Forget gifts - pay for our honeymoon

FORGET THE GIFTS: Ella Legg and husband Adrian asked guests to contribute to their honeymoon fund, instead of giving wedding gifts.
FORGET THE GIFTS: Ella Legg and husband Adrian asked guests to contribute to their honeymoon fund, instead of giving wedding gifts.

When Ella Legg and her now husband Adrian decided to tie the knot three years ago, they asked their wedding guests not for gifts, but for cold, hard cash to pay for their honeymoon.

Having lived together for 18 months before getting married, the couple's need for toasters, homewares or bed linen had become redundant.

"People really liked the simplicity of transferring money into an account and that was that. Luckily, we didn't have any adverse reactions," said Ella Legg.

"When my sister got married, she and her husband ended up with about three juicers and four toasters. It's hard for people to pick your tastes, let alone your needs and wants. And besides, the gift registry's a bit dated in some circles I think."

While once considered tacky, asking wedding guests to contribute to the cost of the honeymoon is becoming increasingly common, with 8 per cent of respondents in a survey conducted by travel and lifestyle website taking this approach.

Gen Y has particularly picked up on the trend, with 21 per cent asking for donations, compared with 10 per cent of gen X couples and only 2 per cent of baby boomers.

The generosity of the Leggs' 60 wedding guests meant they had an extra $3144 to spend on a 10-day honeymoon to Foiata Island in Tonga, which they would otherwise have been unable to afford after spending $18,867 on the wedding.

Unfortunately, despite in-depth research and an avalanche of recommendations from friends, the Leggs' honeymoon at Blue Lagoon Resort didn't live up to their expectations.

"It definitely wasn't our best holiday ever, we both agree on that," said Ella Legg. "We thought the word 'resort' extended to the facilities but in Tonga it refers only to the quality of the beaches and the location."

There were no fancy digs, no cocktails and no sumptuous meals, and the couple were far more isolated than they had imagined.

"We had very little to do other than swim, snorkel, sleep, eat and talk to the chef, which wasn't ideal for keen adventurers like us!" said Legg.

Once again, the Leggs weren't alone. The survey also found that despite the hype, time and money invested in honeymoons, they're often far from being the romantic flights of fancy presented by travel brochures.

Only one in three women and less than half of men, according to the survey results, rated their honeymoon as their best-ever holiday.

Luckily, because the Leggs didn't spend their own hard-earned money on their honeymoon, some of the sting was taken out of their dashed honeymoon hopes, said Legg.

"But we certainly didn't look a gift horse in the mouth and we were very grateful to everybody, sending them lots of photos and a personal card at the end to let them know where their money went. So it was still money well spent."

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Sydney Morning Herald