Origins of the Honeymoon

The English language use of honeymoon (hony moone) was first recorded in 1546.ˆ

It refers to the period immediately after the marriage ceremony when newlyweds can share private and intimate moments together on their first holiday as a married couple.

The origin is from the idea that the first month of marriage is considered the sweetest.

What is a honeymoon?

A honeymoon is the traditional holiday taken by a newly married couple to celebrate their marriage and new life together. Today, honeymoons are typically celebrated somewhere exotic, romantic and secluded.

History of the honeymoon

Before the sexual revolution began in the mid-1960s, the honeymoon was the first occasion for many newlyweds to share intimacies together in private.

The honeymoon period was therefore believed to create a comfort zone where physical relationship could take place during the initial days of marriage that was assumed to be the wife's sexual initiation.

In western culture, the custom of a newlywed couple going on a holiday originated in early 19th century Great Britain. The concept was apparently borrowed from India, where 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.

The practice of taking a honeymoon soon spread to the European continent and from the 1820s was known as voyage à la façon anglaise (English-style voyage) in France.

Taking a honeymoon in the modern sense (a holiday undertaken by newlyweds immediately following their marriage) became more widespread during the Belle Époque era (1871-1914).

Typically, honeymoons would start on the night they were married, with the couple leaving midway through the reception to catch a late train or ship. The most popular honeymoon destinations during this time were the French Riviera and Italy, especially seaside resorts and romantic cities such as Rome or Venice.

However, in the 21st century, many couples prefer to enjoy the reception to its fullest and have a relaxing night afterwards to recover, before heading off on their honeymoon.

Another option gaining popularity is to combine the wedding and honeymoon at one exclusive destination.

Read more about destination wedding tips

When it comes to choosing a perfect honeymoon destination, newlywed couples are limited only by their imagination, budget and the time necessary to reach their destination.


Hony moone is often defined as post-wedding holiday, originally from honey, in reference to that charmed period when married love was as sweet as honey, and moon, in reference to how long it would probably last – it was assumed to wane like the moon and for roughly the same time frame, but later the sense became ‘the first month after marriage’.

"The first month after marriage, when there is nothing but tenderness and pleasure." — Dr Samual Johnson (1709-1784), Oxford English Dictionary

The first known literary reference to the honeymoon, was penned in 1552, in Richard Huloet's Abecedarium Anglico Latinum.

“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, 1552

Reference:; ˆOnline Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2013-01-15. ˜ Retrieved 2013-01-15.

Latest update: Origins of a Honeymoon: 21 April, 2024