The old saying goes “The wedding for the family, the honeymoon for the couple.” And generally speaking, that’s how it is usually done. The average honeymoon in the U.S. will cost about $3200, including travel, hotel stays, restaurants, sightseeing, shopping and all the rest. But for those willing to challenge tradition, the honeymoon can become a blessing to more than just you and your lifetime partner, and it will cost you perhaps a little time, and no money out of pocket.
Ask any local charity how many of their “staff” are volunteers, and the chances are that most of them will be. The American Red Cross, for example, claims that 97% of the staff is volunteer, including both the board of directors and virtually the entire staff of caring people who help out in disasters. Other organizations boast similar numbers. And the need for assistance is always greatest in the summer, since that happens to be when most college students are working or away visiting family.
Coincidently, the summer also happens to be the top time for weddings. Studies indicate that more than half of all weddings occur between late May and mid-July.
And this is where your honeymoon can be a blessing to others as well as yourself.
The idea of volunteering time for charitable work on your honeymoon may be outside tradition, but it is not new. The first time that I heard of the concept was a couple in El Paso, Texas, who were both instructors in CPR and first aid skills. During their honeymoon, they took one weekend and turned it into a massive training session, team-teaching lifesaving skills. 85 people graduated from that weekend course.
Another couple, both trained volunteer staff for the Red Cross, both agreed to go to Florida from Oklahoma after Hurricane Frances hit in 2004. They spent their entire ten-day honeymoon hauling water, food and shelter material to stranded evacuees and residents, working up to fourteen hours a day. Upon returning, the wife wrote in her weblog that “I have never been more sure that I chose the right man than I was after seeing what we could do together to help someone else.”
Ideas abound. Volunteer to help cook and/or serve meals to the homeless at the local soup kitchen. Work a booth at a charity fair. Volunteer to help with water at a fun run. Help out with a fundraiser. Teach, tutor, mentor or coach. The possibilities are literally endless.
And you may find something else to be true, in this case the old adage “Those who will work to bless others, will find that blessing returned upon them a hundredfold.” Contact with the homeless can make you appreciate what you have more than ever. Teaching skills can help someone, somewhere, possibly save a life. Assisting with fundraising efforts can mean the difference in the level of services that the charity is able to continue providing. And the people you touch, even if it’s only for a moment, are the ones who may someday help you in return.
So break with tradition. And help another person, on your honeymoon.