The Honeymoon Planner

Photo: Courtesy of Chad Pickard & Paul McLean

Tom Marchant, Co-Founder, Black Tomato

Pop quiz: The bride wants Turks and Caicos, but the groom is thinking Tanzania. Where do you send them?
If the groom is saying adventure, but the bride wants to relax, we’ll combine both. There is an area of Brazil called the Pantanal. It’s the most amazing area of jungle and swampland, and it’s home to incredible lakes, wonderful trekking, and fishing. You go riding on horseback through savannas and sleep under the stars, then fly to some of the best beaches in the world—Trancoso to the north or Florianópolis in the south.

What makes for a great honeymoon?
It should be tailor-made to the couple. It’s not good enough to say that a place seems nice. A cup of tea is nice. That’s not what your honeymoon should be. Focus on enjoying yourselves—or having an experience.

Define experiential travel.
It’s not just about staying by the pool. It’s experiencing local culture. For instance, in Ethiopia, up in the north, there’s an iconic area called Lalibela where you have rock cathedrals, one of the great wonders of the world. Around Lalibela, there are amazing little villages in the foothills of the mountains where, if you know the right people, you can spend a really immersing night in a bar drinking the local beer, dancing crazily, and having a great time.

Black Tomato also has an office in London. What do New Yorkers ask for more than your British clients?
They don’t always get as much vacation time, so we focus on maximizing days. The Caribbean and Central America work well—so does Europe. We’re also seeing a lot of interesting places within the U.S.—like Marfa, Texas, which has a slightly eclectic Art Deco scene. Also Colorado and Utah, where you’ve got spectacular wilderness. Couples want a sense of disconnect from the day-to-day. Once you take yourself out of the city and you’re reading by starlight in some of the greatest scenery in the world, that’s a pretty special trip.

Got any money-saving tips?
You can get fantastic offers on flights in January and September. Also, look at private-villa options, which aren’t extremely expensive, and you can self-cater. Some great honeymoons we’ve offered have been by rail. One of my favorite experiences was when I lived in Moscow and took the Trans-Siberian Express. It’s a very romantic trip.

Where should you splurge?
It depends. If you want to relax, don’t compromise on the quality of the room. If you’re taking a very long-haul flight right after the wedding, travel business or first class. It makes a significant difference.

Illustration by Jim Mezei

“Don’t stay too long. After three days of doing nothing, you can get restless. If a place is remote, make sure there’s a variety of things to do.”


The Honeymoon Planner