In a recent post, I wrote about how the hubs and I were able to have a really fun wedding on the cheap by making some sacrifices. Here is the follow up to that post- how we managed to have an unconventional but awesome honeymoon for almost free. So if you thought I was a little out there after yesterday’s post when I suggested things like fake wedding flowers, there’s a chance you might think I am equally nuts today when I tell you about the things we did to have an AWESOME honeymoon for almost free. Consider yourself warned 🙂 None of the things that we did took any special talent- anyone could honeymoon this way!
The hubs and I were both in school and living off student loans when we got married. While we made some fairly dumb financial mistakes with our student loans at the beginning of school, by the time we got married we were nearing the end of school and starting to see what financial train wrecks we had been earlier. As a result we really needed to do the whole wedding and honeymoon thing for as cheap as possible.
Here’s the thing: we actually had a rock star honeymoon. We were gone for a month, spending two weeks in Australia and two weeks in New Zealand. It was completely awesome and we totally loved it. But it was nothing like a traditional honeymoon! Here is how we did it:
1) We waited until nine months after the wedding to go on our honeymoon. I know, untraditional, but we had to do it that way because that was when we’d be able to take a whole month off. That also coincided with the off season for tourism in both countries, so we would be able to take advantage of lower prices on certain things.
2) We did not register for traditional gifts for our wedding. We only created a honeymoon registry. We did this because we decided that we would WAY rather have a totally awesome honeymoon than a bunch of dishes and stuff. There are several different websites where you can do this; the one that we used was www.thebigdayregistry.com. Basically, we went on the site and created our wish list for our dream honeymoon, containing items such as ‘Snorkeling cruise at the Great Barrier Reef,’ ‘Rappelling excursion in New Zealand,’ ‘Rental car in New Zealand,’ etc. You can put anything on there. Our guests seemed to really enjoy getting to choose parts of our honeymoon to pay for, and they loved hearing about it when we got back! The site takes a percentage of the monies collected, which is how they make their money.
3) We stayed in hostels for the majority of the trip. This is the part that everyone seems to think sounds awful, but it was cheap and we met some really great people that we never would have otherwise met. And we were selective about the hostels that we stayed in- we opted for hostels that offered private rooms, so we did not have to share rooms with strangers as can sometimes be the case in hostels. We did splurge for the last four days of our honeymoon and stayed at a really great spa resort in New Zealand- so we did have some more traditional honeymoon elements in there too.
4) Because hostels often have kitchen facilities, we were able to cook a lot of our own meals. This saved us a ton of money since we did not have to eat out very much. There was also the added bonus that we got to experience grocery shopping in a foreign country, which is always an adventure!
5) The hubs and I both finished school right before we left for our honeymoon. When our parents and family members asked what we wanted for graduation we made it clear that honeymoon funds were what we most desired as gifts. Same for Christmas and birthdays in the months between the wedding and the honeymoon.
By foregoing a traditional gift registry, saving money like crazy, and keeping food and lodging costs down, we were able to have the honeymoon of our dreams, and here’s the best part: We paid almost nothing out of our own pockets. Looking back we think the final bill for it all came to a little bit over what we had saved and received in gifts, but not much.
Do we have any regrets? None. In fact, as I was writing this post I asked the hubs if he had any regrets about how we honeymooned, and he only had one: “That we came back!”
But that’s just our story. Anyone else out there have an unconventional honeymoon story to share?
Suggested Reading: If you are in the planning stages of your wedding and/or honeymoon now, a great book that you may want to check out is Plan the Perfect Honeymoon: 200 Honeymoon Ideas & Destinations for All Budgets (affiliate link). TONS of great ideas in here!
Note: This post contains affiliate links.