Many of us know the antiquated tradition of a bride’s family paying for a couple’s wedding ceremony and reception. However, this convention has decreased in recent years, with some couples opting to pay for wedding-related goods and services themselves, or having the families of both individuals help pay for some aspects of the celebration. While splitting the wedding cost helps keep one person or family from bearing the entire cost, it can complicate matters and leave you wondering what the etiquette for payment of other wedding expenses, such as the honeymoon, should be. Before you get lost in planning your romantic post-wedding getaway, it’s important to figure out who is funding your excursion. So, if you’re wondering, “Who pays for the honeymoon?” you’re not alone.
Traditionally, the groom’s parents would pay for the honeymoon. But, as we already discussed, many of these old conventions are becoming irrelevant as marriages evolve. Today, it’s not uncommon for all parents of the couple to contribute to, or fully cover, the costs of the honeymoon. Alternatively, many couples treat their honeymoon similar to any other vacation they want to take and fund it themselves. In other words, you should not feel bound by tradition. Rather, it’s essential for you as a couple to evaluate what your options are in terms of paying for your honeymoon, and then determine the best way to cover these expenses. To help you get started, we have laid out all possibilities of who pays for a honeymoon below.
Holding with tradition, any combination of the couple’s parents may step in and offer to pay for the honeymoon. In some cases, it may even be appropriate for you to ask for help, depending on the relationship you have with your parent(s). Parental funding may come in the form of a check that you can use to plan the trip yourselves, or your parents may undertake the burden of planning and arranging the whole honeymoon for you.
Recently, some parents have even taken it upon themselves to plan the trip for the couple without telling you the destination, leaving you with a fun surprise after your wedding. This can be taken to the extreme, only telling you where you are headed once you arrive at the airport and packing for you accordingly. Otherwise, they may elect to notify you a few days ahead of time so you can pack and plan for your special trip.
Perhaps the most popular modern way to pay for a honeymoon is to add a cash fund to your registry. This allows your wedding guests and invitees to contribute money towards your honeymoon. Tools like Zola’s Honeymoon Fund make it easy to add an overarching cash fund to your registry, collect money for airfare and hotel bookings, or create individual line items, such as activities, meals, or excursions that you can enjoy during the honeymoon. This is an especially great option for those couples who do not need much in the way of housewares or other traditional wedding gift items. As this option has gained popularity over the past few years, many guests have expressed their enthusiasm for providing a more meaningful experience, rather than physical gifts. To make sure you correctly plan your honeymoon, see our guide on honeymoon essentials.
Whether or not you opt for a honeymoon fund on your registry, you may still have a number of family and friends who give you cash funds or checks as a wedding gift. You can use these last-minute funds to help cover unforeseen honeymoon expenses during your travels. Or, if you plan to go on your honeymoon several weeks or months after your wedding, you can set this money aside to help cover all your expenses. Delayed honeymoons have become increasingly popular, as many couples need to balance their vacation days from work obligations. If this is your scenario, checks and cash funds given as wedding gifts can be added to your wedding budget during the planning of your honeymoon, so that you’ll know exactly how much you have to spend. Plus, as an added benefit, delaying your honeymoon means you won’t have to be planning it while also planning your wedding.
Though you’d never want to rely on this source of funding, it’s always a possibility that an unexpected friend or member of your family will want to surprise you with the financing of your honeymoon. This would be an incredibly generous gift and, hopefully, one they would share with you early in your wedding and honeymoon planning, so that you know what to expect. However, we suspect you would be happy for the surprise no matter when you were told of it. As this shows, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to who pays for the honeymoon when a couple gets married.
Of course, as mentioned before, many modern couples ultimately end up paying for their own honeymoon. Whether this means one or both of you pays, it’s entirely up to you to decide as a couple, based on your financial situation. If, during your planning, you determine that your funds are limited, delaying your honeymoon can give you more time to save for the trip. Otherwise, there are a number of budgeting tips you can implement to make your money go further on your honeymoon. Some tips include:
- Prioritize Your Needs. Developing a clear understanding of what will make your honeymoon feel magical for each of you will help you decide where to allocate your honeymoon budget. If luxury accommodations are a must, you might consider a domestic location. - Start Early. The earlier you begin your planning, the more you can shop around for deals and discounts. This also ensures that inexpensive rooms at your accommodation of choice are still available. Which leads us to our next tip… - Book the Inexpensive Option. You may be able to afford a luxury resort or upscale hotel by booking their cheapest room. For many of these resorts, the benefits and amenities are the same regardless of your room type. Plus, if you don’t intend to be in your room much during your stay, the savings are worth it. - Travel Off-Season. When considering your destination, look at when their peak tourist season is. Traveling during those months will guarantee that you’ll be subjected to higher fees and more expensive rates. Similarly, you might also consider the time of year you are planning to travel. For example, the summer months and winter holiday season are a popular time to travel around the world. If your wedding is during that time, consider delaying your honeymoon to the fall or spring in order to take advantage of cost savings. - Use a Travel Agent. Working with a travel agent can help ease the burden of planning your trip, while also giving you access to unpublished deals and discounts. Make sure you find someone eager to understand what you’re looking for during your trip and will go beyond simply using a pre-planned itinerary. As an added benefit, using a travel agent gives you someone to call should anything go wrong during your travels. - Play the Honeymoon Card. Though it may feel awkward at first, letting people know that it is your honeymoon can go a long way in saving you some money, as many in the hospitality industry will do what they can to make your experience a little more special. Perks could range from a free bottle of champagne at check-in or complimentary dessert at dinner, to free room upgrades or comped meals. - Plan Your Honeymoon Where Your Destination Wedding Ceremony Takes Place. If you already have a destination wedding ceremony planned, continue the honeymoon celebration in the same spot! Keeping this in mind, travel somewhere you’ve been wanting to experience together.
The entire wedding planning process, from engagement to honeymoon destination, should bring you joy—that’s where the wedding experts at Zola come in. Zola offers services, such as guest list planning, wedding registry setup, and wedding website creation, to help you along the way. Everything is personalized to your own wedding theme, so you’ll have to just see for yourself!
For more honeymoon planning resources, see Zola’s guides below: