Weddings are stressful. Between mingling with guests, the vast array of anything that can go wrong and usually does, the planning, the execution, and the expectations newlyweds are often sent collapsing into bed on their wedding night without so much as taking off their shoes! Your honeymoon should be a time to rest and relax with your new spouse, not “another thing” to check off a list. These 7 steps to planning a honeymoon to remember can make the time you spend really special, not stressful!

1. Work out your budget.

Even with financial wedding gifts, a honeymoon generally costs at least some money. Figure out what you can comfortably afford to spend and how far that money will take you. This may eliminate some “dream honeymoon” ideas, but if you’re really with the right person, it won’t matter if you’re hiding out at the local “no-tell motel” or hanging on a Jamaican beach.

2. How much do you really want to do?

photo: Agnese Aljena

After the stress and excitement of the wedding, it’s probably time to slow down a little. Some people like to be constantly on the go, moving from thing to thing to thing. Others enjoy taking their time and enjoying what’s out there. Pick your honeymoon plans in such a way that you get to do things you’ll both enjoy, without needing a vacation from your vacation!

3. Maximize vacation time, not travel time.

As a rule of thumb, your travel time to and from should not make up more than 10% of your total honeymoon. This includes travel time to and from the airport, checking and picking up luggage, security, and actual travel time. The exception to this is if you’re driving across the country on a tour. In this case, your lodging time probably shouldn’t make up more than around a third of your total vacation. Plan your travel time so that you have plenty of vacation without spending an undue amount of time traveling and checking in.

4. Check on the weather frequently.

Weather HD for iPhone

A honeymoon on a tropical island can be romantic…but that hurricane building off the coast could blow your honeymoon right out of the water! Make sure the weather and average climate for the time of year you’re considering your honeymoon are in step with what you want to do. Laying on a beach is impractical in a typhoon, but skiing is impossible when the ambient temperature is over 90!

5. Factor in time off work.

Chances are you and your spouse are both employed, so be sure to take into account the time off you’ll need for the wedding and the honeymoon, as well as some extra when you get back home. People disagree on what the “ideal” acclimation time is after a wedding, but one extra day for every three days of wedding prep and honeymoon time is usually a pretty solid rule. This gives you time to get used to life as husband and wife and calm down from the frenzy of activity and travel before you have to get back to the grind.

6. Choose your attire appropriately.

Many places give extra shrift to honeymooners, bending or breaking dress codes to accommodate the newlyweds. Depending on your budget and where you are, this may or may not be possible. Be sure to take at least two changes of casual clothing, one nice outfit, and for guys, a tie or a banded-collar shirt for dining out. This is in addition to bathing suits, lingerie, and the other “usual suspects” one would expect to take on a honeymoon.

7. Remember why you’re there.

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A honeymoon is time for you and your spouse to celebrate your love and the solemnization of your union. Don’t pack your schedule so full that you don’t see each other the whole time. This will be a big enough problem during the wedding. (Trust me on this, if you’ve never had one before.) Be sure to budget your time and activities to get the most of each others’ love and company while you can, before real life intrudes again and you find yourselves back in the real world. Take time to stargaze, walk on the beach or in the mountains, and make love while you have the time to devote exclusively to each other.

You may also be interested in: 10 Unusual and Cheap Honeymoon Destinations and Ideas

Featured photo credit: Young couple share a romantic supper with candles heart on the sea sand beachvia Shutterstock

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