Honeymoons cost Long Islanders at least $10,000. Inside the 'trip of a lifetime'

Angela Lamendola and Dominic Siggilino, both 32 of West Islip and married last May, traveled to South Africa, Mauritius and Dubai. Credit: Angela Lamendola

Identical twins Hannah Borrelli and Kaci Slevin, 31, didn't plan on honeymooning together. The pandemic delayed the Slevin wedding. And when the Borrellis wed last year, the “trip of a lifetime,” as Borrelli calls it, fell into place.

“We literally laughed the whole time,” says Borrelli, adding that their respective husbands have been great friends since elementary school. The foursome savored gelato everyday — sometimes twice — on their two-week Italian extravaganza starting in Rome with stops in Tuscany, Venice, Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast.

Their October excursion was one of some 400 honeymoons booked last year by Garden City-based Trip Guy travel agent Melissa Patane, 95% by Long Islanders.

Though a one-of-a-kind experience for the Borrellis and Slevins, Patane says their trip points to a larger trend: an explosion of interest in honeymooning in Italy and Greece.

For many, says Heather Cunningham, the owner of bridal organization Brides of Long Island, “Honeymoons are the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s great for couples to be able to escape after so many months of stressful planning, just to be alone, relaxing and celebrating their new chapter.”

Types of honeymoons, and how much Long Islanders are spending on them vary, though Patane explains, “a 10-to-12 day trip is looking like $10,000 on average.”

As for what honeymooners really desire? “ It’s a healthy mix,” she says. “Some want to simply relax at a nice hotel, and while most are not cliff jumping, others want to take full advantage of what a destination has to offer. It’s a balance of what’s out there and what your dreams are.”

One thing virtually everybody requests these days? “A private plunge pool,” Patane says.

Here’s how some LIers are honeymooning:

The trip

Two weeks in Italy

Cost

$13,000 per couple

When

October 2023

Who

Hannah, 31 and Frankie Borrelli, 30, of Brightwaters and Kaci, 31 and Nick Slevin, 30, of Babylon

Highlights: Patane alerted hotels they stayed in that these were honeymooners and all their rooms were upgraded, much to their delight. Kaci says the Statue of David “took my breath away.”

They visited the Colosseum in Rome and wineries in “the rolling hills of Tuscany,” but they all agree that the most magical day was when they chartered “a private boat with our own skipper” (around $1,000) “that took us through the entire Isle of Capri. It was one of the best days of our lives,” says Hannah. But it was only Kaci who returned with an unexpected gift. The Slevins are expecting their first child in June.

Identical twins Hannah Borrelli, of Brightwaters, and Kaci Slevin, of...

Identical twins Hannah Borrelli, of Brightwaters, and Kaci Slevin, of Babylon, double-dated on their Italian honeymoon with respective husbands Frank and Nick, shown here in Venice. Credit: Hannah Borrelli

The trip 

Two weeks on Virgin Voyages cruise line and Barcelona

Cost

$12,000

When

October 2023

Who

Claudia Cadenillas, 30, and Anthony Cove, 34, of Lake Grove

Travel adviser Christine Earl, of You and Me By the Sea in Islip, had to mediate for the two attorneys, balancing the newlyweds’ different wishes. Cadenillas was hoping for an all-inclusive Sandals-type trip while Cove, a self-proclaimed “history nerd,” wanted to look at “important things.”

The adults-only cruise, which Cove calls “the appetizer of the vacation,” satisfied Cadenillas’ need for contained R&R while daily excursions to Nice, Cannes, Mallorca, Ibiza and then a week in Barcelona sated Cove’s desire to see the world.

Highlights: Cadenillas thoroughly enjoyed the ship’s entertainment, including the nightly “Scarlet Party,” a full-on celebration featuring performances, games, karaoke and more with everybody dressed in red, and she was touched by the handwritten note, Champagne and rose petal welcome in their cabin. The panoramic view of the city and the sea from the Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica in Marseille, was a high point, both literally and figuratively for both.

In Barcelona, Cove enjoyed studying the architecture, Cadenillas, who is Peruvian, says, “It was nice to use my native language.” They loved the famous food court La Bouqueria Market and sampled Spanish croquetas everywhere. “If they had them on the menu, we got them,” says Cove.

A two-part honeymoon was the perfect fit for Claudia Cadenillas,...

A two-part honeymoon was the perfect fit for Claudia Cadenillas, 30, and Anthony Cove, 34, of Lake Grove. Credit: Claudia Cadenillas

The trip

A three-day minimoon to Sound View Greenport hotel

Cost

About $1,000

When

April 2023

Who

Alexa Green Scavelli and Rob Scavelli, both 37, of Freeport

For sweethearts who met at Holy Trinity High School many moons ago, this was their second wedding. They first married at a small 30-person affair in 2022 and then again at a full-on 200-person blowout last April.

Though they debated about going away, Green Scavelli, an actor/singer and voice teacher who “loves everything about Long Island,” says it was her mom’s advice that prompted them. “She said ‘take a honeymoon big or small to decompress, be present and celebrate the unity and special bond we have.’ ”

Highlights: “We did everything Greenport has to offer offseason,” she says. They visited an art installation, attended a yoga class, sampled wines at the Kontokosta Winery and dined out. “The view alone is a reason to go,” says Green Scavelli. “The water comes right up to the hotel and the sunsets are just beautiful. They really rolled out the red carpet for us there. I’m so glad we did it.”

Alexa Green Scavelli and her husband, Rob Scavelli, opted for...

Alexa Green Scavelli and her husband, Rob Scavelli, opted for a three-day mini-moon at the Sound View Greenport hotel on the North Fork after their April wedding. Credit: Alexa Green Scavelli

 

The trip

A three-week journey to South Africa, Mauritius and Dubai

Cost

 $18,000, plus credit card points and hotel rewards

When

May 2023

Who

Angela Lamendola and Dominic Siggilino, both 32, of West Islip

It took some convincing for animal lover Lamendola to get her husband to buy into the notion of exploration and seeing animals in the wild but, she says, “He ended up loving it.”

In South Africa, the couple mixed the sophisticated city vibe of Cape Town with a little shark cage diving in nearby Simon’s Town. Then it was on to Franschhoek, considered to be the country's food and wine capital, followed by a luxury safari experience at Sabi Sands, a private game reserve.

There was one little hiccup in Mauritius, when they arrived to a room swarming with mosquitoes. Luckily, their travel agent was able to get them moved to another resort the next day where it was all about relaxing. Finally, there was a weekend in Dubai.

Highlights: “It was such an adventure, and a really cool trip,” says Lamendola, who was wild about the safari portion where the spottings included lion cubs, giraffes and “leopards that came right up to the car.” After all the outdoorsy-ness, they had fun in Dubai visiting Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. In the Old Town there, which she describes as “stuck in time,” they looked in on a spice market, and did some bazaar shopping. “It was awesome and made us think that we need to take as much time off as we can to explore,” she says.

Angela Lamendola and Dominic Siggilino, both 32, traveled to South...

Angela Lamendola and Dominic Siggilino, both 32, traveled to South Africa, Mauritius and Dubai and went shark cage diving. Credit: Angela Lamendola

The trip

10 days to three islands in Hawaii

Cost

$12,000

When

June 2021

Who

 Johnny Kelly, 31, and Marco Ingarao, 36, of Dix Hills

Though they married a year before, these owners of the Gemini Salon and Garden in Nesconset opted to honeymoon a year later, though many pandemic travel restrictions were still being enforced.

“We just wanted to relax,” says Kelly. They visited three islands, Maui, Kauai and Oahu, booking in all cases ocean-view rooms.

This, unfortunately, was not without a few mishaps. In one beautiful room in Kauai, they realized the ceiling was deteriorating above their open suitcases, filling them with pieces of plaster. The hotel was more than accommodating, moving them to a mega-suite with living room, den and master bedroom and giving them $500 resort credit. At another hotel in Oahu, a nearby loud construction site was killing the vibe, but their ever-ready travel agent, Christine Earls, moved them to an ideal spot.

Highlights: “One of our excursions was an all-day catamaran sail, and it was the most magical day ever,” says Kelly. “There were probably 100 dolphins jumping next to the boat, and when we were snorkeling we were swimming with seals. I was like, ‘Now, this is Hawaii.’ ” After moving from their not-so-great first hotel on Oahu, the couple found themselves at the Aulani, a Disney resort. “I’m a big Disney fan and the whole property had great amenities,” explains Kelly. “We had breakfast with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck. You can’t go wrong with Disney, and overall it was fabulous.”

It was a three-island Hawaiian honeymoon for Johnny Kelly and...

It was a three-island Hawaiian honeymoon for Johnny Kelly and Marco Ingarao. Credit: Johnny Kelly

The trip

16-days Amsterdam, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, Greece, London

Cost

In excess of $25,000

When

May 22, 2024 (they will wed on May 18)

Who

Alexys Carter, 34, and Andrew Mantione, 33, of Woodbury

Mantione is a world traveler who has visited some 25 countries and for his honeymoon, “finding a destination he hasn’t already been to,” was the mission, says Carter, his bride-to-be. And here’s the big news: He’s planning the itinerary himself. “He is the travel adviser,” says Carter.

For Mantione, it’s a pleasurable puzzle. “I enjoy planning the trip as much as I enjoy going,” he explains. “I’m a very big believer in using aggregate sites like Expedia and Orbitz, which lay out options when you’re looking to coordinate flight times.” For him, long layovers are no problem and allow for a little sightseeing. When the couple gets to London, they hope to get a gander at Big Ben, Parliament and the Crown Jewels before they head back to Amsterdam.

In his mind, his honeymoon is divided into two parts — partially adventurous as in going on safari in Tanzania (albeit starting from The Four Seasons in Serengeti) and then a week of relaxation in Greece, “looking at the water and ordering room service. The last thing you want to do is to need a vacation when you get back from vacation,” he says. Shrugging off mishaps or missed connections, he advises, “You just have to go with the flow. Sometimes when things go bad, the memories are fun,” and this time he’ll get to share them with someone he loves.

For her part, Carter, who is not as well-traveled, is ready. “I just got a new passport — it doesn’t have a stamp on it so everything will be our honeymoon. I’m open to go anywhere,” she says. “Have suitcase will travel.”

Alexys Carter, 34, and Andrew Mantione, 33 of Woodbury.

Alexys Carter, 34, and Andrew Mantione, 33 of Woodbury. Credit: Alexys Carter

Should you hire a honeymoon travel adviser? 

Engaging a travel adviser is certainly not mandatory, especially for good planners, but many are happy to have one when they run into a jam. “We 100% recommend using a travel agent,” says Heather Cunningham, owner of bridal organization Brides of Long Island. “You’re often getting the help of someone who has experience in these places. It’s like having someone on your team and they can sometimes save you money.”

And things do come up, like missed flights, bad rooms and other mishaps that travel advisers are somehow miraculously able to fix from afar. And when they’re not problem solving, they’re often adding value to your trip, like upgrading your rooms if they can, alerting hotels to your newlywed status and providing other advantages you may not know about. “We have firsthand knowledge from our own travels and can help guide you and also amazing relationships with hoteliers and suppliers that a client would not have on their own,” explains Melissa Patane, of Trip Guy Travel in Garden City.

Surprise perks are expertly handled by folks like Christine Earl, a destination wedding and honeymoon specialist at Islip-based travel agency You and Me By the Sea. Along those lines, she regularly arranges private oceanside photoshoots and dinners for her clients. And if you want amenities like a personal butler or prefer your bungalow to appear to float atop the water, she’s happy to arrange it.

Travel advisers may charge a nominal fee based on how complicated your itinerary is, but in the end, it may be well worth it. 

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