Nayla and Zac Gideo jumped on a ferry after their European wedding last fall and traveled to Capri, Italy, where they ate spicy salami pizza, hung out at wine bars and relaxed at resort beach clubs.
It was an idyllic way for the Texas newlyweds to celebrate the start of their marriage – but they were not alone. Eleven of the Gideos’ friends joined them on the trip in a twist on traditional honeymoons that are being dubbed “buddymoons.”
“We wanted to spend as much time with them as possible because when are you around that many people that you love in such a beautiful place?” Nayla, the 28-year-old bride, said.
Some couples, particularly those having destination weddings, are reimagining honeymoons. They reveal their postnuptial group escapades on Instagram and TikTok with photos and videos of group hikes, all-day murder-mystery games, road trips and other excursions.
The trend is part of evolving wedding traditions. Reception staples such as bouquet tosses, tiered wedding cakes and toasts are becoming less common. Buddymoons are another way couples are shaking up tradition because so many people now live and travel together before marriage.
“The initial conception of a honeymoon was a discovery process,” relationship scientist Rachel Vanderbilt, who studies conflict in romantic relationships, told the Washington Post. But today, she added, “the honeymoon is no longer that really foundational part of starting your marriage.”
Wedding and travel planners say buddymoons are rare but growing in popularity. Marcy Blume, a luxury wedding and event planner in New York, said she plans about 10 weddings per year and a quarter of her high-end clients tell her they are taking buddymoons, which have proliferated since the global pandemic. Some of that might be due to “revenge COVID travel,” said Marisa DeSalvio, a travel adviser.
“So many people haven’t seen each other in years, and so now people could be using this as an excuse to spend more time together,” she said.
Couples also spend months or longer planning a wedding, Blume said. Once the big day passes, it can leave newlyweds feeling lonely.
That’s one of the reasons the Gideos decided to make their honeymoon a buddymoon. Zac Gideo, 29, said while their nuptials will always stand out, their buddymoon was like “the completing of our wedding.”
Hannah Godwin, 28, had one of the first viral buddymoon videos after her August 2023 wedding in France. Godwin and her husband, Dylan Barbour, whom she met when they were contestants on “Bachelor in Paradise,” rented a big house and partied on boats with 10 friends in their Mykonos, Greece, buddymoon.
“We literally went from welcome party, to rehearsal dinner, then wedding day, had a one-day break, then had a full-on vacation weekend,” the “Bachelor” Season 23 finalist said. “We were pretty tired, but it was the best decision.”
Going on a buddymoon is also a way to thank guests who travel long distances for destination weddings, Zac Gideo said. Nayla’s two sisters and six of the couple’s friends flew from Texas to Europe for their wedding over Labor Day weekend.
“People are spending their time and money to be with you,” he said. “You can’t just focus on yourself.”
The buddymooners saw their trips as a way of extending their vacation after attending a destination wedding.
Vanderbilt, the relationship scientist, said buddymoons can help couples build community and strengthen ties with important people in their lives. That’s what Allison Wallace, 27, said happened when she was a “buddy” during her best friend’s buddymoon in Croatia last year.
She had traveled from Nashville to Europe with 11 other people. At first, Wallace didn’t know anyone but the newlyweds. But after four days of road trips, swimming in caves and seafood feasts, she said it felt like she’d known everyone on the buddymoon for years.
Still, the new trend gets mixed reactions. Godwin said after she shared posts from her buddymoon on social media, some “were outraged that we did this.”
Sarah Hensley, a relationship coach, said she can understand that response. There will always be time for family and friends, she said, but couples only get one honeymoon.
“Intimate time with your new spouse is so critical,” Hensley said. There’s so much distraction usually during the wedding and you don’t get to focus on each other as much as you like. Couples should absolutely take alone time before they merge into the next stage of their life.”
But not all couples are inviting friends. Some are creating “familymoons,” too.
Izabela Zukovic, 30, got married at city hall in a small ceremony last summer in Copenhagen. She and her husband paid for their two families, 16 people in total, to join them for a week on their honeymoon in Greece. The familymoon included parents, siblings, nieces and nephews ranging in ages from 6 to 68.
“It wasn’t much of a celebration of us.” Zukovic said. “It was more like spending time together.”
Now, she said, they hope to make the familymoon an annual event.