A survey by The Knot released its annual report listing the average wedding cost to be $35,329 for 2016. That statistic is up $3,000 from the previous year and will surely climb even higher this year.
With wedding costs at an all-time high, it’s easy to get carried away with the budget that you entirely forget to set aside enough for the honeymoon. The last thing you want to do is start off a marriage by dumping the honeymoon on a credit card.
Think about it this way, though: Your wedding day is just that — a single day. The honeymoon, on the other hand, is generally 5-7 days long. A little bit of forethought will help you enjoy your trip, without breaking the bank.
How much should it cost?
For most things in the financial world, there are general rules of thumb that you can follow to stay safe. For example, a mortgage payment should be no more than 25% of your gross monthly pay. A car should be no more than 10% of your gross annual salary. When it comes to honeymooning, however, I know of no such rule.
Because of that, I’ve decided to make up my own adage. I personally feel that a honeymoon should cost no more than 6-8% of your gross annual salary. If you make the median family income of $50,000 in the United States, this gives you $3,000-$4,000 to spend on a honeymoon.
Again, this is the maximum that should be spent. You and your spouse will need to decide what makes most financial sense for you.
There are a number of things that you’ll need to consider when planning out the various costs of your trip.
At a minimum, you’ll need to plan for the cost of travel to and from your destination (which most often includes airfare, gas, car rental, airport parking, and more). You’ll also want to calculate in the cost of your hotel for the number of days you’re there, three meals a day, and extra cash for excursions you may take while there. Don’t forget some spending cash for carrying around, souvenirs, or miscellaneous toiletries you may have forgotten to pack.
Sometimes you can stay at an all-inclusive resort which will help mitigate some of these costs. Before you disregard a higher-priced hotel, look closer into what’s include. Often times they will have one or two meals provided each day, a shuttle service to and from the airport, and more. I’ve seen many all-inclusive rates also include airfare.
Ways to save
The number I listed earlier should be taken as a general rule of thumb, but by no means is it required to spend that much. Maybe you and your spouse don’t have grand desires to travel to Bora Bora for the honeymoon. A nice, romantic camping trip with you and your honey fits the bill much nicer, saving you thousands of dollars.
You may consider even temporarily delaying the honeymoon for a few months, or save it for your 1-Year Anniversary. Finally being married to your spouse can often be rewarding enough, that you don’t need to take a huge trip to celebrate. Consider taking a small weekend trip to save some cash. When the 1-year mark comes around, you’ll have enough saved up for a big vacation.
For even more ways to save money, check out our article on how to vacation for cheap.
As mentioned earlier, the last thing you want to do is start of your marriage on rocky financial ground. While a long, expensive trip looks like fun, the last thing you want to do is have to deal with the consequences once you get back. That trip could take you months, or even years (yikes!) to pay off after the fact.
While many of the world’s popular attractions are pricey, there are plenty of less-expensive alternatives that can be just as fun, but also relaxing and romantic.