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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The June Bride

Posted by R. Ann Siracusa


“For 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 wife.”

How romantic! And romance is what weddings are all about. Nowadays.

There are many reasons for marrying in June—some of them pragmatic and some emotional—but it’s tradition in the western world.

Traditions usually evolve from past practices which had sound reasons for them at the time. They change with the times, and often people continue the tradition long after they have lost sight of the original purpose. [In time management, those are called Invisible Horses—another story.]

The tradition of the June wedding dates back to early times when the Romans celebrated the festival dedicated to Juno, the goddess of marriage and childbirth. Couples who married in June believed they would be blessed with happiness and prosperity. Even now, people believe that wedding in June brings them good luck, although history has little to do with the desire for many contemporary brides to want a June wedding.

In the southern Hemisphere, where the seasons are reversed, many countries favor December for wedding.

The spring time make sense for weddings. The weather in the northern hemisphere is best and flowers abound. It is the season of new beginnings…and a couple marrying in June will be allowed to pay a lower rate of income tax on their entire year’s earnings, at least in the US.

Through the middle ages, spring was the time when people emerged from indoors and took their annual bath. No kidding. Getting married when you and your partner are clean is a nice idea.

According to Dr. Roher’s blog “Getting married in June, in pre-contraceptive times, meant that children conceived from these unions would be born the following spring, increasing their chances of survival after the long—and often lean—winter months. Also spring births would not interfere with the fall harvest, which was the busiest time of the year for most people.”

Not exactly a romantic reason. But don’t forget—despite the fact that marriage has taken place in many forms throughout history, the idea of such unions for romantic love is a very recent concept.


Once a couple has decided on a June date for the wedding, the bride must find her dream dress. A beautiful white dress that makes her feel special. Some brides buy their dresses a year in advance. Amazing. Don’t they realize how much a woman’s shape can change in twelve months?

My teenage granddaughter got me hooked on the TV program “Say Yes To The Dress.” I’ve noticed that every bride on the show wants an attention-getting gown that says “Wow!” to everyone and is different from everyone else’s dress. And most want sexy, sexy, sexy.

Perhaps this is a reaction to the emancipation of women no longer being considered the father’s property to be given away in marriage for material gain and business or political reasons. That was one of the not-so-romantic aspects of marriage over the centuries.

At any rate, a lot of brides want to show off what they’ve got…and I don’t mean the groom.

How representative these brides are, I don’t know, but the new styles in wedding dresses seem to be moving away from traditional. Now, I’m really not sure what is meant by a traditional wedding dress—the term is tossed about like dry leaves in a windstorm—but I know there are current basic silhouettes for bridal attire [although the terms tend to overlap], including:

   ● Ball Gown                   
By Maggie Sottero
By Vera Wang (I don't think this bride survived)

      ● A-line                       ● Fit and Flare                 


   ●Trumpet               ● Mermaid

It seems that every dress is a variation on these basic shapes. On top of these silhouettes, there are dresses with tons of bling, others elegant in their simplicity. Designers do all kinds of things with fabrics, fronts, backs, sleeves, collars, waistlines, embellishments, length, color, and everything else they can think of. 


The runway shows for the 2015 designer collections excited with some new trends.

While most of the dresses are still strapless, there’s a good mix of cap sleeves or some variation on lace-covered arms, plus the practical spaghetti strap, and the gowns seem to be more and more revealing. These are some of the current trends.

Off the Shoulder Necklines
Capes and Collars          ● Backless
By Carolina Herrera                       By Ines Di Santo  

● Illusion Necklines           ● Plunging Necklines
   By Ines Di Santo                                    By J. Mendel
Photos by Maria Valentino/MCV Photo   

● Cut-Outs                                 ● Two-Piece Crop Tops 
    Lady Mary Charteris                        Photo by Maria Valentino/MCV Photo
          By Tara La Tour

Hemlines at various lengths             

● Convertible skirts

Hints of Color and Strong Color

By Theia                          By Dennis Basso

And Black

By Claire Pettibone              By Vera Wang
Photo by Maria Valentino


Throughout history and around the world, different religions and cultures favored different colors. Saffron was the color or choice for Roman weddings, black for Spanish and Scandinavian, and blue (purity) for Russian. Red, the color of good luck, has been the color of the wedding dress in China, India and other oriental countries.

But in western tradition, color and fabric have always reflected social status and the height of fashion. Dresses were chosen because they were the finest piece of clothing that the woman typically owned, and not for the color.

White first appeared at a royal wedding in 1406 when Philippa of England married in a white tunic and cloak trimmed in grey squirrel and ermine. Later, in 1559, Mary, Queen of Scotts, chose white for her wedding gown because it was her favorite color, even though it was the color of mourning for French Queens.

White for wedding dresses didn't become popular until 1840 after Queen Victoria's wedding to Albert of Saxe-Coburg, when she wore a white gown in order to incorporate some lace she prized. After that the color caught on with royalty, and eventually with upper class and the general public.

It wasn't until much later that many people assumed the color white was intended to symbolize virginity, although that was not the original intention. In fact, it was the color blue that was connected with purity.


My first blog on wedding dresses came about when the heroine of my romantic suspense series, Harriet Ruby, Tour Director Extraordinaire, went shopping for a wedding dress in southern Africa. I went searching for dresses and ran onto a lot of interesting information about bridal gowns. In that research, I came upon two dresses that I felt won the prize for the worst and second-worst wedding dresses.

This is an update on those. My winner is still tops because it’s a photo of a real person wearing the dress to a real wedding, not a runway model. Thanks to Pinterest Horrible Dresses (, I found a couple that are contenders.

If you are interested, this website is having a contest for the ugliest wedding dress.


                               And still my winner

Personally, I don’t think all the dresses nominated are ugly or hideous (although I’m not talking about any of the above). Inappropriate or outrageous are better descriptions, and since some of the photos appear to be staged, I have to wonder if the dresses were ever worn by anyone but the model. Do you have a wedding dress story to tell?


A secret prenuptial honeymoon, a hot air balloon safari, and a plot to kill the US president all come together at a Vatican wedding.

In my romantic suspense series, Tour Director Extraordinaire, the heroine, Harriet Ruby, while on a secret honeymoon in Africa, experiences problems between her wedding planner in Rome and her mother in California. The situation gives her more than one nightmare in the novel.


I'm Harriet Ruby, tour director extraordinaire. Finally, I'm tying the knot with Will Talbot, my favorite spy and the love of my life, despite my nagging concerns about his dangerous profession.

He could get killed!

I don't want my children to grow up with an absentee father...or a dead one, but Will's work is his calling. I can't ask him to give it up. When he holds me in his arms, I have no doubt he'll find a way to make everything right.

To avoid the huge Italian wedding my mother is planning in California, I jump at an offer to get married in the Vatican, only to learn my whole tribe is making the trip to Rome for the ceremony. Darn. Now, I'm stuck planning a big wedding in two months without help. I freak out totally when my boss cancels my vacation time scheduled for the honeymoon.

At Will's suggestion, we get married at city hall, hire a wedding planner, and then take off on our honeymoon before the church ceremony. The first leg of our trip is a hot air balloon safari in Africa—well, it sounded like fun at the time—but afterward, we'll have two quiet, relaxing weeks totally alone.

When a member of our tour is kidnapped, I learn Will accepted an assignment from the US government to keep the kidnap victim under surveillance—after he'd promised me his full attention. All my doubts about the marriage raise their ugly heads.

Have I jumped the gun? Sure, we love each other, but is that enough to make this marriage work?  It won't matter if we don't get out alive.


Beep, beep, beepty, boom.
I hate it when that happens.
Taking the phone from my pocket with one hand, I tapped Will on the shoulder to let him know where I was going, then rose and walked to the far side of the veranda.
“Hi, Mom?” At once left brain, ever on the alert to wreck a good buzz, warned me someday I would regret not setting different ring tones for my regular callers.
What someday?
“Hello, Harriet? Oh, I’m so glad I caught you.”
Worried, I bit into my lower lip to stifle an anxious gasp and my free hand flew to cover my heart. “Is Dad okay? Is everything all right?”
“Relax, we’re fine, dear.”
I blew out a relieved breath. “When I’m on a tour and you call, I’m always afraid something’s happened.”
 “Nothing’s wrong…exactly. I wanted to talk to you about…your wedding planner.”
I didn’t mean to groan. Really, I didn’t.
“Are you all right, Harriet?”
“Yes, Mom, I’m good, but I’m right in the middle of something.”
“I won’t keep you then, but, ah, I’d like you to check out the location Angelina’s selected for the reception. It’s some hotel I’ve never heard of. I can’t find it on the Inter—”
“The Hotel Foletto,” I interrupted, my patience beginning to fray. “I asked her to book the reception there. It’s close to the Vatican, and the owners are friends. They’ll do a fine job.”
I crossed my fingers.
“Oh?” She drew in a deep breath and let it out before she spoke again. “Well, maybe you should give them a call. When I phoned the woman who answered said they never—”
Mom! Why did you call the hotel? Angelina’s taking care of everything.”
I knew this would happen. How could I have believed Mom would be content to sit back and let someone else plan my wedding?
No way. She’d been working on it for over twenty years.
What planet did I live on?
“Please, Mom, let Angelina do the job we’re paying her for. Your job is to take care of packing and getting everyone to Rome on the right day. Do you have the airline reservations and all the information about the hotels?”
“And speaking of dresses...”
Had we been speaking of dresses? I didn’t think so.
“What about dresses?” I could barely force out the words.
“I don’t like the one Angelina is suggesting for you. Have you approved it yet?”
I shook my head at no one, envisioning myself walking down the aisle wearing a veil attached to a rhino horn. “No, I haven’t even seen it. I’ve been busy and haven’t touched base with her for a while. I presume she sent you a picture. What’s wrong with the dress?”
She sucked in a breath so indignant the vibes reached me halfway around the world. “It’s got a hoop skirt.”
My heart didn’t seize. My skin didn’t break into a cold sweat. No black dots formed in front of my eyes. Nothing. I must be missing something. “So?”
“Oh, Harriet. A hoop skirt? How are you going to sit in it? How will you use the rest room? You won’t fit into a limo or get close enough to Will to dance.”
Now, my apparition morphed into an inverted white ice cream cone with my head on the top, still bedecked with the rhino horn. Sighing with exasperation, my gaze skimmed the room to be sure no one could hear my half of this bizarre conversation.
“Okay, I’ll call her. Or maybe I should settle the matter and buy a dress here in Af—” Oops. I swallowed the word and clamped my lips together. Close call.
Focused on her own agenda, my mother didn’t indicate she’d noticed my near slip of the tongue. “And the worst thing is, she sent me some designer websites to check for my own dress.”
Ah, now she bit down hard on the real reason for her call. The real threat.
Employing one of Will’s favorite techniques to downplay her concern, I hummed. “Hmm, Angelina does have good taste, and she’s on top of fashion. Why don’t you at least check them out?”
Mom ignored my suggestion. “I thought it was cheeky of her to imply I couldn’t choose my own clothes without help.”
The end of Western civilization as we know it.
I loved my mother dearly, and most of the time she acted like the sane, rational, intelligent, and educated woman that she was. But when it came to my wedding, all bets were off. What had I been thinking?
“It wouldn’t hurt to take a look, anyway, Mom. Ask Aunt Connie her opinion. I’ve got to run now. Give my love to Dad and everyone. Bye.”
Later, in my dreams, I again sashayed down the long central aisle of St. Peter’s Basilica, this time flanked by a line of white rhinos in formal attire to my left and black rhinos in bow ties to my right. I wore a hooped skirt resembling half of a Styrofoam ball, a white lace bra, and pink and red Sketchers. Each time I took a step, the bottom rim of the hoop flew up and hit me in the nose.
When that happened, the Pope and a group of Cardinals waiting in front of Bernini’s canopy would whistle and shout catcalls. Beside them, Will waited for me, upright, eyes closed, and snoring.
Somewhere someone was playing Here Comes the Bride on an African thumb piano.
“Oh, no.” I groaned and rolled over.



Cara Marsi said...

Ann, thanks for the interesting info on weddings and for the pictures of the gowns. All beautiful except for the ugly ones at the end. I love your Tour Director Extraordinaire books!

Paris said...

I loved the post and the "unusual" takes on wedding gowns. To each his or her own:) Loved the excerpt!

vicki batman said...

Hi, Ann! You picked some really gorgeous ones, even the colors. And you found truly the ugliest ever. When that one went public a few years back, I showed Handsome the picture. He was aghast. (honest, that's the only word to describe his look and demeanor). Congratulations on your book.

jean hart stewart said...

I envy you your skill with getting so many pictures on the did you find all those and make sure they were ok to use? Would love to know that bit of info. Nice blog, as usual.

Melissa Keir said...

What a beautiful post! I loved the A-line dress. It's classy and very flattering to many body types! What a great cover. I wish you all the best!

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