Making a grand exit

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Ideal departure dates

When to leave for your honeymoon

You’ve likely seen the stunning photos on Pinterest: A beautiful couple making a grand exit from their wedding reception, illuminated by sparklers held high by guests and (presumably) off to continue their celebration in an exotic location around the world.

The couple is beaming—and, likely, blissfully exhausted.

I’ve yet to meet a bride or groom who has not commented after their wedding about how tired they were by the end of their reception. Given the excitement of the day, this is not really a surprise, but it can make it difficult to leave for your honeymoon that night or even the next morning.

Traveling when you can barely keep your eyes open can quickly zap the fun out of the adventure of getting to your dream destination—and leave you too tired to fully enjoy yourselves the day you arrive. As such, instead of racing to the airport after your reception, or waking up early the next morning to catch a flight, many couples find it worthwhile to wait to leave for their honeymoon until they’ve had a full day or two to relax. This translates into brides and grooms who get married on a Saturday often flying to their honeymoon heaven on Monday, and couples tying the knot on a Friday departing on Sunday.

This timeline not only allows you to leave fully recharged, it also helps alleviate some stress prior to your wedding since you don’t have to worry about entirely packing your getaway bags pre-ceremony. Instead, you can sleep in the next day, double check you’ve stowed away all your travel necessities—including your passports and other vital documents—and depart for the airport relaxed and ready for some fun in the sun.

Other benefits of waiting a day or two to leave for your honeymoon include:

Not leaving your reception early

While couples embarking on their honeymoons the night of their wedding is far less common than it was years ago, some people still believe that they’ll lose some of the magic of their wedding day if they don’t immediately leave for their honeymoon. The catch here is that not only does this plan mean you’re traveling when you’re exhausted, but you’re also likely cutting your reception short—leaving your guests to celebrate without you! Postponing your departure date for a day or two frees you up to enjoy the entire night you’ve looked forward to for so long—and spent so much time preparing for—while ensuring you leave for paradise while still in celebration mode.

Enjoying more time with your loved ones

Many weddings involve family and friends traveling from across the country or world to share in one of the most important days of your life. Waiting a couple of days to leave for your honeymoon can mean extra time with these people, who you may or may not see often. For example, if you get married on a Saturday and leave for your honeymoon on Monday, you have an additional day in between to catch up with such guests—whether it be at a gift opening, celebratory brunch, or other engagement.

Travel tip: Regardless of when you leave for your honeymoon, make a packing list of all your essential items, including your travel documents. Be sure to check off each item as you put it in your suitcase, and double check for it prior to heading to the airport. If you’re not sure what items are essential, be sure to ask your professional honeymoon consultant what you will absolutely need for an effortless experience. (If he or she provides you with a list in advance without prompting, well, that’s better yet!)

Would you rather depart for your honeymoon on your wedding night, the morning after your ceremony, or two days later (for example, the Monday after a Saturday wedding)?