In Israel many years back, every man who attained a certain age was drafted into the army. There was only one exemption: any newly-wed man must be given one year off the army to satisfy his wife. And this is a true story, read the holy book –Deuteronomy 24:5. That tradition became the earliest known reference of what we now call the honeymoon.

Today in practically every country around the world, newly-weds take a few days or weeks as their circumstances permit to celebrate their union. In Nigeria, I wish we could say the same. When will the average Nigerian realise that the honeymoon is not an after-expense? When will we go beyond feeding all the ‘mogbo-moyas’, (Yoruba parlance for wedding-crashers) at the expense of the very essence of the wedding itself? We seem to relegate the honeymoon to the background because, like someone I know said recently, “how many people will know that I went for a honeymoon”? Our ‘show-off’ mentality therefore, encourages us to impress people and then leave the two most important people, you and yours, exhausted and stressed.

I hope this column does have some effect in changing our mindset about honeymoon assumptions. Let me address three of these.

ASSUMPTION NO 1: THE HONEYMOON IS UNNECESSARY.

FACT: The honeymoon is VERY IMPORTANT. This is your own special celebration and an opportunity to bond and nurture your powers of communication. The bond and memories you build during this period could hold your marriage during tough times.

As the topic of matrimonial success and divorce is studied more and more, research is showing that how a couple weathers their first two years together can make or break their marriage. A study, “The Connubial Crucible: Newlywed Years as Predictors of Marital Delight, Distress, and Divorce” by Ted L. Huston, John P. Caughlin, Renate M. Houts, Shanna E. Smith, and Laura J. George was published in “The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology” ( 2001;80:237-252). According to Dr. Huston of the University of Texas at Austin, “This study showed that couples’ newlywed marriages and changes in their union over the first 2 years foreshadow their long-term marital fate after 13 years… disillusionment—as reflected in an abatement of love, a decline in overt affection, a lessening of the conviction that one’s spouse is responsive, and an increase in ambivalence—distinguishes couples headed for divorce from those who establish a stable marital bond.” The researchers discovered “differences between the happily married and unhappily married groups were apparent right after they tied the knot.” (source: About.com)

So, before you decide to feed all your neighbours and passers-by, ask yourself how much your spouse and marriage means to you.

TIP: As soon as you start planning for your wedlock, set aside a percentage of the total budget for your celebration, your honeymoon. It is a part of your wedding, not an after project. Google ‘wedding checklist’ and you will see that the honeymoon is always part of the entire wedding agenda.

 

ASSUMPTION NO 2: IT IS EXPENSIVE, ESPECIALLY AFTER THE EXPENSES OF THE WEDDING.

FACT: The honeymoon can cost whatever you want it to cost. You can decide to spend millions or a few thousands, it is up to you. You will need to budget for it and prioritise like you will with other aspects of the wedding. Just like you may spend less on food and more on entertainment or vice-versa, you can choose to have a small or lavish honeymoon. It is totally up to the two of you.

TIP: Discuss with a Honeymoon Consultant about the options for a honeymoon package for your peculiar budget. You will find out that there are lots of factors that can affect the cost of a honeymoon. For example, my favourite honeymoon destination is Maldives, which is about the most romantic destination in the world. I have planned honeymoon packages to Maldives from 790K to 3.5 million. The difference tells you the variables are much.

 

ASSUMPTION NO 3: IT IS BURDEN-SOME, WE CAN DO IT LATER WHEN WE HAVE THE TIME.

FACT: The honeymoon can be entirely stress-free, if you get the help of a honeymoon consultant. Just like your wedding, if you decide to personally handle all the details, from food to decoration, you are almost certain to get a nervous break-down on your wedding day. Properly handled, the honeymoon becomes your escape for de-stressing after the exertions of the wedding ceremony.

TIP:  Decide on where you want to spend your honeymoon months before the time and make all the necessary arrangements. Most honeymoon destinations are well sought-after and need paid bookings long before the honeymoon time.

Having considered these assumptions, I would love to hear your thoughts. What does the honeymoon mean to you? In return we will give away free tours for every response for couples in select destinations. Simply send your thoughts as well as your wedding dates by email and join the facebook page dedicated to this discussion – Honeymoon Lounge. And start dreaming of wonderful memories.