Where did the honeymoon come from?

Heart in the sand Reading Time: 3 minutes

Happy Tuesday!

I have to be honest, November isn’t my favourite month. The weathers dreary and the dark nights make me think it’s time to finish work when in fact it’s only half past three. So here at KTB, I have been cheering myself up by looking at honeymoon destinations.

The honeymoon for many is one of the most exciting aspects of a wedding. A week or two to just get away with your new spouse, something you’ll probably need after all the organising and stress of the big day. But have you ever thought about where the tradition came from?  I looked into the story behind the honeymoon and thought I’d share what I found out with you all.

honeymoon edit photo

No one is entirely certain where the word ‘honeymoon’ came from, but there are several theories of its origin. The first refers to the ancient custom of drinking honeyed mead for the first month (or first moon) of the marriage. This was practiced in many cultures such as the Babylonians and the Teutons. This honeyed wine was supposedly an aphrodisiac, and was also thought to increase the fertility of the married couple.
A second theory is that the word derives from the Norse term ‘hjunottsmanathr’, which means ‘in hiding’. Here, a bride was abducted from a local village and kept in hiding with the bridegroom until either she was pregnant, or her family had stopped looking for her, which is when she would be returned.
Finally, the most recent and simple idea is that the first month of marriage is ‘sweet like honey’, but afterwards the sweetness waxes and wanes just like the cycle of the moon.
The idea of taking a trip abroad only came about in the Victorian era, when upper-class newlyweds would take a ‘bridal tour’ of the European continent, often visiting relatives and friends who were unable to attend the wedding. This tour would often last for weeks or months and usually the couple would be accompanied by their friends or family.
After the First World War, when cars, trains and aeroplanes became more affordable modes of transport, the honeymoon became more common amongst the middle and lower classes. Although they would not travel for as long or as far as the upper class, a honeymoon became a pivotal part of the marriage process.

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My grandparents, who married in 1953, stayed in a bed and breakfast in London for their honeymoon. It was the first time they had been away together so it was really special for them, they caught the train to London the day after their wedding and spent three days exploring the city. London was really exotic for them as they had never left the small town of Great Ayton, so as you can imagine, they were pretty excited. It was also the first time they had been on a train, so the whole travelling experience was a new and thrilling prospect.

gran canaria honeymoon edit

In comparison, 37 years later when my parents got married, nearly everybody went abroad for their honeymoon. They honeymooned in Gran Canaria, which they admit wasn’t as glamorous as some of the places their friends went. But they had never been before, wanted guaranteed sunshine, and it was what they could afford! Unlike my grandparents, they had been on several holidays abroad together before their honeymoon.

 fiji honeymoon picture

Nowadays, couples are travelling further afield and taking their honeymoon as the chance to explore unique parts of the world, with some of the most popular destinations being Mexico, Fiji and Jamaica, sounds good to me!

What are your honeymoon stories? Whether you have already been or can’t wait to go we’d love to hear from you!
Email me at hannah@kissthebride.biz
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