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Chrissy and Herb Strickland from Florida were getting married.
But this time, a second marriage for both, it wasn’t just between them. They had kids from their previous marriages and there was no way, Chrissy says, that she and Herb were starting their new lives with out the children being involved.
In fact, the Stricklands opted to involve their extended families as well as their children in both the wedding and the honeymoon: a Familymoon.
“Herb and I were not the only people getting married that day,” she said. “All of us were committed, and all of us were joining together. “You know,” she laughs lightly, “my ring has five diamonds on it, one for each of our children.”
The Familymoon seems to be an idea whose time has clearly come.
Since 9/11 the trend has been toward the kind of family travel that builds memories and creates bonds, so it makes sense that weddings and honeymoons should be part of that family travel experience.
But how do the couple balance the need for intimacy and romance with all this “family togetherness”?
After all, it is a marriage.
Familymooners emphasize that the venue has to have flexible accommodations, and a range of activities suitable for everyone.
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This might mean the resort has separate villas or adjoining suites, or at least connecting rooms…so there can be privacy, romance, and togetherness.
Familymoons serve a sociological purpose too, it seems.
According to Dr. Marjorie Engel, board member at the Stepfamily Association of America there are now as many step families as “intact” families.
The association says a whopping 65 percent of remarriages are now bringing children into the new relationship.
Experts say Familymoons ease the transition into new families because parents today don’t want to leave their kids behind when they get married.
And the children certainly don’t want to be left behind while their new parents take off without them.
“If the couple getting married doesn’t realize that the wedding has to involve their kids, they seriously need to rethink their union,” adds Strickland.
Also, with the average age of the first time grandparent in this country just 48 years old, it’s easy to bring together grandparents, kids, grand kids and siblings into the marrying experience.
Advice for Familymooners:
•Everyone in the family needs to be involved in planning the Familymoon, such as deciding who will make the toast or what specific attractions to visit.
•Provide everyone with a disposable camera so the new family can create a “memory book.”
•Choose a neutral destination, not one where either parent has spent a family vacation or, obviously, a previous honeymoon.
•A sense of humor is a must. As is expecting the unexpected. This is uncharted territory. If things don’t go according to plans, roll with them.
•Be aware that single parents traveling with minors outside the United States must bring proof from the other parent that they have the permission to travel with the child.
•Kids will often become homesick, missing their biological parent or pet, even. Be sure they can phone home or email friends.
•And chose a destination that has significant experience in family travel, preferably Familymoons.
Are Familymoons a good idea…or too far out?
Headline: What! take the inds and my family on my homeymoon? Yes, a Familymoon!