Why Planning A Trip is Better Than Planning a Wedding

I’ve been engaged for over a year now, and in that time I’ve planned three month long trips and about 80% of one wedding. Guess which one I like doing more?

Hint: it’s the one that involves eating, not dieting.

It’s not that I’m not excited about being married- I am! Or that I don’t want a nice wedding- I do! It’s just the amount of bullstuff that comes with planning “the happiest day of your life,” is beyond ridiculous.

I think one of the biggest shocks about this whole engagement process has been how little I enjoy wedding planning. I thought all bride’s love choosing colors, shopping for dresses and obsessing venue choices. I thought maybe there was something wrong with me, that I would rather be checking air fares, fantasizing about small towns in Europe and writing long essays about where I’ve been.

I’ve been talking to a lot of brides lately, and I’ve realized that no, there’s nothing wrong with me. Some people are really into planning weddings, and some people aren’t. Personally, I’d rather plan trips, and here is why:

Planning a Trip is Cheaper

We are having a pretty small wedding, and we’ve come up with some fantastical cost-cutting measures. Even so, the amount it costs to have a wedding these days is just obscene. There’s the dress, the flowers, the open bar, and every time you mention the word wedding to a vendor the price jumps up a bit more.

Now, I know how to plan a trip on the cheap. I know all of the bargain flight websites, the best way to find cheap accommodation and endless ways to amuse myself for free. I know how to eat really well for cheap (link). I could travel for 6 months or more with the amount of money it takes to throw a fairly simple, 40 person wedding.

Trip Planning Offends Way Less People

I don’t know what it is about weddings that brings out these hidden strong beliefs in people, but all of a suddenly people have Opinions with a capital O. About weird things, like what food your serving, or whether it’s impolite to send e-save the dates. Which is hard for me because, when it comes to weddings, I don’t really have that many opinions beyond “do what works.”

Sure when I started planning my RTW trip people had opinions, but the were usually helpful opinions like “you should check our Miyajima while you’re near Hiroshima.” Nobody gets legitimately upset when you don’t take their travel advice or refuse their help picking a backpack.

 Planning A Trip is Less Emotional

Should we go to London or Paris? I dunno, both I guess, or maybe we’ll hit one up later. Making decisions about destinations, flight times, itineraries is easy compared to the emotional minefield of wedding planning.

Planning a wedding forces you to confront all of these questions that you never really thought before but all of a sudden have Major Life Meaning. Should you change your name? Will the ceremony be religious? All of a sudden everything down to what music you should play seems to have major implications for the rest of your life. Add this to the point above about people’s opinions and you have a major cannon ball of emotion.

All of a sudden you’re googling flights to Mexico.

If you’re not married or engaged you probably think I’m exaggerating. I did before I got into the thick of it. I’m a totally sane person, I swear, but something about the word wedding just makes every decision a million times weirder.

It’s Not Going to Be “The Happiest Day of My Life”

Maybe some people find their wedding day to be the happiest day of their entire lives, but I already know for me that is not going to the case. It will probably be a really awesome day, and I will be stunningly happy, but the happiest day?

When I think about the happiest days of my life, they are days when I’ve felt free, full of possibility and fresh to the wonder of the world. They were, you guessed it, travel days. The day Mike proposed to me for example, on that mountain top in Colorado, that was a freaking happy day. It was special, and it was unique and it was ours.

This makes it sound like I hate my wedding, which isn’t true either. Mike and I have worked together to create a ceremony and reception that will celebrate our marriage and hopefully give everyone the warm fuzzies. I like the idea of having a wedding, I just don’t love all the time-consuming work that goes into it.

And mostly I resent that wedding planning forces you into this box. This huge multi-billion dollar industry and all the hoopla and preconceptions around it, they all want you to be this one way, and when your not, that means there’s something wrong with you. It speaks to that rebellious part of my personality that sent me off traveling in the first place. Except this time I don’t get to go traveling until AFTER.

It’s going to be a beautiful wedding. Not a perfect wedding I’m sure, but a nice, happy wedding that I will remember fondly. Even with all the stress and the indecision and last minute candle related disasters. Most importantly, at the end I’ll get to be married to the most awesome guy who I love so much.

Next time though, I made Mike promise we can elope.

About The Author

28 thoughts on “Why Planning A Trip is Better Than Planning a Wedding”

  1. Hey Steph,

    I got married a year ago and can completely see whare you’re coming from. At times it was stressful planning and trying to please everyone. But it was all worth it in the end. 🙂

    It’s all about you guys, so forget everyone else’s opinions, do want you want to do. They’ll get over it! 🙂

    I wasn’t sure if my wedding would be the best day of my life either. I wasn’t one of those girls who grew up planning my wedding. I was so scared about the attention being on me and hoping that every one had a good time. Travel planning if definitely more fun.

    But do you know what? It kind of was the best day of my life, at least one of them anyway – I have lots of them, I don’t discriminate! 🙂 And hopefully have more yet to come.

    At the risk of sounding a really cheesy (sorry I’m making myself cringe) it really did feel so wonderful to have so many people I love and who love me/us all together, it was kind of magical.

    My biggest piece of advice – delegate. Get people involved, let them know the plan of the day so you can relax and enjoy – no good if it’s in your head! People love getting ‘jobs’ and feeling like they’re part of your day. And you will never have so many people wanting to do you favours again. Make the most of it! 🙂

    Going to send you a link to something!

    Helen x

  2. I’ve never planned a wedding but I know my family ( especially in the Indian culture) likes to go all out. And going all out involves a lot of money. Just skip the wedding and head to honeymoon trip already! 🙂

  3. Yeah it is stressful and all that work for one day of celebrating and making sure everything works well and everyone is having a good time…..relax….breath 🙂

  4. I totally understand–It’s exactly why we chose not to have a wedding at all! I’d much rather save the time (and money!) for travel, and we did. Spent about $500 on my jcrew dress, rings, fees, and wine and cheese for the family afterward and did the ceremony at the County recorder’s office. I’ve never regretted it for a second.

    Someone has probably already sent you this blog, but I love it! Lots of beautiful things done on tiny budgets: http://2000dollarwedding.com/.

  5. Ugh, I feel your pain! I got married last August, after two+ years of wedding planning. That last month was probably the most difficult time of my whole life! It’s so hard to please everyone! We started to hate everything about our wedding. We decided we’d had enough. We had wanted a destination wedding, but had to stay local because of family. I felt like I compromised big time on location, so why did everyone have an “Opinion” about everything else?! With three weeks to go, we booked a trip to Florida to get married on the beach. Naturally, my now-husband let it slip to his mom, and she said we’d “break her heart” if we did that. We still went and did a second engagement photo session on the beach instead. It was the perfect escape right in the midst of all the craziness. And our wedding day was amazing — but you’re right… it’s probably not going to be the “BEST” day of your life. We love to travel, too — and that’s WAY more fun than planning a wedding. We’ve been on two honeymoons (an Alaskan cruise, and a trip to St. Lucia — and we did a trash the dress photo shoot on the beach, so I have my beach wedding photos!). And this week, we’re leaving for Hawaii to celebrate our first anniversary!

    So, don’t let the wedding plans get you down. Your day will be wonderful, and all of it will seem worth it in the end. And, as you know, the best is yet to come — lots of trips to look forward to with your husband!!! 🙂

  6. I think people put way too much pressure on their wedding day by thinking it is going to be the “happiest day of your life”… what about the next day? That one should be happy too. I always say – it’s not about the wedding, it’s about the marriage.

  7. I’m sure your wedding well be absolutely lovely. As lovely as your trips, even. 😉 I can’t speak from experience here, because I totally haven’t been there before. But I feel like it would stress me out completely. My boyfriend’s mother has already made some of her thoughts known (even though we aren’t even close to engaged…), so I can sympathize with the opinionated people. Best of luck to you, and don’t forget to try to enjoy it! 🙂

  8. Ah yes, planning a wedding. It’s not fun, but the MOST important thing to remember is that your wedding isn’t about other people OR their opinions. It’s about you and your husband to be, and the fact that you’re committing to spend the rest of your life together. My husband and I paid for our own wedding, so we pretty much told everyone what we were doing and that was that.

    The day likely won’t be perfect…something will go wrong. 🙂 Our getaway car broke down one mile after we left the venue! They had to call a cab to get us to the airport hotel.

    And while it won’t be THE happiest day of your life, it will be one of the happiest. And when it’s all said and done, you’ll look back after it’s all over and say, “I’m glad I don’t have to do that again!” I know I still do. 🙂 Hopefully the next four weeks will go by quickly and stress free!

  9. I helped my cousin plan her wedding two years ago and I TOTALLY know what you mean. Planning a wedding is crazy and stressful! Even if it is a small one likes yours. I can plan a travel itinerary in my sleep.. but a wedding? No thanks.

    I hope you enjoy your special day and have a fabulous honeymoon! Maybe that will be more fun to plan? 🙂

    Happy travels.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top