Which sounds better, a new toaster, or a gondola ride in Venice? In this episode, we sit down with our guest Sara Margulis, CEO of Honeyfund, a company that expanded the way we think about wedding registries. Rather than limiting your guests to new towels and kitchenware, Honeyfund lets them show their love and support by contributing to experiences on your honeymoon—and more!
Sara: Honeyfund is a wedding registry that allows you to raise money towards your honeymoon as a wedding gift. What’s really cool about it is that you can list all the fun experiences that you want to have on your honeymoon, and your guests can purchase individual items.
So your guests are shopping for say, your sailing trip or romantic meal on the beach. They can even shop for your room or flight upgrade to first class or anything else that you imagine doing on your honeymoon!
Honeyfund’s mission is to make the honeymoon happen for all couples.
It works in addition to, or instead of a store registry. The shopping experience is much the same as buying off of any registry and in the end, what you have is the money to make your honeymoon happen.
Sara: It started in 2005 when I was planning my own wedding. We had a dream to go on this big elaborate honeymoon to Fiji, but we didn’t really have the funds to do it on top of paying for our wedding in San Francisco.
Suddenly we had this idea. What if our friends and family could just help us out with the honeymoon instead of buying us more stuff that we didn’t need. So we just threw it out there. My ex and co-founder started out as an engineer, and he created a website and listed a bunch of stuff we were planning to do and a little rudimentary way for people to commit to buying each item.
We had people mailing us checks or bringing them to the wedding, and we raised $5,000 that way! Our friends and family raved about the idea. They were like, you guys, so many of us already live together. We already have all this stuff. Can other couples do what you did?
We were aspiring entrepreneurs who love to travel, and that’s how Honeyfund was born!
Sara: It is, and actually we just did some research around this. We discovered that couples who take a honeymoon are more likely to be happily married after a decade of marriage. I get goosebumps when I say that because we knew our work was important, but we didn’t know that we were actually influencing future marital satisfaction.
So when you talk about investing in your honeymoon, what you’re investing in is the relationship and your marriage. For us to be able to have a small part in that is just such an honor and it just makes me feel like the work we’re doing is so worthy.
Aso, couples who continue to travel together also have higher marital satisfaction overall. One of my theories about that is that couples who have gone on a honeymoon have experienced the bonding impact of time away together. They can set the pressures of day to day life aside, and just enjoy time together as a couple.
Your honeymoon is your one free pass to take a vacation and build those meaningful experiences!
Sara: Actually, this year Italy took over Hawaii as the number one honeymoon destination amongst our members!
Have you heard of the concept of revenge travel?
Basically everybody’s getting revenge on Covid by booking these amazing trips. We’re seeing couples go farther, take longer trips, and go to more exotic places, like Italy.
I mean, come on. It’s so romantic: you have the food, and you have the wine, and you have the people, and you have this beauty all around you. I mean, that’s really reveling in the love that you have just sealed together in your wedding. I’m so excited for our couples going to Italy this year.
Sara: Definitely. And I think you need to take your partner on a travel test before you marry them. I always say that wedding planning is like a practice ground for marriage. You’ve got a big project, it’s got a big budget. You’ve got a lot of opinions from lots of different people about how it should be done. You’re gonna have to make trade-offs, learning together how to make decisions.
These are amazing experiences to have and fortify your marriage. I feel like too many couples get caught in the pitfall of, “I’ll just let my partner lead and, and make all the decisions and then we won’t have conflict.” But then you miss this entire wonderful practice ground for marriage.
Wedding Duo: That’s such a good point. It’s great because, you know, relationships can be hard. We mention that all the time. They can be hard and they’re not always going to be picture perfect, but your honeymoon is like one of those times when you can take the leap of faith and just jump. Go do it!
Sara: Two summers ago I was in Europe with my boyfriend. We had missed two summers of going to Europe because of Covid, and we finally got there in the summer of 2021.
We rented a car with a stick shift, and drove from Milan up to Lake Como. It was a nail biting drive because it was a Sunday afternoon and all the Italians were coming home from the lake. The streets are literally like one lane in some places. We were exhausted.
Anyway, we get to our resort, we check in, the woman leads us out the front to give us a tour of the property. I was totally overwhelmed by a view of Lake Como with the Swiss Alps reflecting off of it, I burst into tears. It was so beautiful and obviously I was so tired, but it just shows you the impact of Mother Nature and another culture and how just getting out of your day to day can just shed everything in just a moment of beauty.
Lake Como has to be one of my favorite places because of that experience.
Sara: During Covid, we had to pivot. Our revenue dropped 90% overnight. I had to look myself in the mirror and ask “is this the end of Honeyfund?”
I decided to think about how we could be of service right now. What was needed during Covid? It was really that couples were losing their jobs or one of the members of the couple had a very high stress or dangerous job. There were huge impacts on families and I started thinking about everything that couples face in marriage, not just at the stage of planning a wedding but throughout the years too.
So with Kevin O’Leary’s help and our community and the start engine community, we expanded to equity crowdfunding. To date we’ve rolled out a brand new tiny fund page with full wedding website capability. Our next stage is to roll out these lifelong funding categories like baby, anniversary, and hardship funds.
Because your friends and family are already connected to you on your page, it’s simple for them to contribute in other areas as well!
Sara: I’m really glad you brought up the etiquette of it because that was a question early on, are honey funds tacky? Is this etiquette approved? Especially when it was a new idea.
We’ve developed this site with that in mind so when guests come and shop, it should feel like they’re getting to choose something for you. You can use Honeyfund as just a bucket to collect money, but we really recommend that couples think through their honeymoon experiences and bring them to life on the page, letting guests shop from those experiences.
Then when they come back, they can bring pictures of what they did. They can include them in the thank you card or text photos while they’re away on their honeymoon.
There’s so many ways to wrap the gift and the guest back together and live that experience together. Which is something you just can’t really do with a toaster.
Thank you so much, Sara. We really believe in what you’ve done with your business and are so excited to share it with our couples so they can enjoy the honeymoon of their dreams.
Your authenticity and your true unique love is what the world needs, so go make it happen!
If you want to hear more of our interview with Sara, be sure to check out the podcast episode.
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