WRITER | LYNNE KONSTANTIN
Budget-friendly ideas so you can have your cake and eat it too.
You’re married! You’ve gotten through all the work and expense of planning a wedding and the excitement of the day itself and can’t wait to relax with your sweetie.
Perhaps, though, you put all your pennies toward the wedding – or you went over budget – and didn’t save enough for the honeymoon. Or maybe you just didn’t have the budget to buy dinner for 100 plus an expensive getaway in the first place.
You’re not alone. But that doesn’t mean you don’t get to celebrate your new married life, even if just for a day or two. There are plenty of options and destinations for almost every budget.
Go camping. If the happy couple is the outdoorsy type, plan a close-to-home trip to one of Michigan’s glorious campsites – there are plenty to choose from (visit Michigan.gov/dnr and choose “camping” for a massive listing plus options to register online). Plan ahead and register for a tent and other gear. If you’re not sure you’ll absolutely love it, try renting equipment.
Go Glamping. Step it up a notch and make the outdoorsy getaway a bit fancier. Head toward the ocean-like coastline of Southwest Michigan and spend a night inside the enchanted tents of The Fields of Michigan, a luxury camping experience in the countryside of South Haven. Guests at The Fields, a 30-acre family-owned blueberry farm with 15 stylish 320-square-foot tents (with beds), accessed by a pickup truck, are treated to cozy campfires, fresh fruit pies, and a night sleeping under the stars.
Enjoy a luxury hotel. It isn’t so out of reach when it’s an easy drive and only one night (OK, maybe two). Tuck into 310-thread-count Frette sheets and goose-down comforters in one of the 150 upscale rooms, suites, or penthouses at the Townsend Hotel in the extremely walkable city of Birmingham. Honeymooners can take advantage of the Romantic Getaways Package, with champagne upon arrival, tuxedo chocolate strawberries, and a full breakfast for two. Take dinner at the hotel’s award-winning Rugby Grill or walk to one of the city’s plentiful restaurants. TownsendHotel.com
Make it a destination wedding. That way, of course, you eliminate additional travel expenses and can begin honeymooning immediately. If you dream of a New England-like setting, head to the Inn at Bay Harbor, with its own private stretch of pristine white-sand beach along Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay in Northern Michigan. Pull up to the elegant Victorian-inspired Inn, where gracious hospitality and the feeling that you are somewhere far away greets you. Summer and winter weddings are equally glorious, and once the guests are gone, you and your partner can roam the exquisite grounds, hit the championship golf course, take in a couple’s spa treatment, or hide away in one of the newly renovated rooms, suites, or cottages. InnatBayHarbor.com
Grab your passports and hit the road to nearby Canada – destination Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa in Cambridge, Ontario. Built in 1898 by a great-grandson of John Jacob Astor, the 25,000-square-foot, 52-suite Federal Revival-style manse is seated on what once was a forest and sheep-grazing pasture. Guests can stroll along the meandering grounds designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, Central Park’s famed landscape architect. Two hundred acres of sweeping lawns, picturesque gardens (including a formal water garden), four walking trails, and an outdoor pool await. Or check out the estate’s fruit, vegetable, and herb gardens, harvested for the dining room’s meals, or the spa, tennis courts, croquet and billiard sets, and palm tree-lined Conservatory. Bike to nearby Paris along the postcard-perfect Grand River, then head back for a sumptuous feast in the award-winning dining room overlooking a lily pond.
Go cruising. Yes, a cruise can be doable for a handful of reasons: Couples can choose a cruise for just a few days of sailing. Most ships offer more than you can possibly ever eat in their all-inclusive fees, and some have swimming pools, spas, even shopping aboard. And while many ships depart from points in Florida, Michiganders can save on airfare by driving to Baltimore, where you can set sail to the Bahamas, Bermuda, the Caribbean, and more.
Use your registry. The jury’s still out on whether it’s tacky to ask for money as a wedding gift, but you could ask for a specific gift… like airfare, a destination, or activities to experience while you’re there. Head to the Knot, the leading all-things-wedding online resource, where couples can create a cash registry with their Knot Newlywed Fund, allowing them to crowdsource their post-wedding travels. Be sure to add your registry’s URL to your wedding site to get the word out.