If you’re in the throes of wedding planning, the honeymoon budget has probably crossed your mind once or twice — or maybe all the freakin’ time. How can you host the biggest party of your life, enjoy a memorable vacay and NOT go into some serious debt? Don’t fret! Below, 10 real brides and grooms share their biggest savings tips for money-conscious newlyweds. So take a deep breath and start daydreaming about tropical drinks because, trust us, you’ll need a stress-free holiday after your big day!

budget honeymoon - clare

1. Go on aCruise: “I’d say the biggest thing we got out of doing a cruise was saving time, because it was stress-free planning. The all-inclusive aspect made it super easy to plan. We went in the off-season (but only just before the high season, so the weather was still okay) and got the lowest-level room. All of the other amenities are the same across the board, so it still felt pretty luxurious. And because the cruise line had deals with tour companies in each destination, we saved a bunch by taking their excursions — especially since many of them included meals. We were able to post the excursions on our travelersjoy.com site. Our family and friends gifted us specific experiences for our wedding. They bought us fancier meals and bonus packages for our days at sea.” — Clare Perret

Lauren B

2. Choose Your Own Adventure: “Our honeymoon was definitely not the norm. We rented a camper van for a road trip from the East Coast to the West Coast, and saved a ton by not sleeping in hotels. Another big thing we did was avoid eating out, and instead went to grocery stores to pack the little mini fridge in our camper van with food. It worked out great and saved us a LOT of money. We also looked for free or really cheap things to do on the road trip, like going to national parks. There was so much to do and so much to see!” — Lauren Burrows

kaley - budget honeymoon

3. Create a Honeyfund Account: “Instead of doing a registry, we did a honeymoon registry and didn’t pay for our honeymoon! To us, it was more valuable than plates we’ll never use, or a better toaster.” — Kaley Olson

cheap honeymoon - meyer

4. Elope, or Raffle Off Goods to Raise Money: “We eloped and got married on our honeymoon site (LOL!). But I did have an artsy friend who got married, and she asked her artistic friends to donate things for a silent auction/raffle at her reception. People bought tickets and got a cool prize if they won. Also, you can find things you like on Etsy and contact shop owners to see if they would be willing to donate for the free publicity. Usually, artists can write off donations of work on their taxes, so it’s kind of a win-win for many small businesses that are just starting out.” — Michaela Meyer


5. Use a Travel Agent: “Go all-inclusive to a tropical place, because you’ll be exhausted. Get pampered in a place where you want to check out the town. Punta Cana? Cuba? There are amazing deals. Do you know a travel agent? They have great tips. Don’t worry about spending more — a good agent will save you money.” — Ellyn Nugent


6. Take Just a Bite of Everything: “We went to Spain and wound up spending way less on food than we thought because we basically just ate tapas for every meal. We went to a couple nice places but loved the more local atmosphere at the bars instead!” — Marisa Iallonardo

7. Use Groupon Getaways and Living Social deals: “If you aren’t specific on a location, you can find tons of discounts. Book your flight on a Tuesday or Wednesday when the flight deals are usually released. Speaking of flight deals, sign up for airline emails (i.e. JetBlue, Delta, etc.) so you get the notifications right when they are releasing their deals. Get an airline, hotel or travel credit card (preferably one with no interest for a year) and charge all of your wedding stuff on it. You’ll be paying for the wedding and building up miles. And the big one: Research your destination. You can save tons on travel and lodging, but I recommend splurging at least once on a nice dinner, romantic evening or, if you’re anything like us, an excursion to hike up an active volcano.” — Lisa Kaurich


8. Live Like a Local: “We found our honeymoon hotel in Bermuda on Airbnb! It’s beautiful and much more affordable than the hotels we were looking at. The reviews are great too.” — Brittany Schmid


9. Go for the All-Inclusive: “I highly recommend all-inclusive resorts to brides because there are lots to choose from, like Couples, Excellence, Secrets and Sandals. You don’t have to worry about paying for transportation, food, drinks or fun! Our resort had scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaks, sailboats and tennis included. It was also a no tipping resort so we really didn’t have to worry about paying at all while we were there. Lastly, I would recommend picking a location that is cheaper to fly to. We did Antigua, which was very pricey, but somewhere like the Dominican Republic or Mexico would’ve been much more affordable, so that’s definitely something to take into account!” — Mandy Poe


10. Shop Around: “We used cheapcaribbean.com and loved it. They took care of booking the flight and hotel, and you can book expeditions through it as well. It saved us money and we got the all-inclusive beach honeymoon we were looking for. Also, oddly enough, Costco has really good travel deals that couples should look into!” — Kathryn Feliciano

Planning your honeymoon? Check out all things Brit + Co Weddings, and follow us on Pinterest for more unique wedding inspo.