A honeymoon is a great way to kick off your marriage and destress after the hectic planning and festivities that come with a wedding. Seating charts are a thing of the past, and the speeches have been given. All that’s left to focus on is relaxing and enjoying the trip.
Planning and budgeting for your honeymoon (especially if you’re planning a destination wedding) are important to make sure you can relax and enjoy, but also to stay on track with your finances as you start this new chapter.
Here are some tips on how to plan your honeymoon on a budget so you won’t have to worry about how much you’re spending during your time away.
Start Planning Early
Even if you haven’t decided where you’ll go, or what you’ll do when you get there, you can still kickstart your planning! While a spontaneous getaway sounds exciting, it will be way more stressful if you can’t pay your bills afterward.
Staying within budget will likely require a little bit of planning ahead of time. The Knot recommends starting to plan for your honeymoon six months or more in advance of your wedding date. This includes basic research, like getting an understanding of airfare costs, determining the timeline, or even signing up for a foreign language class.
Plus, planning ahead may at least help you snag that $100 round trip for two. Talk about dreams coming true.
Create a Honeymoon Budget
Once you have an idea of the honeymoon you’re both dreaming of, you can start to look at your actual budget. To figure this out, you might want to answer a few questions.
How much are you comfortable spending? Do you want to budget it as part of your wedding expenses, or are you budgeting your honeymoon separately? How do you plan to save that money?
Perhaps a family member is helping to pay for the big day, or you’re planning a honeymoon a few months after your ceremony, or you’re sticking to a tight budget—every situation is a little different.
There are no rules on how much to spend on your honeymoon – that’s up to you. As long as you put some thought into how you’ll be paying for it, you can set the course to stay on budget.
Prioritize Your List of Experiences
As you plan your honeymoon, make a list of dream experiences that you hope to get out of the trip. For example, if you plan to honeymoon in Hawaii: going deep sea fishing, driving a rental car on Hana Highway, and flying first class are all activities you might be drooling over.
Once you and your significant other have created a list of options, read through what you chose and pick the top activities that mean the most to you. You might decide that deep sea fishing is an essential part of your Hawaii honeymoon while renting a car for the road to Hana is an activity you can live without.
When you have your ideas prioritized, you can plan your activities based on what each of you wants to do the most. Set aside enough of your money for these plans and then return to your list if you have extra funds for additional activities.
Creating your list is also a good time to practice the art of compromise. You might decide that a luxury honeymoon suite is more important than first-class tickets, moving a significant part of the budgetary weight from the transportation column to the accommodation section.
It’s almost impossible to do everything you want on a trip, even if money is no object. Working your budget around your priorities could ensure you won’t leave your honeymoon wishing you had done certain activities instead of others.
Look for Deals
Jetting off for a week in Jamaica with a great deal on the resort and airfare? It happens. You’d be amazed at the packages you can book with some foresight and creativity.
When hunting for deals, look out for packages, all-inclusive resorts, and other places that will bundle up amenities. They sometimes seem luxurious at first, but when you break down your trip into food, alcohol, and other activities, having those all wrapped into one could be cheaper after all.
Consider the time of year you’ll be honeymooning, as well. Traveling during the vacation off-season (weather-permitting, of course) could save you a big chunk of change.
No matter what you choose, starting early will give you the chance to review all the options – and price fluctuations!
Consider a Honeymoon Registry
Some couples are ditching the traditional registry and opting to ask guests to donate to their honeymoon instead. This is an ideal option for couples who already live together and might not need items like bed sets or kitchenware to help merge their lives.
You’ll need to make an early estimate of how much it will cost, but a lot of wedding planners will recommend including your honeymoon in your wedding registry. Brides.com has a helpful list of top honeymoon registries to choose from, including registries with honeymoon funds.
Some are basic websites where guests can send money that the couple can put towards anything they want. For example, a couple might take cash gifts and apply them to the honeymoon, use them to pay off wedding expenses, or put a down payment on a house.
Other honeymoon websites are more specific, allowing guests to pick experiences or parts of a vacation to pay for. For example, one of your guests might cover your train tickets from London to Edinburgh, while another guest selects tickets to a West End show or a Scotland whiskey distillery tasting tour. Partial donations are possible, as well.
More hotels and resorts are also starting to offer honeymoon-planning tools, too. Regardless of where they decide to travel, couples can register with a hotel chain like Hilton or Marriott and ask guests to contribute to their suite costs.
Don’t Let Your Honeymoon Add to Your Stress
Planning your honeymoon on a budget shouldn’t be a huge source of stress in your life. It’s not about slashing expenses everywhere you can, or letting the trip get in the way of your wedding. So, don’t let it be.
Careful planning takes the surprises out of travel expenses, allowing you to focus on connecting as newlyweds and enjoying the world around you. If you can successfully budget around small details, you can focus more on what is important—like actually enjoying your trip!
Both you and your partner have lives outside of planning your wedding, so make sure you are planning your honeymoon around them. Take off from work, make arrangements for a house or pet sitter, and plan for the tourist season of your destination.
You and your significant other made it through the big day. Celebrate it, and each other, all while making sure you’re doing what you can to start this new chapter within budget.