The honeymoon wasn't always the intimate getaway we think of today. From the late 1700s till the 1850s, it was commonplace for family members or friends to accompany to newlyweds on their bridal tour, which was partially designed to enable a visit to relatives who couldn't attend the wedding. How things have changed.
Today the honeymoon is about spending time as a couple and reveling in the newly married state. It's also a time to recover and recoup after the marathon of wedding preparations and the wedding itself.
A honeymoon isn't just another vacation. For one thing, you're going to be exhausted after the wedding. For another, there's something special and different about the interlude just after you become married, when your relationship has been transformed into a legally sanctioned, till-death-do-you-part union.
Wait until your preliminary wedding vendors are in place before you begin planning the honeymoon. Still, you should have all of the arrangements in place months before the wedding – there will be too many other things to take care of as you get closer to the date, and you don't want to risk dropping the ball and forgetting something critical, like booking a hotel room for your wedding right. You should get the trip you want if you start planning six or seven months out and nail down reservations between four and six months ahead of time. If you're trying to go somewhere without a huge inventory of hotel rooms in high season – say, the French Riviera in July or August – you should start earlier.
The earlier you book, the more choices you'll have. That could mean the difference between a layover and a nonstop flight, a room with a view of the parking lot and an oceanfront bungalow. By planning ahead, you may also be able catch an airfare sale or claim an early-booking bonus at a hotel.