A Honeymoon Planned by my Mother-in-Law by
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My input into planning our wedding was zero. I guess I did shop for the gown, but my mother did the rest without consulting me except to ask for a few of our friends’ names and addresses. Aside from close relatives and longtime family friends, there were tons of guests I didn’t know. I was just out of college, living out of town, and didn’t care that much. And when it came to our honeymoon, we put my mother-in-law in charge of finding us a good deal. Did I mention we were young?

I’ll always be grateful to my MIL for talking us into what was, back then, a glamorous honeymoon trip rather than spending a few days at a local resort or hotel.

My MIL knew a travel agent who suggested we go to Nassau, and that sounded fine to my husband and me. Neither of us had been on a plane before and the Bahamas sounded really exotic to us. After our wedding, we flew to Miami and stayed somewhere not especially glamorous. The next day, we were off to Nassau.

My husband loves to plan trips and our honeymoon was no exception. Inexperienced as we were, he was determined to see everything listed in the guidebook with minimal time wasted lounging on the beach. We rented a motorcycle and drove to every must-see site. I don’t recall much except that we felt very carefree. Everything I remember is in a handful photos taken with a borrowed camera. Did I mention we had no money?

One excursion we took was to see Paradise Island, which was just being developed. Because we wanted to swim there, we schlepped swim suits and towels in one of our lovely suitcases pictured below.

I remember it being a long walk but have no idea if we took a bus or our motorcycle to get close enough to the site. We probably changed in a bathroom and snuck onto a beach associated with a hotel we could not afford. As with many trips we took when we could barely afford them and had to stay on the cheap, we vowed we would return one day when we had the means to stay in the expensive hotel. So far, we haven’t gone back.

Perhaps that’s just as well. It wouldn’t be the same to go to a nice restaurant rather than the cheaper one where we shared a meal to keep costs down. Or to take cabs instead of riding a motorcycle. Or to sneak onto a beach where we didn’t belong. Or to go into a casino and play one game on a slot machine because we couldn’t afford to lose money.

I’ll always be grateful to my MIL for talking us into what was, back then, a glamorous honeymoon trip rather than spending a few days at a local resort or hotel. While some fifty years later, I don’t remember the specifics of what we saw or did, I do remember feeling very happy and in love. And isn’t that the point of a honeymoon after all?

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Boomer. Educator. Advocate. Eclectic topics: grandkids, special needs, values, aging, loss, & whatever. Author: Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real.

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Characterizations: well written


  1. Marian says:

    Laurie, our weddings were really different, but we both had a tropical experience. In the early 1980s I went to Club Med on Paradise Island on the advice of a travel agent, and it was a wonderful experience. She suggested this club because I’m very fair and sunburn so easily, and at that time there were many trees where I could hide out at the middle of the day. It’s just as well you didn’t go back. I have cruised by the island several times and consider it over-developed.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      Marian, I’m not at all surprised about what happened to Paradise Island. “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot” (Big Yellow Taxi). For us back then, Nassau turned out to be a great place for a honeymoon. And my MIL always knew someone who knew how to get the best deal. This was one time I’m glad I listened to her. As I matured, I did less and less of that, but her heart was in the right place.

  2. Suzy says:

    Laurie, it sounds like you had a perfect honeymoon! When I saw from the title that it was planned by your mother-in-law, I expected the worst, but she obviously did a great job. Your pictures are just priceless too. You look adorable in your pigtails. And I burst out laughing at the picture of your husband carrying a big brown suitcase down the road. Of course that was before backpacks – hard to remember such a time! Thanks for this wonderful story.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      Thanks, Suzy. It was perfect in the sense that it was exotic to us at the time. Now all I can think when I look at those pictures is how young we were, young enough to wear my hair in ponytails and let my mother-in-law plan my honeymoon.

  3. JeanZ says:

    Young and broke? I can relate to that! A mother-in-law who thinks her young son made a great choice of a wife and who gives you reason to be grateful these many years later? Oh, yeah!

    • Laurie Levy says:

      Despite having some of the usual MIL conflicts, she was a remarkable woman. As I age, I understand her better and have forgiven some of the things that disappointed me. Writing about her role in ensuring we had a great honeymoon reminded me of how lucky I was.

  4. Risa Nye says:

    This one resonated with me, Laurie! We had to watch our pennies too. I’m just glad we were all able to get away somewhere and do something fun! If only we knew then what we know now. . .would we do anything differently?

    • Laurie Levy says:

      Risa, I have thought about your question a lot. When we were young and had limited funds, we took some awesome trips but stayed in awful places and ate in cheap restaurants. We vowed then to repeat the trip “someday” when we could afford better things. Of course, life happened and we didn’t return to most of these places. But I wonder if a do-over would have changed the experience so much that it lost its charm and magic.

  5. Betsy Pfau says:

    Laurie, those photos tell it all! You two were young, gorgeous and in love. It didn’t matter where you went, you were out for an adventure and that is what you got.

    When we were slightly older, we went to Paradise Island. We had a lovely time, snorkeled a bit off a boat, stayed at a nice resort. I don’t gamble, but we’d dress for dinner every night (can you imagine that now?). Then, after a good meal, I’d watch Dan gamble. He set a strict limit and when he’s lost that amount, he was done at the tables and we’d go up to our room and read (and I studies for the GMATs…I briefly went to BU Business school part time – one semester). It was a fun holiday.

    Years later, we went on a private 90′ yacht with another couple to the Exhumas on a trip that we won at a fancy charity auction later, but that’s another story.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      Betsy, I would love to hear that yacht story. What would the prompt be? You are right about a honeymoon being all about youth (at least back in those days when most people married young) and being in love. Dressing for dinner is another custom totally lost now. I’m still shocked when I see folks come to a nice restaurant or the theater in shorts and flip flops.

  6. Talkin’ about a whole lotta cannons on this honeymoon! Great pictures. It sounds as if the whole deal was the best kinda ‘what the hell’ from two people who had a good perspective on life and took a damned good vacation from it all. Thanks, Laurie!

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