Why is Nautical Wedding Theme so Popular?
It’s wedding season, so it seems appropriate to spend more than one post on this important, although (at least lately) a bit old-fashioned subject. At our last meeting I was discussing about the average cost of wedding. Now I want to make one step further and go into details. I noticed themed weddings are becoming more and more popular. Some are related with certain sort of flowers (for instance roses, orchids, fleur-de-lis etc.), other on colors (for instance purple, yellow, pink etc.) and other on something else (for instance tropic, beach, etc.).
Nautical Wedding Theme is among these. I was wandering why, because I don’t think so many girls marry sailors. One obvious reason is probably combination of white (traditional color for weddings) and blue (symbolizes cleanness, purity) look really great and wedding day is of course one of those occasions when everybody wants to look great.
But there must be more. And there is. At least I think I have found more in symbolism of elements which are most often used on wedding themed decoration, favors, bridal showers, even cakes (!) and so on. So when you’ll get a themed invitation, you’ll already know what all the cute symbols mean. Here are only some, but probably enough to get the first grip:
Anchor – one of the most powerful symbols represents safety, stability, with an anchor boat is safely tied in a harbor, dangers are over and after stormy life of a bachelor it is time for new experience of marriage where the concerns are split and joys are multiplied.
Boat – it’s a symbol of traveling together, helping each other, sharing benefits and helping at accidents, what is especially clear from the saying: we are in this boat together, meaning: we are it this situation together, we are not enemies, if one goes down, everybody goes down, if one succeed, everybody succeed
Compass – it always carries the power of four cardinal directions, where east and west as the starting and ending point of the sun are the most important of all, because sun in all cultures represents life, hope, happiness, youth and immortality what can all be found in successful marriage.
Fish – being a water creature, it is immediately associated with mystery, inspiration, faith and transformation, but also with life and fertility; different religions have different perspective of fish, but it seems each one sees it as a very powerful and positive symbol, especially in Japan with Koi fish, energetic creatures, often swimming in pairs.
Knot – knots are tied with marriage forever, we all heard a saying about a wedding knot, which symbolizes connection, family, union and even immortality, knots as sort of protection with practical and aesthetic features have magical powers in many cultures and are of course essential par of every seaman’s education.
Lighthouse – lighthouse represents hope, safety and spiritual development, it is a sign of welcoming, guidance, positive expectations, expansion of social circles, it is also in relation with plans for the future, it promises new opportunities and calmer waters after the stormy and disorganized life of a single person.
Lobster – it symbolizes determination and strength, thanks to moulting lobster is also strongly associated with change and regeneration, and as predator we can connect it with protection and difficulties what can be fused into one, with marriage easily related word: challenge.
Map – look at nautical chart.
Mermaid – mermaids symbolize seduction, mysterious, often dangerous adventures for travelers and the promise of outrageous treasure to all who will be able to defy their charms and wisely use their powers in their favor, they are connected with beauty, love and persuasion.
Nautical chart – you don’t have to be an expert in symbolism with this one, it is clear that every voyage with a map stands much better chance for success than a simple trip without one, and marriage is exactly tha – a voyage, with many ups and downs, numerous curbs, unpredictable deadlocks, sometimes even without a clear goal, but always with a faithful companion to rely on.
Octopus – it is associated with creativity, flexibility and intelligence, what all is needed to survive in the sees and succeed in the marriage, thanks to eight tentacles it is also strongly connected with number eight, the number of power, so octopus was used for many centuries as a symbol of protection as well.
Seahorse – it has different meanings in different cultures but in general it is a very positive sign, related with friendliness, persistence and sharing, despite its fragile look it is also associated with strength and power, sailors consider it as a lucky charm.
Sextant – important tool for navigation, relation with marriage, if it is understood as a voyage, is obvious, maybe we could add Freemasons used a square and compasses with arch which looks like sextant, but is more universal tool, suitable only for skilled builders and was reserved for Past Masters only.
Shell – shell represents something enclosed, limited, can be explained as prison, but it also carries a huge potential, because after opening, shells also represent luxury (they were used as currency in many cultures and in some they still are) and protection (marriage is of course related with family and safety).
Ship (it is not the same as boat!) – travel, good news, material goods, romance, journey, one thing all ships have in common is their ability to pass through rivers, oceans and other waters, carrying their passengers and cargo, many religions associate sailing across the water with afterlife, so connection with ending of one kind of live and starting another, is clear.
Ship’s wheel – as every wheel it symbolizes constant change, movement, travel, but in this case it is also connected with control, ability to navigate among the reefs and find a safe harbor, what emphasizes personal responsibility to one’s own luck
Starfish – it symbolizes brilliance, guidance and healing powers, Egyptian religion associates it with goddess Isis, a guardian to seamen in troubles, Christianity with Virgin Mary, who is in charge of safety for travels, Romans with Venus, goddess of sensitivity and love.
Trident – it is a symbol of power of Greek god Poseidon (Roman god Neptune), who is the ruler of oceans and earthquakes, having three prongs makes it associated to trinity (several religions acknowledge trinity as divine) and superstitions (third time is the charm).
Waves – they symbolize emotions, and wedding can certainly be very emotional experience with complete spectra of feelings, on one side bride’s and groom’s family is loosing a daughter and a son, on the other new paths are opening to be traveled, new experiences, it’s time for crying because one era is ending and time to rejoice over new couple’s hopes and achievements.
Whale – whales symbolize great challenges, exploring the unknown, delving in deepest feelings and finding the ultimate truth, what can be done with skillful navigation and quality communication; with their strength they serve as consolation, protection and inspiration.
Now you know. Next nautical wedding invitation in your mail will bear no secrets to you!