You have a full-time job, you’re planning a wedding (which, let’s face it, is another full-time job) and now you have to start thinking about the HONEYMOON! This post-nuptial trip should be something super exciting to plan, but if you’re as overwhelmed with work and wedding to-do’s as I was in the months leading up to the wedding, it might be a black hole of stress. Rich and I got engaged and married in an eight month time-span, and despite repeated calls to Jennifer Lopez to come offer a little wedding planning help, she never showed. Every time someone asked me about our honeymoon plans in the months leading up to the wedding, I basically wanted to light myself on fire.
Luckily, I did not. With a lot of help from my hubby-to-be, we managed to pull off an unforgettable trip. Now with the process in the rearview mirror, I wanted to share my top tips on how to plan a honeymoon, in hopes that it will help streamline the process for those of you going through it! In six simple tips, here’s everything you need to know to plan the perfect honeymoon…
#1: Give Him the Reigns
In most cases, the bride shoulders 99% of the wedding planning workload. This was certainly true in my case, but it wasn’t because Rich wasn’t more than willing to pitch in. It was mostly because his decision-making abilities in the flower and cake design departments are sliiiightly more limited than mine. To help ease the burden, I passed off most of the honeymoon planning and logistics to him, which had the added benefit of making the trip more of a surprise!
#2: Decide When You Want To Go
Rich and I wanted to do the traditional post-wedding honeymoon, but didn’t want to feel too rushed, so we chose to leave for the trip two days after our wedding day. This was the best decision for us, because we felt that leaving for the trip the very next day would leave no time to digest our special day, and even less time to properly pack and get ready for the big trip. Increasingly, couples are taking their honeymoon weeks or even months after their wedding day. And for lots of couples, this is a great option so they have a bit more time to get prepped for traveling and make the most out of the trip. Whatever you decide, keep timing in mind and try to give yourself as much breathing room as possible!
#3: Determine the Type of Trip You Want
This one seems obvious, but there are a couple of unique factors at play. You of course want to start by considering whether the two of you are history buffs, beach bums, or adventure seekers. But before fully answering that question, remember that you will have just gotten married, and if you’re honeymooning immediately afterwards, there’s a high likelihood that you will be more physically and emotionally exhausted than ever before. With this in mind, Rich and I split our trip into two parts: beach relaxation to start so we could recharge our batteries before heading to a safari adventure at the end!
#4: Solidify A Budget
Nothing is worse than spending time falling in love with your dream honeymoon destination, just to find out that it’s totally unrealistic budget-wise. It can throw a major wet blanket on the excitement of the rest of the planning process, so set a budget ahead of time and don’t look at destinations until you know they fall within that budget. This not only goes for the cost of resort/hotel accommodations, but be sure to check flight prices at the outset as well.
#5: Pay Special Attention to Time of Year
In the early stages of planning, we made the mistake of wasting time thinking about several destinations on our bucket list, just to find out later that they weren’t an option because of weather patterns. We didn’t realize those idyllic bungalows in the Maldives are in the throws of the rainy season at the end of August when we were going to be honeymooning. Once you’ve narrowed down your search to general parts of the world, be sure to research weather patterns before diving into location specifics.
#6: Think Strategically about Time and Location
Rich and I spent our honeymoon in the Seychelles and South Africa. We chose those places because we wanted to honeymoon in a location that neither of us had been before so we could discover the destination for the first time together. Additionally, since we currently live in San Francisco, that part of the world is one of the hardest to get to from here. We’ll likely not have three weeks off for a long time, so we wanted to take advantage of the extra time away by going to places off our beaten path. However, this meant an enormous amount of travel time (well more than 24 hours both getting there and coming back). If you only have a week, limit your search to places that are quicker to get to so you can maximize your vacation time.
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below if you have any additional nuggets of wisdom! I’ve gotten tons of requests to post more specifically on our experiences in both the Seychelles and South Africa, so I’ll be sharing travel and packing tips for both places in the weeks to come!