Honeymoon Travel Guide: A Surprise Trip to Vienna!

When you decide to book a holiday, what’s the first thing you do? You probably figure out if you want to go lie on a beach, explore a new city or throw yourselves wholeheartedly into some kind of action/ adventure sports trip. Next, you might want to know how the weather is at the time of year you plan to travel. Then you’ll probably look up what the local food is like, research the must-sees and investigate all the popular sites to decide if they sound like something you’d enjoy…

But what if I told you you could go on a holiday that you knew nothing about until two hours before take off!? Well, that’s exactly what Gareth and I did last weekend!

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Surprisetrips.co.uk is a new concept from the people behind Expedia.co.uk. How it works is you tell them your preferred departure airport, send them a short list of places you don’t want to visit (maybe you’ve already been there or you just don’t fancy it) and they book you a completely surprise European holiday!

They currently offer 77 weekend destinations in Europe and the service is open to all UK, IE, CA, AUS, NZ and US passport holders (all flights depart from the UK or Ireland). All flights are at convenient times (we flew out at 9am and back at 8pm) and are under 3 and a half hours.

When I heard about the concept I was excited, if not a little bit nervous. I’m not an over-planner when it comes to travelling, but I do like to do a little basic research so I know what to expect of a new place. Not least of all, I like to know beforehand how I’m going to get to my hotel from the airport!

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The anticipation of where we might end up was definitely one of the best parts of this whole experience and everyone I told about it was like “Wow that’s so cool, I’d love to do that!” Once you book, Surprise Trips emails you a link which tells you which airport and terminal to go to and what time you need to arrive. Then, a couple of days before the trip they email you again with a weather report from your destination so you have some idea of what to pack. Ours told us it was going to be 26-30°C so we were kind of expecting that we might end up on a beach somewhere… But as you can see, that couldn’t have been further from what happened!

Now I’m no YouTuber, but I thought it might be fun to make a little travel video so you can see what we got up to. Enjoy!

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A Midsummer’s Daydream: Rachel & Jamie’s Wedding Video

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When my sister Rachel and her now husband Jamie booked Camera Hannah to shoot their wedding on July 2nd, they knew they also wanted her to make them a video. Its rare to find a wedding photographer that offers both, so they really lucked out! Wedding photos are so special, but there’s just something extra super duper amazing about being able to watch some of those wedding moments back.

Hannah sent over the finished film this morning and I just could not wait to share it with you – so I’m doing so right away! Now I might be biased, but this might just be the most beautiful wedding video I’ve ever seen!

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Festival Inspired Back Garden Wedding

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Rebekah and Tom’s September wedding was held in their own back garden. They didn’t set a budget but tried to save money where they could. They were inspired by the festivals they both love to go to.

“We’re both such busy people that we didn’t have a theme or anything”, the bride began. “Our main goal was to make the day super relaxed and make sure everyone was comfortable and happy. I guess there was a festival feel to the day as I work at festivals all summer long and Tom is really outdoorsy. We definitely wanted a tent and a field and we were really lucky that our house has such a great garden. We could fit the tent, an outdoor bar and a fire pit without feeling crushed.”

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The bride wore a vintage dress that she bought at Secret Garden Party. “I found my dress a Lady Jane’s at Secret Garden Party. My mum was actually already halfway through mocking up my dress (I am a fourth generation seamstress and I had always thought she would make it) but when I tried on this dress I knew it was the one. It was exactly the same as the dress I’d drawn up for my mum to make! I thought I’ll just try it on for fun but it fitted so well and the ladies in the shop were almost crying! My bridesmaids were helping me run my shop next door and came running in, also crying! I knew it was the one. I went and stood out on the grass in front of our shops and people started to stop to congratulate me! One girl came up and held my face and didn’t say anything, just nodded her head at me, her boyfriend had to take her away (I think she was a bit squiffy – ha ha) So I sent my mum a picture and she messaged back in seconds saying ‘BUY IT!!’ I didn’t wait, I just went in and paid cash… it was a dream!”

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Firefighter’s Wedding in South Africa

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Nicola and Joe were married at Mountain View Farm in Cape Town which is a five minute drive from where the bride’s parent’s live. The couple now live in Abu Dhabi but wanted to return to the bride’s home for their wedding.

“Our wedding was loving, full and chilled”, the bride explained. “We live in the UAE so this was a destination wedding for us, even though my family still lives in South Africa. Joe is from England and so we had a big crowd of our friends from the UK and Abu Dhabi too. As Joe is a firefighter we had to do some photos in the local fire station!”

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The bride wanted something unusual and colourful for her dress, which she initially found quite tricky in the UAE. “There’s not many places that cater for western wedding dresses – Dubai, maybeeeee, but not in Abu Dhabi. I did some serious research and bought quite a few dresses but after one that was very poorly made, another that I ordered online and when it showed up it wasn’t remotely like the picture, I eventually found out about the only boutique in Abu Dhabi. It was really hidden, on the mezzanine floor of a small building near a pizza joint. The staff were great and very excited! I tried on about 15 dresses and took photos of every one on me, but I instantly fell in love with this one. However, it was all white and I wanted some colour so I went to a material shop and got the perfect turquoise lace. The boutique offered to add it for me. It wasn’t cheap in the end but it was perfect!”

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Running off to Las Vegas

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When Benjamin and Georgina decided to marry, they didn’t want to wait. So they flew over to Las Vegas to do it on their own terms. “Benjamin is in a band so we don’t get very much time together, due to his touring schedule”, said Georgina. “So for us, being married was the most important thing.”

“Benjamin spent the nine weeks leading up to the wedding touring in Australia and the US, so not only were we apart, but on different time zones. At the end of his tour I flew out from London and he flew from Florida to both meet up in Vegas, which was the most romantic, crazy and surreal experience!”

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“We chose Vegas for the lights (I’m obsessed with neon, thanks to Baz Luhrman’s Romeo + Juliet, probably the greatest film of all time). It was somewhere we’d always wanted to experience, and we hadn’t even been on holiday abroad together before this trip, so the time leading up to the wedding day made for lots of insane memories.”

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Colourful Runaway Elopement

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If you really don’t have a lot of money to spend, or you literally just want to run away and get married, then Laura and James’ colourful runaway elopement is going to be so inspiring for you!

“Our wedding was relaxed and bright!” said Laura. “Really early on we talked about the fact that we wanted to run away and get married in secret. We had never even really considered a normal wedding. We talked about inviting our parents but then decided that if we did that we’d have to invite brothers and sisters… and if they were invited we would have to invite their partners… But then I would feel bad not inviting our best friends and their partners… And then it would feel harsh not ti invite more family and before you know it we’d have 100 people ‘running away’ with us! We just had to be strict and keep it at zero guests. It was really difficult to keep it a secret from everybody we know!”

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“We didn’t tell anyone we’d got married until that evening, the first to know were our parents over video chat. My mum had always suspected we would run off and get married in secret so she was not upset in the slightest, just happy for us! James’ mum also said she had suspected we might have been getting married in secret. I was over the moon with their reactions and pleased that they had their suspicions beforehand so it wouldn’t have been a total shock!”

The day was held at Lower Barns, a B&B in Cornwall. “We got married in a shed! Its officially called the Wed Shed and it is adorable! It could just about fit seven of us in (me and James, two registrars, two witnesses and our photographer, Alexa) so was very cosy. It was the definition of intimate, there were candles lit, an old school table and quirky chairs. I have to be honest I don’t remember the ceremony much and I am glad for the photos as it was a short time, and although we didn’t have a big audience, I still felt a little nervous! But it was lovely in the end and the best part is that we were officially married at the end of it!”

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