If you thought attending a friend’s wedding was expensive and time consuming, how about being asked on the honeymoon too?
When Pippa Middleton headed off for a sun-drenched ‘earlymoon’ with James Matthews to top up their tans before tying the knot, it seemed the height of indulgence. But that trend seems comparatively conservative when you consider the new craze – the megamoon – which involves newly-weds inviting friends on their honeymoon, so everyone gets to keep the party going.
Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux were early to the megamoon game when they invited the likes of Courteney Cox and Chelsea Handler to join them in Bora Bora after their wedding in 2015. And now, normal couples are following in their extravagant footsteps. But with recent figures showing that the average guest now spends £432 per wedding, some may baulk at the thought of splashing even more cash on their friends’ milestone moments.
We met one group who megamooned to Ibiza this June to tell us why they think honeymoons are best enjoyed en masse.
The bride Lucy Smith, 31, founder of gifts and homeware company Postcards Home
Before our wedding in Kent in May, we sent an email to 30 of our closest friends asking if anyone wanted to come on our honeymoon to Ibiza with us. I provisionally booked a 32-bed villa and the spaces immediately filled up. Ten days after our wedding, we jetted off to enjoy the Ibiza opening parties with our nearest and dearest. Everyone pitched in and we split it equally. We had people from every corner of our lives there: work, university and school. We’ve had years of romantic holidays, just the two of us, and agreed Ibiza would be better as a big group. After a wedding, all you want to do is sit around and dissect the day and we had five days of being able to do that with everyone. Just before we set off, we did have a moment of doubt – wondering whether we should have gone to Mauritius for two weeks like every other newly-wed couple usually does. But we have such a fun, loving group of friends that we knew this would work really well. In the leadup to a wedding, you have quite a few intense conversations about your relationship with your partner. This way, you get to have a big blow-out afterwards and remind yourselves of the fun you have together, too. Tom and I have been together for almost eight years now and we’ve got the rest of our lives to be together. This was our chance to celebrate with friends.
The groom Tom Smith, 33, works in digital marketing
I’d always imagined my honeymoon would be relaxing, just the two of us. But when one of Lucy’s friends suggested we go to Ibiza, we agreed it would be so much better to have all of our friends there with us. Trying to coordinate a wedding is hard enough, let alone trying to organise a holiday for 32 people straight afterwards. Even so, it all came together and we had the most brilliant time clubbing, beaching, eating great meals and relaxing by the pool. I can see it becoming the next big trend for couples who love spending time with their friends. It’s a brilliant way to bring groups of people together.
Lucy Preacher, 30, works in marketing
At the end of the wedding, there’s a moment when you really want to carry it on. But with theirs it wasn’t goodbye, it was ‘Are you coming to Ibiza?’ The holiday was amazing. We spent five days sunbathing, going to the big club nights, having boozy barbecues and going off in smaller groups for a bit of downtime here and there. We were together every night but some people stopped clubbing a bit earlier than others, but there weren’t any tensions, it worked so well. If I get married, I’d definitely consider having a megamoon.
Rae Duke, 28, broadcaster and teacher
At my own wedding, I was so filled with love for all my friends who we shared our experience with that when we went on honeymoon I had moments of feeling lonely. You just want to carry on the amazing experience and stay connected to all the people you cherish most. Friends mean so much, plus there’s not such a need to be alone with your partner these days, as you’ve often had years together.
Ffion Williams, 31, PR manager
When your best friend gets married it can sometimes be a bit weird to think, who am I going to hang out with now? But when Lucy told me I could come on her honeymoon, I thought it was a great idea. I’m sure Lucy and Tom will go away again soon, just the two of them, so why not make the most of their wedding period?
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Katie Morris, 30, works for a charity
I initially thought the megamoon idea sounded slightly insane. Ibiza would not have been my first choice and I probably wouldn’t have ever gone if it hadn’t been for this, but I’m so glad I did. I didn’t go as hard at the clubs as some of the others, but that didn’t matter. We didn’t all need to stay together the whole time, but when we did, we got on so well. I’m an introvert, but Lucy and Tom are the perfect couple for a megamoon because they’re so outgoing.
Megan Macleod, 30, publicist
There’s still that gender divide with stag and hen dos, but people are often conflicted about inviting their best boy or girl mates. This is a nice alternative and inclusive way of celebrating your marriage with everyone, irrespective of gender. It was brilliant. Maybe it will replace the traditional stag and hen.
Emily Woolcombe-Adams, 31, chef
Lucy and Tom had a couple of days on their own before we arrived so they got to enjoy the romantic side of a honeymoon too. Weddings are a time you don’t get to see everyone as you’re often stuck with family, so this takes the pressure off the actual day.
Charlotte James, 31, PA
We had this amazing villa, invented cocktails and spent the time getting incredibly drunk, because that’s what you do on someone else’s honeymoon! I loved the social aspect of it and would have loved it to go on longer.
Jess Berrisford, 33, works for a textiles company
This was actually my second megamoon! I think it’s such a good idea. When everyone is down because a wedding is over, it’s fun to have something else to look forward to. I’ve made some new friends who I’ve seen since. Lucy and Tom are such a fun couple I wouldn’t expect anything less from them.
Alex Thackray, 31, MBA student
I was nervous about Ibiza, because I’m the old man of the group, but I was bullied into it and it was a great few days. What could be better than going away with your mates? I recently got married and felt like I spent the whole time with aunty-this and uncle-that. I could have done with a fun time with friends afterwards.
Evelyn Morrow, 30, director of a start-up
When they sent the invite through it was pretty bananas. It said how much it would cost, where it would be and that they’d love us to come on their honeymoon with them. I didn’t have a megamoon, but now I’m thinking, why not? I loved bringing groups together before the big day, so I wish I’d extended that to afterwards.
Photography: Ed Miles