If you asked the average newlywed why they took a honeymoon they would probably laugh and tell you that they needed the vacation to get over the wedding, and while that may be true the honeymoon is also a tradition that has been in place for many years. Like any tradition, of course, it has evolved considerably since its advent. So why is it that we take honeymoons, and how did they come to be the period of relaxation and bonding that they are today?
History of Honeymoons
The word honeymoon, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary comes from the idea that the sweetest time in any marriage is the first month… hence “honey” and “moon” (referring to a full calendar month). The term was first seen in 1546 in English as hony moone, but the practice of embarking upon a vacation or journey straight after a marriage did not come into being until the 18th century when elite couples in Great Britain began to go upon “bridal tours” of a sort. The idea for these couples was to visit family members who had been unable to attend the wedding itself, and the custom became popular across Europe. In France it was known as a voyagé à la façon anglaise (English-style voyage) after the 1820s.
Relaxing and loving
The modern version the honeymoon, as we know it today, is more focused upon the couple and giving them the chance to unwind and bond than anyone else. This trend became common during the Belle Epoque era which saw a push towards the widespread tourism which is so common today. The first destinations to come into vogue were the French Riviera and Italy, and it was usual for a couple to leave their own wedding reception in order to catch a late ship or train to their destination.
These days, however, the traditions surrounding the honeymoon are more fluid and focused upon the happiness and desires of the honeymooners themselves. Some do still follow the old tradition and leave from their reception to catch a train, plane, or ship, but there are just as many who chose to wait for a few days in order to recuperate. The destinations and activities common during honeymoons are varied, too, as many couples now go for more active honeymoons; hiking in Peru, for example, is now as popular as a romantic getaway in Venice. It’s all about what the couple themselves want and need, and about giving them time to just be together after the long process of planning.