Wedding Garlands

Wedding Garlands

The hoisting of wedding garlands in warships is an old Royal Navy custom.

Garlands comprising two loops of evergreens, joined to form a sphere, with a white satin streamer suspended from its base were displayed prominently, usually between the foremast and mainmast, in warships on the wedding day of an officer of the ship concerned.

The custom is believed to have its origin in the days of sail when wives and sweethearts were allowed on board a ship on her return to port from sea. Very little work was done for the first two or three days and a garland was hoisted to indicate that the ship was 'out of routine' and was not to be boarded by the Officer-of-the-Guard on his tour of inspection.

When hauled down the wedding garland was usually placed in the cabin of the bridegroom for him to find on his return from his honeymoon. The white satin streamer was traditionally retained as a keepsake by the bride.

A wedding garland hoisted in HMAS Anzac on the day of the wedding of an officer of her wardroom.