Our honeymoon was romantic, memorable, and affordable. My husband and I love to travel, and the honeymoon was something we were both very much looking forward to - especially after the craziness that comes along with planning a wedding. (By the way, if you’re in the middle of planning your wedding, check out Planning with Poise - it’s a wedding planning blog designed specifically for busy people.) So today, I’m really excited to share with you our honeymoon experience - along with a few travel tips to help you plan your honeymoon.
1. A Honeymoon Doesn’t Have to be Extravagant or Exotic
While a faraway destination might be more appealing to some, a honeymoon is a trip that a couple takes after getting married. There’s no other requisite in order for it to qualify as a honeymoon. My husband had big ambitions for an extravagant vacation that we just couldn’t afford; the wedding expenses were adding up and a long overseas trip was just not an option for us at that time.
So when it came time to plan for a honeymoon, we had opposing opinions! He preferred to postpone the honeymoon until we could afford a faraway trip. But I love to travel, and I preferred to take an immediate weekend getaway to a nearby town rather than having to wait a year (or more!) for an extravagant vacation.
After much discussion, we finally agreed to take an out-of-state trip! We decided to honeymoon in both Portland and Seattle - both cities were nearby enough that we could afford it comfortably, plus I had been wanting to visit these cities for quite some time! My husband was reluctant because these cities are not what most would think of as “honeymoon” destinations, but he went along with it.
And you know what? Once we arrived, my husband was glad that we agreed to take a trip after all! There was so much to do! In Portland, we took a walking tour, we visited parks and gardens, and we went brewery hopping. In Seattle, we went to the Space Needle, we took a cruise around the bay, and we enjoyed some amazingly fresh seafood.
If you find that you’re unable to plan a faraway vacation, brainstorm some ideas and consider nearby destinations. The point of a honeymoon is to spend time together. Exploring a nearby city, spending a couple of nights in a nearby town, or even a day trip are all great ways to enjoy an affordable honeymoon - the point is to go somewhere together!
2. Don’t Procrastinate
We booked our flights well in advance of the honeymoon, but our lodging was a different story. We wanted to stay someplace special, so we began researching the best places to stay in each city. Before we knew it, our wedding day came and we still didn’t have our hotels booked.
We literally booked our accommodations for Portland (our first destination) just a few hours before we departed! It was incredibly stressful because there weren’t many hotel options left - even the Airbnb’s were booked up! Somehow, we found a service similar to Airbnb, called Vacasa. It turned out to be in a great location within walking distance of the city’s center and we managed to score a last-minute discount! The place was amazing, we had a beautiful view of the city and we enjoyed our stay there very much.
Everything turned out fine - but it was unnecessarily stressful because we were scrambling to find a place to stay within hours of our arrival! Lesson learned: book your lodging AT LEAST a couple of days in advance.
In Seattle (our second destination), we stayed at a luxury hotel in downtown - the Fairmont Olympic. It was definitely a splurge for us, but it was well worth it - because it was in a very convenient location and we rarely stay in luxury hotels, so it was a treat for us. Plus, when we told the front desk that we were on our honeymoon, they upgraded us to a bigger suite and sent us some celebratory dessert and champagne - which was a nice touch!
While we did splurge on our hotel, we were able to afford it with our travel rewards points from my credit card. We paid nearly all of our wedding expenses with a rewards card, which resulted in hundreds of dollars in credit card points. I had banked points for a rainy day - and what better time to use them than for my honeymoon. Our flights and hotels were fully paid-for with credit card points - all we had to pay for out-of-pocket was dining and entertainment. We also paid for transportation, but since our hotel was centrally located, we were able to walk almost everywhere we wanted.
Another way we were able to splurge was to pick and choose our spurge items. For example, we knew that we wouldn’t be able to stay at luxury hotels for the entire duration of our honeymoon - so we chose an affordable option at our first destination, and a luxury hotel at our second destination.
4. Depart a Few Days After the Wedding
After our wedding, we stuck around for the weekend to host a day-after barbeque for our family and friends, and those who couldn’t make it to our Friday night wedding. It was nice to take a couple of days to spend time with our family and friends, many of whom had traveled from out-of-town to be with us to celebrate our big day. There was so much going on during the wedding day, that we just couldn't spend quality time with everyone, so being able to catch up with folks the day after was especially fun.
Besides spending time with our families, the extra few days before departing for our honeymoon allowed us to tie up some loose ends and prepare for our trip. I can’t imagine having to run post-wedding errands, having to pack for the trip, and rushing to the airport to jump on a plane the very next morning - that would have been chaos for us.
By the time we were done with post-wedding errands (returning the tuxedo, returning the keg equipment, collecting our refundable deposits, etc.), we were able to tidy up our space, organize our gifts, and prepare for our trip without rushing to get everything done.
Consider departing for your trip a day or two after your wedding so that you can complete any post-wedding tasks and have the peace-of-mind that all is taken care of before you leave for your trip. This will truly make the trip much more enjoyable and relaxing.
I hope these tips were helpful for you! And if you’re planning your wedding - head on over to Planning with Poise for practical wedding planning advice for busy people.