A mini moon describes the mini holiday taken after newlyweds have returned from their wedding abroad. It could be a few days, a couple of weeks or months later.
Mini moons are a good idea for couples who have young children and want a few days away by themselves immediately after the wedding, especially if they have babysitters on stand-by.
A wedding abroad, as wonderful as it is, can be exhausting. After months (if not years) of planning, you then have the worry about whether everything will come together as you’ve planned. On top of this, you have the pressure (albeit self-imposed) of everyone arriving on time and making sure guests enjoy the day as they may have spent thousands of pounds to attend. All of this can lead to burn-out following the wedding.
It’s important therefore to schedule time for you to relax after the celebrations are over.
Before and after
It’s a good idea to stay in the same hotel as family and friends in the lead up to the wedding so you can enjoy pre-wedding celebrations with your guests close by. After the wedding, splash out on a luxury hotel you can escape to (even if it’s only for a couple of days) and spoil yourself. Take time to relax and reflect on the wedding and enjoy your first days as husband and wife in luxury. If you can’t do it now… when can you?
If you have children, you could ask grandparents or family to look after them (even if only for one night) so you can truly relax.
If you can spare more time, speak to your travel agent about connecting flights to another destination.
Life will get back to normal soon enough, so try to stretch out the celebrations as long as you can.
Often the honeymoon is left to the groom to arrange! Of course, a honeymoon for a wedding abroad isn’t the same as a honeymoon for a wedding at home. With a wedding abroad, it’s common for the honeymoon and wedding to happen simultaneously.
If you want extra time away, maybe add on a week before your wedding so you are completely relaxed and ready for your wedding day. Alternatively, add on some time after the wedding.
Travel agent weddings
If you book your wedding with a travel agent, the minimum residency tends to be around seven to ten days and can easily be longer. In this case, maybe enjoy a week before and after the wedding!
TIP: Having planned many weddings around the world I can advise there is no legal reason to have to arrive more than a few days before the wedding in the majority of destinations, with the exception of a few such as Spain and France where a long residency is required. However, you have to accept and adhere to the conditions of the company or organisation you are booking your wedding with.
If you are stuck for time and only want to be abroad for a few days before the wedding, consider using an independent wedding planner.
You could have a blessing instead of a legal wedding. This removes the need for residency altogether.
The length of residency prior to your wedding will have an impact on your budget, so it’s worth investigating the minimum residency before booking your wedding. If your budget is tight, a one week stay will free up more money to spend on the wedding.
Using a travel agent to help with guests’ hotels/flights is a good way to manage bookings, even if you’ve booked your wedding independently. It saves you getting too involved with guests travel, which can be as stressful as planning the wedding.
You can also tell the travel agent if you want to stay in a separate hotel to guests and they can make sure this happens. Similarly, if you want to stay together they’ll be able to recommend group friendly hotels.
Expert advice from Andrea from Freedom Travel Advisors
Unless you have the hotel or villa exclusively for your own use, I would allow everyone to make their own arrangements. Even if you have exclusivity, it may be wise to let them arrange their own flights. Planning a wedding is stressful enough without also trying to organise a group tour, and if the booking is all done by the bride and groom, they will be responsible for collecting everyone’s money, dealing with cancellations, making any changes etc, which is difficult when you think guests will each be looking for something different from their trip.
Data protection laws mean that only the lead passenger on a booking can discuss the booking with the agent and make any changes, and many guests will find this frustrating and the bride and groom will find it time consuming. Instead, prepare with your agent a few suggestions of hotels that are close to your venue, covering budget, mid-range and luxury hotels to suit all budgets, and give the guests your agent’s contact details. Your guests may choose not to use your suggestions or your agent but at least they’ll have the option, and the list of hotels will help them pinpoint the correct location for them.
When booking your hotel, make sure you tell them you are getting married, whether you book direct or with a tour operator. They sometimes offer free upgrades or extras for wedding couples. It doesn’t cost anything to ask.
You’ll need to make sure your room is big enough for you to get ready in, especially if you want your bridesmaids to join you and you have a hair and makeup team to fit in too.
We find good hotels are accommodating. After all, everyone loves a wedding, so don’t be surprised to be gifted with fresh flowers and sparkling wine in your room on arrival or your wedding day.
When you’re booking airport transfers, make sure you allow enough room for extra bags. Usually, the bride and groom have at least one extra bag each, possibly more. Regular airport transfers include only one suitcase per person, so make sure you tell them how many bags you are bringing. You may end up paying extra, but it’s better than being stranded at the airport waiting for a cab!
Expert advice from Andrea from Freedom Travel Advisors
The most important factor is the protection given by ABTA and ATOL agents. If you have fifty people on a flight, and twenty-five rooms booked to accommodate them, and your airline goes into receivership or administration, as happened with Monarch, your hotel rooms have no connection to your flight if you booked it all independently so your hotel will not want to make any refund to you if your guests cannot get into the resort.
If your guests book accommodation and flights together as a package through an ABTA agent, it becomes your agent’s responsibility to co-ordinate everything, finding alternative flight arrangements and liaising with the hotel. And if it’s the return flight that is affected, your agent and tour operator are responsible for looking after you in the resort whilst they arrange to bring you home. The agent will also work with ABTA to recover funds if this is necessary. On a practical note, the agent can take a lot of the co-ordinating of flights and hotels off your shoulders, offer you expert in-resort knowledge and deal with such things as a wedding gift lists and deposits and instalment payments for your guests, as well as being a person to talk to should anyone have any questions. All of this is difficult if not impossible when booking independently.
Booking independent travel
If you do book your travel independently, make sure you have adequate insurance to cover you in the case of flight or hotel cancellations – you will be responsible for making other arrangements, unlike when you book with a travel agent.
If you book with a travel agent, they’ll be responsible for finding alternative flights/hotels so you have more security, although I’ve heard nightmare stories about overbookings and delayed flights from couples who have booked both independently and with a travel agent. You want to plan as much as possible for every eventuality. You don’t want to wing it when it comes to your wedding day but be as prepared as possible.
Photo Credit Hannah Monika