Thank Goodness We Don’t Have That Anymore: Honeymoon Edition

It’s just not a honeymoon without a giant champagne glass bathtub.

Jaya is currently on her honeymoon, so you are stuck with just me for a few weeks. Given that, I thought it would be fun to discuss some of the old etiquette surrounding honeymoons. Today, honeymoons are pretty much a free for all (except some slight continued controversy over honeymoon registries) with no real etiquette attached to them at all.

The oldest meaning of honeymoon probably comes down to being a literal honey moon, in which in mead-loving England, newlyweds were given a month’s supply of the honey based drink and left alone together.

Sometime in the Victorian period, couples started traveling around after the wedding to visit far flung friends and relatives who were unable to attend the celebration.

Then a bit later, wealthy families started paying for big trips to Europe and from there the idea of a wedding trip trickled down to the masses. And now it has reached the point where people are asking ridiculous questions on wedding blogs about whether you can have a honeymoon for less than $3000. The answer is yes (duh.)

However, the early to mid twentieth century idea of a honeymoon had some key differences of etiquette than what we understand today.

First, most couples left for their honeymoon directly from the reception. And they left fairly early! Remember, when the bride’s parents were paying for the wedding, the couple were the guests of honor and were expected to leave fairly early since no one else could leave before them.

So after hanging out at the reception for a while, they would head into another room to change into their “going away clothes.” Btw, it was at this point that the bride would throw her bouquet (and no garter tossing- as far as I can tell that was invented sometime in the 60s or 70s). She would basically go up the stairs a bit, her bridesmaids would congregate at the bottom of the stairs, and she would throw the bouquet. No playing of Single Ladies necessary. Once changed, the couple would meet at the top of the stairs. All their guests would have congregated in two lines coming out from the stairs and the couple would run between the two lines as rice was tossed at them, and out to their getaway car (which the groomsmen would have decorated with old cans and shoes and “Just Married.”)

The honeymoon itself was 100% the responsibility of the groom, planning and paying (except if generous parents gave some money to him). A lot of the time, the honeymoon would be a surprise to the bride and she wouldn’t know where they were going until they got there. Often, the groom would enlist his best man to help him with the execution of the surprise, he might take their luggage to the train or the hotel so it will be there and waiting for them, he might also check into the hotel for the groom and get the key, and even put flowers in the room.

So there you have it. Now tell me all about where you went on your honeymoon. What about your parents and grandparents? Personally, I have not yet been on a honeymoon, but my parents went to Egypt on theirs and one set of grandparents went camping for a couple of weeks, and the other set went horseback riding in Virginia or something similar (they kept the brochure and we still have it at my parent’s house! Next time I visit, I will scan it so you can see what a 1946 honeymoon might have been like). Currently my favorite honeymoon idea is a road trip around New England, (the nice relaxing kind of road trip where you can stop and poke around in cute towns) staying B&Bs. Someone should make a dating site based on ideal honeymoons.



10 thoughts on “Thank Goodness We Don’t Have That Anymore: Honeymoon Edition

    • The cans are to make noise to scare evil spirits away (many wedding traditions come down to scaring away evil spirits). I believe the shoes come from some weird thing where the father of the bride would give his daughter’s old shoes to the groom to show that she belonged to him now. Either that or fertility or just good luck.

      • Huh, thanks! I really hope the shoes aren’t a creepy form of transferring possession of the bride from dad to groom. o.O

  1. I had a really low-key honeymoon. We were living apart for work/school reasons and my husband was only able to get a week off of work, so we didn’t have much time or much money; we got married in Houston (my hometown, and where I was living), and for our honeymoon we just drove to Galveston, thinking, “Oh, we’ll have fun at the beach!” It poured the entire time. Still, we stayed in the nicest hotel we could afford that wasn’t closed for post-hurricane renovations, ate a lot of delicious seafood, visited Moody Gardens, bought some goofy souvenirs, and generally got to spend lots of time hanging out with each other (our favorite people!), so it was still pretty nice.

  2. My husband and I went to Croatia and Italy (HIGHLY recommended), my parents went to England and France and his parents went to Israel. One set of grandparents stayed at a resort in the Catskills (…at the Nevele!) and I am not sure about the other ones. But lord, honeymoons are the best. And yeah…you can definitely go on a honeymoon for way less than $3000.

  3. We went to Walt Disney World for our honeymoon and got the (completely over-the-top) Platinum Package. It wasn’t cheap by any stretch, but my husband and I had been saving to go on a Disney trip together since we first started dating…so it was a trip about 5 years in the making. We had the MOST fun and romantic (seriously!) time. When you’re on a honeymoon at Disney, you can wear “Just Married” buttons and everywhere you go, cast members wish you congratulations! Sometimes you’ll even get little “extra touches” like a card, a personalized menu, or even free champagne! They really go out of their way to make you feel special. We loved it so much that we took a (budget) trip to Disneyland for our one year anniversary!

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