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.
That’s probably the most romantic and least grotesque theory, so let’s just go with that? (Country Living)