The Legend of Cupid

Cupid in a Tree painting by Jean-Jacque-François le Barbier

In honor of the romantic holiday of Valentine’s Day celebrated on the February 14th, this post will be about the legend and the history of Cupid.  I will also give some unique ideas and suggestions to incorporate Cupid into a wedding ceremony and reception.

The legend originated centuries ago as the story of an ancient Greek god named Eros who was portrayed as a winged and slender young man.  In the ancient Roman mythology he was a god named Cupid (from the Latin word cupido) and he was the son of Mars (the god war) and Venus (the goddess of love).  Cupid had the appearance of a chubby little boy and his source of power was his bow and arrow.  When Cupid shot his arrow at an unsuspecting person they would suddenly be overcome with feelings of immense love and desire. 

As legend has it, cupid carries a quiver of arrows filled with two kinds of arrows.  The first is an arrow with a golden tip and a person struck with this kind of arrow is filled with desire and love.  The second arrow has a lead tip and a person struck by this kind of arrow feels not quiet hatred but a strong desire … to flee!

Cupid has been depicted by master painters in many great works of art throughout the past centuries; perhaps one of the most famous is the La Primavera painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Botticelli.  The painting is also known as the Allegory of Spring and depicts a blindfolded Cupid shooting his arrows above the central figure of Venus.   There as several mythical interpretations of the painting which shows Zephyrus to the right who is chasing Flora while on the left the three Graces dance with Mercury.

La Primavera (Allegory of Spring) by Botticelli

Another artistic interpretation of cupid was the Sleeping Cupid sculpture created in 1496 by the Renaissance artist Michelangelo.  At the time he was a relatively unknown artist and with this sculpture he receive commissions from patrons in Rome, ultimately this lead to perhaps his most famous and important work of art when he painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel which took approximately four years (1508-1512) to complete for Pope Julius II.

Sleeping Cupid sculpture by Michelangelo

In regards to the Sleeping Cupid sculpture, the piece eventually ended up in the Palace of Whitehall in London, England but unfortunately the sculpture was lost in a fire in 1698.  (Special Historical Note: Due to the efforts of King William III the Banqueting House, which was part of the Palace of Whitehall, was saved and still stands today)

When Valentine’s Day became a popular holiday in England during the 18th century, given the legend of Cupid and his association with love, his imagery was used as a common theme for Victorian greeting cards.  With the help of the Industrial Revolution and the new printing press technology, the introduction of relatively inexpensive postage stamps and then the Hallmark Greeting Card Company starting to mass produce Valentine’s Day cards in 1916 the holiday became very popular in the United States.  (For more information on the custom of Valentine’s Day greeting cards and in particular Victorian Valentines, please click on the link)   

A Victorian Valentine’s Day greeting card

Cupid and cupid’s arrow ideas and suggestions for bridal showers and weddings

In this next section I will show several different ideas and suggestions for incorporating cupid and hearts into a bridal shower and wedding decorations, I have also included some gift ideas for the bride, groom and the bridal party.

The image of cupid can found on numerous types of paper products, cupid bridal shower invitations would be especially charming.  For a more subtle style, sealing wax stamps used on the back of the wedding invitations would look wonderful idea as shown in the photo below.

cupid sealing wax stamp –

Cherub candlesticks/candleabras would be a great idea to be used at a bridal shower or a wedding, these could get a little expensive to purchase but you might be able to find the item at a good price at an antique store or on the internet website like EBay. The example shown below could be used on a buffet table at the bridal shower, the ceremony or wedding sites or on the bridal party table or the cake table at the reception. 

antique cupid candelabras

An idea that would coordinate beautifully with the candelabras would be place cards that resemble cupid’s arrow; this would be an easy and relatively inexpensive craft to replicate for a bridal shower or a wedding reception.   

a cupid’s arrow place card idea – Coco & Blush

In keeping with the cupid arrow theme, below is a photo of a unique escort card display using a target with arrows showing the guest name and their table number. 

target and arrow idea for escort cards

Chair decorations at wedding reception have become very popular over the last few years and the two examples shown below are specifically for the chairs of the bride and groom and both ideas feature cupid’s arrows.

shown above are two ideas for chair decorations for the bridal couple

The next ideas are for food items, which include cake and cupcake examples that could be used for either a bridal shower or wedding reception. 

a lovely cupid wedding cake idea

a wedding cake idea from the

idea for a cupid’s arrow cake topper (would coordinate nicely with the chair decorations)

cupcakes with cupid’s arrows that could be served at a bridal shower or wedding reception

Shown below are two ideas for the younger members of the bridal party, the first is a cute idea for a flower girl to wear cupid’s wings and the second is a lovey example of a cupid ring pillow.

flower girl wearing cupid wings

cupid ring pillow –