Romancing History

A Good Old-Fashioned Shivaree

Today I’m excited to host my friend, and fellow author, Cynthia Roemer, on Romancing History. You can learn more about Cynthia’s new release, Under Prairie Skies, below. Leave a comment below to be entered into a drawing for a FREE Kindle copy of Under Prairie Skies.

A Good Old-Fashioned Shivaree

I’m willing to bet not many of you have heard of a Shivaree. It’s an almost forgotten bit of wedding history. Nowadays, we celebrate marriages with banquets, toasts, honeymoons, and photo shoots. But there was a time, friends and neighbors gathered to give the happy couple a send-off they wouldn’t soon forget, one that included a surprise visit in the dead of night and lots of noise!

Shivarees were a rather raucous and fun-loving way of celebrating a newly married couple’s nuptials. It could take place days, weeks, or months following the actual wedding. The element of surprise was key.

Though more prevalent in the 1800’s, my parents told me stories of shivarees that took place in their growing up years extending into the mid-1900s. According to them, the Shivaree began with a late-night wake-up call of banging pans and noise-makers, include a serenade of songs such as Let Me Call You Sweetheart, and ended with the sharing of snacks and desserts, often provided by the newly married couple.

Shivarees of the nineteenth century were much bolder and at times down right ornery. I didn’t realize just how ornery until I did some research for a scene in my novel, Under Prairie Skies. Set in 1855, the scene has my main characters, Chad and Charlotte, and a host of others, traveling by the light of the moon to the unsuspecting couple’s home.

There, the bride and groom are awakened by rifle fire and banging pans. The barefoot groom is then blindfolded and spirited away in his nightshirt into the timber and left to fend for himself until daybreak. All the while, his poor, bewildered bride is wailing and calling his name. Not the best way to wish a new couple a joyous marriage! I won’t share any spoilers by telling how the scene evolves, but during it, Chad’s actions further endear him to Charlotte.

Though I’ve not participated in or even known anyone to be shivareed, my husband attended one for his cousin when he was a boy. So, when we married, my husband had me more than a little nervous we would end up with his extended family outside our bedroom window some dark night banging pans and serenading us.

My fears never came to fruition, but all that first summer, I did a lot of baking and learned to be a very light sleeper.

About the Book

~ Beyond shattered dreams lies a realm of possibilities ~

Illinois prairie ~1855

Unsettled by the news that her estranged cousin and uncle are returning home after a year away, Charlotte Stanton goes to ready their cabin and finds a handsome stranger has taken up residence. Convinced he’s a squatter, she throws him off the property before learning his full identity. Little does she know, their paths were destined to cross again.

Quiet and ruggedly handsome, Chad Avery’s uncanny ability to see through Charlotte’s feisty exterior and expose her inner weaknesses both infuriates and intrigues her. When a tragic accident incites her family to move east, Charlotte stays behind in hopes of becoming better acquainted with the elusive cattleman. Yet Chad’s unwillingness to divulge his hidden past, along with his vow not to love again, threatens to keep them apart forever.

Under Prairie Skies is available at  Amazon  Barnes & Noble and  Book Bub

Meet the Author

Cynthia Roemer is an award-winning inspirational author with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the lives of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the 1800s prairie. Her Prairie Sky Series consists of Amazon Best-Seller Under This Same Sky, Under Prairie Skies, and Under Moonlit Skies, due to release September 10, 2019. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and writes from her family farm in central Illinois where she resides with her husband of twenty-five years and two college-aged sons.

Visit Cynthia online on her website, or connect with her on  Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or sign up for her author newsletter.


THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Congratulations to Paual Shreckhise the winner of the Kindle copy of Under Prairie Skies! Thanks to all who entered our giveaway!

To be entered into a drawing for a FREE Kindle copy of Under Prairie Skies, comment below and let us know if you’ve ever heard of a shivaree or some other unusual custom to celebrate a wedding or betrothal.


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  1. I have heard stories of people here in Eastern Kentucky taking part in a shiveree, but have never seen one. If I was a newlywed I don’t think it would make me very happy to have a shiveree outside of my house!

    • romancinghistory

      Mandy, you made me giggle with your comment! I agree at least not in the sense Cynthia is speaking of. A serenade might be sweet, then again, as a newlywed I’d probably have been embarrassed. Thanks for visiting the blog today and leaving a comment.

    • Hi Mandy! Thanks so much for stopping by. I prefer our present-day celebration style as well. LOL! I was pretty nervous that first summer of our marriage. It would be quite a shocker for a newly married couple to awake to loud clanging and have half the neighborhood at your doorstep. But I suppose back then, it was almost expected. Thankfully the tradition toned down as time passed.

  2. Stacy Myers

    (On a side note I love the picture of the small cabin on your site.) I’ve never heard of this kind of practice. So it sounds like a very exciting book!! I am also not familiar with you as a writer so I look forward to reading your book win or lose. Have a blessed day!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Stacy, I’d only heard of people serenading newlyweds, none of this other ruckus that’s part of a shivaree. Very interesting and mischievous tradition. Thanks for visiting and good luck in the drawing.

    • Hi Stacy! It’s so great to meet you! Thanks so much for stopping by Kelly’s blog. I’m so glad to introduce you to my Prairie Sky Series! I pray you’ll be blessed in reading it. Under Prairie Skies is actually Book 2 in the series. To get a fuller view of the characters and story line, you may want to start with Book 1: Under This Same Sky. It’s the perfect time to start reading, since Book 3: Under Moonlit Skies releases in September! If you’d like to receive updates, I’d love for you to join my list of newsletter subscribers. I invite you to visit my website: and Sign up there or click the Sign Up Button on my FB Author Page: God bless!

    • Great to meet you Stacy! I’m so glad you happened upon Kelly’s blog. I’m thrilled to introduce you to my Prairie Sky Series. Under Prairie Skies is actually Book 2 in the series. You may wish to start with Book 1: Under This Same Sky. This is the perfect time to began the series as Book 3 is due to release in September. I pray you’ll be blessed in reading them.

  3. Paula Shreckhise

    I have heard of a shiveree, probably from an old western movie or book.
    I have been wanting to read this book.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Paula, You’re probably right about that. I’m sure such a scene must have been captured in a old western movie. In fact, I just remembered that in A Walk in the Clouds, the girl’s grandfather and perhaps her brothers serenade outside the couple’s room on their wedding night. Not quite the rackus celebration Cynthia describes in her book but probably a calmer derivation! Thanks for stopping by and good luck in the drawing!

    • Hi Paula! Great to see you here. I hope you have the opportunity to read Under Prairie Skies. It would be a great time to read it. Book 3: Under Moonlit Skies releases in September! The best to you in the contest.

  4. What an interesting blog. I’d never heard of a shivaree before. Congratulations on your new book!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Gail, It is an interesting and unusual custom, isn’t it? Thanks for visiting the blog today!

    • Thanks so much, Gail. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Under Prairie Skies has actually been out about a year. It’s Book 2 in my Prairie Sky series. Book 3, Under Moonlit Skies, is due out in September! The best to you in the giveaway!

  5. Annette OHare

    Love you cover! In the South we have very interesting customs. Here in South Texas we have “poundings” for the newly married or the new homeowner, where everyone brings a pound of flour, sugar, etc to fill the family’s pantry.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Annette, I love that tradition. Thanks sounds fun and practical. We did a “Mr. Martini” blessing on a friend’s new home once. Remember him from It’s a Wonderful Life? We brought “Bread, that they would never know hunger. Salt, that life would always have flavor. And, wine, that joy and prosperity would reign forever.” Thanks for visiting today.

    • Thanks, Annette! Wow! Poundings sound like a great tradition. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Great to see you here, Vivian! I didn’t realize they happened in Montana either. Thanks for stopping by and sharing. God bless!

  7. Linda Palmer

    For my first marriage I learned about shivaree. I lived in fear that some night it might happen. And I know it would be traumatic, as I don’t enjoy surprises. Thankfully it never happened.
    For my one brother’s wedding they had what is called a wedding clown. I wasn’t there, but saw the video. I guess the clown is traditional for some weddings. It looked very fun!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Linda, I don’t think I’d like that kind of surprise either. Being woken to loud noises from my sleep would not be fun. I’ve never heard of the wedding clown tradition before either. Sorry to say, I’m not much of a fan of clowns either. I think they’re kind of creepy. Thanks for commenting.

    • Nice to see you here, Linda! I can so identify with you! I don’t know why I was so nervous about it happening. I think it was the surprise and unpreparedness with me as well. Thanks for stopping by and sharing! Blessings!

  8. I’ve heard of these! The Cajun culture has a Charivari. Find the definition here:
    Love your cover!
    Your book looks like a really good read.
    Good luck and God’s blessings

    • Hi Pamela! It’s great to meet you! Thanks so much for your kind words and for sharing the link. I hope you have the opportunity to read my Prairie Sky Series and that you’ll be blessed in doing so!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Pam, that was really interesting. I love learning how customs evolve and change. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Vivian Furbay

    I heard about them from my Dad’s family when I was a kid. They had them in eastern Montana.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Vivian, so interesting to hear that they were common in Montana. I always thought of them as a Appalachian Mountain type thing until I learned from Cynthia that they existed on the prairie. I suppose as people moved west they took their traditions with them, right? That’s another reason why I love reading historical fiction–I learn so many interesting things. Thanks for visiting!

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