To start, it’s important you know that I’m not the type of person who dreamt about her perfect wedding. Quite the contrary, I never wanted one in the first place. Don’t get it twisted, I want to marry my partner. Marriage and weddings are not the same things. Weddings always seemed like such an over-the-top expense filled with traditions in which I didn’t particularly want to partake. Instead, of dreaming about being a bride, I always focused my thoughts on what happened right after: the honeymoon. Then it became apparent that for us the honeymoon wouldn’t get to be right after but rather almost a full year later.
Reason 1: Vacation time restrictions
Our wedding is slated for September 2018. Yes, there will still be a wedding because it’s what my partner wants. It meant a lot to him and both our parents that we have a “real wedding” so I acquiesced.
We picked a September wedding because of our affinity for the fall season, because it’s what’s available at the venue we like, and because of how the dates lined up with my partner’s time off work. He’s a teacher in New York City. Teachers don’t have the luxury of taking time off. Their trips must align with when school is out of session. My partner only has two personal days if he needs a random day off here and there during the school year.
Fortunately, the New York City schools have off for both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. We aren’t Jewish, so leveraging this time off with our wedding means he can get a long weekend without taking any time off. However, a September wedding also means it coincides with the beginning of the school year and his next significant time off isn’t until Christmas time.
Reason 2: Trying to avoid tourist high season
We’re both big fans of traveling in the offseason for tourists. Not only is it much cheaper to do so, but lines to iconic landmarks, museums, and highly-rated restaurants are significantly shorter. We picked South Africa for our honeymoon since it’s on both our lists and neither of us have been to Africa yet, meaning we’d get to experience a first together.
We considered doing a honeymoon during his Christmas break in December, but it turns out that December is both high season for both tourists and locals. It’s also the worst time to go on safari as it’s the wet season. May to October is the dry season when animals tend to congregate around watering holes and vegetation is sparse, making it easier to spot them. Temperatures are also more mild at this time.
Reason 3: Offsetting potential family holiday drama
Speaking of avoiding this trip during December…
December was my original pitch because it would mean we could nix having to choose between whose family we visited in our first year of marriage. His whole immediate family lives in upstate New York while my parents live in North Carolina and my sister lives in California – although she goes to North Carolina for holidays. It’s not an option to do both, and frankly, the idea of having to pick already gives me stomach aches.
My partner countered my December honeymoon pitch with, “Well, where would we spend Thanksgiving?” “How about we take a small trip domestically for Thanksgiving?” I suggested. He wasn’t having it. Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday. “Can’t we just spend it with my family then?” He asked. “You don’t care as much about Thanksgiving?” “Yes, but then if we did Thanksgiving with your family and leave the country at Christmas – my family gets nothing.” I countered.
You see how quickly this can devolve.
We just took a holiday honeymoon off the table – plus, it would’ve been way more expensive at Christmas time.
Reason 4: Luxury means needing to save, save, save
Now that holidays were off the table, it really only left the summer after our wedding when my (then husband) would be done teaching. That means we’ll get married in September 2018 and won’t honeymoon until July or August of 2019. Sure, it’s a bit of a bummer and we hope to do a small mini-moon domestically during a three-day weekend in October, but it offers the huge advantage of saving up after we’d already spent money on the wedding.
We’ve done our fair share of domestic and international bargain traveling as a couple and individuals. We were long distance for four years of our relationship and clocked way too many miles on Greyhound buses. Therefore, we really do want to live it up and indulge in luxury for a honeymoon. Our goal is to save $5,000 for the honeymoon. We’ll try to leverage current miles and churn some credit cards from now until early 2019 when we’d plan to book the flights.
We are both of the same mind that we wouldn’t put ourselves in debt for a wedding nor a honeymoon. Now we’ll have ample time to save up what we’ve offered to cover for our September 2018 wedding and then replenish the fund for a summer 2019 honeymoon. It may not be the most romantic strategy, but it’ll be a beautiful way to celebrate our paper year of marriage.