Today just happens to be my wedding anniversary. And it’s not just any old anniversary – it’s my 35th. So in honor of that auspicious occasion, I thought I’d deviate from my usual western themed posts and instead discuss some fun/interesting notes on a few wedding customs. And yes, the pictures posted are from my own wedding (Oh, and check out the gown – I made the dress myself and my sister made the train).
Also, because I believe there should ALWAYS be gifts to mark special milestones, I’m going to give three of today’s commenters their choice of any one of my backlist books. So, on to the main post!
PICKING THE WEDDING DATE.
The most popular month for a wedding is still June. But did you know how the practice originated? There are several schools of thought on this.
One line of thought – It is said that during the fifteenth century, May was the month set aside by the general population for the ‘annual bath’, which meant as a whole folks were still smelling relatively ‘fresh’ during June so it was a good time to hold a communal event.
Another theory is that the month of June was named after the Roman goddess Juno, the goddess of hearth and home, so getting married then was considered to bring her blessings.
Of course not all couples chose June. One of the things I discovered when I was doing my research for this post was a little poem that predicted how the marriage would go based on the month you marry. It goes like this:
Married when the year is new, he’ll be loving, kind and true;
When February birds do mate, you wed nor dread your fate;
If you wed when March winds blow, joy and sorrow both you’ll know;
Marry in April when you can, joy for Maiden and for Man;
Marry in the month of May, and you’ll surely rue the day;
Marry when June roses grow, over land and sea you will go;
Those who in July do wed, must labor for their daily bred;
Whoever wed in August be, many a change is sure to see;
Marry in September’s shrine, your living will be rich and fine;
If in October you do marry, love will come but riches tarry;
If you wed in bleak November, only joys will come, remember;
When December snows fall fast, marry and true love will last.
As a November bride, this was right on point for me. 🙂
The color of choice for the modern bride is, of course, white. But this wasn’t always true. In medieval times, wearing brightly colored wedding garments symbolized happiness. Rich colors and expensive fabrics also said something about the brides status and finances. White didn’t gain the prominence it holds today until 1840. That’s the year when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert. Deciding to ignore the royal tradition of wearing a silver gown, the young queen instead chose to wear white and thus set a precedent that stands to this day.
Interesting bit of trivia – white was not always considered the color of purity. At one point in history, it was thought blue symbolized that virtue – possibly through association with the garments of the Virgin Mary. White was thought instead to symbolize joy.
I stumbled across an old poem that predicts how a woman’s marriage will go based on the color of her wedding gown (there seems to be a rhyme for everything). It goes like this:
Married in white, you will have chosen all right.
Married in grey , you will go far away.
Married in black, you will wish yourself back.
Married in red, you’ll wish yourself dead.
Married in blue, you will always be true.
Married in pearl, you’ll live in a whirl.
Married in green, ashamed to be seen,
Married in yellow, ashamed of the fellow.
Married in brown, you’ll live out of town.
Married in pink, your spirits will sink.
THE WEDDING CAKE
I was surprised to discover that the wedding cake has been around for centuries. In ancient times, the Romans baked a cake of barley or wheat and broke it over the head of the bride as a symbol of her fertility. During the middle ages there was a popular custom which involved the guests bringing sticky buns to the reception and stacking them in front of the bride and groom. If the happy couple was able to kiss over the top of it without toppling it, it signified they would enjoy a long and happy marriage and be blessed with many children. Toward the end of the sixteenth century the bride’s cake or pie came into vogue. These were mostly mince pies in which a glass ring had been inserted. It was believed that the person who received the piece that contained the ring would enjoy a full year of uninterrupted happiness. The origins of our current tiered wedding cake came in the seventeenth century when French bakers stacked buns and covered them with frosting.
The traditional cake cutting also has a bit of symbolism associated with it. Symbolically it is the first task the bride and groom shares as a married couple. Afterward, the bride and groom feed each other from that first slice as a symbol of their mutual commitment to provide for one another.
So, enough of the history and general traditions. Do you have any special wedding traditions handed down in your own families? Any special memories of your own weddings?
And remember, three people who comment on this post will be selected to receive a copy of one of my backlist books.