Our Honeymoon Part 1

Our Honeymoon Part 1 – May 29, 2007

I have never shared our honeymoon on the blog before and it’s beyond time 🙂

It’s good to start at the beginning so be sure to read these posts first:

Zach’s Proposal

Our Engagement Photos Part 1

Our Engagement Photos Part 2

Our Wedding Weekend

Our Wedding Day

We had a FULL weekend leading up to our wedding day…and truly a FULL MONTH prior to that weekend!

Zach and I were in college at the time (we graduated in Dec 2007…Zach was a redshirt freshman so we stayed in school an extra semester to finish out his football career…you can read about our college graduation here!) of our wedding.

We finished out school for the spring and then headed down to Melbourne, Florida (the location of our wedding) and spent a few weeks down there prepping for the wedding leading up to the big weekend.

Our wedding ceremony was at 7 AM so by the end of the day we were SO tired AND we were just exhausted after such a full MONTH.

When we planned our honeymoon we intentionally didn’t leave for the main portion of our honeymoon for a few days after our ceremony.

We knew we’d be tired and flying literally across the world would only exhaust us more!

At the time of our wedding we were really into timeshare trips.

When in college we had put our names in to win a free cruise…and we literally jumped up and down and FREAKED OUT. Like called all of our friends and family freaked out when we WON the FREE CRUISE.

Yall know what it was…a free cruise that everyone who entered won because it was a…timeshare presentation.

But that initial “free” cruise led to a snowball effect of SO MANY TIMESHARE TRIPS.

Which led us to the traveling lifestyle we now love 🙂 So I’m pretty thankful for that “free cruise” 😉

Anyway we had a timeshare trip to Ft Lauderdale and decided to use it following our wedding for a few days as a pre-honeymoon.

Sidenote: I had over 3 years worth of photos lost on an external hard drive that went bad (lesson: always have a back up for your back up) and that included ALL the pictures of our wedding, honeymoon, and a good chunk of the early days of Kye’s life. So the quality of these pics isn’t great as they were saved off of super old Facebook albums!

We met up with our moms for breakfast the morning after our wedding and gave them each a gift we’d bought for them (a pearl pendant necklace) and then drove down to Ft Lauderdale to stay at a timeshare for a few nights.

I have very few memories of this as I was just SO TIRED and out of it!

I slept the whole way from Melbourne to Ft Lauderdale.

We ate at Cheesecake Factory and had our first argument as a married couple over what I liked to order. Welcome to married life right?

Also Zach was really into this idea of taking what we called “face shots” where instead of us being close to an item and being smaller in the picture we got super close to the camera and it was like our face was big.

Get ready for LOTS of face shots on our honeymoon haha I hated them.

Our timeshare was a large condo all to ourselves…would def come in handy now with four kids 😉

At the time of our wedding we had an awesome foursome of besties…it was Zach and myself and Ryan (who was Zach’s best man and is related to Zach because Ryan’s mom and Zach’s dad are first cousins) and Katie (yup, same Katie that is my best friend now!).

Anyway we had a running joke with them about hotel blankets…aka “the brown beast”

We spent the weekend sleeping and eating and went to a drive in theater and that’s about it!

We went back up to Melbourne (my dad had a house there at the time and that’s where we were staying during all of this!) and flew out of there for our honeymoon!

We left Saturday morning and didn’t arrive at our honeymoon destination until MONDAY afternoon.

And we were in the SAME clothes the entire way!

As our wedding gift my dad let us use his skymiles to go anywhere we wanted. Literally.

It was SO FUN choosing a location.

As our wedding gift Zach’s parents gave us money to spend towards our honeymoon and we tried to think of somewhere to go that would fit in that budget AND be a place that we’d probably never be able to travel to again.

We looking into Fiji but it was SO expensive. At one point we even considered Turkey!

But in the end decided to go to Maldives.

At the time it was considered a “poor man’s Fiji” meaning it was just about as nice as Fiji but WAY cheaper.

Dad had enough sky miles for us to go there and the actual stay wasn’t too expensive. I think it was like $85 per person per day or something? So we were able to use our honeymoon budget easily too!

The flight though was insane. I think it was like 36 total hours of travel?

We had said we’d go back for our 10th wedding anniversary but no way did I wanna do that flight again – Mexico is fine by me 🙂

We kicked things off by missing our first flight haha. Luckily we were able to take a later flight that same morning and it didn’t mess up our later flights to get us there!

Flight 1: Melbourne Florida to Atlanta Georgia

Flight 2: Atlanta to New York

Flight 3: New York to Dubai – 19 HOURS on ONE FLIGHT.

We had a very long layover in Germany so we say we’ve been to Germany even though we didn’t leave the airport 😉

Yall. I had no clue where Dubai was when we planned the trip. I told like 10 people it was somewhere in India.

But it’s actually located between Iran and Iraq and we even passed over Iraq and the Neutral Zone to get there.

The flight was on a United Arab Emerites airline and the flight attendants wore face coverings that were attached to their hats.

Being in the Dubai airport was an experience unlike anything I’d ever seen.

Many men with long robes and long beards and head coverings traveling in groups.

We felt SO out of place and Zach being so tall I felt like we stood out like “HELLO WE ARE AMERICANS.”

We hadn’t done much international travel at that time (actually I think this was Zach’s only 2nd time maybe leaving the country?) so it was a big culture shock to us both!

Flight 4: Dubai to Male (capitol city of Maldives).

This flight was a much smaller plane and over night and poor Zach couldn’t sleep at ALL because the seats were so tiny.

He ended up sitting in a flight attendant’s seat 🙂

The view was BEAUTIFUL as we came into the islands.

We had a bit of a layover in Male before boarding a SUPER small plane to our individual island.

Zach went to the bathroom and while he was gone I had my first experience of a girl hitting on me (and I LOVE that we were like “let’s get a picture of me with this girl” hahaha).

She came and sat with me and kept getting closer to me and even put her hand on my thigh at one point.

Y’all know I’m super friendly and I felt rude to be like “back up” and just awkward because I hadn’t ever been in that type of situation before. Thankfully Zach rescued me and it was easier to be like “here is my HUSBAND” 😉

Last flight…Number FIVE from Male to our resort island of Angaga!

Fun fact: the pilot of our last flight was not wearing shoes 😉

We landed on a floating landing strip and were picked up by a boat to take us to the actual island.

We sat on the upper deck to take in the gorgeous views!

We were EXHAUSTED but soaking up the moments!

When we arrived we were greeted with tropical drinks and were so thankful to SIT and relax while being checked in.

It was neat to see people working on repairs on the roof of the check-in location – they didn’t have ANY power tools and were doing everything by hand!

The pretty drinks they handed us upon arrival were tropical juices (no alcohol) and SO refreshing!

Once we got checked in we were escorted to our room!

A big goal we had for our honeymoon was to stay in an overwater bungalow and it was the main thing we looked for when searching for a location for our trip.

Our room was AMAZING! This awesome hut directly over the water with our own private deck and everything.

We got settled in and refreshed and rested and went to dinner!

It was a barefoot resort which meant that literally there was no flooring and it was all sand everywhere.

There was also no AC.

Like I said…we were going for location over fancy 😉

It’s so funny to me when I look back at the pictures from the trip as I remember how much I loathed the food.

I struggled to find anything at any of the meals I enjoyed! I’m just not a big all-inclusive type girl 🙂

The walkway to our room had little buckets of water to help clean your feet but also cool them off from the decking getting hot.

We had our first dip in the Indian Ocean and welcomed our friendly pet crab for our stay as well as saw a live starfish!

We spent time at the beach and Zach had his first ever massage and visit to a spa!

It was hilarious because they gave him this TINY THONG to wear for his massage.

I’d never had a couples massage either so I didn’t know if that was normal or not but now we know that’s def not “the norm” haha

They also filled a bath with bubbles and flower petals and literally WATCHED US GET IN.

Thankfully we had the tiny mesh thongs but I mean…awkward.

And I love that we just rolled with it and again, had a photo taken to remember the awkwardness by.

We did enjoy the 2 hour massage and spent the whole bathtub portion cracking up.

We ended up buying the robes and still have them – they are super lightweight and soft and a great memory of our honeymoon.

Part of our all-inclusive package included a romantic honeymoon beach dinner.

They got us all set up on the beach for our meal and handed us drinks that looked exactly like the ones we were given at check-in.

We didn’t even think twice about it and each took sips!

Yall know Zach and I don’t drink and up until THAT moment Zach had never even taken a single SIP of alcohol his entire life.

Well. One sip and he spit it right out!

Can’t say he’s never had a sip because those “juice drinks” had gin in them! OOPS.

We’ve learned from that experience and now ALWAYS ask and always request “no alcohol” every single time we get a drink when visiting all-inclusive locations.

It IS pretty funny though that my husband who has never had alcohol had both the accident of it being served AT our wedding reception as well as it being served ON our honeymoon!

Side note rant but all inclusive resorts really should offer a special color bracelet for guests who don’t drink.

When you don’t drink you don’t THINK about it so it’s a hassle to remember to ask over and over, a bracelet would be so much easier.

The staff tend to REALLY pressure and push the alcohol and I always think about recovered alcoholics (I grew up attending AA meetings with a family member) and how that environment cannot be healthy for them!

Another side note but all inclusive resorts really should charge less for those who don’t drink too!

Anyway…

The dinner was nice to have time to ourselves on the beach but the server did totally forget about us and we waited 45 minutes for dessert then just gave up and left.

A big thing at the resort were cats and the staff enjoyed telling us about the cat that roamed the island.

The cat that visited us during our romantic dinner was named Tsunami after he was found during a tsunami. We ended up feeding him all of our food because we didn’t like any it 😉

We brought our own snorkel gear and were able to snorkel right from our private deck!

We loved walking and exploring the island and found a hut where they performed wedding ceremonies.

A really fun element of our honeymoon location was that not a lot of Americans visited the area at that time.

It was around then at Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes had gotten married and had honeymooned in Maldives and that was starting to “put it on the map” a bit more but they hadn’t seen an influx of American visitors yet from it.

The locals were SO EXCITED to have Americans visiting and they ALL thought we were celebrities (I’m sure Zach being super tall helped too as even now I still see people in public places give him second and third glances and have witnessed many people whispering trying to figure out “who he is”) and treated us like royalty (I mean aside from forgetting to bring us dessert haha).

Zach kept correcting them and telling them “no, no we’re not famous” and I was SO annoyed. Whenever I was alone I totally let them believe it 😉 Why not right?

The locals on the island were all men and they all worked at the resort. They were the only people who lived on the actual island.

They ADORED Zach and begged him to play football with them 🙂

Everyone on the island knew us, even other guests and were constantly coming to talk to us throughout the trip!

We still had plenty of solo time enjoying our room and getting SO MUCH SLEEP!

Part of our stay included one excursion and it was a boat ride to another island and included snorkeling and lunch.

It’s really hilarious to me reliving all of these memories 12ish years later…yall they served straight raw fish. Look at that lunch spread.

HILARIOUS.

The little island was super cute and we were able to swim all around it and had the best snorkeling of our trip.

Zach entertained all the fellow guests by doing jumps off the top of the boat while we waited for lunch.

The boat tour took us to a couple other islands, one was a local one which was neat to see and another was a similar island resort and ours was much nicer than that one which made us feel good about our choice.

As we left the last island it started raining and got pretty bad and scary.

Our driver had no clue what he was doing. Even Zach was worried as we were literally lost at sea.

I got SUPER sick (I’m sure that lunch situation didn’t help) and puked over the side of the boat and it was so embarrassing and was also one of those situations where after I got sick it started a domino effect of others getting sick too.

Thankfully a boat came and rescued us and took us back to the resort but I was DONE for the day for sure!

A big thing I enjoyed was walking around and exploring the resort.

Zach was all about the activities so we tried wind surfing and the locals said I was better than Zach…when does that ever happen? NEVER.

When we would go to dinner the staff would decorate our bed for us. “Happy Honeymoon!”

My FAVORITE picture from our honeymoon is the one of us with our snorkel mask faces. We just had so much fun together and it’s such a happy memory from our early days of married life.

We struggled pretty bad not enjoying the food but then discovered that their ice cream was SUPER GOOD so we ate it every meal haha.

We really loved our resort and our room and had such great connections with the staff too and didn’t want to leave!

We had our last night and dressed up a bit for the dinner.

We struggled hard packing because weight limits (always do us in).

The all-inclusive package didn’t include sodas so we drank water the whole time and decided to treat ourselves on our last morning with an orange Fanta and they were AMAZING. So refreshing and such a special treat haha

We had to leave the resort by 2 pm but our flight didn’t leave Male until 2 AM so we had no idea what to do.

We left the resort by sea plane and lucked out and were sharing the plane with the resort manager and he helped us out with a tour of Male while we waited for our flight.

We took a boat from the airport to Male for the afternoon to walk around and explore the town.

In Male we met up with a man named Moosa who gave us a tour of the Maldivian capital city!

We visited a market and even taste tested some items.

We got to visit their national capitol and walk throughout the city.

I was THE only female we saw and I was wearing tank tops and a pretty short skirt – it was just the clothes I’d worn that day as we had NO CLUE we’d be going on this tour!

We asked our guide and he said I was dressed very offensively because my arms and legs were showing and that all women stay indoors.

We were thankful he was with us as he said it was important to stay with him the whole time to stay safe.

It was very interesting to take in such a different culture. Islam is the national religion and several times throughout the day prayers would play over loud speakers.

We were also told they do not eat when it is light outside so dinner was only served after the sun went down.

Again I’m just really shocked we did this whole day. We just really went with the flow and I’m not sure 35 year old Zach and Emily would do this with four kids back home!

We flew out to head to Dubai!

We had a long layover in Dubai and were pumped to check out the duty-free shopping…we bought…a postcard haha! Big spenders.

Zach took a picture of the mens bathroom…

We were also excited for McDonalds and it was SO CHEAP. I got an ice cream for 50 cents.

We left Dubai and headed to Germany…and then it was BACK TO USA!

When we planned out our honeymoon we found out that if you get a layover in an area and are only in that area for under 24 hours that it can still count as a layover and not a separate flight.

We took full advantage of this knowledge and planned our flight back home to have a layover in New York City!

Zach had never been and we had 24 hours to make it epic!

I thought I’d save that portion of our honeymoon for another post 🙂

I’ve loved the chance to relive these memories but I also don’t see myself wanting to ever go back to the resort where we spent our honeymoon.

It was AMAZING as newlywed college kids but I don’t know if the mid-30s versions of ourselves would find it worth the crazy flight and time zone changes and expense!

Probably best to keep those precious memories as the romantic early stage of marriage!

We had a phenomenal time and I’m so thankful we had the big picture thinking to go ahead and go somewhere SUPER far away at that stage in life! It’s just not something you’re able to do once you’re older and have kids and everything so it was a once in a lifetime adventure and the perfect honeymoon experience.

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