Would you invite your friends to join you on your honeymoon? It’s the latest trend in wedding travel: a group honeymoon, or buddymoon, where the couple invites some or all of their guests to join them.
And no, a buddymoon isn’t about sharing a hotel room with your buddies.
Jennifer Aniston kicked off the buzz in August. After she and husband Justin Theroux got married at home in Los Angeles, they jetted off to the Four Seasons Bora Bora with several friends in tow, including Chelsea Handler, Jason Bateman, and Courteney Cox.
But the trend for non-celebrity couples is combining a destination wedding with a vacation together with friends and family. Couples recognise the huge expense guests pay for flights and hotels. Even though guests are usually footing the bill themselves for the extra nights, additional together time benefits everyone.
It’s definitely the younger set planning buddymoons, says Kelly Grumbach of Quintessentially Travel, those that are more active and want to do things as a group. “The wedding is the formal event, but then they can let loose on a buddymoon and really enjoy with their loved ones.”
A high-end client of Grumbach’s had a destination wedding in Maui and after the wedding, paid for a core group of ten friends to join them in Tokyo for a long weekend. Following the urban getaway, the couple went to the Maldives on their own. “They’re going to once-in-a-lifetime destinations where they would go as a couple but they’re bringing their friends along to experience it together,” she says.
Many couples today wait years before getting married, so they’ve already spent plenty of romantic getaways together, and want to take advantage of the only time in their life (for a first marriage, at least) when their closest friends and family are gathered together.
“Some people do it in lieu of a big reception,” Steve Harris of Strong Travel in Dallas, says. “A buddymoon becomes an interactive experience tied to a destination.”
When someone pays for airfare, they can justify the cost more by tacking on vacation time. If they “have” to attend a wedding, they might as well extend it and hang out with the couple longer. All guests are linked via the couple, but don’t necessarily know each other, so a buddymoon gives them the chance to meet and travel with like-minded people. Ideally, their clients plan for several activities as a group, but then leave a day or two where everyone can do their own thing. No one wants to spend every waking minute together.
Most buddymoons are in beach-y destinations like Hawaii or Mexico. But a cruise is another great option, especially with value for money - there’s automatic entertainment, restaurants on board, and an easy escape route to your own room. Groups will then plan to do shore excursions together.
“People say - this is what we’re doing, we’d like to extend an option for you to join us,” Harris says. Bigger buddymoons see 25 to 100 people gathering together. One client did a buy-out of a resort in Cabo San Lucas for a week. They sent guests the ceremony date but asked people to stay before or after with them if they could. The travel agency planned various events, like a bonfire on the beach, cigar classes, a deep sea fishing excursion, tequila tastings, and huge dinners for various guests.
A private post-wedding escape for two isn’t going anywhere. But for time-starved couples and families, a buddymoon might be a new great option.
This article originally appeared on Yahoo Travel.