June and Weddings

cffblog6.jpgJune 1, 2017 (Thursday)

The month of June begins today. June is thought to be the month for weddings, and it leads all other months in the number of weddings, but not as much as seems to be generally believed. Less than 11% of weddings each year are conducted in June. Not far behind is August, followed by September, then October. The fewest weddings in any given year fall in January.

When I read those statistics, I checked my wedding records, and, sure enough, my percentages are very similar to those officially reported by government agencies. I have performed 362 weddings, and 39 of them have taken place in the month of June. That's 10.77%, just as the public statistics state in the above paragraph, "less than 11%." Amazing. My monthly list follows the pattern above, except for January, which comes between August and September in frequency, possibly because I live in a winter resort.*

The phrase, "June Bride," seems to be a popular phrase.

What follows in this blog today was written in 2014 by Cindy Packard on the Topeka-Shawnee Public Library website. She gives us material that may explain why June is a popular wedding month:

The month of June derives its name from Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage. It was thought that couples who married in June would be blessed with prosperity and happiness.

During medieval times a person's annual bath (yes, you read that right -- just one really thorough bath per year!) usually fell in May or June, meaning that June brides still smelled relatively fresh. The brides would have smelled more pleasant then than before but just to be safe, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide their body odor. Hence the custom of carrying a bouquet when walking down the aisle!

On a practical note, others chose June in order to time conception so births wouldn't interfere with harvest work.

Also, ancient tradition promoted it would be most unlucky to marry in the month of May because in Roman times the Feast of the Dead and the Festival of the Goddess of Chastity both occurred in May. (I doubt that husbands would be too inclined to want their new partners mourning lost loves on their honeymoon!)

The real reason in today's economy may be far more practical. If a person marries in June, he or she is considered to have been a married person for the whole financial year: July 1 to June 30. As a married person was thought to have greater obligations than a single person, the rate of income tax collected was lower. So by marrying in June, a lower rate of income tax would be applied to the year's earnings, and a substantial refund would be received. This was traditionally used to defray the costs of the honeymoon.

The 1948 movie "June Bride," starring Bette Davis and Robert Montgomery, reinforced the connection of weddings and the month of June.

The 1954 musical "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" continued to reinforce this tradition with the song "June Bride."
  "Oh, they say when you marry in June you're a bride all your life,
  and the bridegroom who marries in June gets a sweet-heart for a
  Winter weddings can be gay like a Christmas holiday,
  but the JUNE BRIDE hears the song of a spring that lasts all summer
  By the light of the silvery moon, home you ride side by side
  with the echo of Mendelssohn's tune in your hearts as you ride.
  For they say when you marry in June you will always be a bride."

* Here are all the weddings I have ever done, by month: Jan 28, Feb 45, Mar 26, Apr 22, May 30, Jun 39, Jul 26, Aug 30, Sep 26, Oct 17, Nov 39, Dec 34.



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