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The Tradition of the June Bride

June 1, 2016

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When it comes to weddings, folklore and superstitions abound.

Why is is that June is the most popular month to marry in western culture? The reasons are many, starting with the most practical of all: If a bride married in June, she was more likely to give birth to her first child in early spring, giving her plenty of time to recover before the fall harvest.

Many sources say that the tradition of the June bride actually began in ancient Roman times. The month of June is named for the Roman goddess Juno. Juno, wife of Jupiter, was not only thought of in connection with feminine vitality, fertility and considered a protectress of Roman women, but also considered the equivalent of Hera, the Greek goddess of love and marriage.

It is also often cited that the popularity of a June wedding in European tradition is because bathing was much less frequent during middle ages than in modern times. During this time period bathing was thought by many to increase the chance of disease so nobility tended to only bathe monthly or a few times a year. The peasant class might only bathe once a year, if that often and that bath usually happened in late spring. So it made sense to marry in June because people would have smelled better for their weddings. Brides also carried bouquets of fragrant herbs and flowers to help keep everything smelling sweet.

Another reason for the popularity of June weddings stems from Europe during medieval times. Of course, because Europe was predominantly Christian, a wedding would not have taken place during Lent (which is still true in many modern churches) and the banns have been read over at least three consecutive regular Sunday masses. This meant one had to wait until late spring to marry, after the banns had cleared. The banns was an announcement of the intention to marry and an opportunity for anyone to put forward a reason why the marriage may not lawfully take place.  Banns were (and still are in some places) read out in the main Sunday service in the parish where the bride lives as well as the church where is groom lived if that is in another parish.

Luckily, bathing came into vogue during the eighteenth century, but the tradition of carrying flowers was carried on and during the Regency era brides often wore flowered wreaths on their heads. During the Victorian era Floriography (the cryptological use of various flowers to communicate specific meaning) was gaining popularity in many parts of Europe and of course one would want to communicate the correct sentiments for one’s wedding. Therefore, it stands to reason that weddings would most commonly take place when the best selection of fresh flowers would be available.

The availability of fresh flowers continued influencing the season of weddings until fairly modern times, when flowers became available year round because of the use of airplanes in shipping. With the idea of locally sourcing fresh flowers coming back into fashion, we don’t see the popularity of a June wedding going away anytime soon and we are excited to see the influx of wedding pictures on social media that are certain to be posted soon!

Best wishes to all the soon-to-be June brides!

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