I'm engaged to be married next year and thrilled about the honeymoon I plan to take with my fiance. I've spent more time fantasizing about our perfect honeymoon than I've spent fantasizing about our wedding. I imagine quiet solitude, romance, and a few weeks of "just the two of us," before we have to return to the daily grind of our everyday life together. Because of this, I was surprised when my friend asked me if I planned to take my daughter along for the trip. The thought of bringing a child on a honeymoon had never even occurred to me.
I can understand why some couples might choose to bring their kids, whether from previous relationships or the current commitment, on a honeymoon with them. In some cases, leaving a child with other caregivers simply isn't practical. If my daughter were only an infant or toddler, I wouldn't even consider leaving her with other caregivers. I also know that some couples don't have access to in-laws or close friends who can attentively provide for the child during the honeymoon.
In these cases, bringing children on a honeymoon might be advantageous. It can also be a good choice if a child feels left out of the relationship or is experiencing emotional or behavioral disturbances related to the wedding. Marriages are, and always have been, about uniting families. If a child would benefit from inclusion in a honeymoon vacation in order to feel happy about her parent's marriage, a kid-inclusive trip might be a good idea.
In the case of a child with special needs due to age, maturity, or emotional disturbances, the choice to turn a honeymoon into a family vacation might be reasonable. However, I believe that, in most cases, a honeymoon should include only the newlywed couple. A honeymoon is an important opportunity for a couple to bond and experience relative solitude, away from the stresses of day-to-day life-- including the stress associated with children. When feasible, couples should be able to enjoy a honeymoon without the presence of children.
When parents do choose-- or need-- to bring kids on a honeymoon, it's important that the couple still focus on the romantic aspects of this important period. They should take time to minimize all forms of stress, perhaps keeping kids entertained with usually new toys, movies, or video games. If the children are old enough, parents might consider renting a separate, nearby hotel room to afford parents some privacy at bed time. The focus of the vacation should be on the newlywed couple first, and the inclusion of the children second.
The choice to bring children on a honeymoon or to leave them with other caregivers isn't always easy to make. While it isn't an ideal option in most cases, many potential situations might arise that would lead parents to choose to include their children on the trip. Regardless of whether or not you choose to bring your children on your honeymoon, it's important to make enjoyment, unity, and love the focus of this important time in your life. A stressful decision shouldn't overshadow your enjoyment of the most exciting and beautiful chapter of your marriage.