Research shows that couples who honeymoon have happier marriages. A recent survey done by the honeymoon registry site Honeyfund, found that of the couples who were married for more than 11 years and rated their marital satisfaction as ‘excellent,’ 59 percent of them went on a honeymoon versus 35 percent who didn't. Honeyfund’s data also showed that of the couples who were happy in their marriage, 84 percent also travel regularly. Out of the couples who rated their marriage as ‘not so good’, 78 percent do not take trips frequently.
“This data showed a connection between traveling together and how happy a couple is in a relationship, as well as how important it is to prioritize spending quality time with your partner,” says Sara Margulis, the CEO and co-founder of Honeyfund.
“The honeymoon is a symbolic, but also practical tradition that offers the couple time to celebrate and bond right after the wedding,” says Dr. Christie Kederian, a psychologist and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. “It’s important to separate yourself from all the months of planning a wedding and start building a foundation for your marriage. A honeymoon affords you the space to connect and enjoy each other before you begin your new lives together.”
Ahead, we got honeymoon experts, from destination wedding planners to luxury honeymoon advisors, to weigh in on how to plan an unforgettable honeymoon that’ll help you get to your happily ever after.
Meet the Expert
- Sara Margulis is the CEO and co-founder of the honeymoon registry and wedding fund service Honeyfund.
- Dr. Christie Kederian is a psychologist and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in the psychology of relationships.
- Megan Estrada is an event consultant and the CEO of NSWE Events.
- Jamie Chang is a destination wedding planner and the owner of Mango Muse Events.
- Tahryn Nicastro is a travel advisor and the owner of Shore to Sea Vacations.
- Tom Hall is the vice president at Lonely Planet.
- Layne Povey is the principal designer at The Lynden Lane Co.
- Lesley Cohen is a luxury travel advisor and the owner of Lesley Cohen Travel Group.
- Robin Brooks is the marketing and PR director of Exodus Travels.
- Fallon Carter is the founder and creative director of Fallon Carter Events.
- Christie Hudson is the head of PR and a travel expert for Expedia.
How to Afford Your Honeymoon
As soon as you get engaged, start talking about your honeymoon as well as your wedding plans. “You don’t need to nail down specifics right away, but discuss your thoughts for what you want your honeymoon to look like,” says Megan Estrada, the CEO of NSWE Events. “Are you thinking of a luxurious stay at a five-star beach resort? Or, are you on board for a cycling-and-wine tasting tour through Europe? If you establish the tone of your honeymoon early on, you can have an overall idea of the costs and begin saving.”
Then, map out a honeymoon budget and keep it separate from your wedding expenses. “Keeping your honeymoon and wedding budgets apart is key. They each have their own purpose and elements at play and you don’t want one affecting the other,” says Jamie Chang, destination wedding planner and the owner of Mango Muse Events. “In addition, you may have different monetary sources for the honeymoon than the wedding, so budgeting it on its own will help you think of the honeymoon more realistically.”
Setting up a honeymoon registry online or directly with your travel agent is a great way to contribute to your honeymoon fund. This makes it easy for family and friends to give you something truly special that you’ll appreciate forever. “So many couples accumulated household items during the pandemic, so you may not want or need another air fryer or set of pots as a wedding gift,” says Margulis. “Instead, your loved ones can purchase gift certificates or pay for excursions, train tickets, spa treatments, dinners, and other experiences that you have on your honeymoon wish list.”
Your honeymoon is the perfect time to cash in on your frequent flyer miles; and oftentimes family members or friends will gift or transfer miles to couples, so it might be worth asking. “When paying for the wedding, consider putting some of the costs on credit cards that offer travel rewards and other perks, such as no foreign transaction fees on purchases, that you can use towards your flights, hotels, and the rest of your trip,” says Margulis.
Tahryn Nicastro, a travel advisor and the owner of Shore to Sea Vacations, recommends booking your trip as early as possible. “Not only will you have the best selection of resorts, rooms, and flights since popular destinations sell out fast, you’ll also take advantage of better rates,” says Nicastro. “Plus, you’ll give yourselves more time to make payments towards the honeymoon. Utilizing payment plans with a travel agent will help you budget better and spread out your spending versus one or two large lump sums.”
Also, set a budget for how much you’ll spend once you’re at your dream destination and try your best to stick to it. “While this might not sound like much fun, it can be easier with apps that help you keep track of your spending, paying with a designated credit card with travel perks, and connecting to WIFI wherever available to avoid cell phone roaming charges,” says Tom Hall, vice president at Lonely Planet.
Honeymoon Trips You Can Take
With the growing trend in couples prioritizing creating precious memories together after the wedding, personalized honeymoon styles have become popular—from over-the-top vacations to multiple jaunts to redoing the trip to make it right. Regardless of what honeymoon style is best for you, plan your trip together. “This is the time that you start a new journey that you’re embarking on with each other,” says Chang.
After two years of being grounded due to COVID-19, many couples are leaning towards bucket list and once-in-a-lifetime types of honeymoons. “Couples want to go big! Instead of scaling back because of the pandemic, many want to have the most epic honeymoon possible,” says Nicastro. “They want something memorable and to go somewhere they’ve always dreamed of before they get tied down with starting a family and other responsibilities.”
Wedding planners and travel agents alike are seeing couples going on longer honeymoons and to more exotic locations. “Couples are choosing destinations outside of their comfort zone,” says Layne Povey, principal designer at The Lynden Lane Co. “They’re using their honeymoon as the opportunity to go places they promised themselves they would or to remote locations that they maybe never thought of going before.” Newlyweds are not only being adventurous with their destinations, but also with their activities, such as with excursions like hot air ballooning at sunrise in Turkey and night kayaking in Puerto Rico. “And there is an overall sense of ‘doing it right’—getting the bigger suite with the plunge pool or best view, upgraded airfare, special airport VIP meet-and-greet services, and other details to make the honeymoon as seamless and relaxing as possible,” says Lesley Cohen, owner of Lesley Cohen Travel Group.
If you’re planning a mega-moon, think about what kind of trip is possible right now that may be complicated to go on in the future. “Do you both have a lot of vacation time saved up that you can take advantage of? A trip to a destination that requires a long flight may be more realistic at the present than later on depending on your schedule and other priorities that can pop up,” says Estrada. Also, think about the essence of the trip you’re going for. If you want to have children in the near future, perhaps a super romantic retreat is what you want before the little ones come along.
Working with a travel agent or tour operator experienced in planning the type of trip you want or specializes in the destinations you’re interested in is a good idea. “Leave it to an expert to take care of your honeymoon, especially if it’s your first time at that destination,” says Robin Brooks, marketing and PR director of Exodus Travels. “After all the wedding planning, you want the peace of mind that your momentous trip will go smoothly. They should handle all the details from canceled or delayed flights and traveling between different countries to transporting your luggage and shipping bottles of wine back home for you.”
If you can’t formally get away right after the wedding, but don’t want to wait until you have the time for your dream honeymoon, you can go on multiple getaways to accommodate your schedule. A minimoon followed by an extended trip is a great option for couples who can’t jet off for a traditional honeymoon immediately after the big day and want to spread out their travels. “The duo-moon is the new go-to for modern couples,” says Estrada. “They don’t let timing get in the way of soaking in that newlywed bliss. They’ll go on a quick trip to destress, and then go on their big honeymoon when it suits them best.” This style trip allows you time to easily leave for a honeymoon after the wedding without going home first, while you have your bigger vacation planned for months later.
“I’m also seeing a lot of couples using their engagement session as part of their duo-moon, where they go away to get amazing photos for their wedding website and spend time together prior to the big day,” says Fallon Carter, the founder and creative director of Fallon Carter Events. “Then they go on their true honeymoon after the wedding. This can feel a little less hectic for some couples.”
For a duo-moon, Chang recommends having your minimoon somewhere close to your wedding location. “You want this to start literally right after the wedding weekend festivities end and not have to worry about traveling a far distance,” says Chang. “So that could mean traveling to the neighboring city, staying in the area you’re in, or catching an hour flight somewhere close by. Then for your extended honeymoon, plan a trip to your idyllic destination.”
According to a recent survey by Expedia, 54 percent of couples weren’t completely satisfied with the honeymoon they took during the pandemic and want a do-over. “Perhaps the destination wasn’t their top choice or maybe a lot of restaurants and other places were closed due to the pandemic, so their honeymoon didn’t live up to their expectations,” says Christie Hudson, the head of PR and a travel expert for Expedia. A redo-moon gives couples a second chance at the honeymoon they wanted to have. “And with social media showing newlyweds all the extraordinary places they can go to and the increase in concierge travel advisors, the opportunities are endless,” says Povey.
When thinking about your redo-moon, consider what you feel you missed out on or what failed the first time and plan around that. “If you had your hearts set on Hawaii but you had to settle for Florida, now is the time to book your flight to Maui,” says Estrada. “If you were a little let down because your trip was shorter than it would've been otherwise, go ahead and arrange the longer stretch of vacation.” Carter recommends being mindful not to double up on similar activities that you did on the first trip for this one. “Identify the experiences you might want each to have and be sure to make this dream honeymoon truly unique.”