Engaged millennials are taking trendy 'solomoons' before marriage


When Julia Lushing traveled from Chelsea to Los Angeles in March — right before her April wedding — she wasn't flanked by girls in "Bride tribe" tank tops.

Instead, the 34-year-old got off the plane alone and headed straight for the Ashram, a health-and-spa retreat outside of LA.


That was where she spent a weeklong "solomoon," doing yoga, drinking tea, going to bed early and working on her meditation practice.

"I didn't realize how stressful wedding planning was going to be, so I needed some time to myself to decompress," Lushing tells The Post. Instead of a bachelorette party, "all I wanted to do was get away from everything and everyone, and de-stress."

Pre-wedding solo trips like Lushing's are becoming increasingly popular with travel-loving, independent millennials before they tie the knot. Relationship coach Diana Kirschner chalks up the trend to a cultural shift.

"As people are getting married later in life, there is an increasingly common and overarching fear that they will lose themselves in marriage in various ways," says Kirschner, author of "Love in 90 Days." "While marriage can be incredible, it can also mean that you're giving up something positive if you liked your single life, too."

That was true for solomooner Jason Simms. Six months before getting married, he and his now-wife moved from Portland, Ore., to Connecticut, where her family is based.

"I was doing a lot of questioning during that time in my life, because moving to Connecticut was harder than we'd thought it would be," says the 35-year-old. "I spent a lot of time wondering if I was on the right path."

The publicist also wasn't really interested in having a traditional bachelor party: "I'm not a guy who has a tight group of college bros . . . and a lot of my friends are women anyway."

So, just six months after he'd "bailed on his Portland hipster life," he traveled back west for his solomoon: a "farewell tour" of his roots, including hiking the Grand Canyon, visiting a few friends in Portland and then attending a friend's wedding in Seattle.

Simms was looking for more than a fun trip — he wanted some sign that his life was on the right track. He got it during his hike in the Grand Canyon. During the trek, he came across two rock pillars that protruded out of a bigger rock mound. They almost looked like two heads, he thought — kind of like himself and his then-fiancée, Jill.

"I used that rock formation to re-center myself throughout the hike — like, ‘Look, the Grand Canyon is giving you this beacon to help you stay positive and affirm your plan to get married,' " he says.

Now settled into the East Coast and happily married, Simms says that moment was a turning point for himself and his relationship.

Solomooner Madelyn Moran, 27, also turned to nature to find peace before her wedding. Like Simms, she was a bit uneasy heading into the big day. Her now-husband is in medical school, with a brutal schedule — and Moran was stressed about having to plan her life around her husband's needs.

That's why, when an all-women's hiking trip to Moab, Utah, popped up in her Facebook feed a few months before her wedding, she spontaneously booked it.

"At the time, I was feeling really nervous . . . that I would have to go by my husband's schedule even more when we got married. I started to think, ‘What am I getting myself into?' " Moran says.

As a self-described homebody, Moran hadn't traveled much, and she was nervous that this trend would only continue to solidify once she got hitched.

"I saw my Utah trip as my last chance to get out there, to do something just for me and possibly meet new friends who had similar interests," she says.

Moran did make friends on the trip and find people to share her interests with — but it wasn't her last adventure. To the contrary, the jaunt helped her discover a new love of traveling. She even took the reins on planning her first anniversary vacation with her husband: a nature-filled tour of Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon and Grand Teton.

She says that the Utah trip shifted her perspective — and now she's excited to continue exploring new territory, both alone and with her partner.

"Going alone on that trip forced me to reckon with myself as a homebody and an introvert," she says. "It helped me learn that I actually did have this other side of myself, that I could meet new people and have crazy experiences and gain confidence on my own — and that I could continue to learn about that side of myself even when I got married."