How to Plan a Homey-Moon, aka a Honeymoon at Home

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Home-y moon illustration for Crate and Barrel wedding package

COVID-19 may have put the kibosh on the honeymoon of your dreams, but you can still safely and comfortably celebrate your nuptials with a honeymoon at home. Really!

By recreating the sights and surroundings, scents, sounds, flavors, and feel of a destination, you can virtually visit a place and collect new memories with your new spouse—which is what you’d be doing on a “real” honeymoon, after all.

The sights

Okay, sure, it’s not the same as going in person, but lots of destinations have put together virtual tours of landmarks, museums, and more in order to make sure you can still experience their offerings, even when you can’t actually set foot in them. Just Google the name of the place plus “virtual tours,” and your options should appear. Tourism boards also often list available virtual adventures. 

And we’re not just talking buildings—you can go on a virtual safari. Bruce Powell, the owner and lead travel consultant of BWP Travel, a Virtuoso Agency in Atlanta, recommends tour operators (and BWP Travel-preferred partners) &Beyond and Virgin Limited Edition for “making real-life safari experiences extremely accessible,” he says. &Beyond broadcasts daily from Ngala Private Game Reserve, Phinda Private Game Reserve, Djuma Private Game Reserve, Tswalu, and Pridelands Conservancy, all in South Africa, and you can even book one-on-one time with a guide. Meanwhile, Virgin Limited Edition creates live videos from its Ulusaba Private Game Reserve on the border of Kruger National Park in South Africa.

Another fun option: Go VR. “There is Virtual Reality headgear like Google Cardboard and Oculus that can offer everything from virtual city walking tours to snorkeling underwater,” says Shari Shocket, a luxury travel advisor at Largay Travel. Just Google VR tours for your destination to see what’s available. Some of Shocket’s preferred VR apps for this kind of “travel” are Google Expeditions, Discovery VR, and Sites in VR

Then, at night, while you’re eating and drinking the flavors of your destination (more on that below), watch a documentary or movie inspired by the place, whether that’s the BBC documentary series “Planet Earth” or the Netflix series “Emily in Paris,” depending on your style.

The surroundings

Of course, you don’t have to limit the visuals to just what’s on your screens. You can create a hotel room at home with decor items like candles, plants, and draping. 

“If you are homey-mooning in the Caribbean, for example, consider draping out the room or ceiling with hot-colored fabrics in pink, lime green, and yellow,” says Boston-based event planner Janie Haas of Janie Haas Events. Want to go really big? “Rented—or fake—palms strung with fairy lights will create a tropical ambiance, as will a small table set for two with splashy linens.” Got a bathtub? Fill it with blue bath salts to mimic the Caribbean ocean, Haas suggests.

Or, if camping is more your vibe, glamp outdoors (you can even rent a luxury tent) or in your living room if you don’t have a backyard, and pack the space with battery-operated candles, recommends Monet Hambrick, a Miami-based family travel blogger and founder of The Traveling Child

The scents

Bring in scented candles, incense, and fragrances that conjure up your destination, such as a lavender for France’s Provence or sandalwood incense for Kyoto’s temples. Smell is closely related to memory, so these aromatic moments will spark future memories of this time together when you recreate your destination’s scents. 

Consider splurging on fresh flowers, too. They’ll add glamour and fragrance to your home-based “boutique hotel.”

The sounds

Set the vibe with regional music, or the relaxing sounds of the beach or rain forest. 

And if you really want to commit to your homey-moon experience, you can learn the language of your locale with an online course or app, such as Duolingo, Rosetta Stone or Babbel, says Haas, and then swap simple sentences with your partner.

Credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani

The flavors

Food is a culture’s second language, and you’ll find free cooking classes on Instagram, like those shared by Italian three-star Michelin chef Massimo Bottura via his Kitchen Quarantine series

If you can do it safely, “you also can hire a chef to come to your home to prepare meals for you, to feel like you’re at a five-star resort,” Hambrick says.

As for drinks, buy wine from the region you’re “visiting.” You could even “create your own sip and paint excursion by buying canvases and paint and picking a piece of artwork online [that taps into your locale] to recreate” while you sample regional wines, Humbrick suggests. 

Into cocktails? Shake things up virtually with international bartenders, like the ones from The Langham London who offer free IGTV classes.  

The feel

Not being able to travel to a spa doesn’t mean you can’t experience one. Powell points out that Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas (with which BWP Travel has a preferred partnership) has put together At Home with Six Senses, “where they are virtually bringing their in-resort experts to your living room,” Powell explains. “Not only do they share things to see, but they also share great activities that couples can do together, like creating your own luxurious Six Senses couple spa experience at home with these amazing recipes for body products.” 

DIY spa products not for you? The Ritz-Carlton has tons of pampering lotions, bath bubbles, and balms that you can order online

How to homey-moon in Paris

Want to picture all of the tips above in action? We did the work for you with this Parisian homey-moon itinerary. (De rien.)

First, set the scene by dimming the lights, lighting extra-romantic candles, and strewing your space with red and pink rose petals. Next, “check into” the Shangri-La Hotel Paris with a virtual tour.

Once you’re settled, kick back with flutes of chilled champagne and some pate, Brie, warm baguette, sliced tomatoes, and grapes while you watch “Before Sunset” starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. 

The next day, wake up and go for a virtual run along the Seine before heating flakey croissants to eat with fresh-squeezed OJ and café au lait. Virtually explore the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and Versailles. Then whip up a salad Nicoise for lunch to enjoy while “strolling” through Jardin des Tuileries.

And what’s a visit to the City of Lights without some petite French macarons? You can learn to make them online via Le Cordon Bleu, where Julia Child studied cooking in Paris. 

After a sunset “drive” through the colorful Pigalle district (known for its gastro-bistros, bars, and nightlife—Moulin Rouge is there), get dressed up for a feast of homemade steak frites, salad vinaigrette, chocolate truffles, and tasty red Bordeaux. Drift off to sleep listening to French rapper and singer Lomepal.