. Whenever we entertain we have a mobile station to keep the drinks flowing, food nearby, and spirits high. This made us consider glassware and cute bar tools like this as another good place to start when registering.


Make it About What Defines You as a Couple.

Since each couple is unique, make your registry true to who you are as a pair. If you’re more of the adventurous type, keep travel or camping items in mind. If you love to cook, focus on items that will help you in the kitchen. If you’re more casual and rarely have formal and fancy dinners, think twice before registering for crystal glassware you’ll rarely use. Thinking about TJ and me, we love spending time at home. While we love going out and meeting friends, our cozy living room is one of our favorite places. When registering we kept that in mind, adding a couple of cozy pillows, a throw blanket, and a nice cheese plate for wine nights! If you are really adventurous with the registry, try adding a couple of nice small furniture pieces, like an accent chair or ottoman.


Research Alternative Registries.

If you’re a couple who already has every item you need, consider creating a honeymoon registry. Different generations may have varied opinions on this, but some guests may really enjoy putting their money toward an experience rather than a material item. I once read that people who are truly happy spend more of their money on an experience rather than a commodity item. I definitely cherish the time I spend with TJ experiencing life together. This is something TJ and I have been debating. Besides contributing to “honeymoon funds”, some of these alternative registry websites allow friends and family to contribute towards other experiences like a date night, a cooking class, or even donations for a down payment on a house. Some websites also allow for the couple to put a portion of the funds toward a charity.


Consider Gifts That Give Back.

– While doing research on registering, I was surprised and humbled to see how more and more couples were giving guests the option to put funds toward an organization or charity that was important to the couple, as opposed to a typical registry gift. I have been to a few weddings where the couple gives a donation in lieu of party favors, but this really touched my heart. One thing that is very important to TJ and me is giving back, whether it be financially or with our time. We have seen a couple of the experience registries where you can take a percentage of the honeymoon fund and put it towards a charity or special organization. This is something that TJ and I would definitely consider doing.

Blend Your Styles Together!

Registering for gifts with your fiancé is better when both of you incorporate a little bit of your own style to make a house (or apartment) a home. When TJ and I first moved in together, there were a lot of discussions about the décor in our new home. Luckily for me, TJ and I have very similar tastes when it comes to color preferences and furniture styles. There are still a few times where I go a little crazy with art prints, soft pastel furniture like the loveseat in my office, and the blue book collection for our TV stand. But nothing made us happier than when we put up our recent engagement photos in our living room, because it is something we both adore. It is also perfectly fine to have your own space in your new home to be able to take advantage of registry gifts that may not fit your partner. There are a number of things in my office that would not completely fit with TJ’s style and vice versa with our bedroom (TJ’s lair). The important thing is to build and style your home together… and nothing helps with that more than doing a registry with your significant other!

Photography: Blue Barn Photography | Barware: Anthropologie | Blogger Bride: Shelby Vanhoy | Desk: Amazon | Gallery Walls: Minted | Lamp: Joss & Main | Tufted Loveseat: Amazon

Follow Shelby’s Journey Down the Aisle! 

Meet the Bride | Shelby’s Bridesmaids Brunch | Selecting a Venue

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Hot Air Balloon Engagement for a Pilot Bride-to-be

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Leave it to This Modern Romance to photograph one of THE coolest engagements to ever hit our pages. The bride Hillary, a pilot, wanted to involve her love flying and a hot air balloon photo session was just the ticket. Go see Hillary and Tim’s incredible adventure waiting in the gallery this way.

From the couple, Hillary + Tim… We chose to incorporate hot air balloons into our engagement photos because Hillary has always been inspired by hot air balloons. The simplicity of their design makes them not only beautiful to admire, but powerful enough to fly.

“Hot air balloons are symbolic of an adventure where you don’t know where you’ll end up when it’s over. You have to be willing to go where the wind literally blows you. “

-Hillary

Hillary is a pilot, currently working as a flight instructor teaching people to do what she loves: how to fly. Tim works as an electrical engineer. Tim keeps her grounded and always coming back home but never passes up an adventure with her. In just the short two and a half years they’ve been together, they have traveled to Canada, Mexico, New Orleans, Seattle, Nashville and more. They plan on traveling the world together and already have plans to go on a Mediterranean cruise for their honeymoon.

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Photography: This Modern Romance | Hot Air Balloon: Hot Air Fun | Romper + Coat: Anthropologie

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10 Amazing Honeymoon Airbnbs

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For me, there’s nothing quite as addictive as getting lost on Airbnb.

I can spend hours on imagined holidays and would-be city breaks, exploring the world through other people’s homes. (That’s probably why this blog post was supposed to go live yesterday, and didn’t).

But when it comes to planning a honeymoon, we often want something a little more special and luxurious. And the thought of exchanging emails, organising the collection of keys, and unpacking your toiletries in someone else’s bathroom, doesn’t sound so romantic.

But I reckon these places might just change your mind…

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Architect-Designed Villa, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

As Airbnb has grown, so too has its extensive collection of holiday lets. And while the spare rooms and apartments still make up the bulk of its inventory, when you look a little closer, you can find castles and private islands, luxury villas and cute cottages, and homes in the trees and under the ground.

And while they are not all budget stays, often, these immersive accommodations come in at a fraction of the price of a similarly unique hotel.

So, to help you wade through the thousands upon thousands of listings (and weed out the big resorts who pretend to be private homes, pffft!) we’ve put together a list of ten of the best rentals for an Airbnb honeymoon.

Some are a little bit fancy, others are simply one of a kind stays you’ll never forget, but I reckon there’s at least one gem in here that will get every couple excited about a homestay honeymoon.

1. The Private Island in the Coral Reef

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Bird Island, Placencia, Belize

I actually sailed past this island on my own honeymoon, and it’s just as magical as it looks.

No frills, no luxuries, but if you want to make like Robinson Crusoe and spend your post wedding getaway in solitude under the stars, this place will be your paradise.

2. The Poolside Treehouse with a View

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Casa Arbol, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua 

If you’re looking for a honeymoon with other-level sunsets, this is the place to stay.

This is one of those places that will be fun to hang out in all day and enjoy a few drinks in the evening, but is also the perfect base to explore the region. It’s also got access to a secluded beach, which sounds like our slice of heaven.

3. The Geodesic Farmstay

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Geo Dome on Farm, Upstate Catskills, New York

If you and your beau are fans of the great outdoors and cool architecture, then this geodesic glamping stay might be spot on for your honeymoon.

Sleep under the stars in this epic space by night, then enjoy community dining and farming by day, with plenty of hikes, swimming, arts and yoga. An idyllic post-wedding comedown, don’t you think?

4. The Quintessential Irish Cottage

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Traditional Cottage, Donegal, Ireland.

Okay, so I’m from Ireland and it’s pretty rare you see a cottage as idyllic as this one.

Located in one of the most remote but incredibly beautiful parts of the country, a honeymoon here would offer you absolute cosy seclusion. Think long, bracing walks, and curling up by the fire.

5. The Moroccan Riad

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The Djahane Garden, Marrakesh, Morocco

Visiting Marrakesh is up there on my bucket list, and staying in a traditional riad sounds like the best way to do it.

This lavish stay is as extensive as it is beautiful, and with a courtyard pool, four beautiful gardens and five suites, you and your new spouse could stay in a different part of this palace every night of your honeymoon.

6. The Medieval Tuscania Tower

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Cistercian Abbey, Tuscia, Italy

Now this would be a pretty cool pitstop on an Italian roadtrip.

The restored tower of a Cistercian abbey built in 1146 just an hour north of Rome, it offers goosebump-inducing views of the surrounding central Italian countryside. An atmospheric stay, that would also be incredibly romantic. (The host, Ippolita sounds pretty special from the reviews, too!).

7. The Fairylit Treehouse in the Woods

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Secluded Intown Treehouse, Atlanta, Georgia

Oh, this one is just too sweet. A suite of three treehouses, connected by wooden bridges and adorned with fairylights, it’s hard to believe this storybook drawing of a homestay is just minutes from downtown Atlanta.

As you scroll through the reviews, it’s tough to find a single one that doesn’t call this place ‘magical’ – now how often can you describe a hotel stay as whimsical?

8. The Houseboat on the Seine

houseboat-in-paris

Houseboat near the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

So some people want to go to Paris and pay the big bucks to get a room with a view in a fancy hotel, but this sounds way more up my street (and leaves more room in the macaroon budget). A houseboat on the Seine where to can take in the city from the heart of it, and in walking distance from all the central attractions.

As it is a boat, it won’t be on the spacious side, but if you’re after something a little quirky and drinking wine on the deck of a boat sounds like your kind of night in Paris, then this is definitely one to add to your wishlist.

9. The Indonesian Villa in the Rice Paddies

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Architect-Designed Villa, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

This place looks pretty special. This villa is one of several immaculately restored Javanese teak houses, nestled into rice paddies with a shared swimming pool.

Combining traditional elements with modern comforts, this is one of the most beautiful and luxurious stays we’ve found on Airbnb, right near the edge of a thriving and charming small down, and just 20 minutes from the regional hub of Ubud.

10. The Stilt House Under The Stars

romantic-aib-bnb

Forty Feet Up, Tiller, Oregon

This stilt house is just so freaking cool, I recommend checking it out just for the pictures alone (it’s so high, it sometimes sits OVER the clouds!).

The Pacific Northwest is already a captivating place for anyone with a love of the great outdoors, and if that sounds like you, I couldn’t think of a better place to wake up. A charming cabin on the inside, this one gets booked out way in advance (and with good reason!). Oh, and it has a hot tub!

amazing-honeymoon-idea

Forty Feet Up, Tiller, Oregon

So that’s our round-up of favourites. Perfect for a budget honeymoon that you’ll never forget, or for getting more bang for your buck with a high end holiday too.

We did left plenty behind though so let us know if you’d like us to create a part two!

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