The First Rule of Honeymoon Planning
Many people have preconceived notions about their wedding. Culture, family, traditions, and life experiences all give you some relative indication of what you want your wedding ‘to be or not to be’ (that is the question after all, right?). Honeymoons are a different thing. Chances are you’ve been to a wedding before. You’ve been on vacation before. Chances are you have never been on a vacation after your wedding (to this particular partner) before. So for most people, it’s a whole new ball of wax!
Some people see their honeymoon as an opportunity to take an epic vacation; the fanciest, biggest trip they will ever take.
Others think of their honeymoon as their “first real vacation” as a couple.
Then there are others, who view their honeymoon simply as a respite from the stress of wedding planning.
All of these different viewpoints mean that two people who have never been on a honeymoon before should talk about what this word means to them. This is the first rule of honeymoon planning: talk about the honeymoon. I know this kind of sounds like it shouldn’t even be a rule but hear me out on this one…
… If you talk to couples who regret taking a honeymoon, it’s usually because there were unmet expectations. Something went wrong and it was more than just the weather. Lines were crossed. Budgets were overspent. Logistics were mangled. Most times the muck up is something that could have been avoided in the planning phase simply by setting and managing expectations across the board. The majority of honeymoons are planned by one partner, so even if the planning partner intends to do all of the legwork, there should still be an initial conversation about what you both want out of this vacation.
So, what do you talk about and when do you talk about it? I’ll borrow a little advice from one of my favorite books on wedding planning – A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration by Meg Keene. Meg says that when you start wedding planning you should think about what you want your wedding to feel like because at the end of the day, years from now, when the aisle runners and the chair ties are distant memories, you won’t remember those details but you will remember how the day felt. I think the same can be applied to honeymoons; what do you want your vacation to feel like?
During this talk also, figure out where your honeymoon fits into your life plans. Plans to add children, buy a house, start a business, etc.., may all impact where you go, when you go, and how much you are willing to spend.
Tips for the First Rule of Honeymoon Planning:
- Have this conversation around the time that you start planning the wedding (specifically when you talk about money).
- Discuss what the word “honeymoon” means to each of you.
- Ask your partner if there is somewhere that they have also wanted to go or something they have always wanted to see or do – this can give you some guidance on how to start planning.
- Create a list of the types of experiences you want to have on this trip (e.g., relax, site-see, road trip, etc.,).
- Agree on how and where this trip fits into your other life plans (i.e., moving, starting a family, buying a house, etc.)
- Try to fill in the following statement: We agreed that we want our honeymoon to feel like ______________________ where we will _______________________________________.