Nearly every couple dreams of planning a romantic honeymoon to unwind after their big day, but that’s not your only vacation option. Some couples go on a trip before the wedding instead of after, and some only do a celebratory weekend trip. In this guide, we’ll discuss the following:
- What an earlymoon is
- What a honeymoon is
- What a minimoon is
- Tips for picking your trip
Explore the differences between an earlymoon vs. honeymoon vs. minimoon so you can plan the perfect getaway with your partner. Get ready to soak up that pre- or postmarital bliss!
What’s an Earlymoon?
Planning a wedding can feel as stressful as exciting, especially if you strive to please everyone. In the last few years, the concept of “earlymoons” has become more popular. This trip gives the engaged couple time to relax on vacation so they feel rejuvenated for the wedding. Depending on your budget, this may replace a honeymoon, but it can also be a separate trip.
The main goal of an early moon is for you and your partner to spend time together before the big day. Most couples plan their earlymoon about two to three months before the big day. This is the ideal time because it’s not so close to your wedding date that relaxation feels impossible, nor is it too far from the big day.
Pros of Earlymoons
Still not sure whether an earlymoon is the right wedding-centric vacation for you? Two key pros of earlymoons are relaxing and bonding with your partner before the wedding. This also allows you to make lasting memories as you close this chapter of life and start the next one united.
Cons of Earlymoons
Although the purpose of an earlymoon is to relax, it isn’t ideal for all people. You may have to carefully plan vendor appointments around it. Likewise, you may spend the vacation still worried about the wedding or feeling guilty for taking a break from planning.
Plan a Hybrid Earlymoon
If you love the idea of going on an earlymoon and want to make a trip for your wedding party, consider some alternative bachelor and bachelorette ideas. Some couples do a joint bachelor and bachelorette party; turning this into a vacation gives you time to relax before the wedding. Plus, you and your partner can divvy up how you spend your time by doing a bit of couple, friend, and group time.
What’s a Honeymoon?
A honeymoon is the classic newlywed’s vacation. Typically, this trip occurs the day or week after the wedding, but there are no hard rules as to when it needs to occur so long as it’s after the wedding. You can wait several months if you need to save extra money or don’t have the time off work.
The honeymoon is all about soaking up that newlywed bliss as you enjoy a romantic vacation with your favorite person. For some couples, this is their first time going on vacation as a pair, which adds to the excitement of the trip. This is the ideal time to bond as you explore a beautiful landscape or sip on cocktails in an all-inclusive resort.
Pros of Honeymoons
Your honeymoon gives you time to relax after months or a year of planning the big day. There’s no wedding planning to return to or worry about, so you can live in the moment and soak up every moment with your partner.
Another pro of honeymoons is that it’s usually the ideal time to go on a dream vacation. Splurge on a European trip or visit a tropical paradise! As with any vacation, where you two go depends on your interests and price range.
Everyday Bride Tip
In case you have no idea where you want to go, we’ve listed some of the top places. These destinations include:
- France: Home to Paris, the city of love
- Fiji: The ultimate beach getaway
- Scotland: Perfect for exploring history and nature
- Costa Rica: A thrilling outdoor adventure
No matter what anyone says, there’s no location you must visit if it doesn’t align with your definition of fun.
Cons of Honeymoons
Some couples don’t love spending several thousand dollars on a vacation just after their wedding. Going on a honeymoon can also create financial stress if you would rather save than spend. Additionally, you may feel pressured to follow a plan according to how everyone else claims your honeymoon should be. Remember, this trip is about you and your partner; you both decide what’s ideal.
Make a Honeymoon Fund
Since honeymoons can get expensive quickly, you could start a honeymoon fund rather than asking for wedding gifts. Some couples who already live together also do a honeymoon registry in lieu of a wedding registry. This way, you can ask for money or items needed for a romantic trip rather than home goods you may already own.
When creating this type of registry, one of the many things you need to create a honeymoon fund is to share your travel plan with guests. This way, anyone who prefers gifting tangible items can pick out a useful present for the vacation.
What’s a Minimoon?
Like an earlymoon, the minimoon is a newer option for couples and is ideal for budget-conscious individuals. Since minimoons are shorter trips, most couples select areas that are more local to them. Going somewhere nearby for a shorter period also lets you splurge more on the trip. For instance, a Chicago couple may take a minimoon in Galena along the Illinois-Iowa border. Here, they can relax, shop around the small town, or decompress in a resort spa.
Pros of Minimoons
One of the top reasons couples choose minimoons is because of the price. If you go on one after the wedding, you’ll spend less and have more to save for a future home. The main focus of a minimoon has little to do with where you go and everything to do with who you’re with—your true love!
Cons of Minimoons
While you will save money on a minimoon, you’ll also have less time to plan excursions. A few days may not be enough to explore a specific spot, or you may feel you didn’t get to celebrate your nuptials enough. Likewise, it may be harder for you to embrace “vacation mode” since it can feel like you need to pack your suitcase as soon as you’ve unpacked.
How Long Is Each?
We’ve spent some time alluding to the lengths of each trip but didn’t give many hard numbers. This is partially because the length of a vacation can differ from person to person. Despite this, the standards for each “-moon” are as follows:
- Earlymoon: Normally, length varies
- Honeymoon: Usually one to two weeks
- Minimoon: Typically, three to five days
The length of earlymoons varies depending on how much you want to spend before the wedding and whether you’ll also take a post-wedding vacation. Due to these factors, there isn’t a standard for this vacation.
Deciding What To Do
Understanding the differences between an earlymoon, honeymoon, and minimoon helps you determine which is best for you. Your decision mostly depends on how much money you want to spend on vacation plus what you and your partner agree to. Both of you may decide to have a smaller wedding so you can go on a two-week-long, exciting honeymoon.
On the other hand, you may take a minimoon to save money for a house. There is no right or wrong answer here; we’ve laid out a few tips below to help you choose which trip is best for you.
Evaluate Your Budget
Budget is among the most important things to consider; discuss personal budgets and the wedding budget with your partner. What kind of trip can you afford before or after the wedding? The answer to this often depends on how much you pay for your big day. A standard wedding costs 20 to 30 thousand dollars; if you don’t have help covering the expenses, a week-long vacation may be out of the question.
Know Who’s Paying
Strictly based on tradition, the bride’s family helps pay for the wedding while the groom’s assists with the honeymoon. But like any wedding ritual, this isn’t a rule, and some parents can’t afford to help, no matter how much they want to. When in doubt about whether a set of parents will help pay, you can politely ask.
Make Multiple Trips
While some couples only do an earlymoon, honeymoon, or minimoon, others do several options. Whether you do this depends on where you go and how much you have to spend. To save some cash, you could blend the idea of a minimoon with your earlymoon or honeymoon. Doing a mix of options allows you to relax a bit before and after the wedding, even if it’s just for a three-day weekend.
Save Money on the Wedding
Another option for saving money is to evaluate intimate weddings vs. large receptions. A large reception means celebrating with everyone close to you, but it’s also a lot pricier than an intimate wedding.
Above all else, you need to make your decision together. You’re a team, and this could be your first couple’s vacation, so pick a spot you both want to see. Likewise, respect one another’s budgets and meet in the middle if you are at separate ends of the spending spectrum.
A Closing Note
No matter what kind of vacation you go on, you and your partner write the rules. If you want to go on a honeymoon to Hawaii to relax on the beach, go for it! Or you could plan a short, early-minimoon to spend a weekend in a small town. What matters most is you soak up every second bonding with the person you love most. Enjoy every “-moon” you take with your partner!