When planning a wedding the honeymoon might seem like the easiest decision of all: yep, always wanted to go there. Grand, let’s book it so. Sorted.
And while I promise I’m not trying to complicate things, there are some considerations to take into account... like the weather, how to save a few bob in the process, and sorting your holidays with work.
I’ve been there, so I want to help ensure your honeymoon planning is easy and breezy. After the stress of the wedding, ye bloody deserve it!
1. Get it booked as soon as you can
If you’re going long haul, get that sucker nailed down about six to eight months in advance, or as soon as the flights are released.
The best resorts and hotels book up quickly, particularly if they’re small and a lot of the luxury boutique ones are. We’re all about spontaneity but your honeymoon is one holiday that shouldn't be left to chance.
Besides, with all the other million and one stresses of planning a wedding, worrying about booking a trip with short notice is one you could really do without.
2. Do it your own way
There seems to be this enduring narrow archetype of what a honeymoon 'should' be like – you know it: white sandy beaches and turquoise seas in the likes of Bora Bora, Maldives or Mauritius – and while there’s no doubt they’re all unreal destinations, there is no one-size-fits-all ideal.
So don’t be put off doing your own thing, whether that’s a week in a remote lighthouse in West Cork, city-hopping around Japan or hitting up any of Europe’s amazing cities for the swanky city break to beat all city breaks.
3. Consider a staycation
We’re all for honeymooning on this gorgeous little island of ours – but with some serious schtyle of course.
Think about it. For couples living in other countries, this land of craic, fine soft days and amazing coastline is their idea of honeymoon heaven. We do world class luxury here in Ireland that's up there with the best of them, so why book yourself into a five-star castle or a coastal spa hotel? And think of what you could do with the cash you would have spent on flights!
4. Sort out your holidays with work well in advance
Taking a chunk of time off work to go on a long honeymoon isn’t always possible, so sort it with work before you book anything. Most employers will take into account that you're getting married and will be more flexible (within reason!) with the likes of unpaid leave, but a good tip is not to assume they will.
5. Weigh up whether it's worth blowing your holidays in one go
Which leads us neatly to this point: bear in mind that if you use up all your holidays in one go, you’ll have none left for the rest of the year.
There is definitely a case to be made for leaving about seven days for the rest of the year. Trust us, you’ll be so glad you did when you haven’t had a break for over six months and the honeymoon is but a beautiful, hazy memory.
However, a pretty nifty way around this is to go on your honeymoon over the Christmas holidays. Well, if you can bear missing out on Mammy's turkey and all the trimmings that is!
6. Bear in mind the time of year
Before you choose a destination, find out what it’s going to be like at the time of year you want to go. Generally, we choose the date for our wedding long before we even consider the honeymoon – it’s only afterwards we might realise our dream destination is actually going to be bang slap in the middle of monsoon season, or freezing, when we intend to go.
Also important to factor in is stuff like school holidays or high season. For example, somewhere like Disneyland would be mental during the school break, while high season in the Caribbean isn’t summer, it’s actually winter, because people from the US escape there from the cold. Research is key for this one.
7. Get a money box
Put a money box somewhere in the house you pass every day and after a year or so, you’ll have accumulated some serious walking around change in time for your honeymoon.
The best ones are the tins you can only open with a tin opener because they stop you from scooping out the cash when you’re mad for a takeaway just before payday. Just commit to only putting in two euro coins or notes and soon you'll be loaded. Ish.
8. Lay off putting pressure on yourselves
There’s all this emotive rhetoric around honeymoons: ‘it should be the best holiday of your life’ etc. etc. And sure, if there’s one holiday you can really go to town on, it’s your honeymoon.
However, these five-star resorts can cost mad money, which is particularly hard to take when your bank account has just got the hammering of its life after the wedding. Plan a trip you can afford – or else go on a smaller mini-moon and wait until the following year, when you’ve saved a bit more, to go on that super pricey trip.
Just don’t feel that you have to spend a fortune to have a dream honeymoon, because you really don’t.