Like a lot of couples these days, my husband and I decided to leave a gap between our wedding and our honeymoon. We both love exploring new places and were determined to make the most of what is, arguably, the best excuse out there to go away for longer than usual and indulge in experiences we wouldn’t usually consider. Following much discussion (and consultation of guidebooks, travel brochures, and my jet-setting brother), we decided Southeast Asia was the place for our biggest adventure yet and flew to Cambodia and Vietnam just before Easter, over eight months after saying ‘I do’.
It was awesome – so different to anywhere either of us has ever been before. I’m still processing everything we saw and did, and will write more about our experiences in due course, but one thing I’m certain of is that even though it would still have been very special, we couldn’t have done half as much if it had been booked for straight after the wedding. For us, delaying our honeymoon by a few months was an excellent decision, and here are my top 5 reasons why:
1. You have more time to save – and to plan
Saving was a big part of our motivation behind waiting several months to do a big trip; it just wouldn’t have been financially viable for us to go away for longer than a few days immediately post-wedding. And of course you don’t need to go far away, or for a long time (or at all for that matter – never feel compelled by anything other than your wishes as a couple), but travelling has always been important to us and we knew we wanted to do something special. Waiting meant we could budget effectively and not compromise on destination or length, as well as removing the worry of organising visas and packing for a mega holiday on top of all the final wedding preparations.
2. Annual leave considerations
Another practical point: with three days of annual leave before our wedding to get the last few bits and pieces sorted, followed by another week afterwards, it would have been tricky to book much more time off work last July. Different employers will have different policies, and we were both incredibly lucky to eventually have three weeks approved for our honeymoon this year, but it was another key factor that influenced us to wait until we knew we could request a bigger block of time.
3. It’s something else to look forward to
Getting married is emotional. As wonderful a whirlwind as the wedding itself is, there’s a lot to manage beforehand and it can then feel slightly flat once the guests are all gone and you know the big event is over. Having a lovely holiday on the horizon (near or distant) is always something to look forward to, and can extend that special feeling of being newly married beyond the immediate aftermath of the day.
4. Jetlag is bad enough anyway
Following on from the third point, weddings are exhausting and travelling is exhausting, especially if you’re going long haul. Even though we worked right up to the day before we flew to Cambodia, we weren’t emotionally drained and hadn’t rushed to get all the arrangements finalised. Sure, we were still knackered when we got to our first hotel, but it was purely physical and nothing that a two-hour power nap couldn’t solve. I have a feeling we’d have taken much longer to adjust if we’d gone the morning after our wedding celebrations!
5. Milk it with a minimoon!
OK, this does mean spending yet more money, but a minimoon (or maybe all post-wedding holidays should be called moneymoons?) can be a great way to have some downtime straight after the nuptials, while still keeping a bigger honeymoon in the pipeline for another time. We had three days in Lisbon last July and it was lovely, not least because it gave us time to be together and reflect on all the highlights of our wedding weekend. We kept the cost down with low-key accommodation and lots of walking, like all our holidays before we got married, and had a great time.
For us, going on a minimoon first and a honeymoon later was perfect. They were both special and I’m glad we made those choices. Ultimately though, it doesn’t matter what label you attribute to the time you spend with loved ones, or where and when it is, as long as you find joy in your shared experiences.