Wedding and honeymoon travel
Wedding travel is a trip by a couple about to get married, so as to have a wedding far from home. These are often called "destination weddings" and can serve as a reason for the couple's friends and relatives as well as the marrying couple to have a vacation abroad.
Honeymoons are holidays taken by a newly married couple soon after their wedding. They are a traditional, or at least common (if private) part of wedding celebrations in some cultures.
There is increasing marketing aimed at couples for "honeymoon-like" holidays: for example "babymoons", the last holiday before the birth of a couple's first child.
Wedding away from home
There can be many reasons why couples marry away from their hometown; legislation, costs, getting closer to their friends and family, or enjoying a great scenery.
The destination might have more liberal laws for same-sex marriage (see LGBT travel) or marriage across ethnic or religious groups.
The requirements to be wed (as foreigners) at the destination may differ from those at home. Make sure you can be wed there and that all needed paperwork is ready in time. You should also carefully check that your marriage is recognized at home – or what your status is if it is not recognized.
A honeymoon in Western countries typically begins a few days after the wedding ceremony: the couple spends a night or two after the ceremony in their home or in a hotel rather than add long distance travel to the end of their day. The trip itself is often a fortnight in length and can, of course, be longer if you like.
Don't think of flying in your marriage dress, unless you can buy first-class tickets (or you have many friends to help you both at departure airport and at the destination). Reasons are multiple: moving your luggage, waiting in a line to check in and spending several hours squeezed into economy-class cabin are not the best things to do in marriage dress. Add carry-on luggage tag to the bride's bouquet to get the full picture.
Popular choices of honeymoons include:
- Beaches and islands
When honeymoons began to be popular a century or two ago, they were a tour by the newly married couple of relatives who didn't live near by, often relatives who hadn't been able to come to the ceremony. This is far less common now, but is one possible model for your honeymoon if you do have close family or friends who were unable to come.
There are many dedicated honeymoon packages offered by travel agents, hotels, cruise liners and almost every other travel vendor. Typically these include "romantic" extras like massages, spa baths, bottles of champagne and better (and more private) rooms. They are usually aimed at a luxury market rather than a budget market: if you want a budget honeymoon it's easier to plan it as a holiday for two immediately after your wedding, rather than asking for honeymoon specials. One advantage though of the honeymoon market is that it caters to the typical needs of couples interested in a romantic holiday. A location that specialises in honeymoons or couples is less likely to be full of families with young children, or party-happy backpackers, which appeals to many couples wanting a more private, peaceful holiday.
If you're after the usual goals of a honeymoon (lots of time alone together), you'll want to have a unhurried itinerary. Consider just one or two destinations.
A honeymoon may require careful budgeting: the balance of the trip will usually be due around abut the same time as the balance of the cost of the wedding itself! It's best to include a honeymoon budget in your wedding budget.
Your honeymoon can cost any amount that you choose to spend on it, of course. (You can even skip it, a travel site won't talk much about that!) Travel agents are encouraged to suggest options that cost about half of your wedding budget, but that's just their guide to the rough amount they can get you to part with, not an iron clad rule.
Some travel agents offer honeymoon registries in which the guests can contribute to the cost of the honeymoon as a wedding gift; you could also arrange this informally by asking for cash gifts from guests who want to contribute to the honeymoon. The acceptability of asking for what is always essentially a cash gift varies between cultures, families and couples.
- Venice, Italy
- Santorini, Greece
- Niagara Falls, New York/Ontario
- Bali, Indonesia
- Dubai, UAE
- Beirut, Lebanon (a popular honeymoon destination among Gulf state tourists)