Image courtesty of Caneel Bay

If you’re not staying at an all-inclusive resort, consider it a Must to know what you’ll face in terms of pricing for all of those sensational al fresco breakfasts, leisurely beachside lunches and romantic gourmet dinners. I spoke with a couple who honeymooned at a posh resort on Maui, and two days into their trip, they were eating rice cakes for lunch. A sandwich cost $35. They didn’t see that coming.

The menus and their price lists for each of the restaurants, poolside bars and even room service will also help you do the math on any meal plans you might be interested in buying. On my own honeymoon, we signed on for a modified American plan, but found that we couldn’t possibly eat that much food during a day. We stopped by the front desk, signed off of our meal plan, and went meal-by-meal. We quickly mapped out our dining budget for three gourmet formal dinners, inexpensive lunches at the Terrace Bar and Grill, and we discovered that the resort’s picnic lunch was a steal at $12 a piece for lunch, salad, fruit, snacks and a drink. We hit that deal a few times.

Image courtesty of Caneel Bay

Now here’s the secret… if you don’t see any menus and prices on your resort’s website, simply call the concierge desk and ask that menus be emailed to you. No quality resort is going to say No. The prices of meals, and drinks, may play into your decision on where to go for your honeymoon, or you might decide to skip the meal-math and narrow your search only to all-inclusive resorts.

Remember that drinks are often packed into those all-inclusives, so if you expect to drink your weight in mai tais and rum punches, an all-inclusive could be your saving grace… especially with some resorts charging $20 per cocktail. And $8 for a cola. And here’s another secret: some top-quality resorts will put a complimentary bottle of rum in your honeymoon suite. Ours did. So we had sodas delivered to our beachside room, spiked them with some of that wonderful island rum, and found ourselves quite clever for ‘beating the system.’ It’s perfectly okay, and wise, to ask the concierge if your room includes a complimentary bottle of rum, or even champagne. The concierge isn’t going to say, “Um…it’s a surprise.”

Budget vacationing is an art, and I’d rather see you enjoy your meals and drinks than wind up eating rice cakes…or get the wind knocked out of you at checkout time. So do your research on those price lists, and check for drink-freebies. If the resort you’re in love with has stratospheric prices and no way around them, you might add ‘gift cards to our resort’ to your wedding registry. No one has to know you plan to spend those gift cards on rum punches and teriyaki wings poolside!

Ms Gingham says: Some great advice here from Sharon. It’s a fact that even a relaxing honeymoon needs to be budgeted for and will be all the more relaxing if you do your homework first!

About Sharon: Sharon Naylor is the author of over 35 wedding books, including her newest: “Bridesmaid on a Budget”, “Smart Guide to Wedding Weekends”, and “1001 Ways to Save Money and Still have a Dazzling Wedding”. Her two books for the mothers of the bride and groom are bestsellers, and she has appeared on such top shows as Good Morning America, ABC News, Lifetime, Inside Edition and more – sharing tips and insider secrets to help you plan your dream wedding on a budget, personalized to your love story. Visit her site Sharon Naylor for more on her books, free worksheets and appearances. She lives in Morristown, NJ with her husband Joe and is at work on her next two wedding books.

Read more by Sharon here.