Weather on your wedding day
A couple of years ago I was reading an article about A Wedding Where They Guarantee Service. You paid your money, and it was quite a lot I think, to hire a meteorologist and a cloud seeding aeroplane. Do know what cloud seeding is? It's been used for a long time in countries like Italy and the USA, where a certain times the year you can get extreme thunderstorms which can destroy crops. When dangerous thunderclouds formed they would "cede" the clouds with iodine crystals. These tiny crystals attracted water droplets from the mist of the clouds, forming them into big enough crops to form rain. As soon as some rain was formed in this way the whole cloud would start to rain, but in relatively gentle and controlled manner. In this way the cloud was depleted of its moisture before it built up to such an extent that it would form thunderclouds and devastating downpours.
From time to time we get request to have an outdoor ceilidh. Although this dance band is photographed outdoors and has done an occasional outdoor event, his is a very dangerous idea for the UK, where it can rain the win can start blowing at a moments notice, and just can't pack up a ceilidh band with all its equipment to move inside in a few minutes. In general my response is that the band will not play outside, or because it has to be in an open sided marquee so that only the guests get soaked and not all the barn dance bands electrical equipment. But perhaps I could add £10,000 to the price for an outdoor ceilidh and get one of these cloud seeding companies to guarantee the weather.
In Italy, when I was a young boy staying with Italian part of my family in the North country, they used to fire artillery type shelves up into the clouds, where they would explode and distribute the iodine crystals. More commonly nowadays, the crystals are spray from an aircraft flying above through the clouds. So this was the technique used by these "perfect wedding with a guarantee companies". Their job is to seed the clouds downwind of the wedding venue, to make the rainfall before the venue and the clouds disperse. It sounds rather iffy to me, but for some people it's worth anything to try and get the perfect weather for their wedding day. Personally I think it's much better to instruct everybody to take heavy raincoats and umbrellas and welly boots for the wedding, and if they'd do that en masse, it's bound to be a sweltering hot day isn't it! Imagine playing outside as a string quartet, like this all female quartet pictured standing under a tree, when the heavens opened!
It is a general belief that life-giving sunshine benefits brides. 'Happy the bride the sun shines on' is as saying in many languages. A Parsee bride traditionally looks towards the sun as she is dressed on her wedding morning; in the Scottish Highlands there is evidently a tradition for the bride walked 'with the sun' from east to west on the south side of the church which she circled three times sunwise to honour the source of all life. (Although I have read about this tradition, having lived on the West Coast of Scotland for 15 years, I find it rather hard to believe. Much of the year, particularly during the summer when the Sassenach's come on holiday, the rain is typically so heavy that it would be lucky for the bride to be able to find the church yet alone know which way the sun is coming from.) To neglect this ritual invited calamity, so it was said, but my view is that to fail to run into the church without getting soaked is much more likely to cause calamity.
The Chaco Indians of South America don't consider a marriage be ratified until the sun has shone upon the feet of the newlyweds the next morning. (If the sun doesn't shine the next morning because of the heavy clouds, to the couple just say "that was a fun night, cheerio for now"?) Worse still, a solar eclipse on the wedding day naturally suggests darkening fortunes to come. Fortunately there are not many solar eclipses, but I expect the priests, who typically used intimate knowledge of solar and stellar events to demonstrate their supernatural powers and keep the population under control, could use their knowledge of an upcoming eclipse to cause misery for anyone they took against.
Clearly I have the same magical powers as the South American Indian priests, because some years ago we played outside for weddings with my string quartet on so many occasions when we were all being blinded by the brilliant sunshine, that I invested in a pair of prescription sunglasses. I wore them once, and the sun is hardly ever shone again on the wedding day. Perhaps if the string quartet gathered around the sunglasses and ceremonially burned them, the British weather would improve.
Perhaps another folklore that could be introduced or invented for the benefit of Midsummer Music, would be to offer trad. jazz bands to play for wedding receptions. This kind of jazz originated amongst black Americans in the late 1800s, in the southern states of America, so one could market the band and the tradition of bringing New Orleans sunshine to the wedding, guaranteed!
The sun is widely regarded as a powerful stimulant to sex, (not surprisingly, have you ever had sex in the freezing cold? It's not a lot of fun), hence the belief that those of the Latin and negro races, from hot countries, are more virile and passionate than the fair-skinned. (Hardly fair on the Eskimos, or should I say Inuit's, who in their ancient culture evidently indulged in sex as a training event from a very early age. I suppose you had to have a way of surviving 6 months of continuous darkness and blizzards, in an igloo, without television. I'm told, though never experienced it, that an igloo, though made of ice, is remarkably warm. And I suppose snuggle down on a polar bear rug, it could be quite nice. There is hotel, that is built or rather, rebuilt each year, in the north of Norway within the Arctic Circle. Is constructed entirely of ice, with ice furniture, ice beds, ice walls, floors and ceilings. I gather is very popular for wedding couples, and it's also available as part of the Hurtigruten cruises up the Norwegian coast, to see the Northern lights. I would have thought it would make an amazing honeymoon, and I'm told that the ice bed really is quite warm with all the first Kinsley was on top. (I've been on the springtime cruise up the Norwegian coast, and is absolutely amazing, but the information on the ice hotel comes from some friends who have been on cruise, not honeymooners, they have been married for many years.)
The modern liking by men for a suntan and the general use of sunlamps (also said to stimulate the male sexual drive) are other contemporary expressions of this old superstition. (Also good for producing vitamin D!)
Wedding-day snow, symbolically suggesting a rain of riches (or perhaps troubles so light as to be barely perceptible) is fortunate; the Japanese believe that it is particularly lucky for the bride to carry flowers plucked in snow by a maiden friend. (This must relate only some parts of Japan, as the 3000 mile North-South running chain of islands that constitute the country, runs from close on the Arctic circle to close on to the equator, so the northern parts are well used to snow in the southern parts will never have seen it.)
I don't know about wedding day snow being symbolic of a rain of riches, but I do know that the only time that my ceilidh band failed to get to wedding, with some years ago when it snowed suddenly and heavily and the police close all the roads into the Cotswolds from the north, south, east and west. It was terrible feeling not to be able to get to the wedding, but speaking to the bride and groom on the phone, who had been at the wedding venue for a couple of days, it seemed that none of the guests been able to get there either, so the poor couple were virtually alone for their wedding day. I hope they're extremely rich now, otherwise the superstition will be invalidated.
Rain on the day not surprisingly signifies tears ahead; (which is rather a stupid custom for the UK, when it seems to me that over the last few years the weather has intentionally rained every Saturday for months on end, with sunshine appearing during the week to tease the bride and grooma. I could understand if this weather had only started since the vote for Brexit , as I have a horrible feeling that this action will prove the saying correct!)
In Sweden rain falling on the bridal wreath is seen as a beneficent anointing. (At least the Swedish are sensible about the rain!) A thunderstorm during the marriage service condemns the couple to childlessness. (Perhaps not.) I don't know about condemning the couple to childlessness, but one experience of my string quartet it certainly condemned the couple and all the guests to foodlessness. The wedding was in a marquee, there was the most spectacular thunderstorm shortly after we started to play. We kept playing through the storm, being careful to make sure that we played will write notes so that God didn't strike us down with a thunderbolt, but he did seem to strike down the caterers cooking equipment. There was no power for a couple of hours in the caterers could do nothing. I recollection is that the bride and groom got us to play for extra time, entertaining the wedding guests until power (I think the people who maintain should be regarded as national heroes, instead of all the griping about the electricity companies), was restored. I suppose you could regard it as being beneficial anointing, as in the superstition, as they got to hear more music from our string quartet and also having to wait for the food was probably good for their waistlines.
Across America the wedding day is the 'bride's day' and its weather, hour by hour, reflects the coming pattern of her life. A fine morning and a stormy afternoon portend a tranquil beginning but difficulties later. The following day is the groom's, with portents for him, and the third day, belonging to the pair together, reveals their future life — sunny and placid, lowering and quarrelsome. (No wonder getting married in sunny climes is such a popular thing these days. It seems rather dangerous to get married in the typical English climate.)