Today’s young people are in a live-for-the-moment kind of mood, studies say, so it should come as no surprise that they are not waiting for the wedding to plan a vacation. Enter the new travel industry word of the month: “earlymoon.”
You can probably thank Pippa Middleton and her new husband, James Matthews, who apparently brought the trend into the travel lexicon when they took a break from the stress of planning their lavish May wedding with a vacation in St. Barts.
And suddenly this month it is everywhere – on ABC news, on Good Morning America, in Conde Nast Traveler.
For most earlymooners, the new “experts” say, the point is to keep it simple and just relax.
Noting that 71% of engaged and newlywed couples say planning their wedding was more stressful than buying a home or finding a job, an ABC News story yesterday said “while honeymoons give newlyweds a chance to relax after their wedding, more and more engaged couples are taking a vacation even before their wedding festivities begin. Couples say the pre-wedding vacation, dubbed an ‘earlymoon,’ gives them a chance to de-stress and reconnect before tying the knot.”
“We were met with champagne and macaroons at the hotel [and] enjoyed some really nice dinners,” the story quotes one earlymoon couple as saying. “It was just us being able to enjoy each other’s company and just relax with no burden of kind of anything else weighing us down, especially all the pre-wedding planning.”
In a June story on earlymooning in Conde Nast Traveler, How To Be Married author Jo Piazza suggested the goal should be to “get out of the pre-wedding madness and remember why you are marrying this person in the first place.”
Go away “before the invites go out,” Piazza suggested, as many of the big decisions and stressful moments happen at the two-month-out mark. “Take a pause on planning before this time. You’ll be recharged and ready to tackle the big decisions when you return.”
On Facebook, travel professionals suggest that of course it is the word that is new, not the idea. But any new word that promotes travel is welcome, of course.
“I saw your post on Facebook on Earlymoons. I am working on one now and it's such a new up and coming trend,” said Denise Lorentzen, CTA, owner of Dreams Travel Consulting. “Many couples are wanting to get away to relieve the stress of planning the wedding. In my couple, they are just heading to Tahoe for a few days to just relax, get a spa treatment and focus on each other. I plan on promoting these in the future and think it's a great way to re connect during stressful times!”
Trendsetter-without-knowing-it Lauren Capotosto Doyle, vice president of The Travel Mechanic in Northport, NY, notes that she took an earlymoon to Puerto Rico years ago, before it had a name, and then honeymooned in Thailand. Beth Eibler Johnston, Travel Designer of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, “did an earlymoon (only we didn't call it that) to the resort we were doing our destination wedding at. It was so useful and yes I loved being pampered with butler service!” And Emily Crabbs of Travel by Emily in Canandaigua, NY, did a "mommy moon" two weeks before the wedding, and “went away with my mom for some bonding time, just the two of us.”
Still, what’s not to like when the latest thing is good news for travel agents? “I have not planned any, but will def promote it,” says Brenda Sue, wedding planner and travel specialist at Heaven's Blessings Weddings, Events &Travel in Berlin, NH.
“I must admit I've never heard the term; I'm so glad I can use this, now,” says Linda Christine. “I love the concept; great idea. I’ve had many couples take these pre-wedding escapes over the years...and now I'm actually about to take one myself! Every case is unique and done for different reasons; in ours, though, we're off to celebrate our engagement, unwind, and get in some much-needed R & R."
And sometimes, a little touch of serendipity can turn a simple trip into a memory of a lifetime. Yvette Shaqir's earlymoon in the Middle East included "two spectacular weeks wine tasting and searching out fabulous foods" before it turned into a brush with celebrity when the couple's rooms were appropriated by King Abdullah and Queen Rana. "We were packed up by the King's butler and moved to a different hotel while we were at dinner. Makes for a great story for my clients," says Shaqir, owner of The Travel Boutique LLC in Columbia, MD. "I sell a lot of Early Moons and remind my wedding couples that relaxing and traveling together is the best pre-wedding activity. It can be a real relationship-saver during the intense wedding planning period."