Wedding Traditions – The Flowers

Weddings are filled with traditions and superstitions, and there’s some very interesting history behind many of them. What to keep? What to skip?  In this blog series, we shine a spotlight on certain things you may want to include (or choose not to include!) in your big day. Let’s talk about flowers for a minute, and how we started using them in weddings!

The bridal bouquet. Many women have been dreaming about their wedding flowers since they were children, clutching a wilting bunch of dandelions as they solemnly strolled across the yard, decked out in their fanciest princess dress and wearing mom’s tablecloth on their heads for a veil.

When it comes time for the actual wedding planning, there’s so many decisions to make about the floral arrangements, and it can be overwhelming. Depending the season, your location, your budget and your taste, there are literally infinite combinations of flowers and greenery! (check out our post on Twigs & Branches Floral if you’re looking for ideas, Kevin is so creative!)

So there’s no such thing as normal or typical, because every wedding is so different, but generally the wedding flowers will consist of the bouquets and corsages for the women, boutonnieres for the men, aisle/altar decor for the ceremony, and table decor at the reception. So much to think about! But how did it all start?

The tradition actually started with food – in Ancient Rome both the bride and groom would wear strong-smelling spices and herbs to ward off evil spirits. In Ancient Greece the bride would carry a bundle of wheat and other garden offerings, symbolizing her fertility and abundance. They also favored crowns of flowers, greenery and fragrant herbs – so the gods above could see (and smell!) their offerings and bless the happy couple.

In the Middle Ages, things got more practical – bathing was a weekly luxury, and sweet-smelling bouquets helped mask the general funk of the unwashed. Fragrant garlands were hung around the room and strewn on the tables to perfume the air. The bride would also pin a sachet of herbs and spices to her gown, to welcome her new husband with smells from the garden and the kitchen.

In the Victorian Era, people were obsessed with The Language Of Flowers – each flower meant something different, and sending a bouquet was as meaningful and wordy as sending a letter. Click here for a list, you’d be amazed. Who knew that gifting someone basil could be an insult? Gathering a few blooms together, you could say exactly what you felt – and tell the world!

Times changed, indoor plumbing happened, we don’t worry so much about evil spirits, and still the flowers remain a huge part of the wedding day. From Aster to Zinnia, there’s such a huge range of colors and styles to decorate your big day! Not a big fan of flowers? Don’t use them (but make sure you shower!) Happy planning!


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