A honeymoon is a holiday taken by newlyweds immediately after their wedding, to celebrate their marriage. Today, honeymoons are often celebrated in destinations considered exotic or romantic. In a similar context, it may also refer to the phase in a couple's relationship - whether they are in matrimony or not - that exists before getting used to everyday life together.


Newlyweds leaving for their honeymoon boarding a Trans-Canada Air Lines plane, Montreal, 1946
Bridal Journey in Hardanger by Adolph Tidemand and Hans Gude, a romanticized view of the customs of 19th-century Norwegian society

In Western culture and some westernized countries' cultures, the custom of a newlywed couple's going on a holiday together originated in early-19th-century Great Britain. Upper-class couples would take a "bridal tour", sometimes accompanied by friends or family, to visit relatives who had not been able to attend the wedding.[1] The practice soon spread to the European continent and was known in France as a voyage à la façon anglaise (translation: English-style voyage), from the 1820s onwards.

Honeymoons in the modern sense—a pure holiday voyage undertaken by the couple—became widespread during the Belle Époque,[2] in the late 1800s as one of the first instances of modern mass tourism.

According to some sources, the honeymoon is a relic of marriage by capture, based on the practice of the husband going into hiding with his wife to avoid reprisals from her relatives, with the intention that the woman would be pregnant by the end of the month.[3]


The honeymoon was originally the period following marriage, "characterized by love and happiness", as attested since 1546.[4] The word may allude to "the idea that the first month of marriage is the sweetest".[5]

According to a different version, of the Oxford English Dictionary:

The first month after marriage, when there is nothing but tenderness and pleasure (Samuel Johnson); originally having no reference to the period of a month, but comparing the mutual affection of newly married persons to the changing moon which is no sooner full than it begins to wane; now, usually, the holiday spent together by a newly married couple, before settling down at home.

Today, honeymoon has a positive meaning, but originally it may have referred to the inevitable waning of love like a phase of the moon. In 1552, Richard Huloet wrote:

Hony mone, a term proverbially applied to such as be newly married, which will not fall out at the first, but th'one loveth the other at the beginning exceedingly, the likelihood of their exceadinge love appearing to aswage, ye which time the vulgar people call the hony mone.

— Abcedarium Anglico-Latinum pro Tyrunculis[4]

In many modern languages, the word for a honeymoon is a calque (e.g., French: lune de miel) or near-calque.[citation needed] Persian has a similar word, mah-e-asal, which translates to "month of honey" or "moon of honey".[6]

A 19th-century theory claimed that the word alludes to "the custom of the higher order of the Teutones... to drink Mead, or Metheglin, a beverage made with honey, for thirty days after every wedding",[7][8] but the theory has been challenged.[9][10]


One 2015 scholarly study concluded that going on a honeymoon is associated with a somewhat lower risk of divorce, regardless of how much or little is spent on the honeymoon itself.[11] However, high spending and incurring significant debt on other wedding-related expenses, such as engagement rings and wedding ceremonies, is associated with a high risk of divorce.[11]

Solomoon or unimoon

An emerging 21st-century travel trend is the "solomoon" or "unimoon", a separate, solo holiday the newlyweds take without their spouse.[12][13] The New Zealand Herald cites a report by The New York Times[14] that such alternatives to honeymoons are "particularly suited for couples who just cannot agree on where to go".[15] (This trend contrasts with the use by a jilted bride or groom of the travel reservations intended for the honeymoon, as popularly depicted in such films as Sex and the City: The Movie (2008), in which Carrie Bradshaw turns her ruined Mexican honeymoon into a girls' trip,[16] and Like Father (2018), in which a bride left at the altar travels with her absentee father on the cruise meant for her honeymoon.[17])

See also


  1. ^ Strand, Ginger (January 2008). "Selling Sex in Honeymoon Heaven". The Believer. Archived from the original on 2008-01-21. Retrieved 2008-01-17.
  2. ^ Venayre, Sylvain [in French] (June 2007). "Le Temps du voyage de noces" [History of the Honeymoon Vacation]. L'Histoire (in French). Sophia Publications (321): 57. ISSN 0182-2411. Retrieved 10 November 2022. This article is often cited as Le Temps du voyage noces.
  3. ^ See, e.g., William Shepard Walsh, Curiosities of Popular Customs and of Rites, Ceremonies, Observances, and Miscellaneous Antiquities, (J.B. Lippincott Co., 1897), p. 654; John Lubbock, The Origin of Civilisation and the Primitive Condition of Man: Mental and Social Condition of Savages, (Appleton, 1882), p. 122. Curtis Pesmen & Setiawan Djody, Your First Year of Marriage (Simon and Schuster, 1995) p. 37. Compare with Edward Westermarck, The History of Human Marriage (Allerton Book Co., 1922), p. 277 (refuting the link between honeymoon and marriage by capture).
  4. ^ a b "Honeymoon". Oxford English Dictionary. Archived from the original on 2019-02-14. Retrieved 2018-06-15. s.v.
  5. ^ "Honeymoon". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Archived from the original on 2018-06-16. Retrieved 2018-06-15. s.v.
  6. ^ "ماه عس in English - Persian-English Dictionary". Glosbe. Archived from the original on 2022-05-24. Retrieved 2022-05-24.
  7. ^ Pulleyn, William (1853). The Etymological Compendium. p. 178. Archived from the original on 2022-05-24. Retrieved 2018-06-15.
  8. ^ Brewer, Ebenezer Cobham (c. 1870). Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (4th ed.). p. 413. Archived from the original on 2022-05-24. Retrieved 2018-06-15.
  9. ^ Brohaugh, Bill (2008). Everything you know about English is wrong. Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks. p. 92. ISBN 9781402211355.
  10. ^ Monger, George P. (2013). Marriage customs of the world: An encyclopedia of dating customs and wedding traditions (Expanded 2nd ed.). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 352. ISBN 9781598846645. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  11. ^ a b Francis-Tan, Andrew; Mialon, Hugo M. (2014-09-15). 'A Diamond is Forever' and Other Fairy Tales: The Relationship between Wedding Expenses and Marriage Duration (Report). Rochester, NY. doi:10.2139/ssrn.2501480. S2CID 44741655. SSRN 2501480.
  12. ^ Leasca, Stacey (15 March 2019). "The 'unimoon' — a honeymoon without your new spouse — is a 'travel trend' we just can't get behind". Travel & Leisure. Archived from the original on 19 March 2019. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  13. ^ Laneri, Raquel (March 14, 2019). "Newlyweds are now going on separate honeymoons". New York Post. Archived from the original on March 17, 2019. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  14. ^ Braff, Danielle Braff (March 13, 2019). "Until Honeymoon We Do Part". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2022-01-03.
  15. ^ "The rise of the 'unimoon': People are going on honeymoons without their spouses". New Zealand Herald. 16 March 2019. Archived from the original on 18 March 2019. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  16. ^ Arneson, Krystin (September 16, 2017). "This Is the Perturbing Reason Carrie Wound Up With Big in 'Sex and the City'". Glamour. Archived from the original on February 1, 2019. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  17. ^ Czachor, Emily Mae (June 18, 2018). "Netflix's 'Like Father' Trailer Sends Kristen Bell On A Traumatizing Honeymoon". Bustle. Archived from the original on November 24, 2020. Retrieved March 17, 2019.