Wedding couples tighten honeymoon budgets

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In a survey conducted by online registry service Traveler's Joy, 62% of couples said they plan to spend less on their honeymoon this year than they had intended because of the economic downturn.

The survey polled hundreds of couples with a wedding date in 2009 as to how the economy was affecting their wedding registry and honeymoon plans.

Although the wedding and honeymoon industry was once considered recession-proof, the results concluded that even brides and grooms are cutting back as they plan their wedding and honeymoon.

According to the survey, the average cost of a wedding fell 24% in 2008, to $21,814, from $28,704 in 2007.

As couples spend less on their wedding, they also reconsider their honeymoon spending and registry behavior. The majority of Traveler's Joy respondents still plan to take a honeymoon, although 17% said they are postponing or possibly canceling their honeymoon due to the economy. Among couples still planning a honeymoon, 62% said they plan to spend less.

The couples surveyed noted many ways in which they plan to decrease costs, including staying closer to home, redeeming loyalty rewards for free airline tickets and hotel stays, taking advantage of travel discounts many hotels are offering and cutting out some of the luxury extras, such as spa treatments and excursions.

The survey also found that many couples said a honeymoon registry, which enables a couple to register online for segments of their honeymoon that guests can purchase as a gift, can be a good solution.

Forty-five percent of respondents said they were asking for more items from their honeymoon registry vs. their housewares registries, and that being able to take a honeymoon was more important to them than receiving traditional gifts.

Many cited the stress of wedding planning as a reason for making a post-wedding getaway a priority.

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