Weddings are stressful. They take time and money and an infinite amount of patience to deal with family demands, minute details, and plenty of decision-making about things you never thought you’d have to consider. But weddings are also blissfully joyous occasions. They’re a celebration of love, symbolic of a couple’s unbreakable bond and loyalty. Between the anxiety and the happiness, getting married is an emotionally draining time of life. So it’s no surprise that the thought of planning a honeymoon on top of choosing the cascading florals that will top your cake and the perfect red wine for your particular mother-in-law is especially daunting. For many couples, it may be best to focus on a short term travel plan post-wedding, something that doesn’t require months of itinerary building and loads of spending.
Mini-moons are a convenient way to take some time and decompress after walking down the aisle. It’s a shorter trip, maybe three to five days, somewhere that takes a drive or a flight under 6 hours. It’s the kind of vacation you’d plan for a long weekend in the summer and a place you can go to unwind from the ceremony, dancing, drinking, and endless photo opps. The mini-moon is also, according to international wedding planner and travel expert Michelle Rago, “the precursor to your mega-moon.” She adds, “it takes the heat off the planning and leaves it in the bedroom where it belongs. You can focus on romance and doing a whole lot of nothing.” Rago suggests choosing a destination that is the complete opposite of what your dream honeymoon or eventual honeymoon will be. She also recommends not booking a flight that will give you jet-lag, so that you can feel as refreshed as possible.
A mini-moon is certainly a bonding moment: use it to celebrate the big step you’ve just taken, to reset and relax. Below, the 7 sweetest, easiest, and most zen-inducing mini-moon destinations to jet off to this fall.
For the Stylish Couple:
Le Toiny on St. Barths - Situated on a beautiful hillside on the charming island of St. Barths, Le Toiny is one of the chicest places you can stay on a honeymoon. It was recently renovated and reopened after being severely damaged by hurricanes in 2017. There are 22 villa suites on the property, each with its own plunge pool and balcony overlooking the hotel’s private beach. Outside of the spa, fitness center, and two incredible restaurants on the property, the hotel’s concierge will assist you in organizing various activities around the island, from sailing to jet skiing and hiking.
For the Zen Couple:
Shou Sugi Ban House in Water Mill, New York - If you and your significant other are looking for a bit of a detox post-wedding, the Shou Sugi Ban House is the perfect destination. If you’re local to New York, it’s only about a two-and-a-half hour drive from the city, which gives you even more time for some much needed R&R. The Japanese style spa not only offers stunning interiors and architecture, but also a range of indulgent wellness therapies, from massages and facials to reiki and hydrotherapy.
For the Water-Loving Couple:
The Blue Lagoon Retreat, Iceland - Speaking of hydrotherapy, Iceland’s Blue Lagoon retreat is the place for the couple who loves to be in the water. Opened last spring, the hotel is attached to geothermal Blue Lagoon on an 800-year-old lava plain. The Retreat’s 62 beautifully designed rooms offer either direct access to the lagoon or a striking view of the mossy landscape that surrounds it. The suites are pricey, so if you are on a budget, stay at the Silica Hotel next door, which offers regular, non-suite rooms but without a luxury spa.
For the Beach Bum Couple:
Isla Palenque, Panama - This pretty spot in Panama is just right for the newlyweds who want to chill out on the beach for the duration of their mini-moon. Isla Palenque is a 400-acre private island resort with 7 quiet beaches and is only a 1-hour flight from Panama City. Outside of hanging by the pool or on the sand, couples can experience activities like kayaking, snorkeling, yoga, and paddle boarding.
For the Introverted Couple:
Lava Homes, Azores, Portugal - Flights from the East Coast to the Azores, in Portugal, are just under 6 hours. Lava Homes, on an island called Pico, is really its own little village. But there are only 14 cottages on this eco-resort, giving guests plenty of privacy when they aren’t hitting the spa or taking a boat to nearby islands like Faial and Sao Jorge.
For the Down-to-Earth Couple:
Ojai Rancho Inn, Ojai, California - Staying in the continental U.S. can be a fantastic way to spend a mini-moon, especially for those who love the outdoors. The Ojai Rancho Inn is a low-key refurbished motel with an ample-sized pool and well-curated mini bar. Ride the property’s complimentary bikes into town for dinner, and go by Beacon Coffee Company in the morning. Spend your days hiking, recouping from the wedding weekend with some fresh air.
For The Adventurous Couple:
Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino, Canada - The Wickaninnish is perfect for those who want to experience the wilderness, but maybe with a little more luxury attached to the itinerary. Located in Tofino, Canada, this Relais & Chateaux resort offers honeymoon price packages and also includes a beautiful spa, a nice-sized fitness room, and a free shuttle service to take you out for an excursion around the Pacific Rim National Park or the Barley and Clayoquot Sounds. When storms roll in, cozy up and watch through the Wickaninnish’s oceanfront windows.
Originally Appeared on Vogue