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A look back at honeymoons 

By Dr. Bill Stewart

 In December we looked at weddings. Now we’ll look at the trips couples frequently take after they have been united in the holy bonds of matrimony.  

Traditionally, these trips have been referred to as “honeymoons.”  

This term goes back to the fifth century, when calendar time was based on moon cycles. A couple would customarily drink mead (“honey”) during the first moon of their marital union. 

Some couples have been unable to take honeymoons, for a variety of reasons, such as 

  • Because they couldn’t afford to 
  • Because one of the parties is military, and his or her leave might be so brief as to preclude a wedding trip 
  • Because the couple has eloped, and their priority is to explain to the folks back home why they ran off and got married 

Here are some examples of wedding trips or honeymoons of many years ago: 

  • May 1, 1912Albert L. Potts and Myrtice Huie were married in the Morgan County community of Holmes’ Gap today and immediately after the wedding left on a trip to Florida and points south.  
  • Oct. 17, 1934–Miss Claudine Leonard, of Jasper, and Atlee Sample, of Hartselle, were married today in the parlors of the Christian church with the pastor performing the ceremony. Only members of the immediate family were present. Mr. and Mrs. Sample left immediately after the wedding for a bridal trip to southern points and on their return will be at home in Hartselle. 
  • The following illustrate how the post-wedding trips of just-married couples were reported by their smaller town and city newspapers. It is fairly easy to distinguish among couples that were affluent and those that were not: 
  • “They left on the noon train for home, where we hope they are enjoying their honey moon without the gaze of the idle looker on.” (1889) 
  • “Immediately following the marriage ceremony, the couple left for an extended wedding tour, after which they will go to their home in Texas.” (1914) 
  • “Following the ceremony the couple left for a short honeymoon trip, after which they will be at home at Hanceville.” (1914) 
  • “Following the ceremony the couple left for the East on a honeymoon tour.” (1914) 
  • “Immediately following the ceremony the couple will leave for Florida to spend the winter.” (1914) 
  • “Following the ceremony, the couple left for a honey-moon trip to Montgomery, Mobile and New Orleans, where they will take a Ward line steamer for Tampa, Florida, and spend the winter at various Florida tourist points.” (1914) 
  • “Mr. Grob and Miss Auston were married at St. Paul’s Church Thursday night and left for Florida points on a honeymoon trip.” (1914) 
  • “Mr. Heck and the new Mrs. Heck left on Train No. 3 Wednesday afternoon for a short honeymoon trip.” (1915) 
  • “The young couple left on the 4:31 train for a brief wedding trip.” (1915) 
  • “They (Mr. Graves and the new Mrs. Graves) left on the ten o’clock train for Decatur on a short bridal tour.” (1915) 
  • “Mr. and Mrs. Wiles will visit several points in Alabama and Georgia.” (1915) 
  • “Immediately after the ceremony Mr. and Mrs. Butler left for a trip to the exposition in San Francisco and other western cities.” (1915) 
  • “The young couple left immediately after the marriage ceremony for Florida where they will spend their honeymoon.” (1916) 
  • “Immediately after the wedding Mr. Ford and the new Mrs. Ford left on a wedding tour to Chicago, St. Louis, and other northern cities.” (1916) 

Florida was obviously the most common destination for honeymooners during the time period we have covered and afterward.  

In 1975 Bill and Connie Stewart took their wedding trip to Clearwater, Florida, with intermediate stops at Prattville for their wedding supper and Dothan for the wedding night. The journey continued with stops at Disney World, Busch Gardens and the Ringling Brothers museum in Sarasota.