"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 labour 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".
The actual wedding, ceremony was officiated by the priest or civil authority. Old Church tradition and folklore warned against marrying unfavorably, and forbade marriage during Lent and Advent. Marriage was also avoided in the months of May and August. Ancient tradition thought May to be an unlucky month to marry because Romans times the Feast of the Dead and the Festival of the Goddess of Chastity both occurred in May. August was thought to invite bad luck and sickness.
It was thought that misfortune would come to those who married during lent - "Marry in Lent, live to repent" - because lent was a time for abstinence. Leap Year day had not recognition in English law; it was leapt over thus ignored. It was considered that this day had no legal status; it was reasonable that traditions also had no importance. Consequently, women who were concerned about being left alone took advantage of this anomaly and proposed to the man they wished to marry.
It was also thought that since the leap year day corrected the discrepancy between the calendar year of 365 days and the time taken for the Earth to complete one orbit of the sun (365 days and 6 hours), it was an opportunity for women to correct a tradition that was one-sided and unjust.
For centuries the month of June has been the most popular choice for weddings - but the original reason might surprise you. You see, during the 1400-1500s, May was the month in which the "annual bath" occurred. Yes, just as it sounds, back then people were only able to bathe thoroughly once each year. As such, the over-all population was smelling relatively fresh in June, making it a good time to hold a special event like a wedding! Further, the month of June is named after the goddess Juno, who was the Roman counterpart to Hera, the goddess of the hearth and home, and patron of wives.
Sunday used to be the most popular wedding day, as it was the one-day most people were free from work. Puritans in the Seventeenth Century put a stop to this; however, believing it was improper to be festive on the Sabbath.
This famous poem would assist the bride on her wedding date choice:
Mondays for health,
Tuesdays for wealth,
Wednesday best of all,
Thursday for losses,
Friday for crosses,
Saturday for no luck at all.
A superstitious bride would set her wedding during a time when the moon is growing fuller and her ceremony for a time when the hands of the clock are on the rise.
The weather on the wedding day has also some meaning. Bad weather on the way to the wedding is believed to signify unhappiness in the marriage.
Traditionally it is believed that cloudy skies and wind en route to the wedding will result in a stormy marriage. However, snow on the way to the wedding is a sign of fertility and prosperity!