Honeymooning at Niagara Falls has become a standard for millions of newly married couples. In fact, Niagara Falls is often fondly called the Honeymoon Capital of the World. This title, however, did not happen overnight. There are various reasons that explain why so many people choose to get married surrounded by a waterfall backdrop. These reasons often include the perceived majesty of the natural setting, its unique history, and the inclusion of various activities and attractions that cater to newlyweds.
The Niagara Falls are the waterfalls and twin cities of the same name located on the Niagara River. The waterfalls are situated in the international border between the United States and Canada and are part of both countries. The United States part of the waterfall is in New York state, while the Canadian section is part of Ontario. Both waterfalls are further divided into two major sections: the American Falls, located on the American side, and the Horseshoe Falls, which lies mostly on the Canadian side.
A number of tourists who have watched the rush of water cascading down Niagara Falls have described the view using many terms, including magical, magnificent, and breathtaking. For many recently married couples, visiting the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is generally more popular, as it provides a better view of the rushing waters of both waterfalls. Both sides, however, function as destination wedding sites and offer engaged couples the opportunity to exchange their vows at various chapels and gardens located within the area. Some couples, however, may prefer to get married on the Canadian side to receive a honeymoon certificate signed by the city's mayor.
Another oft-cited reason why couples state that they choose to celebrate their weddings at Niagara Falls is the sense of history and nostalgia associated with the area. The locale first became connected with being a honeymoon destination in 1801, when Theodosia Burr, the daughter of Vice-president Aaron Burr, visited the region during her honeymoon. The French aristocracy is also credited as having been early fans of honeymooning at the falls. In fact, French prince Jerome Bonaparte supposedly traveled to the Ontario side of Niagara Falls after his own nuptials in 1804 to an American heiress.
One of the most popular figures to ever visit Niagara Falls in the 20th century was Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe. The celebrated actress filmed some scenes from the 1953 thriller Niagara on location at the waterfalls. Although the focus of the film was on a newly wedded couple observing a troubled married couple, the natural scenery of the area was also displayed on screen. Joe DiMaggio, visiting Marilyn on the set of the film, may also have helped further spread the romantic legend of the falls.
By the early 1900s, Niagara Falls had allegedly self-proclaimed itself as the Honeymoon Capital and began to advertise as such. In the 21st century, some young couples choosing to honeymoon in the spot have stated that doing so was a chance to visit the same location previously enjoyed by their parents or even their grandparents. The fact that the destination may also be less expensive than some more exotic wedding locations has also helped it retain a large number of visiting newlyweds each year.
Part of the charm of honeymooning at Niagara Falls might be the natural attraction's ability to combine old-fashioned romance with more contemporary attractions. Newlyweds seeking more intimate and secluded activities may enjoy restaurants featuring candlelight dinners and dancing, quiet picnic areas surrounded by the signs and smells of nature, or a scenic lighthouse tour. On the other hand, couples seeking adventurous activities might find it appealing to visit a casino, take boat or air tours, or stay at a spa.