Tied the knot but looking to shake up the traditional honeymoon getaway? Try a friendmoon instead. Yes, with wanderlust hitting an all-time high, a “the more the merrier” mindset is taking the post-wedding travel industry by storm. Primarily for those who have gotten hitched in far-flung destinations, the friendmoon — a honeymoon that you take with your friends in lieu of a private getaway for two — is the perfect way to continue the party... minus all the familial pressures and wedding stress.
It seems the trend may have started way back in 2015 when Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux took their friends to the Four Seasons Bora Bora following their nuptials. Famous friends including Chelsea Handler, Jason Bateman, and Courteney Cox joined the couple for their group honeymoon. Per celebrity travel agent Michael Torbiak of M.domo Travel, this format became particularly appealing for second marriages or “people who have already done the traditional honeymoon thing,” he said. “People want to keep the wedding going sometimes instead of going on a quiet honeymoon with just their spouse.”
Does the idea of spending your honeymoon with your significant other and several more of your closest friends sound appealing? Ahead, TZR interviewed couples who opted for friendmoons to dish on the latest travel trend that will likely blow up in 2023.
Friendmoon Getaway: Bodrum, Turkey
Where to stay: The Bodrum EDITION
Wedding destination: Istanbul, Turkey
When Los Angeles-based couple Oliver and Ava decided to get married in Istanbul in August, they decided to extend their three-day celebrations to include parts of Turkey that they otherwise would have skipped out on. The duo planned to head to beachy Bodrum and then Cappadocia after their nuptials, and offered their friends the option to join them at either point in their post-wedding travels. “Our friends traveled very far for our wedding, so we were happy to be able to spend the first part of our honeymoon with them and enjoy different parts of Turkey together,” the bride tells TZR.
So while one group of friends opted for beach vibes in Bodrum, a different group met them a few days later in Cappadocia, where they rode hot air balloons at dawn. Following their time in the two cities, Ava and Oliver departed for a more traditional solo honeymoon in the south of France, but noted that their casual friendmoon in Bodrum and Cappadocia was an added bonus for those who traveled far to celebrate their union.
Friendmoon Getaway: Mykonos and Paros, Greece
Where to stay: Cavo Tagoo and Santa Marina in Mykonos and Parīlio Hotel in Paros or The Rooster in Antiparos
Wedding destination: Vouliagmeni, Greece
Yiannis, who comes from a Greek-Cypriot family, and his American wife Taylor decided to get married close to his home country. The happy couple tied the knot with friends and family — who traveled primarily from around Greece, Cyprus, and the U.S. — to the seaside Greek neighborhood of Vouliagmeni. As the wedding was located just 40 minutes from the busy streets of Athens, many of the couple’s guests stayed in Athens and saw the historic tourist sites before changing hotels to be closer to the wedding destination. (Hotels in the beachy part of the city of Vouliagmeni include the Four Seasons Astir Palace as well as The Margi, where the couple hosted a welcome pool party for their friends staying there.)
The morning after the wedding ceremony and reception, Yiannis, Taylor, and a big group of their closest friends boarded planes to nearby Mykonos. Their friends all stayed in different hotels around the party island but met up for outings at restaurants and local day and night clubs. A smaller group later joined the newlyweds in the more quaint (read: less touristy) island of Paros, where they shared a house together and continued the celebrations. “Planning a friendmoon gave us the ability to host our closest friends in a country that is very special to us,” Taylor says. “Half of the beauty of Greece is the sights, culture, experiences and the other half is being able to share that with someone. We really wanted everyone to head to their next destination thinking, ‘Wow, Greece is incredible, and I can’t wait to go back.’”
Friendmoon Getaway: Sicily, Italy
Where to stay: San Domenico Palace, Taormina, A Four Seasons Hotel
Wedding destination: Los Angeles
Christina and Perri tied the knot in Los Angeles and decided to honeymoon in various spots throughout Italy. “We actually started alone in Rome, then had our friendmoon portion in Sicily for a week, then we ended alone again in Puglia,” Christina says of their part honeymoon, part friendmoon plans. She adds: “I’ve always wanted to have friends on my honeymoon, it’s what my parents did and sounded amazing, so I’d joke about it during planning and, luckily, everyone was in!” The group of friends included three people from the bridal party and their other halves. The brides were concerned about dealing with logistics if they had a bigger group and opted for a small crew of friends who naturally fall together for activities. “Not everyone from the wedding (or even both our bridal parties) was invited,” Christina adds.
For the friendmoon portion of their honeymoon, the couple booked a villa for the whole group to stay together in Sicily. “That was another reason we didn’t invite everyone — it wasn’t an easy place to get to where people could just meet up in the same city and do their own thing,” she added. “The eight of us were pretty trapped together up a cliff, which is exactly what I wanted. All of our activities and day trips were together, so not a lot of alone time.”
Friendmoon Getaway: Tulum, Mexico
Where to stay: Azulik, Habitas, La Valise, Be Tulum, and Rosewood San Miguel de Allende
Wedding destination: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
When Sarmad and Ava got married, they always imagined honeymooning in Bali. Due to the pandemic, they had to change their plans, but it turned out for the better. “We decided to extend the festivities and go to Tulum with friends and family,” Sarmad says. For their friendmoon, they invited their close friends and family — many of whom flew in from San Francisco, Dallas, and Chicago — as well as some who couldn’t make it to their actual wedding in San Miguel de Allende. Immediately following their May 2021 wedding, they jetted for Tulum. “We ended up being 30 people, some extended friends ended up joining too since it was my cousin’s 40th birthday as well,” Sarmad adds. For the first three days, the party shared a big Airbnb and then split up as smaller groups stayed at various local hotels.
As for the activities, Sarmad explains, “We pre-arranged clubs and restaurants for the larger group for the first few days but later everyone went on their own, except for close friends who stayed of course.” With the smaller, more intimate group, the activities were more of a group decision. The LA-based couple decided that after partying for four nights straight in San Miguel de Allende for their wedding, it was nice to continue the fun and keep up the “party mode” but then have a chance to unwind and “do things on our own time.”
Friendmoon Getaway: Capri, Italy
Where to stay: Hotel Mamela, La Minerva, Punta Tragara, Grand Hotel Quisisana, Capri Palace Jumeirah, J.K. Place in Capri; Borgo Santo Pietro, Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco, Il Borro in Tuscany
Wedding destination: Tuscany, Italy
Kenna and Beck celebrated their idyllic wedding in a picturesque villa in Tuscany. For their friendmoon immediately following the wedding, the two chose to celebrate with 24 friends on the island of Capri. Some stayed together in a group Airbnb while the couple and other friends stayed at Hotel Mamela — placing everyone within a 5-minute walk from one another. “Since we opted for a destination wedding and our friends and family were already traveling quite far to celebrate with us in Tuscany, we wanted to maximize the time spent with them and show them another part of Italy we love dearly,” says Kenna.
As for the itinerary, “each day we had a main group activity that was pre-planned for our friends,” notes Kenna. “We wanted to make sure everyone could also enjoy the island at their leisure.” The planned group activities included a boat ride and lunch at Lo Scoglio (that had to be changed to dinner due to weather), a beach club reservation for the group at La Fontelina, another boat day to Da Adolfo restaurant in Positano, and dancing the night away at Capri’s iconic Anema e Core. “I kept hearing about the 'post-wedding blues' and wanted to continue the celebrations after the big day for another weekend,” says Kenna, who adds that the couple embarked on a traditional honeymoon after their friendmoon. “It was so fun to relive the wedding events and hear stories we missed on the wedding night.”
Friendmoon Getaway: Mykonos, Greece
Where to stay: Cavo Tagoo and Santa Marina in Mykonos
Wedding destination: Fairmont Grand Del Mar, San Diego, California
“Our friendmoon or as we call it, our partymoon, was in Mykonos,” says Los Angeles-based bride Tina, who wedded her husband David in San Diego. The year before the couple got engaged, the two planned a trip to Greece that they had to cancel, but had their flight and hotel credit on hold. “When he proposed it only seemed right to use the credit and start our honeymoon in Mykonos,” says Tina. “The only problem was that Mykonos is filled with day and night parties and we didn’t think we would have a great time if it was just the two of us.”
The two decided to invite another couple with them, making it more of a party. The smaller friendmoon made it easier for them to stay in one hotel. Pre-planning was much needed for day and nighttime activities, as it was high season on the Greek island. “We created so many fun and beautiful memories together — if we came alone we definitely wouldn’t have had as great of a time,” says Tina.
Friendmoon Getaway: Nha Trang, Vietnam
Where to stay: InterContinental Nha Trang, Vinpearl Resort, Amiana Resort, Evason Ana Mandara
Wedding destination: Saigon, Vietnam
New York City-based Sandy and Mike tied the knot in Saigon, and decided to have a friendmoon in lieu of a traditional honeymoon in the beachy town of Nha Trang, just a one-hour flight away. “All of our friends traveled so far to attend our wedding, so it only made sense for us to invite them along to the honeymoon as well,” Sandy says.
The couple decided to invite all of their destination wedding guests to the friendmoon and, as a result, half of the wedding guests joined — approximately 60 people. The goal was to relax but also show their guests the beauty of Vietnam, where the groom’s family is from. They provided two beach hotel options for their wedding afterparty vacation, but didn’t plan extensive itineraries, making it more of a relaxed vibe.
“It was very casual, our guests would end up running into each other, and my husband and I just wanted to relax after planning a big wedding,” Sandy says. “Our guests were the best — one of them organized a day trip on boats to a private beach and then on to a floating seafood restaurant. Another guest surprised us with a night at a local rooftop club. [But the best part was] seeing all our friends from different parts of our lives come together and enjoy each other's company.”