Oh, So THIS Is Why We Take Honeymoons?

Photographed by Winnie Au.
Now that wedding season is in full swing, there are sure to be plenty of happy couples embarking on that fun, relaxing, and sometimes expensive trip known as the honeymoon. But have you ever stopped to wonder why newlyweds typically go on a celebratory post-wedding getaway? We've already looked at why bridesmaids wear matching dresses; now we're getting to the bottom of the history behind honeymoons. (And don’t worry — this one has nothing to do with demons, though the tradition does have some pretty weird origins.)

According to Country Living, it began in 19th-century Britain, when newlyweds would travel to visit the various relatives who had been unable to attend their wedding — which sounds a whole lot less relaxing than the honeymoons of today. It wasn't until the late 1800s that our modern concept of honeymooning-as-relaxation took hold, according to Honeyfund CEO Sara Margulis. Up until then, it was less about you and your honey and way more about the rest of your family.

So how in the world did this notion of a trip to share your new marriage with relatives come to be called a honeymoon? Well, there are a few theories, and they’re pretty weird, so buckle the seatbelts of your "Just Married" getaway car.
Wedding Wire’s Kim Forrest explains, “The word [honeymoon] may come from the Nordic word ‘hjunottsmanathr'” — a term for when the bride would be kidnapped by the groom and concealed from her family until they gave up trying to locate her. It’s pretty disturbing that kidnapping played such a prominent role in marriage history.

Another explanation, according to Forrest, can be traced back to the 16th century, when authors Richard Huloet and Samuel Johnson coined the term “hony mone” for the short period of time right after the marriage when the couple is happy. They believed it was all downhill from there, arguing that happiness quickly fades when the realities of marriage set in. How depressing.

The most literal theory behind the origin of the term comes from the fifth-century tradition of wedding guests giving mead to the newlyweds as a gift. Mead, an alcohol made from honey, was thought to help with fertility. Margulis told Country Living that after their first “moon” as a married couple, husband and wife would drink the mead together in celebration.
Advertisement
That’s probably the most romantic and least grotesque theory, so let’s just go with that? (Country Living)
Advertisement

More from Living

Growing up, your parents may have told you to be grateful for your food, because some people are starving. Now, your own meals can actually help other ...
You may start to notice your Uber drivers snapping a lot of selfies, but it doesn't necessarily mean that you're riding with an Instagram addict. Your ...
Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel announced that the company has developed new video-enabled sunglasses, called Spectacles, and will subsequently be rebranding ...
S'mores are a messy dessert favorite. But why not skip the sticky situation and enjoy yours in a cone
Coffee lovers of the world, get ready. We have news that might make even a die-hard caffeine addict à la Lorelai Gilmore jump up and down in excitement. ...
It's safe to say that a home — especially in New York City — will be one of the biggest purchases you'll ever make in a lifetime. But let's be real here: ...
Lady Gaga is known for her unique, eccentric, and sometimes downright insane sense of style. So it makes total sense that she would purchase a mansion ...
(Paid Content) Scrambled eggs for breakfast? Yawn. Standard-issue pancakes? Predictable. To effectively get us out of bed in the a.m., we prefer a morning ...
Four years ago, my life was exactly where I wanted it: I was working as a senior editor at a major glossy magazine. My first young adult novel had just ...
You're at 20,000 feet, and you realize your flight doesn’t have WiFi — which wouldn't be a big deal, except you forgot your book at home, and none of your ...
DIY cotton candy ice cream that doesn't require an ice cream maker? Winning
It's a sad but true fact that a bad commute — one where you just miss the bus or subway — has the power to ruin your day. More often than not, these near...
When you think of playing a video game, what comes to mind? Is it a raucous game of Wii Bowling when you were in college? Hours spent on your Game Boy ...
Whether you're brunching or, uh, dinnering, etiquette is of the utmost importance when dining out. And no, we don't mean keeping your elbows off the table...