(See introduction and disclaimer to this series here, and other posts in the series here.)
What is the tradition?
Shortly after the wedding, the couple takes a trip, often to a particularly romantic or exotic location. The duration and extravagance of the trip of course varies with the couples' finances, but is often a bit fancier than they might do otherwise for a normal vacation.
What is the origin of the tradition?
While the term "honeymoon" may have once simply referred to the glow of early marriage, and a time period for the couple to get to know each better, in the sense of a vacation it became common in Britain in the 1800s. It was not actually the couple spending time along together, though - the purpose was to visit relatives and friends who hadn't been able to attend the wedding. They were even sometimes accompanies by family on the trip.
Why do people still follow it?
Well, who doesn't need a vacation?! Getting away together, especially after all the stress and bustle of planning a wedding, is certainly appealing. Even if it's not a matter of "getting to know each other" in the same sense as in the past, as most couples have probably lived and traveled together already, it's still nice.
Why is that crap?
I actually think it's not! Not in the sense of taking time to relax and enjoy each other's company. I do feel there's some degree of entitlement - just like people want a big fancy wedding, far beyond the scope of how they typically host or attend parties, I think there's an idea that one deserves an extravagant honeymoon, which leads to honeymoon gift registries or otherwise expecting other people to foot the bill for your experience. If it goes that far, it's too far. But taking a nice vacation within your means seems totally reasonable to me.
What am I doing with this tradition?
We took an almost-two week trip, including a cruise in Alaska. In all it was a bit longer, and a bit more expensive than our typical trips, but not ridiculously so (and thus within our means).
How did/will you handle this tradition?
I would love to have a lively debate and conversation in the comments! Please join in!
Dissenting opinions (from the post itself or other commenters) are welcome, but I reserve the right to delete any comments that personally attack me or any other commenter.