Sand and sun top honeymoon choice

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Kris Boyce and his wife combined their wedding and honeymoon in a trip to Italy.

The two went to Rome and Florence and the Riviera. They videotaped the exchange of the rings and vows for their families, after they had taken care of all the paperwork back home in Colorado.

"It couldn't have gone any better," Boyce said.

The newlyweds danced in a private dining room on their wedding night, while others from the Italian restaurant raised their glasses several times, toasting to a long happy marriage.

Like Boyce, Yampa Valley couples often look to get away from the cold and snow for their honeymoons. Area travel agents warm, exotic locales are popular.

"People from around here like to go somewhere warm and sunny -- usually somewhere with blue water and white sand," said Sandy Schwindy of Traveler's Edge travel agency in Oak Creek.

Mexico, the Caribbean and Hawaii are popular destinations for Coloradans because of their warm, relaxing climates and relatively low costs compared to European of Far East destinations, said Karen Patterson of Great Escape/Cain Travel.

"You have to consider, the further you go the more it's going to cost you," Patterson said.

Cruises are also among the most popular and most economical choices. Most cruises offer special packages for honeymooners, such as larger cabins with extra large bathtubs, and refrigerators stocked with champagne.

Like every option though, Schwindy says, "You get what you pay for." Choosing the correct cruise line for your honeymoon is crucial. If a couple opts for the cheapest priced cruise, they will probably be in the company of young college students. Other cruises focus on catering to families. It's important to research cruise lines and packages, Schwindy said.

Cruise packages are typically available anywhere from $700 to $7,000.

Honeymoon packages are available at almost every resort destination, Patterson said. A typical all-inclusive, weeklong honeymoon package in Jamaica costs $3,000 to $4,000, but there are an infinite amount of upgrades available as well.

"It may just be a fruit basket, but sometimes upgrades include a room with an ocean view or a candlelight dinner," Patterson said. "Sometimes you can just buy those upgrades for about $500 extra."

The more expensive European and Asian destinations are also popular for honeymoons. Places like Italy and France are traditionally romantic, while places like Bali and Tahiti are more exotic. It just depends on what a couple wants, Schwindy said.

Most couples want to go somewhere they have not been before, Schwindy said. These days, couples are getting married at an older age than 30 or 40 years ago, so sometimes it is challenging to find a place under budget that neither partner has been to.

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