When to book your honeymoon

JWP_SmittenHoneymoonsAmy_06.19.17__0044.jpg

Pitfalls of procrastination

Start planning early for an unforgettable experience

When I meet newly engaged couples, one of the first things they often ask is how far in advance they should book their honeymoon.

The answer?

As soon as possible! Ideally, this generally means at least nine months from the desired honeymoon departure date.

This timeline surprises some brides and grooms, who often cite having too many other wedding decisions on their plate to think about their honeymoon early in the planning process. With a long list of things to tackle—the wedding party, venue, officiant, guest list, ceremony readings, flowers, food, cake, music, and much more—this is understandable, but putting off travel plans can drastically alter the quality of a honeymoon.

Procrastinating not only adds a heavy (and unnecessary) dose of stress to planning a wedding, but it can mean settling for a honeymoon that falls short of a couple’s dream experience.

Here are some of the most important reasons to start planning your honeymoon early.

Greater availability

Have you ever found the perfect dress online (or shoes or purse or whatever lights you up), added it to your cart, and decided to check out the next day? Then, lo and behold, the item is sold out when you return? You’re left staring at an empty cart and back at square one, knowing that no matter what replacement item you find you’ll always be lusting after the dress that got away? (This does happen to other people, right?)

Multiply this disappointment by 1,000, and you may start to get a sense of the feeling that crashes down on you when you find a property that is perfect for your honeymoon, wait to move forward with your travel plans, and learn later that the resort filled up the month prior.

Booking your honeymoon early not only ensures that you’ll be able to stay at a location that checks off every mark on your honeymoon wish-list, but it also helps guarantee that you’ll have dibs on the best room categories—the kind that can elevate a great honeymoon to extraordinary (think luxe suites with ocean views, private plunge pools, etc.).

Securing your reservations early is doubly important if you’re in love with any of the following: a boutique property (which have fewer rooms), a highly sought-after location, or traveling during a destination’s peak season. If your ideal honeymoon includes two or more of these things and you’re within nine months of your desired honeymoon departure date, stop reading and call, email, text, or Facebook message a travel professional.

More time to save

It’s no secret that honeymoons (and weddings more generally) can be expensive. Starting your planning as soon as possible allows you to better figure out how much your dream honeymoon will realistically cost—and make the necessary financial arrangements to manifest the trip.

For example, most professionally designed vacations require a deposit to hold the varying components of an itinerary, such as lodging, while the rest of your honeymoon balance is due closer to your departure date. This timeline means that you have a longer window to save money, create a honeymoon gift registry, or just pay off the balance. Couples who book their honeymoons six or fewer months out have far less time to work out their financials.

Less stress

Having your honeymoon arrangements taken care of early in the wedding planning process frees you up to focus on other aspects of your big day. Simply put, the fewer things that require your attention, the less thin you have to spread yourself—and the more you can relax. This also gives you additional time to actually enjoy being engaged, rather than stressed, and to get excited about celebrating the start of your marriage on an unforgettable vacation.

With the time that you aren’t spending worrying about making travel plans, you could learn how to speak a few words in your honeymoon destination’s primary language if it’s different from yours, start your packing (and shopping) list/s, or just dream out loud with your fiancé about the amazing trip you’ll soon embark on. Basically, anything except stress about how much you have left to organize!

Travel tip: Deadlines can work wonders in keeping your honeymoon planning on track. Depending on your wedding timeline, set a goal to have your honeymoon booked nine months out from the day you will walk down the aisle. Circle the date on the calendar, and help make sure it happens by working with a professional travel consultant. Not only will he or she keep you on track, but your honeymoon designer will take care of all your travel details—including the researching, designing, reserving, and confirming—all the while making sure your itinerary is a perfect reflection of your relationship. Together, doing these things means you’ll be able to honeymoon at your dream resort and have more time to absorb the happiness surrounding your engagement instead of stressing about a massive to-do list.