Ben and Hannah are now away on a honeymoon in Italy. I know exactly where they are, but there are some things that just don’t need to be shared. Until she was on her way Hannah didn’t know where she was going. Ben had kept it a secret.
I have never talked to Ben about my honeymoon with Annie, but he is following a tradition. Like Ben, I didn’t tell Annie anything until we were at the airport gate when I gave her a folder with itinerary and photographs of the places we would go on our trip.
It has made me think about honeymoon secrets. 98% of the reason I kept the honeymoon location a secret was I wanted to add to the surprise.
Up to that point I had had little to do with the wedding planning. What I did manage very successfully was to arrange to be working overseas in Tanzania until just a week before the day. Honestly, it was for tax reasons although having seen what Ben and Hannah must have gone through to arrive successfully at the day, I am grateful to HMRC. They took me right out of the loop.
My only substantive task was to arrange a honeymoon, but do it from the middle of Africa. Before you tut-tut remember these were pre-internet days. Not only did I have to make the booking for what turned into a 2-venue trip but also identify, discover and research the places I wanted to take my new and beautiful bride.
I am not saying that booking flights to Vienna, organising cars, booking a romantic room in a traditional and ancient Schloss on the banks of the Danube, and then three further nights at the Kaiserin Elisabeth one of the most beautiful hotels in the city wasn’t anything beyond my capabilities. But I say again that it was all done from either Blantyre, Malawi, or Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
I put my everything into these arrangements. I remember how I sat by the pool surrounded by travel brochures, with a glass of Malawi gin and tonic or Tanzanian Africoco, trying to manage down the options. It was not easy to make these life-changing decisions while struggling against the glare of the sizzling, African sun and making sure I stayed hydrated.
I suspect at this point I am not gaining much sympathy.
I was sure convinced that my plans were romantic. I was sure the element of surprise would add even more romance.
But, what of the other 2% that drove my secret?
After all this effort, what I couldn’t face, was Annie telling me what she really wanted was 6 nights in Magaluf (or its equivalent of the day) with days on the beach and evenings sipping all-inclusive cocktails.
We were getting married and of course, I thought I knew her. I was sure that I was taking her in the right direction, but you can never be sure. The flights had been booked and deposits paid. We were going to Vienna and the Danube, whatever. My secrecy meant that the I would hear of any disappointment while on the Ferris wheel in the Vienna Prater with an ice cream and not have it hanging over me in the weeks up to the wedding. My secrecy was minimising my risks.
I am sure that Ben and Hannah are having a wonderful time and the choices Ben made are spot on but, would I do the same again?
Probably not and I am now addressing this mostly towards Sasha. That 2% frightens me. Sasha is very sure what she wants and has very clear ideas about what makes a romantic break. Getting it wrong would not be good for my future health. But there is more. I want to do everything together and now 98% is not good enough. I want 100%. I am happy to do the work, but we will work to a common plan.
Annie and I married over 30 years ago and I promise that someday soon I will pluck up the courage to ask her if I made good decisions and learn if she would rather have been in Magaluf? In fact, I expect the phone call in 3,2,1 …..