A June Tribute to Weddings Near and Far

Hanoi, Barcelona, New York City, San Francisco, Jakarta, Hong Kong, Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Kansas City

As the song says, June is bustin’ out all over. With soft breezes and fragrant scents turning one’s thoughts to romance, it’s not surprising that June is the traditional month for weddings.

The tradition goes back to Roman times. Juno (for whom the month is named) was the wife of Jupiter. She was the protector of women and goddess of marriage and childbirth, so it was auspicious to have a wedding in Juno’s month. It also meant that children conceived after June weddings would be born the following spring, increasing their chances for survival in the ancient world.

Today, of course, weddings take place throughout the year. David and I were married in December. Our parents married in October and April, and my sister’s wedding took place in February. In Viet Nam and many places around the world, the couple’s horoscopes determine the most auspicious wedding date. And some modern couples dispense with tradition and sentiment, scheduling their weddings based on the availability of the perfect venue.

The first photo

On a cold January day in Hanoi, David and I were touring the Temple of Literature, northern Viet Nam’s eleventh-century Temple of Confucius and Imperial Academy, with our friend Carol Porter. Suddenly a young woman in a lovely white wedding dress, accompanied by a young man in a dark suit, emerged from among the tourists in jeans and parkas. The sight was so incongruous that I snapped a few photos. Those photos became the inspiration for a somewhat random collection of brides and grooms having formal pictures taken in often-iconic public spaces in Europe, Asia and the U.S.

To honor Juno, this month seems like the perfect time to share my collection of wedding pictures from around the world. Grab a glass of champagne and toast the happy couples!

A bride and groom walk in front of an arch at Hanoi's Temple of Literature

HANOI, TEMPLE OF LITERATURE, 2005: Raise a glass to the first wedding couple I spotted at an iconic tourist site.

A laughing bride sits on steps in the Temple of Literature in Hanoi as the photographer walks toward the bride and groom

HANOI, TEMPLE OF LITERATURE, 2005: The bride was definitely amused by something. I wonder what the groom and photographer were thinking.

Wedding guests at the church door in Barcelona.

BARCELONA, 2008: Wedding guests wait for the bride.

A bride, seen from the back at the foot of the church steps, with guests watching on the right and two little girls on the left.

BARCELONA, 2008: And here she comes as other guests look on.

Blond bride in a strapless dress and black sash steps into her limo while her photographer records the moment in New York City

NEW YORK CITY, 2012: Tattoos, boots and all, the bride brought her own paparazzi along for her big day.

Man climbing light pole to hang a wedding dress on the Embarcadero street sign in San Francisco.

THE EMBARCADERO, SAN FRANCISCO, 2012: This was a new one to me — the dress without the bride.

Wedding dress hanging from street sign in San Francisco with three people on the right taking photos.

THE EMBARCADERO, SAN FRANCISCO, 2012: The photographers do their magic. I wish I knew the real story. Maybe it’s for an ad, not a wedding. Any thoughts?

A group of four bright red and yellow signs honoring a bridal couple.

JAKARTA, 2012: Here’s a custom I had never seen before, signs and flowers on a busy street to honor a bride and groom being married nearby. I hope Marco and Rica had a lovely wedding — and a happy marriage!

Photographer in a turquoise shirt takes a picture of a wedding couple along a colonnade in Hong Kong.

HONG KONG, 2012: Making sure everything is perfect, the bride and groom adjust her bouquet while the photographer snaps away.


Five women in short white dresses and one in a long fluffy gown, walk along the sea wall at Sutro Baths in San Francisco with a male photographer in a pink shirt and another photographer in a red shirt.

SAN FRANCISCO, 2013: Back home in San Francisco on a sunny January day we happened upon a bride and her attendants having their photos taken along the sea wall between the ruins of Sutro Baths and the ocean.

On a street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a photographer snaps a photo of a formally dressed wedding party.

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, 2013: This photo was taken across the street from Smorgasburg in Williamsburg, the largest open-air food market in America and one of the premier foodie hangouts in Brooklyn. It’s also just a block from the East River and fabulous views of Manhattan. So why were they using this parking garage as a backdrop?

A bridal couple kiss near a white Rolls on the right and the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory and tourists on the left

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, 2013: The same afternoon we found another couple having their wedding photos taken, this time under the Brooklyn Bridge. The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory in the background is a great place to stop after you walk across the bridge from Manhattan (or after you change back into your street clothes).

A wedding party has their photo taken near the Bay Bridge and Cupid's Arrow in San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO, 2013: Cupid’s Span, the Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen installation along the Embarcadero, is the perfect setting for a wedding photo.

The Conservatory of Flowers is the background for this families wedding photos

SAN FRANCISCO, 2014: On an excursion to the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, I came upon this family gathering for their wedding photos.

Bride and groom with parents in the middle of Times Square in New York.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, 2015: This couple is starring in their own Broadway production with a supporting cast and the lights of Times Square for a set.

Wedding party, with women in wine colored gowns and men in suits, at the Museum of Art in Kansas City.

KANSAS CITY, 2016: Wedding photos taken in public places are not just a coastal phenomenon. This group looked ready for the big event on a fall afternoon at the The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Bride and groom sitting on a swing look at each other as the photographer in the foreground takes their photo.

LOS ANGELES, 2017: This photo is a bit of a cheat because David and I were guests at the wedding of my niece Beth and her husband Bill last June. They were the only June wedding in this entire batch of pictures. Happy anniversary, Beth and Bill!

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  1. Dear Ellen
    Really enjoyed this. Thank you for sharing.

  2. In China, the first week of May is very important for weddings. We saw them all over We were even invited as a guest when we were in the same restaurant. It was viewed as good luck for the wedding couple. They insisted on taking photos with us.

    In Cesaria ruins in Israel we saw both orthodox Jewish weddings and Muslim wedding taking place.

    Joining of hearts, to create a family, is universal.

  3. Great pics! Once again, we realize we’re all different—just the same.

  4. Thanks Nino, Sandy and David. It was fun to collect the pictures over time. It’s been more than a dozen years now. Nino, can you help us find a wedding procession in India? That’s what’s missing from this collection!

  5. We are a June wedding couple, celebrating 25 years on the 26th. We picked our date because Having accountants on both sides, the date had to be after April 15th. Then my Chinese mother in law said we to pick a date 30 days or more after May 20th, because some relative died and it was bad luck. Hence a June wedding.

    • Congrats on your 25th! Your story fills out the Juno tale … apparently in ancient times May was a month with rituals that commemorated the dead, so no weddings. By June all the hot young couples were more than ready to get married!


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