Anja Winikka, Brooklyn, New York
Anja Winikka, The Knot’s Director of Education & Industry Innovation, got hitched two years ago at Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. After a weekend of celebrating, she and her new hubby hit the road for a romantic trip across the USA. Here, she shares what she learned about planning a honeymoon.
I wish I knew…to build in time to pack.
For our honeymoon, we rented a Mustang convertible and took a road trip through the Southwest—hitting all the major canyons and national parks, including the Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce Canyon—and then up through California. We left for our honeymoon the day after the wedding, which was so much fun, but I should have given myself a couple of weeks beforehand to properly pack our bags. We ended up throwing everything into our luggage at the last minute, and ultimately, it was difficult accessing what we needed along the way because our bags were so disorganized.
I wish I knew…how exhausted we would be.
The wedding day is such an emotional event, there’s no way you’re not going to be tired afterward. While we moved from place to place rather quickly, thankfully we didn’t overbook ourselves. In fact, we made very few activity or restaurant reservations. When we’d arrive at our hotel, we’d just take a walk and explore rather than feel like we had to rush someplace. That made the entire trip more relaxed. We also built in lots of downtime in Big Sur and Napa so that we could just hang out. My favorite parts were simply talking about the wedding, using the word “husband” for the first time and listening to music as we drove across the gorgeous landscape.
I wish I knew…to get a few more souvenirs.
My husband and I are total road-trippers and feel like some of the most picturesque parts of our country happen to be in the Southwest and on the California coastline. We went to so many different, iconic places along the way. But I wish we had collected more creative souvenirs to bring home as a reminder of our amazing adventure across the US. Still, I did manage to get one good memento: a recipe book from The Turquoise Room, the restaurant we ate at on the first night of our honeymoon, in Winslow, Arizona.
I wish I knew…to fly first class.
My husband and I agree that airplanes are not very romantic and that car trips are a lot of fun, which is why we decided to take a road trip for our honeymoon. But at the very end of our trip, we jumped on a plane in San Francisco to fly back home to New York. Unfortunately, we ended up having trouble with our seat assignments and weren’t able to sit together all the way home. It was such a bummer! The flight attendants were really nice and sent us some champagne on the house, but it would have been a lot better had we been sitting together—ideally up front.