Ah, June, the month of weddings and honeymoons . . . and the expenses that go with them. It's the eternal dilemma: whether to spare no expense for the wedding and honeymoon because they are -- one hopes -- once-in-a-lifetime experiences, or to seek out lower-cost options and save for the future. (Just don't scrimp on the love, whatever you do.) Here is a sampling of offers in several price categories:
If the besotted couple is planning a honeymoon cruise, a new registry at Cruises Inc. may help with the expenses. After a couple is registered, family and friends can log on to www.honeymoonvoyages.com, view the cruise selected, and contribute toward the floating vacation. Voyage credits are processed in $50 and $100 increments and charged to a major credit card. Purchasers will receive an e-mail confirmation of the amount contributed. Shortly before the wedding, the couple will receive a complimentary photo album displaying the names of all who contributed.
For more information or to register, call 800-676-4393 or visit www.cruisesinc.com.
You can even add spice to your rehearsal dinner. Ocean Edge Resort & Club on Cape Cod offers an outdoor event beneath a silver screen. ''Dive in to Destiny" includes a barbecue at the Brewster resort's pool accompanied by the wedding movie of your choice -- ''Father of the Bride," ''The Wedding Singer," ''It Had to Be You," ''Bride of Frankenstein," or even your home videos -- projected on a 30-foot movie screen. Ocean Edge will also provide lawn chairs and blankets, popcorn, and candy. The cost is $55 a person exclusive of tax, gratuities, and alcohol. The package is available May-September. The resort has several wedding-honeymoon deals as well.
Call 800-811-3457 or visit www.oceanedge.com.
Fewer places are more memorable for honeymooning than Hawaii. At the Kaua'i Marriott on Kalapaki Beach, a Honeymoon Package includes deluxe accommodations with a private balcony, a compact rental car for the duration of the stay, champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries upon arrival, and a daily breakfast buffet for two in Kukui's Poolside Restaurant and Bar. Rates are $314-$394 a night. Or, on the western shore of the island of Oahu, the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa (which notes that ihilani means ''heavenly splendor") has a Honeymoon Package beginning at $529 a night that includes one of the following per person per day: either a three-course dinner at one of the hotel's restaurants or a Swedish massage or Thalasso Treatment with Color Light Therapy at the Ihilani Spa. Also included is unlimited use of fitness facilities and classes and the ever-popular champagne and strawberries combo. (A two-night minimum stay is required.)
For the Kaua'i Marriott Resort & Beach Club, call 800-220-2925. For the Ihilani, 800-626-4446. For general information, visit www.marriott.com. All other Hawaii Marriotts have wedding and honeymoon plans as well.
People have come to expect the unusual in Orlando, Fla., and that holds true for weddings.
At the Arabian Nights dinner attraction, for example, couples ride on horseback through the ''Palace of Horses" arena, or the bride may choose to make a grand entrance upon a unicorn. Why, even the flower girl and ring bearer can be led in on ponies. Special effects, if desired, include fog and snow. Complete packages range from $10,000-$25,000.
Call 407-239-9221, ext. 211, or visit www.arabian-nights.com.
If horses aren't your thing, maybe Harleys are. Couples can wed at Orlando
Call 877-740-3770 or visit www.orlandoharley.com.
A make-believe wedding will cost you a lot less than the real thing and no doubt be less stressful. In Berlin, Ohio, at the center of the world's largest Amish settlement, visitors can join an Amish Wedding Feast for $24.95 per person. At this three-hour dinner or luncheon in the Dutch Harvest Restaurant, two unsuspecting guests are selected to be the bride and groom, and will be dressed in authentic Amish wedding garb. Visitors experience every step of an Amish wedding, culminating with the feast. After the meal, guests hear stories of what it is like to grow up Amish. Dates are June 24, July 14, July 30, Aug. 6, and Aug. 20; more may be added.
Call 800-935-5218 or visit www.realamishexperiences.com.
Comfort Suites Paradise Island, an all-suite hotel in the Bahamas, says it has an ideal location for cozy, tropical beach weddings with only a couple of weeks' planning. An island wedding consultant works with couples, arranging the license and wedding documents, clergy, and photographer, as well as organizing flower arrangements and the reception. Basic wedding packages start at $775. Rates for junior suites start at $205 per night and include a daily deluxe continental breakfast. All Comfort Suite guests get full use of the facilities at the nearby Atlantis resort.
For wedding group reservations and information, call 800-417-6738, ext. 24.
Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa in St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands has a host of wedding packages, along with an on-site wedding coordinator. The most elaborate package is Weddings On Us, which includes the ceremony, five nights' lodging, meals, and many other amenities for $2,723-$3,155. If you want just a ceremony, prices begin at $699. In between, there are several other options. Most couples choose to wed on St. John Terrace, with its white gingerbread trimming and its location 100 feet above the sea.
And if you change your mind? Picking up on a recent news item, the upscale Loews New Orleans Hotel is featuring a Runaway Bride package. Uncertain guests get a private palm reader, foot massages (to help with the fleeing), diamond resetting recommendations from the recovery concierge, an in-room DVD of ''Runaway Bride," a look-changing haircut, and a Mardi Gras mask for purposes of disguise. The package price is $485 per night through Sept. 30.
When not included, hotel taxes, airport fees, and port charges can add significantly to the price of a trip. Most prices quoted are for double occupancy; solo travelers will usually pay more. Offers are subject to availability and there may be blackout dates. Contact Richard P. Carpenter at firstname.lastname@example.org.