“Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.” — (Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richard’s Almanac, June 1738
There are a variety of ancient reasons why we have so many June weddings and very few of them have to do with romance. The month of June is named for the Roman goddess of marriage and childbirth. Juno was thought to watch over women and protect them, especially during childbirth. So a June wedding was a way to honor her and court her good favor.
Until fairly recently, most people had to organize their lives around the agricultural schedule. By June some crops were far enough along to provide fresh food the wedding feast. Plus, it was a slower month and the warmer weather made travelling easier and safer. In the spring everyone was busy planting. Later in the summer and into the fall everyone was busy harvesting and preserving food for the long winter.
There was another agriculturally driven reason for a June wedding. Assuming the wife would conceive shortly after the wedding, the baby would arrive after the worse of the winter but before the heavy work began to pick up for the spring planting.
Additionally, in the northern hemisphere, the days are longest in June. This meant more daylight for travelling and more time for celebrating the blessed event.
Then there’s the hygiene issue. Our ancient ancestors did not have the luxuries of indoor private bathrooms with running water and tubs or showers. Most people had to make do with a good scrub in May. Most folks still smelled fairly decent in June. If they didn’t, there would surely be flowers available to mask any unpleasant odors.
The agricultural cycles of old still influence life today. Most school calendars reflect the farmers need to have children available to help with the crops over the summer growing season. Today, when so many families are scattered across the globe, couples who want relatives and friends with children at their wedding pick a summer month when the children are out of school.
Also, guests who must travel to participate, sometimes get lower airfares in June. Some wedding destinations offer off-season rates in June. This would certainly be true for mountain venues that count on snow and ski traffic. But it can also be true for resorts in more tropical climates where the summer sun is already over-heating resorts.
Up next, where did the term honeymoon originate? Hint: It wasn’t about a romantic get away starting the night of the wedding.
Roman goddess Juno was thought to watch over women and children.