It’s been a while since we’ve had a wedding post, but since we’re in full-on wedding season, I figured it was time!
Weekends are for weddings! If you’re like me, with 9 weddings each year, the weekends are, quite literally, for weddings (attending them, that is). Also if you’re like me, the weekend is a time to think about planning your own wedding. Lots of people carve out a certain time each week for to wedding planning (Wedding Wednesday seems to be very popular). It ensures the wedding doesn’t take over their whole lives; however, I find that confining wedding planning to a specific time is too pressure-filled and bicker-prone. I planned my wedding when inspiration strikes. Weekends, in particular, offer the time to let my mind roam and plan my own wedding in a stress-free environment. In this series, I’ll take you through some of my major planning steps – hopefully this will help you plan your own wedding!
My beau and I sort of fell into a delayed honeymoon. Our wedding wasn’t a destination (it was in my hometown), but it wasn’t in the city where we currently live so we needed to take several days off work to get there and celebrate the 4-day affair that was our wedding. We were fortunate to both work at places that offered lots of vacation time, but our bosses still wouldn’t be so thrilled if we took 3+ weeks off at once. Instead, we decided to split it up and took two 2-week stints.
First was the wedding itself. We left early Wednesday morning so we had some down time before having to kick it into high gear when our first wedding event started on Thursday evening. That meant we took 3 days off before the wedding itself. We didn’t realize when we planned our wedding that Passover started the following night so we stayed in Savannah to go to my family’s Seder on Monday night. We then flew back to NYC on Tuesday morning to do a load of laundry and catch a direct flight the following morning for our minimoon to Cuba. It was nice not to feel like we were rushing to the airport right after our wedding. The first thing you want to do after a wedding is RELAX, and stressing about wrapping things up before heading to your honeymoon doesn’t accomplish that. We returned from Havana Saturday evening, which meant we used 5 more vacation days after the wedding. In addition to the relaxing day and a half we had in Savannah, Cuba was a very relaxing trip – it was the perfect way to recharge.
HOT TIP #1: I highly recommend taking off a day and a half or even two days before the wedding festivities begin. You’d be surprised how many last minute things there are to do. You’ll need to drop off hospitality bags at hotels, get a spray tan, etc.
Now cut to July when we took two weeks to go to Italy. I imagine it’s a lot trying to plan a wedding and a honeymoon at the same time. More than the stress of the planning is the stress of the paying. Though you may be completely in-budget for both events, it’s still a lot of payments to make all at once…and that can be painful. By delaying the honeymoon a bit, we could plan and pay at a more leisurely pace, which was nice. The honeymoon was just 3 months after the wedding so it was delayed but not so much that it no longer felt like a honeymoon. I still feel like we had that “just married” glow on us.
HOT TIP #2: Just because you delay the big honeymoon doesn’t mean you can’t have a little getaway right after the wedding. I admit, it would feel a little strange to go to the office the day after your wedding so go somewhere nearby for a couple nights to relax and absorb the fact that you just took one huge and awesome step together as a couple. Thanks to weekends and national holidays, we had a full 2-week honeymoon and still had enough vacation days to take a couple days before AND after the wedding itself. Oh and had 5 days leftover for miscellaneous one-off vacation days we needed to take.
To sum it up, here are the top reasons why planning a delayed honeymoon is a genius move:
- Eliminate stress right before your wedding. Because a big issue is often not how many vacation days you take in a year but more how many days you take consecutively, splitting your wedding vacation into two waves offers you some flexibility to have both a long honeymoon AND a more relaxed wedding week. You will have a lot to do right before your wedding and if you take a few days off, you can get it all done at a non-stressful pace. It was worth it to push the long honeymoon to a later date so I didn’t feel bad about taking those extra days before the wedding.
- You can take advantage of paid holidays. Most weddings don’t fall around a holiday, which means you can’t use any of those paid days off work. By delaying our honeymoon, we could take advantage of the paid holiday we got for 4th of July, which meant only actually using 8 vacation days for 16 days of vacation (including travel days). That didn’t happen by accident. We specifically planned to plan our honeymoon around a holiday.
- You can remain in your own time zone. Just because I’m saying to hold off on your honeymoon doesn’t mean I’m not an advocate for taking time off after your wedding. The wedding weekend is a whirlwind so it’s vital to take a few days to relax and get back to normal. I just don’t think you need 2 weeks and a passport to do it. In fact, I highly recommend going somewhere nearby. Yes, Cuba is another country, but it was a short, direct flight. It meant we got back to our apartment nice and rejuvenated before heading back to work. I have another friend who got married in September but planned her honeymoon around Xmas to take advantage of Australia’s summer season. Immediately following the wedding, however, she and her new hubby took a few days to explore Newport, RI. With the beach and mansions, it felt like another world and a true getaway, and since it was just a short drive away they remained relaxed the whole time. There’s a lot of pressure to go somewhere exotic and far away for your honeymoon so allowing yourself a minimoon gives you a vacay without the stress of the grandiose. Same time zone means no jet lag and none of that “I feel like a need a vacation from my vacation” nonsense. You can deal with jet lag when you go on the big honeymoon and no longer contending with wedding-related exhaustion.
- Recoup some finances. Weddings are expensive! If you plan an inexpensive minimoon/staycation and wait a few months for the big honeymoon, you’ll build up that savings account a bit so you can really afford to take the honeymoon you’ve been dreaming about.
- Have something to look forward to. I love that even after the big event of our wedding, I still had something major to look forward to. Why not keep the excitement of being newly married going as long as possible?!
Note: I caught heat from some haters when they found out we were doing both a minimoon AND a honeymoon. They basically said it was “bougie” and “over the top”. But here’s the thing: I logistically couldn’t go on a long honeymoon immediately after the wedding, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have a couple days to relax with my honey. And just because it was a vacation doesn’t mean we spent a lot of money. We planned a very budget-friendly trip and probably spent less on both trips combined than most people spend on just their honeymoon. Also, we deserved it! Our minimoon was me and Albert’s first real vacation together…EVER. While plenty of our friends went on big international trips annually, we never did. The point is, you may very well deserve both trips – and don’t let anyone tell you differently.