“Honey” and “moon?” Sure, they’re fun, but what exactly does honeymoon” mean?

The most talked-about wedding of the summer is almost here (July 31st.) But where will Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mevzinsky take their honeymoon? And why is the post-wedding holiday called by that name?

The word derives from the Old English hony moone. Hony refers to the new marriage’s sweetness, as well a reference to the European custom of giving newlyweds enough mead, “an alcoholic liquor made by fermenting honey and water,” to last a month.  That would keep many a couple happy.

Moon refers to how long that sweetness might probably last, or from the changing aspect of the moon — from full to waning. In French the equivalent word is lune de miel. The German version is flitterwhochen, from flitter, which means “tinsel.” Not exactly the type of positive thinking a couples counselor would recommend, is it?

We can only imagine the celebrity line-up that will toast the new couple. But does toast, as in cooked bread, have anything to do with clinking glasses together? It actually does. Originally, a toast was raised to the health of a beautiful or popular woman. The notion was that her name would figuratively flavor or strengthen the drink. And drinks, way back, were actually flavored with spiced toast.

As for the ceremonious clinking of glasses, the custom is said to have evolved from fears of poisoning. The idea was that the liquid would spill from glass to glass. It is also believed that the roots of the custom are related to the offering of sacrificial libations to the gods.

Rumors are also flying in regards to the bride and groom’s wedding cake,a word that dates back to 1648. Wedding cake is also used to describe a style of architecture in which buildings have distinct tiers. The bride and groom figurines on top? Wedding cake toppers.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Clinton-Mevzinsky nuptials will be whether or not the couple has an interfaith wedding. If so, expect a post on the slew of terms that describe the mix of Jewish and Christian customs.

What aspects of Chelsea Clinton’s wedding are you most curious about? And if you have any questions about the origins or meaning of wedding terms, leave a comment.