Timing is everything for weddings

My brother Greg and his new bride Denise got married at the beginning of June. It was a beautiful and touching ceremony. The event was outdoors, and although the forecast earlier in the week warned of possible rain, the weather was perfect.

Of course when it is your wedding day, any weather seems to fit. I can say confidently that families and friends in attendance were and are happy for them. May they be blessed with a long and loving life together.

As it turns out, The Retro Brothers have been asked to play during a wedding service on an upcoming June weekend. The bride-to-be and groom (Or should it be groom-to-be?) wanted some songs by Paul McCartney played during the ceremony.

Well, he wasn’t available, so they asked Retro Dan and me if we could do a reasonable imitation, and we agreed to give it a go. We are always happy to be a part of a joyous June wedding occasion.

The month of June has long been associated with the rite of marriage. In fact, the tradition goes back at least to Roman times and the goddess Juno who, among her other roles, ruled as the goddess of marriage and childbirth.

Statistically, 10.8 percent of all weddings occur in June making it the most popular month for weddings. August at 10.2 percent is the second most popular while May at 9.7 percent comes in third. If you are looking for a month when space for your nuptials is most readily available, January at 4.7 percent is your best bet.

Aside from the blessings of Juno, a more practical reason has been offered for June as a good month to get hitched. Assuming the bride conceived soon after the June wedding, she would give birth during the spring.

As one source put it, “…this would allow her enough time to recover before the fall harvest.” For similar reasons, many agricultural societies considered October and November as opportune times for marriage since the harvest would be essentially complete.

June also is a month when flowers are abundant, and flowers since ancient times have been part of wedding ceremonies. This connection of flowers and June weddings has led to certain myths that continue to be handed down from generation to generation.

It is said that in Medieval times people took their annual bath in May for May Day celebrations. The theory was that a month later the wedding couple would still be somewhat fresh and, with the addition of flower bouquets, their June wedding would be a relatively sweet-smelling affair.

Researcher Melissa Snell, however, has shown that the idea of our ancestors taking but one bath a year is a persistent but false one with no basis in the historical record.

“Most people washed on a regular basis. Going without washing was considered a penance even in the early Middle Ages,” She writes. Soap had been invented before Christ’s time and was widespread in Europe.

Bathhouses also were available during this period.

“The prospect of going a full month without washing, and then appearing at her wedding with a bouquet of flowers to hide her stench is not something a medieval bride was likely to consider any more than a modern bride would.”

I assume that would have gone for medieval grooms-to-be, as well.

Marriage is a good thing. Married men and women are more likely to live longer and be physically and mentally healthier than their single counterparts. They are more likely to recover from illnesses quicker and more successfully. They are likely to be happier. Whether in June or January, weddings can be the start of something good.

Norman Knight, a retired Clark-Pleasant Middle School teacher, writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.