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And Yet Honeymoon Planning

Honeymoon_PlanningYour honeymoon: think of it as a reward for a job well done. You've spent a year planning out one of the most elaborate events of anyone's life; you've spent thousands of dollars; you've gone through the rigors of dress fittings and filling out the invitations; you've made it through the wedding ceremony without fainting; you've even made it through the reception and now it's time to rest, enjoy life, and get to know your new spouse better. Well, that's unlikely to happen if all you can afford is an overnight stay at Bubba's Bed and Breakfast on the outskirts of town. You'll want to start out right on your romantic lifelong adventure with your dearly beloved -- and to accomplish that, you're going to have to spend a substantial amount of time planning the honeymoon. Yes, dear, you're facing even more planning, but just keep that honeymoon in sight, and everything's gonna turn out all right. There's a light at the end of the tunnel, see? And no, it isn't a train.

Traditionally, your honeymoon isn't considered a part of your general wedding budget, because it's often a gift from family or friends (or both). If, on the other hand, you're paying all your wedding expenses on your own (as is so often true these days), there's no reason you shouldn't add it to the wedding budget; keeping an eye on that particular prize could help you control costs of the other aspects of the wedding, especially that budget killer known as the wedding reception. Basically, if you know your budget, you'll know how much you can spend on the honeymoon -- whether that's a few hundred bucks, or a few thousand. On the average, American couples spend about $1,400 for their honeymoon, and often go as high as $2,500 or more. Among other things, you'll have to budget for:

 Passports (if necessary)
 Travel agent fees
 Child or pet care (if necessary) while you're gone
 Tips Spending money

From a financial standpoint, if you're already going deep into debt for the wedding, it might not hurt too much more to say the heck with it and go with an elaborate honeymoon. If, on the other hand, you're working from a limited amount of savings, your honeymoon fund is likely to be equally limited. This limits your options. If your budget is small and you want to go skiing, it's more likely you'll end up skiing in the Poconos than in the Swiss Alps. But hey, that's not important, as long as you're with your sweetheart, right? No matter where you end up skiing, there'll be ample opportunities to cuddle up with your sweetie and a mug of hot chocolate beside a blazing fire.

Of course, that ignores the option of taking advantage of off-peak and off-season rates. We're not saying you should schedule your wedding for your honeymoon destination's off-season just so you can save some money but then again, maybe you should. Many hoteliers and transportation providers actually raise their rates substantially during the peak season; being the good little capitalists they are, they want to make money when they can. This isn't good news for you, but if they're going to take advantage of you in this way, why not take advantage of them when they're hurting for customers? Off-season rates, especially for lodging, are often as much as 40-50% less than peak rates. You may want to keep this fact in mind when deciding what you can afford.

Once you've made that decision, your next option is to decide where you want to go. This may be more difficult than you think, because you and your new spouse might have different ideas of paradise, and you want everything to be just right, from your meals to the hotel room. It's hard to go wrong with Hawaii, especially Kauai (the very definition of "tropical paradise"), but your beloved may prefer the Caribbean or the sunny coast of Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Clearly, you'll have to talk this over a bit. If beaches aren't for one or both of you, how about a cruise? You can leave from ports all over the US, from California to New Orleans to Miami and elsewhere, for destinations widely diverse and always exciting. We've already mentioned skiing, but there are other mountain environments you can explore, like Jackson's Hole or Glacier National Park. Wouldn't it be cool to see a moose or a bear (from a rather long distance) in their natural habitats? If you're into adventure, how about a white-water rafting trip down a raging river? How about cavorting with dolphins? Now that'll be something to tell the grandkids about -- just as they'll probably be telling their grandkids about going to the space station for their honeymoon, or visiting the New Atlantis off the Florida coast.------------------------------------

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