Once, newlyweds chose to depart for a romantic getaway for two post-wedding. Now, friends and family are being invited to party with the couple at luxurious private villas. Welcome to the Buddymoon.

Hey buddy, please join us on our honeymoon

Romance is not dead for those who still prefer to honeymoon alone.
Romance is not dead for those who still prefer to honeymoon alone. Photo Credit: EM_prize_istock

There’s a new trend when it comes to honeymoons, and it involves being on one of the most intimate holidays of your life with a group of close friends. And it is far less intrusive than it sounds.

The ‘buddymoon’ – coined by Hollywood tabloids to describe a slew of celebrity weddings-cum-honeymoons – often follows a destination wedding, which by their nature tend to be smaller and private affairs. Eschewing tradition, a growing class of young, urbane Asians is choosing to fly abroad for their nuptials, with friends and family in tow.

Trending now: Buddymoons with friends.
Trending now: Buddymoons with friends. Photo Credit: Keznon/iStock

Asians are marrying later, and less, compared to previous generations. The middle-income class, in particular, is becoming pickier with their partners and opting to marry for reasons less related to traditional gender roles than personal fulfilment. This often translates to the type of wedding they hold – and how they choose 
to honeymoon.

Less a community event and more a reflection of a couple’s style, destination weddings have crept into the mainstream in recent years, with a slew of planners based in Thailand and Bali catering to this growth market.
“Asians tend to have a pared-down destination wedding compared to what they would have to go through in Singapore or Hong Kong,” says Jeanette Skelton, owner of Luxury Events Phuket.  

“They escape the 500-people ballroom reception with 10 courses and instead bring a hundred or so of their best friends to Phuket for a three-day party at a villa. Of course, we add the traditional elements to keep the families happy, but the wedding ceremony is thoroughly Western,” Skelton adds.

A destination wedding is a chance to spend a weekend or more with people you love most in the world, not just a few hours.

For non-Asian couples travelling to wed in Asia, a buddymoon is a “why not” option. Taking advantage of the occasion, they extend the nuptials to honeymoon with friends who have also flown in to attend the event. Though hardly romantic, buddymoon enthusiasts believe this approach comes with its own brand of fun.

One couple I spoke to described their destination wedding as “a chance to spend a weekend or more with the people you love most in the world, not just a few hours.  A city wedding, whilst much more convenient, does not reflect our style and who we are.” 

While hotels and resorts based in popular destinations have seen an influx of wedding groups, so have their competitors in the form of private villas. For some couples, the ability to stay for a week and party till 2am unchecked by hotel rules is a compelling reason to opt for private accommodation.

David Chambat, CEO and founder of Villa-Finder.com says the company is now handling twice as many wedding enquiries as it did three years ago on www.villa-bali.com. “The market is really developing fast,” he adds.

What this trend shows is that there is no one right way to mark their special day – and the days following it. A cliff-top wedding may be a dream come true for some while white sandy beaches are the perfect backdrop for another, but there is one universal need that is driving the destination wedding boom: the desire for couples to feel, above all else, special.

A wedding where the groom is set for the high jump

A luxury African safari lodge is offering couples the chance to have a wedding combined with a honeymoon and some special guests – Maasai warriors.

Angama Mara, an owner-run lodge in Kenya, offers both traditional Maasai wedding and renewal of vows blessing ceremonies.

Brides will wear a beaded white or red garment over which the beaded marriage necklace sits whilst the bridegroom wears the traditional Maasai regalia and participates in a jumping competition with other warriors. 

For a blessing ceremony, the bride wears the colourful khanga cloth and a marriage necklace and the groom is dressed in a shuka (man’s cloth) and given a rungu (stick) to denote his manhood by 
the village elder prior to the jumping competition.

This takes place on the rim of the Great Rift Valley Escarpment, overlooking the Mara Triangle,
with vast amounts of animals, and most spectacularly, the iconic wildebeest migration.

The bridegroom wears the traditional Maasai regalia and participates in a jumping competition.

The Swahili word ‘angama’, meaning ‘hanging or suspended in mid-air’, inspired the name Angama Mara. Each tented suite and guest area at the camp hangs on the edge of the Rift Valley. 

The resort’s owners recommend that all religious and civil formalities are completed at home prior to arriving in the Mara.

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