More and more couples are opting not to go on a honeymoon immediately after their wedding is over. It’s understandable given that the average cost of a wedding in 2019 was $33,900 and most couples spend around $5,000 on a honeymoon, according to The Knot 2019 Real Weddings Study. The Knot’s research shows that more than 70 percent of couples still go on honeymoons, but what if you’re in the not-going-right-away camp?

My wife Macey and I are among the couples who chose not to hop on a plane the day after our wedding. We got married in September 2019 and we’re going on our honeymoon (actually part one of our honeymoon, but I’ll get to that later) in May 2020, a full eight months later. We had several reasons for doing so, but the primary two were the amount of time we could take off from work and reducing stress around the wedding.

While it may seem like a downer not to embark on a trip right away, there are a few things you might be able to do if you don’t go on a honeymoon right away.

1. You can go on a trip before your wedding.

Wild, right? But I have at least a couple of friends who went on international trips in the last four months leading up to their wedding. Macey and I didn’t quite do that, but we did take a short trip to San Francisco, California, four months before our wedding. We were partly able to do that because we weren’t saving up for (or planning) a massive trip right after our wedding. We knew it would likely be the last time we’d travel in 2019 due to how much PTO we had available, so we made the most of it.

If you and your partner(s) plan around this idea, you can build a pre-wedding trip into your wedding prep from the start. Just make sure that before you take off, you check in with all your vendors—you don’t want to miss an important deadline or payment because you’re not able to check email from wherever you go.

2. You can go on a mini honeymoon.

We called ours our “mini-moon,” and we only went for a weekend, but depending on your budget and PTO, you could feasibly go for several days or a week. It’s a chance to travel, often more locally than a honeymoon typically inspires, and spend quality time together after your wedding without breaking the bank.

My wife and I genuinely couldn’t have taken off as much time as we wanted for our honeymoon if we did it in 2019, but that didn’t mean we weren’t going to spend some dedicated time celebrating. We had an excuse to make our “mini-moon” into a whole thing. We spent money on fancy champagne and nice dinners and even went up to the rooftop bar just because we wanted churros.


3. You can take more time off surrounding your wedding.

Honestly, most of us are at the whims of our employer’s PTO and even self-employed people can’t take vacations constantly or they won’t make any money. A few couples might be fortunate enough to plan around natural time off from work, like if you’re a teacher, but otherwise, whether you get two weeks or five, you have to count the days and make sure you’re using them wisely.

Because we didn’t push ourselves into a honeymoon soon after the wedding, we were able to take more days off before and after the wedding to spend time alone and with our loved ones. I wanted to take off a full week before the wedding just to finish prep and actually relax, let the joy sink in and reflect on this next step. I also didn’t want to jump right back into work the Monday after our Saturday wedding; I wanted to cuddle with my new wife and sleep in a little. If you don’t plan a honeymoon right away, you might leave yourselves with more PTO play with. We all know wedding planning can be stressful, especially in the last few months, so take advantage: Take a day off for absolutely no reason the month before your wedding, just to hang out. Take a mental health day when you feel like there’s absolutely nothing you can do to keep from freaking out. Take a day to hang out with your family or members of the wedding party who probably wanna celebrate with you. Go get a massage. Get your nails done. Take yourself to lunch.

4. You can spread your honeymoon out.

This is kind of like the first tip, but who says your honeymoon has to be only one trip? I mean, it’ll get a little confusing to other people if you’ve been married for 15 years and you’re still calling every trip you take together your ‘honeymoon,’ but why does the event have to be all taken at once?

Macey and I were inspired by our struggles to figure out where to go for our honeymoon, so we decided to split it into two trips: One trip to Hawaii in May, for a relaxing and tropical vacation; and one trip to the UK and Ireland in September (during our anniversary), for a trip that we hope will be bookish, educational and a little spooky.

Your honeymoon does not necessarily have to be one to two weeks in length, all at one time. Maybe you want to see Australia and Thailand. Maybe you want to go to Europe and see France, England, Scotland and Ireland. Maybe your dream honeymoon involves something adventurous and lengthy, like a road trip or backpacking or volunteering. The point is that if you don’t go right after your wedding, you might have more time (and money) to make those dreams come true. Have it all! If you can, take a full three weeks and backpack around South America; it’s your honeymoon and it is what you make it.