Celebrating Your New Marriage – Creating Memories with a Green Honeymoon
by Heather Rothbauer Wanish
Planning a wedding can be complex, challenging, and overwhelming. Then, for many couples, a honeymoon is the next big experience that needs to be planned. If you and your new soon-to-be spouse are focused on creating less of a carbon footprint and choosing ways to help the earth, you may want to consider an alternative type of honeymoon—a green honeymoon. Not only can you still celebrate your new marriage, you can make a difference by utilizing fewer resources and emphasizing your love of all things ‘green.’
When you think of green travel, what are your first thoughts? Many people may think of camping in the middle of nowhere or ‘roughing it’ at an extreme outpost. Fortunately, green travel and a green honeymoon don’t have to mean being uncomfortable, traveling to a remote location, or eliminating any comforts. In fact, doing some research and fully understanding a green honeymoon may make you consider this option as a viable alternative to the traditional honeymoon.
According to EA Bride, travel needs to have three components to be considered green and sustainable. First, the travel has to be natural. This means proper usage of the land, minimized pollution, and protecting ecosystems. Next, the travel needs to have a socio-cultural component of preserving local cultures and identities. Finally, green travel should have an economic focus of spending money on locally-produced goods so the money can continue to benefit the local area.
If you are looking to stay fairly close to home during your green honeymoon, you may want to consider a bed and breakfast based in Wisconsin. According to www.wbba.org, the official site for the Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association, the association is widely considered to be one of the pioneers of green travel in Wisconsin. The website offers a plethora of destinations that focus on leaving a light footprint and appreciating the beauty of nature the state offers.
The Juniper Inn, www.juniperinn.com, located in Fish Creek, features many beautiful views of Door County. With a central location between the villages of Fish Creek and Ephraim, guests find they are close to nature and within minutes of other excursions. In March 2013, the Juniper Inn was named by Fodor’s as a Door County hotel favorite. According to the inn’s website, a keen focus on environmental issues makes this a unique place to visit. “As a member of Travel Green Wisconsin, we actively work on reducing our environmental impact to protect the beauty and vitality of Wisconsin’s natural landscape.”
Honeymooners that may want to travel to Sparta, Wisconsin, can experience the charms of the Franklin Victorian Bed and Breakfast, www.FranklinVictorianBB.com. The inn is a Certified Travel Green Wisconsin Destination by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. In addition, guests may wish to know they are visiting an inn that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Wisconsin. The website states, “Our celebrated rivers, driftless rugged hills, scenic farms, tranquil back roads, bike trails, crystal air, and friendly people combine to make Sparta, Wisconsin the ideal place to be warm…be welcome…be at home.”
If newlyweds want to be near the hustle-and-bustle of Madison, they could choose to stay at the Lake Ripley Lodge Bed and Breakfast, www.lakeripley.com. According to the inn’s website, “Our Certified Travel Green Wisconsin lodge has new rain gardens boasting Native Wisconsin wildflowers. This water front lodge is a historic inn on the lake of local residents Ole Evinrude and Harley Davidson.” With a location in Cambridge, the inn is just 20 minutes east of Madison, 50 minutes from Milwaukee, and two hours from Chicago.
For those that may wish to enjoy a green honeymoon outside of the state or even outside of the United States, there are many options available. For example, the Maho Bay Camp in St. John, Virgin Islands, features 114 oceanside tent-cottages built by hand to avoid disturbing the natural environment. Elevated walkways were constructed to prevent soil erosion. In addition, while there is electricity, trade winds, instead of air conditioning, cool the rooms.
Another potential green honeymoon destination is the Uno Lodge at Copper Canyon in Chihuahua, Mexico. This rustic setting is perched atop a 6,000-foot precipice. Guest room lighting and water heaters are powered by rooftop solar arrays. Wastewater is used to irrigate the permaculture landscaping, ensuring all resources are fully utilized. A hike will lead visitors to local villages where women create traditional crafts for purchase.
While green honeymoons and traditional honeymoons are both options, neither choice is free. Many years ago, couples started to register for gifts they wanted for the wedding. For example, couples could go to a store and scan the items they wanted—everything from a toaster to towels—could be included. In today’s society, many people are waiting until they are older to marry, increasing the likelihood that one or both of the people already have all items needed for a home. Enter the honeymoon registry.
A honeymoon registry works in a manner similar to a store-based registry. For example, couples can go to a website like Honeymoon Wishes, www.honeymoonwishes.com, set up an account, and then register the honeymoon plans, including destination, hotel, and travel. Couples can then e-mail the registry information to guests; those invited can provide a portion of the honeymoon by paying for room upgrades, tours, and anything else a couple could wish for on a dream honeymoon. Additional items could be a night in the honeymoon suite, a bottle of wine, or a honeymoon massage.
Traveler’s Joy, www.travelersjoy.com, is another potential site for developing a honeymoon registry. The site operates similarly to Honeymoon Wishes. Within the site, visitors can review commonly asked questions, see real member stories, and review destination guides. All engaged couples should carefully read all policies and procedures to determine if any honeymoon registry is the right choice for them.
Today’s honeymoon options are almost endless. From deciding a location to determining what type of honeymoon is desired, couples have a multitude of choices. No matter what they decide, they should remember that they are creating memories to last a lifetime. And, being kind to the earth while doing so is an excellent way to lessen the impact on the environment and maximize the experience.