Planning a wedding can be stressful, no matter what stage of planning you are in.  So, the opportunity to start thinking about your honeymoon is always a welcome break.  There are so many options to consider, so many places to go.  Where to start?

After months of wedding prep, your honeymoon should offer much-needed relaxation and quality time as a newly wedding couple.  Maybe it’s even the first time the two of you have taken a major trip together.  Here are some tips to help make your honeymoon a seamless and unforgettable experience.

  1.  Start early.

The ideal time to start planning your honeymoon is at least 6-8 months prior to your travel dates, especially if you are thinking about a European trip that falls during the popular summer travel season.  It’s not even too early to start planning a year in advance.  Early planning also ensures the best rates and choice of accommodations.

  1. Destination Weddings Plan your honeymoon together

I have spoken to so many brides and grooms who said they are planning the trip and surprising their partner. Please don’t.  Make sure you are on the same page with regard to interests, destinations, and budget.  Plus, when one person does the planning, you may end up with a trip skewed to one person’s interests.  A joint venture ensures that you have a trip tailored to both of your desires.

  1.  Be specific about what you want

Brainstorm together.  When you close your eyes, what do you envision as your ideal honeymoon?  What images keep coming back into your mind?  Figure out what you both really want.

  1.  Set a realistic budget

Be honest with yourself about what you can afford.  Take into account any and all expenses you can think of.  Are you planning a trip to an all-inclusive?  If not, you need to factor in meals and beverages.  Will you need a rental car?  Resort transfers?  What about the excursions/tours that you want?  Remember, depending on where you travel, flights will be costly.  Be realistic about them – gone are the days of $200 round-trip flights to Europe.

While we are talking about budget, don’t forget about the hidden costs, such as resort fees, visas, and gratuities.

  1.  Don’t copy someone else’s honeymoon

Everyone is unique.  This is your trip.  It’s great to use someone else’s itinerary as a jumping-off point for your planning and inspiration, but the honeymoon should be tailored to your interests, and not the interests of someone who already took that trip.

  1. You don’t need to leave right away

It’s ok to delay your honeymoon for a few days.  Back when I got married, it was traditional to leave for the honeymoon right away or the day after the wedding at the latest.  Those days are gone.  Delaying a few days will give you time to decompress and prep for the honeymoon – something that’s hard to do when you are also getting ready to get married.  If you have a Saturday wedding, consider leaving at least Monday or Tuesday.

  1.  Use a travel professional

Travel professionals serve a multitude of purposes.  They are geographical experts who can help you decide the perfect destination based on detailed conversations they will have with you about your vision.  They have personal relationships with travel suppliers and detailed knowledge of the properties.  As a result, they can save you endless research time and offer first-hand experiences.  They can also arrange special experiences, such as private tours or candlelight dinners on the beach.  The travel advisor is your advocate who has your back the minute they start working with you to after you return home.  Their goal is to make sure you are focused on your wedding and that all you have to do for the honeymoon is to enjoy your time together.