If your heart is set on an epic honeymoon and you don't want to drain your savings to get there, a honeymoon fund—which couples can create to help pay for all aspects of their trip using a honeymoon registry website—is a wise idea. Though it's a relatively modern take on the traditional wedding registry, asking your guests to help fund your honeymoon is becoming a more common occurrence. "In my opinion, honeymoon funds are absolutely acceptable," says etiquette expert Elaine Swann. "It used to be unacceptable to ask for money in this particular instance, but based on how etiquette has shifted and what makes sense to folks getting married today, there's nothing wrong with having a honeymoon fund."
If you're worried about honeymoon registry etiquette particulars, like how to ask for money, we're here to help, along with expert insight from Swann and Sarah Margulis, CEO of Honeyfund, a free honeymoon registry website. From what to put on your registry to how to spread the news about this gifting option, here are six tips to help you create, share, and use your honeymoon fund.
Meet the Expert
- Sarah Margulis is the CEO of Honeyfund, a free honeymoon registry website.
- Elaine Swann is a lifestyle and etiquette expert and the founder of The Swann School of Protocol.
Share Your Travel Plans
Most registry websites have a space for the couple to write about their story and their upcoming travels. Be descriptive and honest, and outline your exciting itinerary so that guests understand what they're contributing to, urges Swann. "Your guests want to know where you're going, whether that's to Maui, Brazil, or the South of France," she explains. "Be specific! This will put people at ease as they'll know they're giving towards something very specific." Paint a picture for everyone of what your ideal honeymoon looks like, including the spots you want to see, the experiences you'd like to try out, and where you plan on eating. "Include as many details as you can all about your trip," says Margulis. "You can write a note including where you're going, why you chose that destination, and what you're looking forward to doing there most. Tell guests why taking your dream honeymoon means so much to you!"
Break It Down Into Specific Items
One of the great things about a honeymoon fund (aside from getting extra cash for your epic vacation!) is that you can break it down into specific items and experiences to make your guests' gifting experience a little more personal. "Bring the day-to-day experiences to life on the wishlist itself," says Margulis. "Tours, snorkeling, romantic meals, room service—whatever you plan to do let them get involved in making it happen for you! Wedding guests love to choose something exciting to contribute to. It's much more personal (and fun) to give you a sunset cruise than a piece of cutlery," she explains.
Make It Easy for Guests to Navigate
It's important to make sure that your honeymoon fund is as easy for guests to understand and use as possible. Swann suggests choosing the platform with the most user-friendly interface and providing clear, concise instructions for anyone who might need a little extra help. "Select one that won't be a challenge for your guests," she says.
Provide a Traditional Registry, Too
There are a number of reasons why you might want to forgo a traditional wedding gift registry—maybe you're an established couple with all the housewares you need, or perhaps you two live in a tiny apartment and don't have space to store tons of linens and cookware—Swann says it's important to register for at least a few gifts. Why? For as clear and simple as you make your honeymoon fund, some guests—especially those who aren't as technologically savvy as others—may not know how to navigate the platform or program. Others may not feel comfortable putting credit card or banking information into a website they're not familiar with for payment. And others still might simply love the tradition of giving the newlyweds a tangible gift.
If there are truly no housewares you want or need, Swann suggests registering for a few items to complement your planned honeymoon experience. "You may not need anything for home, but maybe you want some really cool luggage or something that has to do with your travel," she suggests.
Don't Put the Registry Information on Your Wedding Invitation
When it comes to sharing your honeymoon registry with your guests, Margulis says you shouldn't put your request on the wedding invitations themselves. Instead, she recommends creating a printed insert card that you can include as part of the invitation suite "The etiquette of a honeymoon registry is the same as any wedding gift registry," explains Margulis. "Take care not to print gift registry info directly on your invitation."
Swann agrees, adding that it's always best to direct guests to your wedding website (not the honeymoon fund itself) for more registry details. From there, it's nice to explain why you've chosen a honeymoon fund over a traditional gift registry and what your overall plans for that post-nuptial vacation are. This gives guests the opportunity to navigate to either your honeymoon fund or a traditional registry based on their comfort level and preference.
Feel Free to Be Flexible
While you should definitely use any money contributed via a honeymoon registry for your honeymoon, there's no rule saying that SCUBA lesson your aunt purchased actually has to be a SCUBA lesson. You might decide that you'd much rather upgrade your standard room to a suite or an over-water bungalow or else arrive at your destination and realize that a helicopter tour would be more your speed. Or maybe you'd rather spend a few hours in a smaller seat on the airplane, then reward yourself with a luxurious day for two at the spa instead. It's your trip, after all! And if you land and are way too tired for that sunrise hike up a volcano, there's always a sunset cruise or a private dinner on the beach.
As we mentioned, though, you really should still put the money you receive as part of your honeymoon fund toward your honeymoon. Your guests are hoping to make that experience as memorable and exciting as possible for you, so put their generosity to good use. And if you come home with a little extra money in your pocket (perfect for that home improvement project you were thinking about!), we won't tell!
Don't Delay the Trip
Though it's become common to take your post-nuptial trip a year or so after the wedding, Swann says that shouldn't be the case if guests are contributing to a honeymoon fund. "If you ask people for money to go on your honeymoon, you need to go on the honeymoon and not wait," she says. "Waiting a great deal of time would not be appropriate in this instance."
Include a Memory in Your Thank-You Card
Honeymoon registries make for unique thank-you card opportunities! Let's say your cousin gifted you a ziplining adventure—how fun would it be to include a picture of your and your honey zipping through a canopy of trees? Adding in a photo of the gift's intended use will really take your thank-you card to the next level. Including a photo is the perfect way to not only show the impact of their gift but to give them a glimpse into your once-in-a-lifetime trip, as well! As with all thank-you cards, make sure you send them out within three months of receiving the honeymoon funds.