All right, so the decisions isn’t quite as simple as the title of this post implies. The Beard and I spent what money we had on a wedding, with the knowledge that money for a fabulous Costa Rican vacation would appear later. We did not anticipate, however, that the house we planned to stay at would get leased out for two whole years. You could say that our honeymoon plans have been tabled in the long term, in part because we wanted to make sure that my huge family and his little one would be with us when we wed.
I was inspired to think about this after a friend suggested I check out an older post on his blog, Travel Plan Idea:
This is actually a homework assignment for students in my debate class, but regular readers are welcome to play. The topic is eloping and splurging on a honeymoon (this includes destination weddings) vs. spending a bunch of money on a traditional wedding and spending comparatively less money on the honeymoon. For example, I barely remember my wedding reception — it was fine but nothing special compared to my nine week honeymoon in Italy. However, my sister went for the big wedding reception because she wanted to share her wedding day with as many friends and family members as possible.
Considering that the average wedding takes about 200 hours to plan and can cost many thousands of dollars before travel is ever factored in, he may just have a point. I know a lot of brides and grooms who took minimoons because they just didn’t have a lot of money or time left over after planning their weddings. I’m still waiting on mine, and the way things are looking, the honeymoon we’ll eventually take will probably involve kids and big-headed cartoon characters and too little gin for my tastes. C’est la vie!
If you want a big wedding and a luxurious honeymoon but were not blessed with rich relatives, balance is key. However, cutting costs is hardest when you don’t want people to know you had to cut costs. For maximum impact on both fronts, splurge on the venue and the decor and trim fat in the edibles area (e.g., nix the sit down dinner and the circulating starters in favor of a hors d’oeuvres buffet), then choose a travel destination that’s centralized so you can see everything without having to hotel hop.
My friend received some interesting and varied responses when he asked this question of his readers, so I wanted to open it up to all of you. If you had a fixed pre- and post-wedding budget and you didn’t, for whatever reason, have to worry about hurting anyone’s feelings, would you opt for a huge, opulent ceremony and reception or an uber-extravagant vacation? Think about the question hypothetically (and adopt me) if you had or have enough money to have the wedding and honeymoon of your dreams.