Marriages are made in heaven but honeymoons are planned on earth. Like a marriage is a significant part of life, the honeymoon is an important part of marriage. The honeymoon is to marriage what marriage is to life. One without the other is unnatural and unthinkable. The honeymoon is a very special aspect of newly-married life and holds a special place in one's heart even years later.

Days of labour and planning go into making the marriage ceremonies a success. Even the minutest of details are taken care of. There is planning for every element of the ceremonies.

The venue is planned, the trousseau, the caterer, the jewellery, the beautician, the gifts, the invites, the florist; nobody wants to settle for the second best while planning for the marriage function.

Why then settle for the second best for the honeymoon? A perfect honeymoon also needs proper planning. Many a time, the honeymoon is taken for granted and the couple makes a quick visit to a nearby hill station for a few days. This makes it a mere formality.

Even within one's budget the honeymoon can be made an unforgettable experience if there is proper planning. Here is what you need to do for enjoying a perfect honeymoon.

Decide on the budget:

One should be clear on the budget. There shouldn't be vagueness about it. It spoils the honeymoon. You should also keep a margin of five to 10 per cent extra on the budget, in case your stay extends by a day or two. The budget should include the travelling costs, board and lodging, sightseeing and shopping.

There are a number of destinations that can fall within your stipulated budget. Since the honeymoon is special to both partners, they can share the budget to make their honeymoon more luxurious.

Avoid Postponement:

Except because of unavoidable circumstances, the honeymoon should immediately follow the marriage as the partners crave for each other's company and want to escape the house full of guests. A delay can take away the fun and the spirit of escaping the crowd. So please go for the honeymoon as early as possible - but only after the marriage!

Check "honeymoon packages" with tour and travel agencies:

In case you are not able to arrange for the travel tickets and hotel bookings for any reason consult a good tour and travel agency. Such agencies have many packages available that can fit your taste and pocket.

Go for the destination that will suit the tastes of both the partners:

In a new marriage, both the partners try to please each other and give preference to each other's opinion. This seems sweet but is it all right when you are deciding on the destination for your honeymoon? What if one wants to go to a hill station, whereas the other secretly longs for the beaches? The honeymoon is a special and unique experience for both the partners and the destination should be the one that can offer something to both.

The couple should openly discuss the issue and settle on the programme that meets their taste.

Pack bags before marriage:

Since the days after the marriage are hectic, it is better if the honeymoon bags are packed before the marriage. If the destination is predetermined, then it shouldn't be a problem, since you will know the kind of clothes needed. The boy can pack his bag at leisure and the girl can pack her bag at her parents' place and carry it to her new home.

Before packing, a list of things that you need to carry must be made. This way you will be able to pack all the things that will be required. Last-minute packing is both stressful and exhausting. Who would want to subject oneself to this anxiety just after marriage?

Travel light:

Avoid carrying the things that you will not be requiring. Forget those novels! They are unnecessary weight and, believe me, you will not be getting the time to have your cute nose in a book when you have a new spouse beside you. The more luggage you carry, the more cumbersome it will be for you.

Carry clothes that are both practical and comfortable. Saris, my dear, are not really practical. What if you decide to go horse riding? Well-fitting jeans and trousers look smart and are easy to re-use without washing or ironing. Don't forget to carry a small first-aid kit and the camera to capture those precious moments.

Carry plastic money:

Carrying too much cash is risky and worrisome. Since most of the good hotels and shops accept credit cards, it is smart to carry your credit card or an ATM Debit card. You can always withdraw the cash as and when you need it. Also, avoid carrying too much jewellery. It is an unnecessary risk.

Two's company three's a crowd:

Don't club your honeymoon with other honeymooners. Let it be your special and unique trip. With other couples around, you might not get as much privacy as you are looking for. Politely decline the suggestion and go for the honeymoon all by yourselves.

Don't forget dear friends and relatives:

Remember to buy some knick-knacks for the people dear to you. By doing so you will be remembering them and making them a part of your special time. Don't go for crazy shopping, just some souvenirs will do.

Be loving, don't be judgemental:

A honeymoon is the time when a couple gets some private moments. They will get to know each other from closer angles. There might be some revelations about each other, some opinions, mannerism or habits that might put one off the other.

Don't let this situation exist during the honeymoon. Diffuse the situation as early as possible and avoid bringing up subjects that might upset the other. Talk of the things that cheer up the mood.

Also, show appreciation of the other, be it the way one dresses or walks or behaves. Avoid being judgemental at this stage. An entire lifetime is lying ahead for judgements, opinions, suggestions and improvements.

Remember, good memories will last forever and blossom like a flower in your heart, bad memories will also last forever but will feel like thorns.

So, people, plan your honeymoon well in advance, and make it an astounding success.

Good luck!