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In Today's Modern World, Who pays for the honeymoon: What to know

Ollie Rozdarz, Co-Founder of Hitchd
Ollie Rozdarz
Nov 25, 201913 min read

Your honeymoon may be one of the most important trips you and your partner ever take together. It's the one amazing trip where you both get to shake off all those wedding stressors and jitters and just be yourselves together — now as a married couple. You get to leave your pets with a sitter and any children with their grandparents as the two of you spend some much needed time alone and enjoy just being married.

But here's the big question: Who pays for the honeymoon: What to know

The question of who pays for the honeymoon has shifted over the years as certain norms and traditions have changed. Traditionally, the groom's family paid for the honeymoon, but like every wedding, no two couples are alike — and neither are their families. The question of who pays for the honeymoon often depends on family relationships, traditions, and, of course, the couple's personal preference.

If you're having trouble deciding who pays for the honeymoon and how you should decide which route to take, we're here to help. Keep reading to learn more about who pays for the honeymoon and how a honeymoon fund like Hitchd can help make your honeymoon the trip of a lifetime.

For traditional couples

Traditional couples tend to style their weddings as maybe their parents or grandparents once did. They have never lived together, and they may be still living at home with their respective parents. They might also come from religious backgrounds that frown upon couples living together before marriage. When they do marry, they may move in with one or the other's parents and save money before buying their own home.

In these more traditional settings, it is usually the groom or the groom's parents who pay for the honeymoon. The bride's family usually handles the wedding costs, and the groom or his family would handle the honeymoon.

It used to be that the groom would plan a special trip for his new wife and surprise her with the destination and all of the details at the reception. The destination would vary. Some grooms would plan exotic honeymoons to Mexico or the Caribbean, but for more modest couples, a honeymoon at Niagara Falls or even Las Vegas were popular.

If the groom's family was planning the trip, how they planned it usually varied. Sometimes, the parents present the couple with a check and an amount that they are to spend on the honeymoon. Other parents can be more involved, and they'll choose the destination, hotel and a few activities.

While it can be great for couples to get a free honeymoon from the groom's parents, it can cause some issues, which we'll discuss later.

If you recognize your family and wedding style in this traditional couple, then you and your partner should sit down with the groom's family and discuss their plans for your honeymoon. It's never easy to discuss money, but it's better to know what they're thinking so you're all on the same page. If they insist on keeping it all a surprise, you may just want to let them know some places where you would not be comfortable going.

For grooms planning the honeymoon, you too should ask your partner if there's a place he or she may not want to go. Just because you want to go skiing doesn't mean your partner does too.

For modern couples

As more and more couples decide to pay for the wedding themselves, they may decide to pay for the honeymoon as well if they're able to afford it.

It's also not uncommon now for couples to put off their honeymoon for a short amount of time and wait until they can pay for the trip themselves. Some couples treat themselves to their honeymoons when their first anniversary rolls around.

Modern couples set their own way when it comes to how they're going to structure their wedding and honeymoon. They've likely lived together for a year or maybe more, which means they've already gotten a head start on building their home. They may still have religious wedding ceremonies, but they may pick and choose which traditions they'd like to include.

With modern couples, the question of who pays for the honeymoon can differ from couple to couple. The honeymoon may be a gift from a parent of either person or even a set of grandparents may decide to pay in lieu of a physical gift.

As more and more couples decide to pay for the wedding themselves, they may decide to pay for the honeymoon as well if they're able to afford it.

It's also not uncommon now for couples to put off their honeymoon for a short amount of time and wait until they can pay for the trip themselves. Some couples treat themselves to their honeymoons when their first anniversary rolls around.

The pros and cons of paying for your honeymoon

Whether you're a traditional or modern couple, the question of who pays for the honeymoon should be looked at from all angles, and just because your family is traditional doesn't mean you have to forgo any control over your honeymoon. So let's go over the pros and cons of each scenario.

The groom pays for the honeymoon

If you're not the groom, this probably seems like a great situation to be in. If you are the groom, this may seem overwhelming. If you think about it though, the bride will be planning the whole of the wedding. The groom should be able to find some time to book some tickets and plan a fun trip for the two of them.

This does still put a large burden on the groom, who may not be able to afford an extravagant honeymoon all on his own. He might also feel it's unfair to have to pay for the entire trip on his own, and it could cause friction between the couple.

And of course, for couples with two grooms, is it fair to saddle just one partner with the cost of paying for the honeymoon? Or what if there's no groom at all? This solution is far from full-proof. Marriage is a partnership and should be viewed that way for all partners.

The groom's family pays for the honeymoon

The groom's family may offer to pay for the honeymoon as their own gift to the couple. On the one hand, this can lift a big financial burden for the couple, who might not otherwise have been able to afford a honeymoon on their own. Instead of staying reasonably local, having the groom's family pay for the honeymoon might mean that the couple can go somewhere they've always wanted to go.

However, since someone else is paying for the trip, it does take some of the control away from the couple. For example, the groom's parents might not be able to afford the type of honeymoon the couple would prefer. The parents might be able to send them anywhere in the country, but if the couple would rather go to another country for their honeymoon, this may not be doable.

It can also be hard to talk about money and boundaries with parents. Some parents might set up couples in economy hotels whereas the couple would prefer to stay at a resort or upscale location. When it's someone else's money though, it can be difficult to tell someone when you don't like something or would like something changed.

There is also the chance that the parents will push boundaries with the couple and ignore requests or refuse to provide details about the trip. The parents might think they're doing the couple a favor, but all they're really doing is creating hurt feelings and turning the honeymoon into a trip that neither person is excited for.

If the groom's family — or the bride's or grandparents or whoever — is paying for the honeymoon, then it is important that the couple sits down with them and discuss expectations and preferences. Just because someone else is paying doesn't mean the couple gets no say at all. In the event that the couple wants to go somewhere that the groom's family can't quite afford, this is would also be a good time to discuss compromises and even starting a honeymoon fund to help make up the difference.

Again, if there are two grooms or no grooms, this could lead to disagreements over which family should pay for the honeymoon. Weddings are about bringing people together through love, so starting an argument over what should be a happy occasion can put a damper on the whole event.

The couple pays for the honeymoon

Paying for your own honeymoon may seem like the least attractive option here. Like almost anyone, a free trip is always preferable to one you have to pay for yourself, but if you are going this route, you do get some pretty big perks.

  • You get to decide every aspect of your trip from where you go to how long you stay. You pick the destination, the hotels, which excursions you want to plan and even what time you need to be up in the morning to catch a plane. Nothing will be planned without your consent, and having that freedom can be a major benefit.
  • You and your partner plan it — together. Whether you've been living together or will start to once you're married, planning a trip can be a great bonding exercise for the two of you. As soon as you decide on a location, you can have some fun picking out which hotel you'd like to stay at and which activities you want to do. You can even look at restaurants that you must try. Doing all of this together gets you both excited about your honeymoon, and it will feel like a team effort, rather than a burden on one of you.
  • You won't be dependant on someone's approval or opinion. Some parents can overshare when it comes to their child's decision, and some will tell you right away if they don't like a honeymoon idea. That can be frustrating for the couple. When you plan and pay for your own honeymoon, you don't need to involve others in the process. Just hand over your credit card number and go.

If you are paying for your own honeymoon, you and your partner should decide on a budget together and discuss who will be responsible for which expenses.

How to pay for your own honeymoon

All of these may be great benefits, but if you're still hung up on the payment factor, don't worry. There are ways to pay for your own honeymoon.

Your biggest expenses will no doubt be airfare and hotels, and they will usually need to be paid upfront. Budget for these first and make sure you book your hotel and airfare at least two or three months in advance to make sure you get the best rooms and flight times. If you and your partner know where you want to go even after you first get engaged, start monitoring travel websites to see when flight tickets go on sale.

These two items will lead to higher credit card balances, so here are a few tips for paying for airfare and hotels.

  • Open a credit card account that gives you points to use on miles:
    If your credit report can afford it, open a new account that has an airline affiliation such as Southwest or American Airlines. They often run promotions that if you spend so much within a certain amount of time, they'll reward you with a large amount points, which can be redeemed for air miles. If the amount is way more than you would normally spend, try to time it so you have other big purchases to make — such as paying your caterer or for a wedding dress. You were going to make those purchases anyway, so why not get some miles out of it.
  • Save a little at a time:
    It may be obvious, but putting aside money each paycheck will pay for the honeymoon if you start early enough. Decide on what the two of you can afford and what you should cut back on for now. After all, would you rather eat out a night or two a week at home — or put that money towards eating out on a fabulous honeymoon?
  • Use reward points:
    If you travel a lot of work and have racked up points with a certain airline or hotel chain, cash in those points and put them towards honeymoon expenses.
  • Start a honeymoon registry:
    A honeymoon registry is like any other registry, except that instead of giving physical gifts, your guests will pay for experiences on your honeymoon called a honeymoon fund.

If you are paying for all or at least some of your honeymoon, don't feel as if you can't afford any sort of trip. With a honeymoon fund, you can ask your guests to help send you on a trip you will never forget.

How to use a honeymoon registry to pay for your honeymoon

A honeymoon fund can be a great way to help pay for all or some honeymoon expenses, and they work for both modern and traditional couples.

For modern couples paying for their honeymoon, a honeymoon fund will beef up the budget and ensure the couple goes where they want to and does exactly what they want. As modern couples tend to live together for a while before getting married, they've likely acquired many of the household essentials already, so a traditional wedding registry might not work for them. Rather than just asking for cash, a honeymoon fund gets guests involved in the honeymoon planning, and their gifts go towards making memories for the couple.

For traditional couples, a honeymoon fund can fill in gaps where parents may not be contributing. For example, some parents might pay for airfare and hotels, but they might not be able to pay for all your meals or the activities you want to do. A honeymoon fund takes some of the financial pressure off parents, and it helps out the couple who may still have to pay for some of the honeymoon.

You can create a honeymoon fund, like one with Hitchd, to pay for airfare, hotels, activities, dining, drinks and plenty more. Before you get started, here are a few tips to make your honeymoon fund stand out.

  • Choose a mix of price points:
    Your guests will all have different budgets, so your honeymoon fund should have multiple contribution levels — $25, $50, $75 and $100. Break up larger expenses, such as dinners, into smaller amounts so guests can choose to pay for just one meal or event two or three.
  • Personalize each honeymoon fund item:
    Your guests want to feel like they're involved in helping you create the perfect honeymoon. So tell them a bit about what they're paying for. Include links to your hotel's site to show them how lovely it'll be and which activities you plan to book. Making them feel like they're part of the excitement will stop them from feeling like they're just giving you cash.
  • Include photos of you and your partner:
    Planning to hike in Costa Rica or surf in Hawaii? If you and your partner plan to do a hobby you're known for back home, include photos of the two of you on your last excursion. You and your partner might love rock climbing and plan to do it on your honeymoon, so add a few photos so your guests can see how much you love doing an activity together.
  • Add a small traditional wedding registry:
    No matter what, some people like send physical gifts instead of cash, no matter how that cash is spent. You don't want to offend any of your guests, so create a small wedding registry at a store and include a handful of items you really do need. For those that insist, give them an option that works for them.

Your honeymoon is going to be a trip you two will never forget. With a honeymoon fund from Hitchd, you can have the honeymoon you've always dreamed of along with the perfect wedding.

So to recap: who pays for the honeymoon

The question of who pays for the honeymoon really comes down to what's most comfortable for the couple. Some couples like to be in control of their honeymoon and want to plan it together. Others are okay giving up some control and allowing parents to step in when paying for and planning the honeymoon.

If you're still wondering about who pays for the honeymoon, sit down with your partner and talk about what you're both comfortable with and what would make you both happy. Remember, a honeymoon is a special time for a new couple, a time when they forget their work and their stressors and just enjoy being together. You deserve to spend that time together relaxing and enjoying each other's company.

Whether the groom's parents pay or you and your partner to start a honeymoon fund with Hitchd, remember to be honest about what you want and what would make you happiest. Honesty may be the best policy, but it's also a key ingredient to a happy marriage and a happy life with your partner.

Looking for the #1 way to fund your honeymoon?

Hitchd is a new type of honeymoon registry that helps fund your adventure of a lifetime. Think of us as your very own wishing well, Kickstarter, and travel planner, all rolled into one beautiful experience.