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Home --> Weddings --> Wedding Customs --> Choosing the Date

Choosing the Date

Superstition:   The lore and symbolism surrounding the dates deemed luckiest for weddings.

Origins:   The choice of month, day, and even time to hold a wedding are said to influence the union. Some periods are seen as more auspicious than others, and some are said to bode no good for man nor beast.

The Month:   May Calendar is the unluckiest month for weddings. This belief dates back at least two thousands years, and it is still observed today, with numerous wedding planners avoiding this 31-day span at all costs.

May's evil-omened reputation comes from Roman times. They associated the month with offerings to the dead, and mourning clothes were customarily worn.

Lent (the period between Ash Wednesday and Holy Saturday) is also deemed ill-omened, as is the period of Advent (the span from the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas until Christmas Eve). Marrying during Advent and Lent was at one time prohibited by the Church, likely explaining the residual bad luck associations those periods have for the marriage-minded.

As for choosing a month:
Married in January's hoar and rime,
Widowed you'll be before your prime.

Married in February's sleepy weather,
Life you'll tread in time together.

Married when March winds shrill and roar,
Your home will be on a distant shore.

Married beneath April's changing skies,
A checkered path before you lies.

Married when bees over May blossoms flit,
Strangers around your board will sit.

Married in the month of roses — June,
Life will be one long honeymoon.

Married in July with flowers ablaze,
Bittersweet memories on after days.

Married in August's heat and drowse,
Lover and friend in your chosen spouse.

Married in September's golden glow,
Smooth and serene your life will go.

Married when leaves in October thin,
Toil and hardship for you gain.

Married in veils of November mist,
Fortune your wedding ring has kissed.

Married in days of December cheer,
Love's star shines brighter from year to year.

June's fine weather makes it the choice of discerning brides, but the reason for its good press in the world of lore has to do with who it's named for. Juno was the Roman goddess of marriage, so it only makes sense that the month named for her would be deemed propitious for all brides.

The Day:   Certain Holy Days are said to be ill-favored to start a marriage on. Childermas (December 28) is deemed an unfortunate day for any new enterprise, including weddings. Maundy Thursday is unlucky all on its own, even without being part of Easter week. St. Swithin's Day (July 15) is often avoided. Opinion is divided about St. Thomas' Day (December 21): Some say a gal wed on that day will soon be a widow, but others point to the shortness of the day, claiming it "left less time for repentance," meaning man and wife joined then would be less likely than other couples to regret their choice.

Couples are cautioned to avoid choosing a date that marks one of their birthdays.

Especially lucky days for weddings are:
January:   2, 4, 11, 19, 21.
February:   1, 3, 10, 19, 21.
March:   3, 5, 13, 20, 23.
April:   2, 4, 12, 20, 22.
May:   2, 4, 12, 20, 23.
June:   1, 3, 11, 19, 21.
July:   1, 3, 12, 19, 21, 31.
August:   2, 11, 18, 20, 30.
September:   1, 9, 16, 18, 28.
October:   1, 8, 15, 17, 27, 29.
November:   5, 11, 13, 22, 25.
December:   1, 8, 10, 19, 23, 29.
Which day of the week is chosen is also deemed important. As a well-known rhyme puts it:
Monday for wealth,
Tuesday for health,
Wednesday the best day of all.
Thursday for losses,
Friday for crosses,
And Saturday no luck at all.
(A similar rhyme exists for births, foretelling the fate of the child born on any particular day of the
week.)

Divination rhymes are fluid creatures, though, and this one is no exception. In other versions, a Wednesday marriage is said to foretell poverty. Thursday is usually seen as ill-favored, but every now and then a rhyme is encountered in which it is touted as lucky.

Friday is considered ill-starred for the beginning of any new venture (not just marriages), yet sometimes the influence of Freya (the Norse goddess who the day was named for) is thought to negate the bad, at least as far as marriages are concerned.

Though Saturday weddings have come to achieve an unparalled level of popularity in modern times, they were once said to presage the early demise of one of the pair.

One last word about the choice of day: Whatever date is chosen, once set it should not be altered.

The Time:   It is auspicious to exchange vows while the clock's hands are rising. Therefore, weddings taking place before noon (while the clock's hour hand is rising, from the six towards the twelve) are lucky, and doubly so if the key part of the ceremony is reached while the minute hand is ascending from the half-hour towards the hour. An 11:32 A.M. plighting, therefore, would be set to attract good fortune to the union.

The opposite is also held as true: marriages contracted while the clock hands are falling will pull in bad luck. And yes, this goes double if the hour and minute hands are diving, making, say, a 4:15 P.M. joining especially ill-starred.

Few tie the knot after dark, which is just as well, considering the ill-luck a dark-hours wedding is said to draw to its newlyweds. To marry after dark is to foreshadow a troubled married life, children who die prematurely, or an early death for this new husband and wife.

Barbara "knight fall" Mikkelson

Last updated:   27 June 2005

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  Sources Sources:
    Hole, Christina.   The Encyclopedia of Superstitions.
    New York: Barnes & Noble, 1996.   ISBN 0-76070-228-4.

    Opie, Iona and Moira Tatem.   A Dictionary of Superstitions.
    Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.   ISBN 0-19-282-916-5.

    Pickering, David.   Dictionary of Superstitions.
    London: Cassell, 1995.   ISBN 0-304-345350.

    Tuleja, Tad.   Curious Customs.
    New York: Harmony Books, 1987.   ISBN 0-517-56654-0.