I used to wonder if a honeymoon was really necessary or was it just another way to maximize the debt you accumulate from living on the high of romance and love? After the (mostly good) stress of organizing and living through your wedding, I totally get now why people really do honeymoons. Lest you eloped or did a simple courthouse wedding on your lunchbreak, you kinda need it! A wedding is a big event requiring a ton of mental (and financial) investment – sometimes physical too if you’re trying to lose some extra fluff before your big day. That R&R with your new spouse is going to do your mind, body and soul a world of good. So if most people would benefit from a nice honeymoon after their Big Day, why don’t some couples do that?
Reasons why couples don’t do honeymoons right away
There are many reasons why couples can’t do honeymoons right after their wedding:
1. A wedding is expensive (duh).
As you know, the US average wedding currently runs about $30K, leaving a lot of couples swimming in a good bit of debt after those beautiful nuptials and the thought of tackling on another $10K or so for a honeymoon is beyond many couple’s reach. Many would rather use that money for more practical purposes like paying down that debt, investing in a home or (in our case) renovating a home.
Currently it’s the end of 2021 and, yes, COVID is still a thing, so that leaves many newlyweds wary about traveling to their dream destinations. With travel restrictions and threatening new variants popping up, it’s no wonder many couples want to wait for travel to be safer to accomplish.
3. Passports aren’t in order.
You simply might not be passport-prepared! My own hubby hasn’t had to travel outside of the US in the past several years and he accidentally let his passport expire. So needing some time to get a passport up to date or replacing a lost passport is yet another reason to hold off on the honeymoon planning – at least if you want to go out of the country.
4. Kids are a hindrance.
We don’t have kids but I know a lot of people who do cite kids as a reason they didn’t go on a honeymoon (that or being pregnant!). We’ve just got a dog (little cutie), but even she requires boarding when we can’t reasonably take her to our destination.
5. Can’t get away from work too long.
Finally, not everyone can get off of work for any decent length of time – at least not always right after their wedding. This goes for the business owners too (like moi). If you’re mainly a solopreneur, you are your business – so shutting it down means potentially you’re shutting off your revenue, too.
Honeymoon Alternative: Try the Minimoon
Rather than not doing any kind of getaway at all, many couples (about a third according to TheKnot.com – myself included) choose to delay a big honeymoon and do a minimoon instead.
What is a minimoon?
It’s the shorter, less expensive version of a honeymoon – typically something domestic or local that you can drive to. In fact, 88% of minimooners take a trip inside the country.
There are no rules to a minimoon – you can do as you like of course! But I have a couple of rules of thumb that I think are helpful to consider:
1. Keep it simple.
Plan your minimoon with little to no structure whatsoever. The point is to alleviate the stress from your wedding, not add to it! You can’t have a real mental and physical break if you’re always worried about what next activity you have to rush off to, where you’ve gotta go get your bike rentals from or making sure you have enough time to get from your vineyard wine tasting over to your dinner reservation at 6. So don’t overschedule this. Keep a couple of options handy of things to do or see, but don’t feel super obligated to them. That way you can freeflow your days as you like and (shocker) enjoy yourselves.
2. Keep it (relatively) inexpensive.
This one’s particularly important for two reasons you already know: (1) weddings are already expensive enough and (2) you might be planning a bigger honeymoon later. If that’s the case, you don’t want to be planning essentially two honeymoons! The point is simply to get away. Get a change of scenery, breath of fresh air, some good ol’ R&R together. That doesn’t have to cost a lot of money! Areas you can save money on include:
- Travel: keep it close to home. Something within driving distance is great – where we went near Chattanooga was about 3 hours from where we live in Georgia.
- Length of stay: keep it short. Think of this like a long weekend or a short week, depending on when you go.
- Your Room. Unless your minimoon involves a dream one or two-night stay at The Four Seasons or some extra luxe VIP place you’ve always wanted to check out, you can Airbnb it or – in our case – tiny home it! We found the cutest tiny cabin to stay in – all to ourselves – for about $130/night. Cost of a decent enough hotel.
- Food & Beverage: Depending on how long you’re staying, it might work out cheaper for you to get a place where you can cook. If it’s got a little stove, microwave, fridge of any sort – you can bring your own groceries (and alcohol) and then you don’t have to rack up an eating-out-tab every time you two get hungry. (However, obviously, if neither of you cook, scrap this option please lol!).
Minimoon Part I:
Extend your stay at your wedding hotel. If you got a hotel for your wedding, stay an extra day or two beyond when your guests leave. Gives you a little breathing room before you have to haul everything back home.
Minimoon Part II:
We timed up our (real) minimoon with my husband’s bday. We got married in October this year and his bday is the first of December, so we had about a month and Thanksgiving to get through first, but it was worth the wait! We ended up taking a trip to the mountains in Tennessee and staying in the most charming tiny home cabin – marvelously designed and surrounded by water and woods. Positively delightful!
Other Minimoon Ideas
Of course, there are plenty of options available to you besides a mountain getaway like mine. There’s always a beach trip, long lake weekend, spa getaway, vineyard stay, snorkeling trip and more! Check out some of these other ideas for your minimoon – depending on what’s nearby:
- City-Focus: check out a city you two have always wanted to hang out in and explore!
- Action-Focus: are you two high-energy and adventure-oriented? Choose your minimoon based on an activity you always wanted to do together – like white water rafting, skydiving, hiking or waterfall hunting.
- Scenery-Focus: if you’re both visually-oriented people and you crave a real change of scenery, focus yours around what you want to see together. Always wanted to see the Giant Sequoias? (Me too!). How about a bevy of English Gardens? Maybe you’re into chasing art murals around the city (like me!). You can plan your minimoon around your idyllic scenes you want to be in.
- Cocktails/Wine/Foodie-Focus: And if you’re a foodie/wine-o, heh-heh, then pick a city that’s got some of the best unique restaurants you’ve been wanting to sink your teeth into.
So how about you? Are you up for a minimoon? Tell me your ideas so far for yours below – I’d love to hear from you!
The 40 Year Old Bride
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