How the American Honeymoon Became an Industry


The concept of a newly wedded couple spending days or weeks away in intimate repose after being pronounced man and wife is a relatively recent historical phenomenon. Such a frivolous waste of time had been restricted to the realm of the elites until the emergence of the middle class in the 20th Century.

Times have certainly changed for the American honeymoon. The word itself,  traced back more than 550 years, may be loosely translated as “waning love,” or the period of the changing moon, and too often lives up to its original meaning.

For most Americans, at least up to World War II, the honeymoon was a relatively brief time for the newlyweds to be left alone and there was not travel or recreation involved.

So how did the honeymoon become the industry that it is today? We can blame it on the hotel industry and a place with a natural wonder straddling the Canadian border.

Niagara Falls was known for decades as “The Honeymoon Capital of the World.” That’s right— the world. It can be said that is no longer the case, even though the falls are still impressive, though not as much for newlyweds today who have grown up on the virtual reality of computer-generated imagery. By the 1950’s just about every newlywed was going on a honeymoon, and many were going to Niagara Falls or its competitor as the honeymoon capital, the Poconos.

“…The recent ability to mass produce romantic fantasies associated with the honeymoon experience has further systematized the honeymoon script, which, in turn, has standardized personal expectations regarding the event,” reported the authors of an article entitled “The Social Construction of the North American Honeymoon, 1880-1995.

The honeymoon business today is not standardized at all. The whole world is out there and a travel industry that may be accessed online is dedicated to making sure every honeymoon is unique for each couple.

“Marriage is a very special time in your life, and the honeymoon should celebrate your new bond and set you on course to a lifetime of happiness,” report the honeymoon and romance experts at Exciting Vacations. Their supplemental service called “The Honeymoon” is, according to their website, “the first fully automated, online honeymoon registry” that started in 1999.

Now there seem to be no limitations on affordable honeymoons and the many packages being offered. Some traditionalists may still go to Niagara Falls or the Poconos, but modern honeymooners prefer destinations within the country like Cape Cod, Key West, Savannah and Charleston. Then there is the overwhelming favorite, Hawaii. But the whole world is a stage and popular honeymoon destinations outside the U.S. include Thailand, Costa Rica, Bora Bora and Martinique.

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