So you’ve got your wedding budget divvied up and your registry curated—now only one question remains, and it’s an important one: Who's pays for the best honeymoon ever after the best wedding ever? The honeymoon is, after all, the best part of getting married (well, in my opinion), and, depending on your taste, can cost a pretty penny. But don’t get to stress-level 11 just yet, wondering if you should have saved on that rehearsal dinner raw bar or those over-the-top wedding rings so you could splurge on the Tahitian yacht tour. Because just as with the rest of your wedding journey, honeymoon planning and paying isn’t a cut-and-dried, one-and-done thing. In fact, now more than ever, couples are getting creative, and loved ones are chipping in on all sorts of honeymoon expenses. For more on who pays for the honeymoon, just give this guide a look before you book!
Who Pays for the Honeymoon, Traditionally
Long before the days of online wedding registries and crowdsourced wedding financing (we’ll get to that later), when people didn’t live together before getting married and wedding venues were called “halls,” it was expected that the groom's parents paid for the honeymoon. Back then, wedding costs were usually lower and the wedding etiquette of who pays for what was far stricter—everyone had a role (the bride's family pays for the wedding, the groom's family pays for the honeymoon), and people just stuck to their roles. In some cases, honeymoons were planned entirely and paid for by the bride's family or the groom's family—surprise!
More recently, as weddings have become more creative and less by-the-book (and as the couple of honor are often older than they would’ve been in the past, with incomes of their own!), it’s usually the expectation that the couple themselves will fund their own honeymoons, perhaps with some extra help from the groom's and/or bride's parents. Sure, it can be a hefty added cost if the couple is paying for their own wedding, but more and more, honeymoons are becoming epic adventures curated with just as much research and care as weddings themselves—so for most couples, paying their own way ensures maximum control and no sacrifices! If you’re considering going this route, simply plan your honeymoon early and build all of its costs into your overall wedding budget—that way you can save, plan and divide and conquer to cover it, just like you will with all of your other wedding expenses.
How Loved Ones Can Chip In
Remember above when I mentioned the magic of online registries and crowdsourced weddings? Well, thanks to those handy modern inventions, now it’s easier than ever for others to pitch in to help make your dream honeymoon a reality! (Or make your planned honeymoon surpass your every expectations.) Honeymoon registry websites like Traveler's Joy allow family, friends and wedding guests to contribute whatever amount they like toward entire trips, or upgrades and excursions to existing trips, as their wedding gifts. And registering for these experiences is as easy as registering for that marble cheese board. You can also simply ask for cash toward your ‘moon through most registry websites (or register for gift cards from brands like Airbnb). All of these are totally socially acceptable and creative ways to get your wedding guests involved in helping you build out the honeymoon of your dreams (and frankly, guests will probably prefer contributing to an experience for you rather than an air fryer!).
If your plan is to really play up the “help us pay for your honeymoon” campaign, make sure to pull out every stop—make it known to all of your bridesmaids and groomsmen, and at all your gift-oriented wedding events (from the engagement party to the bachelorette party to the bridal shower and beyond!). You can even feel free to scribble a line or two letting your guest list know on your wedding website and wedding invitations. Again, it’s not gauche to be direct about this—guests will be planning to buy you something anyway, and they’d always prefer to buy you something you really want.
Creative Ways to Pay for Your Honeymoon Yourself
If you’re not about to hand your entire wedding registry over to the honeymoon, don’t freak out—there are still many creative ways to “get help” paying for your big trip! First of all, you’ll likely receive at least some amount of cash gifts from guests, family and friends. You could make a pact with your partner that every monetary gift you receive goes toward the honeymoon (and watching that little honeymoon fund grow over the course of your wedding planning will be super fun!). You could even start a special savings account just for depositing monetary wedding gifts, and set up regular contributions from your personal bank accounts to help the fund grow faster.
Also consider signing up for a credit card with excellent travel rewards right after getting engaged (or even before, if you both know you’re in it for the long haul!). Then charge as much as you can for your wedding and life in general to your card (paying it off regularly and responsibly, obviously). You’ll rake in tons of points that way, so when the wedding finally winds down, you could have hundreds if not thousands of bucks toward a flight, hotel, car rental and more—all free, courtesy of your credit card company!
Finally, there’s no law stating your honeymoon has to be the day after your wedding day. Many couples these days are opting to delay their honeymoons considerably following their big days, whether it be for weather, work or financial reasons. If your dream getaway is just out of reach after all of the tips and tricks above, no sweat—just push it out a few months, and give yourself more time to save. It’ll absolutely be worth it, trust me! (And yes, you'll still qualify as newlyweds, and it still counts as a honeymoon.)