For engaged couples, there’s no event more exciting than the upcoming honeymoon.
The honeymoon is now associated with extravagant events, once-in-a-lifetime trips, and a myriad of activities that are synonymous with luxury.
However, not all couples choose to take this route for their honeymoon, and historically, honeymoons haven’t always been pleasant for everyone involved.
Couples originally used the honeymoon period to engage in intimacy.
However, this isn’t the only thing you can do on a honeymoon, and a honeymoon can be a time to grow closer with your partner, enjoy time for yourself, or even give back to your community.
Nowadays, there is no standard plan for what to do on a honeymoon, so the most important thing is to have fun!
The term “honey moon” might seem a bit fantastical when you really look at it.
Why call it honey if couples don’t eat honey during their honeymoon (or at least, not typically)?
What does a “moon” have anything to do with the event? Is it only celebrated at night?
The term honeymoon can actually be traced back to the old English word honymoone, which is first used around the fifth century.
This term relates to the tradition of giving an alcoholic mead, or type of wine, made of fermented honey and water named hony.
This hony was given to recently married couples and was intended to last around a month (a moone).
However, a honeymoon is much more than about this alcoholic beverage. The hony was thought to be an aphrodisiac.
An aphrodisiac is any substance that can increase sexual pleasure and arousal. Among other aphrodisiacs like alcohol, there are other foods that are thought to increase libidos such as pistachios and red ginseng.
Alcoholic beverages like hony can also act as aphrodisiacs by helping couples unwind and get into the mood.
Why would a couple getting married need to get into the mood sexually, you might ask? Well, marriage wasn’t always about being with someone you loved.
For most of history, marriage was seen as a way to unite families and combine resources. In addition, many marriages were also arranged, meaning a person would not meet their spouse until the day of the wedding.
Indeed, getting hony was one of the best ways to relax a couple and encourage them to consummate the marriage (i.e., have sex and have children).
Other Darker Meanings
Unfortunately, the honeymoon period can also be associated with the period in which women were kidnaped by men before getting married.
It’s thought that men who could not afford a dowry were more likely to kidnap women and hold them hostage until they either got pregnant or their family members stopped looking for them.
Other parts of the world still have bride kidnappings practices, such as Kyrgyzstan.
It’s important to understand that, though honeymoons are a special occasion, the getaway for both man and woman was positive and negative connotations in history.
Fortunately, bride kidnappings and forcing couples to drink alcohol in order to have sex and consummate a marriage aren’t as common as they used to be.
However, the tradition of having a honeymoon is still very widespread, with honeymoons making up a 12 billion dollar a year industry!
Many couples choose to go on a honeymoon so they can:
- Experience a getaway that they won’t be able to in quite some time. For couples that want to start a family, a honeymoon might be the only opportunity they have to get away from their families and friends and truly enjoy time away from others.
- To have fun and experience a vacation after their wedding. The wedding period can be extremely stressful, consisting of planning, budgeting, and other events that consist of a lot of family. It’s nice to have a vacation immediately after the wedding to help couples unwind.
- To stick with traditional values and consummate the marriage. There are still couples that practice abstinence before marriage. What better way to make your first sexual encounter and experience with your spouse memorable than by doing it on a honeymoon at a luxurious destination?
- To show people they are serious about the marriage. Nothing says “I love you” more than treating your spouse to a fabulous vacation or spending quality time with them. With the advent of social media, this is even more of a reason for couples to show off just how much they want to spoil their spouse.
The average honeymoon costs an average of around $4,500. That’s quite a bit of money to spend on anything, let alone a vacation.
However, there are other couples that are choosing to save that money to put into other expenses, such as paying off debt or buying a home.
You don’t have to have a honeymoon at all! Instead, you can simply take time to relax at home and choose to spend quality time with your spouse after the wedding.
Not only is this free, but it can also save you the financial stress of having to pay for a honeymoon out of pocket.
All of this goes to show that not all couples have to spend an exorbitant amount of money on their honeymoon.
You can easily have fun vacationing within your own country, even in your own state or city, or at home!
Some couples also use their honeymoon to give back to their community.
This is known as a volunteer honeymoon, and it can be done either abroad or within your own community.
If you’re interested in spending your honeymoon volunteering, feel free to reach out to your local hospital, churches, or non-profit organizations for opportunities to participate in a volunteer honeymoon.
In addition to giving back to your community, there are other ways to celebrate your honeymoon while saving money. Some of these include:
- Book your honeymoon during a time of year that isn’t too expensive. You can have your wedding during the summer, but you can book your honeymoon in the fall or even the winter. This ensures your honeymoon is as cheap as it can be if you plan on using this time to vacation and travel to other parts of the world!
- Consider crowdfunding. Be honest about what you’ll do on your honeymoon and consider setting up a crowdfunding account for your honeymoon, such as a GoFundMe page. Tell your family you want to spend this time traveling and seeing the world or are even saving up to volunteer and make the honeymoon one that helps you give back.
- Join another couple. Did you know more and more couples are now splitting the costs of their honeymoon? Just like there are double weddings, double honeymoons have now risen to prominence and can be a smart financial choice.
- Have a second honeymoon. Some couples also enjoy having a second honeymoon when they can financially recover from their wedding. You can have a first honeymoon right after the wedding where you relax at home with your spouse, and then another honeymoon months or even years later! This can make your second honeymoon that much more special.
Although the honeymoon period was traditionally used to consummate the marriage, have intimacy, and then have a child, we are far past those traditions now.
Couples can use their honeymoon period to get to know themselves better, enjoy the vacation of a lifetime, or even give back to their communities.