• More couples are taking an alternative 'minimoon'
  • Some are happy to spend less than £1,000 on their honeymoon
  • 'Flashpacker' newlyweds are favouring less traditional travel

For a long time, traditional honeymoons involved jetting off to a tropical location with palm-fringed beaches and VIP treatment. Brides and grooms saved for months to afford first-class travel and a blow-the-budget honeymoon suite.

But in recent years, the stereotypical honeymoon has begun to decline. More couples are opting for a miniature honeymoon, or 'minimoon', which can offer a more affordable, more practical getaway after your big day – or even before. 

'There are several reasons why a minimoon might work best for you,' says Lonely Planet's The Honeymoon Handbook. 'Some spouses-to-be plan a short getaway before the wedding. This growing trend in some parts of the world is like a palate cleanser in advance of the big day: you've worked really hard to plan the ceremony and the party, and want to step back and find your zen before saying 'I do'.' [1]

Why are more couples favouring the minimoon?

Some of the more practical reasons for compressing your honeymoon into a miniature break are:

  • It's less expensive
  • It's easier to get childcare if you've already started a family

The rise of the minimoon made news back in 2009 when a Hotels.com survey found that one in five people were spending less than £500 on their post-wedding break. In 2014, Wedding Ideas magazine reported that a YouGov survey commissioned by Hotels4u found that 43% of Brits were likely to favour a minimoon.

A couple in a photo with Budapest in the background

Lucy & Oli: The rise of the 'flashpackers'

Attitudes, as well as how we spend our money, are clearly changing. Some modern-day couples simply don't want a one-size-fits-all honeymoon anymore. One such couple is Lucy Sheref, 33, a freelance writer and founder of Wanderluce blog (@wanderluceblog), and her husband Oli Lucraft, 28, an estate agent from London. 

After Oli was made redundant, the couple went travelling in Europe and Asia for three years. After marrying in Whitstable, Kent, a year later, they took a minimoon to Budapest.  

'We'd just come back from travelling and Oli had just started his new job, so we didn't have the cash or the annual leave to take a traditional honeymoon,' says Lucy. 'Plus, we are more 'flashpackers' who prefer to take several, more affordable trips throughout the year, rather than one £3,000 trip to the Maldives. We chose Budapest because it's so cheap and we were able to afford the most beautiful hotel, while still treating ourselves to nice meals and trips to the spa.'

A couple and a dog in a photo with the sea in the background

Natalie & Oliver : House, child or honeymoon?

Many couples agree that the honeymoon 'traditions' aren't so rigid anymore.

'There can be an element of keeping up with the Joneses,' says author Natalie Trice (@NatalieTrice) from Devon, 'and some people do feel pressured to go on an expensive far-flung honeymoon – but my husband and I just couldn't.'

Natalie and her husband Oliver, both 42, found out that they were expecting a baby before their wedding in 2006. And after tying the knot in Chelsea, London, they took a four-day minimoon to a holiday cottage in Lyme Regis.

'We had a baby on the way and we were looking to buy a house, so we needed to save. Plus we just didn't want the chaos of airports,' says Oliver.

'It might not have been anything exotic, but we bought some lovely food from Waitrose and made it special in our own way,' adds Natalie. 'We stopped at the holiday cottage I used to visit as a child and we saw a romantic film in the local cinema. Maybe we'll take a 'traditional' honeymoon one day, but at the time we were happy!'

A couple in a bar

Kirsten and David: Flashy honeymoons just aren't essential anymore

Bride-to-be and editor of weather2travel.com, Kirsten Henton (@kirstenjh), and her fiancé David Pears, an artist manager, are tying the knot in Edinburgh in July. After their wedding, the couple, who live in York, will take a three-day minimoon to the Isle of Skye and Glencoe in Scotland. They feel that minimoons 'take the stress off' and allow you to spread the cost out a bit more.

'It was an easy win to book something within driving distance from the wedding venue, but that's also totally different and incredibly beautiful,' explains David, 38. 'It also means we can take our dog and spend a few days together, just hanging out.'

'There were many reasons we chose a minimoon,' explains Kirsten, 'the big one being money. For us, it was near impossible to save for wedding essentials and a big, exotic honeymoon. It also didn't seem essential to us, as we travel quite a bit anyway. It's nice not to cram all the fun stuff into one month of the year. After what will have been a very busy week, the idea of just us and the dog really appeals. We've booked a remote shepherd's hut surrounded by sheep and donkeys for the first few nights, and plan to just chill out, reflect and appreciate how lucky we are!'

Minimoons: How to plan

So, what are the best tips for planning a minimoon? Here are the brides' top tips.

  • Choose wisely and think outside the box – pick somewhere you can explore easily in a short time.
  • Don't be too influenced by what other people are doing – and remember, you don't have to spend a lot of money to have a really lovely time
  • Keep it simple - there's so much to do preceding the wedding, you don't need the extra hassle of planning an exceptional honeymoon. 
  • Even if you're going on a short break, or not leaving the British Isles for your minimoon, you should consider travel insurance to protect yourselves from any mishaps.

What is the future of the honeymoon?

So what's in store for the honeymoon? Are we all going to start taking more minimoons, or do some of us still yearn to take that exotic two-week getaway? It seems that cash flow, lifestyle and work responsibilities, among other factors, come into play.

Some brides and grooms will focus on a minimoon, some will still save for that once-in-a-lifetime-trip, while others will take a breather and do both over a few years. 

There's no set way to celebrate your nuptials in 2017. It's down to what works for you – and that's what matters most.

You can follow Lucy on Twitter @LucyAMcGuire, or discover her own travel stories on her travel blog The Travel Journo.

Sources

1. The Honeymoon Handbook, The Lonely Planet, 2017