GOT A HONEYMOON TO PLAN? LET'S GET STARTED. EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO PLAN AN EPIC AND AFFORDABLE HONEYMOON
LET'S DO THIS.
You’re getting married!
You think you have the wedding thing under wraps. You made the Pinterest boards and bought a few books then someone asks, “So where are you going for your honeymoon?”
Hmm… good question. Maybe you had your heart set on a safari but your partner wants to lay on the beach. Or maybe you are a history buff but your partner wants to pursue her love of extreme sports.
You look for more books and search for a few more pins but all you see are “tips,” “exotic honeymoon destinations” and “celebrity honeymoons.” But you don’t need tips. And you don’t need a list of destinations that fulfill someone else’s idea of exotic or romantic. What you need is a practical guide to plan a honeymoon that reflects your style as a couple, fits your budget, and is designed to do things that you want to do.
This guide will show you how to get started and plan an unforgettable and affordable honeymoon efficiently and easily. Maybe you have no idea where to go and need a roadmap to narrow things down. Or maybe you and your partner have two different ideas of what a honeymoon should look like. Never fear – we will get to all of those questions and more.
The history behind honeymoons is pretty murky. One theory claims that honeymoons date back to the fifth century where couples were presented with a month’s worth of honey wine to drink as an aphrodisiac. Some historians contend that honeymoons date back to a time when women were kidnapped, forced to marry, and then impregnated before their families could find them. Yikes!
The good news is that the modern definition of a honeymoon, a vacation taken after marriage, is usually a joyous, consensual, and celebratory occasion. What we love about this definition is that there no rules about what your honeymoon can and can’t be. Yes, there are societal and cultural expectations – but no real rules.
The Western expectation is that your honeymoon will:
- be taken shortly after your wedding
- involve a trip somewhere
- involve lots of sex (and if you are heterosexual some baby making)
- and include just you and your new spouse.
Just as there are all kinds of weddings, there are all kinds of relationships, and people with various life drama, budgets, and realities. So it stands that not every honeymoon can or will (or should for that matter) fit those expectations.
In our opinion, a wedding is the public celebration of your marriage and the honeymoon is your private celebration. The only requirement is that you are spending quality time with the person you married. This doesn’t mean you can’t have your kids, friends or family join you for some or all of your honeymoon.
Your life. Your wedding. Your honeymoon. Your rules.
So now that we know what a honeymoon is, let’s talk about whether you should (or should not) take a honeymoon.
I HAVE A LOT GOING ON. SHOULD I EVEN BOTHER TAKING A HONEYMOON?
On the fence about taking a honeymoon? Wondering if you should postpone or delay your honeymoon?
People who say they did not take a honeymoon, are usually taking about the traditional western honeymoon that is taken right after the wedding. In fact, many of these people have plans to take a vacation exclusively with their spouse anywhere from weeks to years after their wedding. And if we stick to the definition of a “vacation taken after a wedding” well then technically, they are still taking a honeymoon.
There are some couples who regret taking a honeymoon. In most of those situations, the regrets were due to planning errors that could have easily been avoided for example, taking trips that were incompatible with their lifestyles or their budgets. These are planning mistakes and we will discuss later how to avoid them.
However, let’s get back to the question at hand: Should you take a honeymoon? Well ask yourself a few questions.
- Do you like spending time with your partner?
- Do you like downtime?
- Bonus question: Is planning your wedding stressful?
My guess is that you answered yes to at least the first question. And if not, well you should probably stop reading this and consult another guide – because you have bigger fish to fry. But assuming you like downtime (who doesn’t?) in some shape or form, what better excuse to combine two things you enjoy: your partner and down time – than in a honeymoon! If your wedding planning was stressful (few weddings are not) then there is even more reason for you to take a vacation – no matter how big or small.
Study after study cites the benefits of taking vacation not just on your body and soul, but also on your relationship. If we maintain the definition of a honeymoon as a “vacation after a wedding,” a honeymoon can be good for your mind, body, soul, and relationship. I’ve always said to my husband that there are three entities in our relationship: me, him, and us. A vacation can be restorative and rejuvenating to all three entities and many of the benefits outweigh the negatives.
In 2014, the Washington Post cited the following:
One long-term study found that men who don’t take vacations are 30 percent more likely to have heart attacks than those who do. For women, it’s 50 percent.
Vacations can also:
- Reduce your risk of dying from heart disease
- Reduce your risk of depression
- Reduce stress
- Increase happiness
- Improve productivity
- Improve sleep
- Make you an overall nicer, happier, and more relaxed person.
What better way to start out a marriage (or take a break later) than feeling happier, less stressed, and having improved your chances at long life! Now that we understand why a vacation (read: honeymoon) is good for you – let’s address some common excuses:
Your honeymoon doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, you can have a honeymoon for as little as zero dollars (more or less). We will get into how you can do that later, but there is no need to go into large amount of debts just to get some downtime with your partner. We will cover those strategies in the Budget section.
Work schedule/No vacation time
Maybe you are getting married in your busy season. Or maybe you just don’t have a lot of vacation time. That’s okay. Ever heard of a mini-moon? Your honeymoon can be anywhere from a few hours to a few months. It’s all about working with what you have and designing a trip that fits your style, budget, and time constraints.
The kids/dog/family member needs someone to take care of them:
This is where I recommend using society’s expectations in your favor. Weddings have an uncanny ability to elicit happiness, well-wishes and favors from people. And many of those people are actually thrilled to help in any way they can. Use a lifeline: phone a friend and ask them to help baby/pet-sit for a few hours or a few days so that you can take your honeymoon. Or hire caretakers to assist you. Worst case scenario – take the pet/baby/whoever along with you. It may not be the 100% relaxing time you were hoping for but some down time with your boo is better than no time with your boo.
No time to plan:
Outsource! There should be no shame in your game in hiring a travel agent or travel consultant to plan the trip for you. In fact, many of these places don’t charge fees for their services. Their commisions are paid by the tour companies and hotels that you end up using. They simply ask you a few questions and pull together an itinerary on your behalf. You get to veto or adjust the itinerary accordingly. If you are nervous about using a travel consultant or don’t want to be seduced by the consultant’s offerings, then ask a friend to do it. Everyone has that friend who loves to plan events and they might be able to do some of that preliminary research for you. Best case scenario – they may even consider their service as a wedding gift to you. Win-win!
No matter how long or how short, taking a break with your spouse, can be good for your relationship. We’ve covered some common excuses, so what say you? Still interested in planning a honeymoon? Read on to get in the ins and outs of the honeymoon planning process and how to get started.