A new twist on an old tradition: Honeymoons with friends
When Dave Morin was planning his honeymoon to Italy and Greece with his wife-to-be Brit, he made a somewhat unconventional choice: he invited some friends.
“A big part of our wedding was including our friends who make up our life together,” he said. “Including our friends in the honeymoon seemed like only the right thing to do.”
Morin, a founder of tech company Path and one of the earliest employees of Facebook, is just one of a growing number of young, tech-driven entrepreneurs looking for a new twist on an old trip, according to Elite Travel International Founder and President Stacy Small, who helped Morin coordinate his trip.
Morin connected Small with 20 close friends and family members who had the option to meet up with the newlyweds for a few days in 2011 as they traveled through Santorini, Crete, Rome and the Amalfi Coast.
All of this, of course, happened after his bride signed off on the plan. “We definitely didn’t want to invite my parents, but we did want to invite our closest group of friends,” said Brit Morin, a tech entrepreneur and founder of Brit + Co., a "lifestyle brand that provides the digital generation with savvy shortcuts for their online and offline lives."
In the end, a few sets of friends -- and even a bit of family -- came for a few days each at different points of the two-week trip. “Different people met us in different locations, which was really interesting, so we got a mixture of friends throughout," Brit Morin said. “It was fantastic.”
The Morins enjoyed their trip so much that somewhere along the way they decided to change its name. They called it a “friendmoon.”
As more and more couples live together before marriage and travel together as well, it seems the honeymoon has lost much of its significance as a couple’s first independent foray into the world-at-large. Especially for young, independent, tech-immersed individuals who may not only date for a while, but also have the financial means to travel widely on a whim. “We dated for six years. We had been on many, many trips before,” said Dave Morin.
An inclusive honeymoon, says Small, is sort of a natural evolution from other recent wedding trends. The modern honeymoon is “more about going somewhere to celebrate but not to go somewhere alone for 10 to 14 days. Kind of an extension of the destination wedding a few years ago.”
But they aren't for everyone.
Dana Logstan, a California native who wed an Australian man in Santa Cruz, Calif., in September, decided to combine the destination wedding and friendmoon concepts. She planned to travel throughout the West with her new husband and his friends from home, figuring she could show them around in case they wouldn’t be back in the area any time soon.
It didn’t quite work out that way.
Her husband’s friends ended up leaving California two days early to spend more time in Las Vegas instead of seeing Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and other destinations boasting more natural beauty. And that turned out to be a good thing. “I’m glad that ended up being the extent of our friendmoon, because what we realized in just that night is traveling in a big group is no fun!” Logstan wrote in an e-mail from Australia, where she now lives. “Everyone has a different idea of what you should do with your time so everyone ends up getting frustrated with each other and there is a lot of standing around trying to decide what to do that will make everyone happy.”
Realizing they had more time to themselves, Logstan booked a last-minute trip to Mexico for a week after her wedding and enjoyed relaxing there, alone with her new husband. Had the friendmoon worked out as intended, Logstan wrote, “I think I would've been exhausted by the end of it.”
In the Morins’ case, visits by friends proved to be somewhat of a morale booster after they were involved in a scooter accident in Greece three days into their honeymoon; their injuries prevented them from spending much time in the sun. In the middle of the Mediterranean.
“We spent times talking and going out to meals, rather than going out on adventures, which was the original plan,” said Brit Morin.
Of course it all depends on the friends and their sensitivity, or lack thereof, to the fact that a honeymoon -- even a friendmoon -- isn’t just any old vacation. “If they’re your closest friends, they will respect that you’re on your honeymoon and that you want to have intimate moments as well,” said Brit Morin.