Honeymoon Fund 101

Instead of creating a traditional wedding registry, a honeymoon fund is a great alternative. Read on to learn more.

By Rachel Varina

Honeymoon Fund 101
Photo by Unsplash

While there are a lot of exciting aspects surrounding wedding planning, one of the most fun activities typically happens after the I dos. Your honeymoon, whether it happens the day after your nuptials or further down the line, is a special way to celebrate the next chapter of your lives together. Instead of creating a traditional registry (or perhaps in addition to it), a honeymoon fund is a great way to not only pay for your trip, but also to get your guests involved, too.

Table of Contents:

Is There Really a Honeymoon Fund Etiquette?

While the idea of a honeymoon fund might seem pretty straightforward, there are a lot of things to consider when creating your wedding registry. Not only do you want to ensure that you’re requesting the right items/experiences, but you want to do so tactfully. Since you’re essentially asking your guests for money, you want to go out of your way to make your contributors feel valued, respected, and appreciated. From honeymoon registry ideas and tips on how to make your honeymoon fund stand out, to how to incorporate your honeymoon fund into your wedding celebration, we’re breaking down everything you need to know to create the perfect honeymoon fund.

Part 1: Proper Honeymoon Fund Etiquette: Everything You Need to Know

It takes a little bit of finesse to create a honeymoon fund, but the payoff is definitely worth it. Whether you already live together and have all the household appliances you could ever need, you just prefer to forego traditional registry items in favor of a once-in-a-lifetime experience, or you want a mix of both money and tangible gifts for your wedding, a honeymoon fund is a fun (and fiscally responsible) way to get your guests involved in your I dos and celebrate in style after the big day. Here’s everything you need to keep in mind when creating your honeymoon fund:

What Information Should You Include?

First and foremost, you’ll want to let your loved ones know where you’re traveling for your honeymoon. Not only will this help your contributors connect to the trip, but it offers them the chance to give suggestions or donate money so that you can visit specific attractions that they love. In addition to the location, you’ll want to let your contributors know when you plan to take the trip (don’t post the exact date, though, for safety), what you plan to see/do while you’re there, and why you chose this location.

Should You Put Your Honeymoon Fund Information on Your Invitations?

It’s never proper etiquette to include registry information on an invitation or save the date. As a guest, no one is required to give the couple presents, so putting registry details on your paper goods isn’t appropriate. That being said, the majority of your guests do want to know where you’re registered/how to give a wedding gift for the big day. Utilize your wedding website, and ensure that friends and family members have a link to your honeymoon fund, so that they can personally send it out if someone asks for it.

When to Create Your Honeymoon Fund

Friends and family will want to start contributing and gifting shortly after you get engaged, so it’s important to set up a honeymoon fund or registry ASAP. In addition to wedding presents, people like to give gifts to celebrate your engagement and during wedding showers, so having your registry set helps direct those who want to get you something special. While you don’t need to have your honeymoon fund completed hours after the proposal, it’s a good idea to get started sooner rather than later. That way you won’t end up with four toasters instead of the plane tickets to Paris that you really wanted.

Should You Have a Traditional Registry in Addition to Your Honeymoon Fund?

While plenty of guests will be more than happy to contribute to your honeymoon fund, some will prefer to get you tangible items instead. That’s why we always suggest adding a few items in case someone would rather wrap up a present instead of donating to your trip. This is especially important for wedding showers, since a main part of the festivities usually involves watching the bride-to-be open her gifts.

Luckily, Zola makes it easy to register for both a honeymoon fund as well as gifts, all in the same place. Even if you’d prefer a cash gift, consider adding 20 or so items that friends and family can purchase in case they’d rather get you something that you can use. If you really would rather avoid tangible items, consider theming your shower along the lines of your honeymoon destination to easily tie the location into the celebration. Guests could share travel tips, tourist attraction suggestions, and their favorite vacation memories in lieu of the gift opening festivity as you thank them for their honeymoon fund contributions.

Do You Have to Use the Money for the Predetermined Experiences?

What’s great about honeymoon funds is that you’re not forced to spend the money on anything in particular. While guests donate to different aspects of your trip (such as airfare, lodging, dining, and activities), they’re not actually purchasing those items.

Instead, the money can be withdrawn by the couple to then be used for their honeymoon. This way, if you come to find that the original hotel you were going to stay at is closed or the museum you wanted to visit is too crowded, you’re not forced to lose out on the money if guests donated to those particular items. When you write them a thank you note, just make sure to let them know what you used the cash fund for instead!

What Happens If Your Trip Is Cancelled?

Even though we hope your honeymoon goes according to plan, we understand that life happens. Perhaps you decided to change destinations, you had to reschedule your trip, or you decided that you’d rather use the money for something else, such as the downpayment on a house—whatever the reason, if the original trip is no longer happening, you won’t lose out on the money your guests contributed.

However, if your plan does change, it’s important to let your guests know. Chances are that they thought long and hard about how much they wanted to contribute and what they wanted it to be used for, so keeping them informed is vital. Be honest about why your trip is off, explain what the money will be used for instead, and thank them again for the contribution.

Part 2: Creating Your Honeymoon Fund

Now that you know the proper etiquette surrounding your honeymoon fun, it’s time to start creating yours. Here’s how to build the best fund that your guests will be eager to gift to:

Select Your Destination

The very first step in creating your honeymoon fund is to decide where you’d like to go. Not only will this determine what sort of activities and items you request, but it will help your guests feel involved. With so many amazing places to see, it can be hard deciding where to go to celebrate your marriage. We suggest sitting down as a couple and turning the decision into a fun date night! Make a list of places that you both want to go, and after selecting a date that works, narrow down your options. It’s crucial that you select a vacation that you both love, since this trip is especially about celebrating the joining of your lives.

Plan/Budget Your Trip

Once you know where you’re going on your honeymoon, you’ll want to take some time to plan out your trip. Research your destination, ask friends who visited the locale, and look up itinerary ideas. You’ll need to decide how long you want to be traveling for, where you want to stay, and what you want to do. In order to do that, you’ll want to create a budget.

Once you know how much money you can spend and how long you can be away, it’ll be easier to figure out what hotels you’d like to stay in and how many lavish dinners you can afford. Be sure to budget for things such as pet sitters, clothing/items you'll need to purchase in preparation, and potential fees, such as checked bags or transportation to/from the airport.

Add Items/Experiences

Once you know where you’re going, how long you’re going to be there, and how much money you can spend, the next step is to plan the trip. Since guests will be donating to specific activities (such as going to a museum or taking a cooking class), you’ll want to have a good idea of what you want to do and how much it will cost. While you don’t have to have an exact number, a ballpark will help ensure that you budget properly for your trip.

Instead of just asking for a large, lump sum of money, we recommend splitting funds up into smaller, more personalized gifts. Guests will love contributing to specific experiences, such as a wine tasting in Italy, a romantic dinner in Paris, or couples massages in Cabo. If you’re unsure what you’d like to do on your trip, make sure to at least have details such as food, lodging, and transportation accounted for.

Add Gifts

While you might prefer to be gifted cash, some guests would rather give you something tangible. Even if you hint that you want donations to your honeymoon fund, chances are that there will be a few people who head to the store to get something you can unwrap. To avoid being gifted items you don’t want or won’t use, register for a few gifts in addition to your honeymoon fund. Think about things you might use on your trip, such as travel pillows, luggage, and plug converters. Chances are that there are a few items you’ll need to purchase before jetting off. By registering for them, you’ll give guests the chance to purchase something tangible, while still supporting your honeymoon goals. At Zola, you can register for both a honeymoon fund and actual gifts all in one convenient location.

Withdrawing the Cash

What makes a honeymoon fund so simple and flexible is that your guests aren’t actually purchasing the items, but rather giving you money to use toward your honeymoon. Whenever you decide, you can transfer the funds to your bank account. While the first transfer usually takes up to 10 business days, all following transfers shouldn’t take more than two to four business days, which means that you won’t have to wait long to start spending, but it’s still important to plan ahead to ensure that you’re not left without cash while waiting for the transfer to clear.

Additional Fees

Luckily, it’s not only easy to create a honeymoon fund, but it’s cost-effective too. Since all credit card companies charge a transaction fee to transfer money online, you can expect whatever company you utilize to charge a service fee. At 2.4 percent, Zola’s is officially the lowest, and we never take anything extra (or make money off your funds)—it’s all yours to keep! You can either have guests pay the fee with their contribution or you can absorb it on their behalf. Either way, rest assured that you're getting the best rate around at Zola.

Part 3: Your Wedding Website: The Complement to Your Honeymoon Fund

Your wedding website is one of the best tools at your disposal. Not only does it make all the information about your wedding accessible (especially if a guest happens to misplace his or her wedding invitation or save the date), but it’s a great way to help your guests to know more about you and your relationship. In addition to adding details such as the wedding venue, event schedule, and travel information, spend some time outlining your relationship. Your friends and family will be more likely to contribute to your honeymoon fund and be fully present at your wedding if they know more about you. Whether you’ve only met some guests once or twice, or you’ve known them forever, they’ll love getting an inside look at your life together before watching you walk down the aisle.

Tell Your Guests How You Met

While some of your guests probably know the story of how you met, others might not know all the details. Whether it’s parents’ friends or estranged family members, giving guests the chance to read more about how your partnership came to be is a wonderful way to personalize your wedding experience. Outline how you met, touching upon anything funny or out of the ordinary (just be sure to keep it clean—even grandparents know how the internet works) that will make your guests smile.

Explain Your Love Story

Did you move in together a week after you started dating or are you counting down the minutes until you say “I do” and finally combine households? What do you love about each other? What makes you thankful to be marrying your SO? Outline what your journey has been like together so far and what you hope your future looks like. Your guests will feel much more connected to you after learning why they should be so excited that you’re tying the knot. Is your SO the best cook ever? Do you love the way your partner sings to the oldies? Explain what makes your bond special for anyone who might not know you as intimately.

Talk About Your Honeymoon

Deciding where to go on your honeymoon is a big deal, and chances are that your guests are eager to learn more about your trip. If you’re setting up a honeymoon fund, giving friends and family the details will help them feel included. Plus, they’ll be much more likely to donate if they know where you’re going and why you want to go there, so don’t hold back.

Did you two talk about going to Hawaii on your first date? Do you both have a passion for Mexican food and dream of trying fresh tortillas? Explain how you decided on your destination and what you’re looking forward to doing while you’re there. Chances are, there will be a few people who have already traveled there and would be happy to donate to certain experiences and/or give you any must-know advice. Others might want to donate so you can experience something that they loved or always wanted to try.

Part 4: 5 Ways to Personalize Your Honeymoon Fund

So, you’ve decided to create a honeymoon fund, and you’ve already chosen your destination. Before tossing in the towel, take some time to really make your honeymoon fund special. By adding specific details, giving your wedding guests insight as to why you’re so excited for the trip, and showing them just how much their contributions mean to you, you’re more likely to get donations to enjoy on your vacation.

#1 Add Specific Experiences

You don’t have to know every single thing you’re going to do on your honeymoon, but chances are that you have a decent idea of at least a few key landmarks or attractions. In addition to admission to must-see spots, you can add things such as boat rides, plane tickets, and lodging to your fund. Your guests will enjoy feeling like they’re gifting you a specific experience versus just handing you a check. The more specific you are with what you’re doing, the better your odds of people donating.

#2 Write Descriptions

Zola makes it super simple to create a honeymoon fund, and depending on where you’re heading for your honeymoon, there’s a good chance that we already have a template laid out for you. That being said, making your trip and descriptions even more personal will help your guests understand the importance of your honeymoon. Have you always dreamed about dining under the Eiffel Tower? Is your SO a wine connoisseur and can’t wait to tour a vineyard? Insert your personality into the descriptions to better encourage your guests to donate.

#3 Explain Your Trip

Where are you going? When are you going? Why are you going? Give your guests the details surrounding your trip. Is this a way to relax after the wedding, or is this an exciting adventure before having children? The more personal and honest you are, the better your friends and family will feel about gifting you money toward your honeymoon fund.

#4 Add Photos

A picture is worth a thousand words, and engaging photos in your honeymoon fund will help draw friends and family to the page. While you might not have destination photos (especially if you’re honeymooning somewhere you’ve never been before), Zola has a large selection of stock images to choose from. Additionally, for things such as walking tours, dining, or even bottles of wine with dinner, try to find photos of you and your SO together to tie the experiences even more into your relationship.

#5 Keep Your Guests Updated

Your guests want to know that you’re actually using the funds for what they contributed, so keep friends and family updated as you plan your trip. Tell them when you booked your flights and go out of your way to ask for dining or lodging suggestions. Additionally, if something comes up and the trip has to be postponed or canceled, be upfront about it. Chances are that your contributors will understand if you decide to use the money for a down payment on a house instead of a honeymoon, but it’s better that they hear it from you, rather than through the grapevine.

Zola: The Ultimate Honeymoon Fund Tool

Deciding to have a honeymoon fund is a personal decision. While the concept is still fairly new, more and more modern couples are opting to create a cash wedding registry, as opposed to (or in addition to) a traditional wedding registry. Whether you decide to forego tangible items all together or you select a mix of both, Zola makes it easy to register for everything—from gifts and experiences to travel—all in one convenient location. At the end of the day, all that matters is that you find the best way to celebrate the start of marriage together. From trips around the world to staycations nearby, as long as you’re together, it’ll be a honeymoon to remember.

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