It’s no secret that love can sometimes come with fear; and that fear can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Whether it shows through your jitters moments leading up to making the first move, sweaty palms before meeting the parents, or even anxiety while wondering if you’re opening your heart to the right person, there’s no doubt that making the choice to embrace the journey will come with a fair share of ~feelings~ and life lessons.
The beauty of the aftermath tends to be the greatest reward of all. On the other side of fear comes patience, trust, and lifelong partnership. For Honeymoon Wishes couple, Lesley and Jared, a relationship that started as a slow burn has grown into marriage, overcoming fears, and so much more.
Tell us a little bit about how you and Jared met…
Lesley: So Jared and I met through my brother-in-law, technically, because my sister and my brother-in-law started dating way back in high school. And it was a big reason why we did not pursue anything in the beginning because I just really didn’t want that… dipping into the friends…
We didn’t pursue anything for a while but my sister and brother-in-law did end up getting married. He was a groomsman and I was Maid of Honor. So we’ve known of each other and there were a lot of occasions where we were at the same place, same time, same group of friends…
Jared: It started from a far.
Lesley: A couple of parties of us catching each other’s eye, making it a thing… and now we’re married.
Wow! The song Slow Burn by Kacey Musgraves totally just came to mind. So sweet that you respected each other in that way.
Lesley: Yeah. I do have a seven-year-old from a previous relationship, and he was very aware of that from the beginning, so he kept his distance for a long time. He let me pursue things when it did come down to it.
What a gentleman, I’m happy for you both. So, how long have you been together and married now?
Lesley: So we’ve been together since May of 2019. Coming up on four years in May and we’ve been married since the third of February, 2023.
Photo Credit: Lesley
I know you both decided on Costa Rica for your honeymoon, but is there any reason why? Does that location hold any significance for either of you?
Lesley: I went to Costa Rica in 2018 with my family [and] it was a trip that we still talk about. I was on the fence about something a little colder, kind of like Iceland to see the Northern Lights, a bucket list type of thing and he actually mentioned Costa Rica because of us talking about it so much as a family.
He hadn’t been so he was like, “Let’s see what Costa Rica is all about, y’all can’t stop talking about it.” We agreed on Costa Rica because I wanted him to see it and I also wanted to experience a different side of Costa Rica for our honeymoon.
How long was your stay while you were there?
Lesley: We were there for 10 days, it was perfect.
Would you say that you did more relaxing activities or did you spend more of your time doing adventurous things? How would you say that time we split?
Lesley: The first half of our honeymoon was definitely more adventurous. We did three excursions in five days. The first one we saw the waterfalls, mud bathing in a crater.
The next day we did ATVs and zip lining. The day after we did a bay tour with a couples massage. Then we went to the rainforest for the next five days at another resort.
Jared: The first five days were more touristy, but then the second five days was more of an experience of Costa Rica.
Lesley: It was like a wellness resort rather than a party resort where they had a bunch of activities, this was more quiet. They had a meditation deck and hikes available at the resort, so it was a lot more calm and quiet. We maybe ran into two couples a day at that resort, it was just so secluded.
It sounds like you stayed at two different resorts then while you were there, what resorts did you stay at?
Lesley: The first resort was Secrets Papagayo, it was everything I expected in a resort. It had all the activities that you could do throughout the day. Buffet style breakfast, lunch and dinner areas. You could sign up for the hibachi steak dinner, individual dinners.
[And] there was a preferred restaurant that we were actually able to go to because of us being honeymooners. Black sand beaches… They had a spa that was walking distance along the beach, which was really cool.
Were there any extra amenities that came with your honeymoon package?
Lesley: So they provided us with a champagne bottle. There was a champagne bottle in our room when we first arrived and then we went down to their beach and someone came up to us with another bottle of champagne. They were very accommodating.
“We were literally in the middle of the rainforest. It looks like this resort was just carved out of the rainforest.”
Photo Credit: Lesley
And then how was the second resort?
Lesley: The second resort was called Amor Arenal. It was three hours from our first resort and about a good half of the time we were just going uphill in the mountains. But once we got there it was amazing.
We were literally in the middle of the rainforest. It looks like this resort was just carved out of the rainforest. Every room had its own personal patio and hot tub. Amazing.
Could you tell us what are some of the favorite activities that you both did during the trip
Lesley: My favorite part of the trip was definitely when we did the private bay tour. We took the private bay tour on our last full day at Guanacaste side, and she took us to a couple of different beach fronts. A couple of them had these caves that we were able to go into, just hearing the acoustics of the water hitting the rocks and being in there was just awesome. That’s where I had my moment.
What was the best part of your honeymoon experience overall, aside from all the fun activities, were there any other moments that stood out for you two about this trip together as a couple? Or what it signified?
Jared: The hanging bridges was interesting.
Lesley: Oh yeah, he definitely overcame a fear. We went to go look at waterfalls on the Guanacaste side and we had to go over hanging bridges… and he is deathly afraid of heights.
Photo Credit: Lesley
Lesley: So I feel like that was like an accomplishment that we didn’t think we were going to have to kind of power through as a couple. I looked back at him, he was like, “I can’t.” It was scary. But there was a moment where I was like, “No we’re facing fears together because as bad as I wanna turn around we’re halfway through the bridge, let’s go!”
How would you say that your honeymoon registry improved your wedding gifting experience?
Lesley: I feel like it made it way easier. We had an Amazon registry as well so a lot of people that were older went to Amazon and got whatever they wanted, but my younger friends found it fun to link the money to something.
We find that a good majority of couples who use the registry still do the activities that they are gifted as well. Would you say that’s true for you and Jared?
Lesley: It was almost kind of a push to do those things, so that we could document it and be like, “Hey we did those! We got the champagne in the room and we got the terrycloth robe.”
That’s awesome and it does make it a lot more personal when someone can gift you an experience like that. With that in mind, is there any advice that you would give newly engaged couples as they’re planning their honeymoon or maybe considering visiting a similar destination?
“…mention that you’re on your honeymoon to everybody because you never know, if they’re feeling nice they’ll give you free stuff.”
Lesley: I would say go! Go all out! You only get one honeymoon, do it, and do it big! Enjoy yourself, I don’t mind saying we spent well over $9000. It was worth it. I had the best time and it was much needed. It was our honeymoon.
Mention that you’re on your honeymoon. Definitely mention that you’re on your honeymoon to everybody because you never know, if they’re feeling nice they’ll give you free stuff.
I love that advice and can see on your registry that you were gifted around $3500 so it’s even more of a reason to celebrate in how you want. You may as well live it up and make it the best experience that you could instead of looking back and maybe wishing that you had done more.
Lesley: I’m excited to take more trips so for this to be the kickstart of what’s to come in our relationship and our family in the future, it’s a nice kickstart to keep the motivation rolling to the next trip and the next trip.
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