June is the month for weddings. In Western culture, the tradition of marrying in June dates from Roman times, when early Romans celebrated the festival of Juno, the goddess of marriage and childbirth, on June first. As such, couples considered June to be a good time to marry. During the Victorian Era, weddings were held in June because of the availability of flowers. Some claim that because many people bathed only once a year, usually in the spring, brides chose June because they and their guests were still relatively clean. In the modern era, brides and grooms may select June for other reasons. Or they may choose not to wed in June, but at a time more convenient for them.
Interestingly, it appears that of the couples appearing in Nebraska Memories, many chose not to marry in June. According to the dates on the photographs, these couples wedded in months other than June. Or at least the photographs were not taken in June. So perhaps June was not a popular time for couples to wed in Nebraska. Unfortunately, we don’t know why couples chose their wedding dates. For some, it simply may have made more sense to marry in the dead of winter than to wait for warm summer days.
Having grown up among farmers and ranchers, where weddings were often squeezed in between planting and harvesting, haying or even hunting season, I think some couples wedded when they and their families had a free moment! In same cases, it appears couples married before the groom had to report to base or ship off to war.
Looking through Nebraska Memories, I found a variety of wedding-related photographs. For the most part, they are of brides and grooms, wedding venues and wedding parties. Many are studio portraits of brides and grooms, but a few are less formal. No, not the candid shots that we’re used to seeing of brides feeding cake to their grooms or children dancing! But smiling and relaxed couples, standing with friends or sitting in their cars.
While we don’t know the fate of the couples featured in this post, we do know what happened to one: Ben and Katherine Homan of David City, Nebraska, who married on November 22, 1901. According to the notes attached to this photograph, they raised nine children and operated Homan Appliance store. A colleague did some digging and discovered they had many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Visit Nebraska Memories to search for or browse through many more historical images digitized from photographs, negatives, postcards, maps, lantern slides, books and other materials.
Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see for more information, contact Devra Dragos Technology & Access Services Director.