The first piece of attire I found for my wedding outfit is this beautiful vintage ostrich feather fan. Instead of wearing a veil I would reveal myself from behind the soft, elegant, fluttering white feathers.
The use of a bridal veil has a long legacy and traditionally symbolises youth and virginity. It also represents Hymen, the Greek god of marriage, and the lifting of the veil signified the breaking of the hymen for the forthcoming wedding night. In other ancient wedding rituals the lifting of the veil symbolised the groom taking possession of his wife, either as a lover or as property. This is some what out dated and in more recent times couples have entered into conjugal relations prior to their wedding day.
For various reasons I felt a veil was not representative of myself or the type of ceremony we were honouring and this fan was the perfect symbolic addition for me to present myself with. Now all I needed was the dress to go with it!
The art of the language of the fan is something that has fascinated me for years and represents great femininity. In also wishing to represent traditions and art forms which are sadly dying in the ever-changing world we live in, here was an opportunity to embrace this subtle way of communication.
Fans are also a traditional accessory in Spain and were perfect for our location on the idyllic white Isle of Ibiza. The heat from the september sun would still be radiating down into the amphitheatre and I wished for all the ladies to be presented with a fan of their own, not only as an aid to cool them but also as a keep-sake to take away.
The fans were inscribed with the message:
Flutter, twirl & feel magical. A & J 29.09.12.
Upon reaching the tables for dinner later that evening the guests found scrolls explaining the language of the fan and this caused great amusement and excitement as the ladies fluttered, flirted and teased their male counterparts.
Fan held in the left hand: I am alone.
Fan held in the right hand: I am married/promised.
Fanning with the left hand: Come closer and chat with me
Fanning with the right hand: I wish to dance
Opening the fan in a brisk movement: Don’t come near, wait for my signal.
Closing the fan in a brisk movement: You don’t love me anymore.
Fan held close to the heart: You have conquered my heart.
Fan held close to the right shoulder: Do not betray our secret.
Fan resting against the right cheek: When can we meet alone?
Fan resting against the left cheek: You wound me.
Fan hiding the face with the right hand: Follow me.
Fan hiding the face with the left hand: I love another man.
Snatching the fan and holding it with both hands: Forgive me.
Snatching the fan, holding it with both hands and upside down: I promise that I will avenge myself from you.
Fan held against the lips: You can kiss me now.
Partially opening the fan: The number of ribs visible indicates a specific hour, counting from 9 o’clock in the morning.
Pretending to look attentively at the pattern of the fan: We are being watched.
Running a finger along the edge of the open fan: You are cruel to me.
The “art of the fan” was written by Aker.