Everything looks and feels more beautiful with fresh flowers! Here is a bit of fun historical information about the use of flowers in weddings and then some tips on using them.
It wasn’t until modern times that brides began carrying flowers in the way we now know. In medieval times they carried garlic and dill to ward off evil spirits or even the Plague. The traditional Celtic bouquet was made of ivy, thistle and heather. In ancient Egypt and Greece flower garlands were used in the bride’s hair.
There is some evidence that in the 14th century, after a wedding guests would rush to the altar to rip a piece of the bride’s dress for good luck. This was obviously not fun for her! So tossing the bouquet (and later the garter) became a way to give a piece of that good luck to guests.
Europeans especially the Dutch, began decorating with flowers in the 18th century. And we know flower arranging in Japan has been taken to a very high art form.
Queen Victoria, who influenced our modern weddings with her choice of a white dress, also had her impact on the bouquet. She replaced some of the traditional herbs and spices with flowers, particularly marigolds. Marigolds are an edible flower, so along with dill, the bouquet was consumed because it was thought to increase passion and desire.
Today most brides carry a floral bouquet (and want their bridesmaids to, as well) and what that bouquet will be is one of the many choices modern brides face.
If you are considering how to choose your bouquet, I have a few suggestions.
Size: Remember you have to carry and hold your bouquet, so don’t go crazy on the size.
Style: You know your wedding style – formal, semi-formal, rustic, casual – so that should immediately direct you in choosing a bouquet.
Color:If you like the monochromatic look, white roses with a white gown is classic, or pink flowers with pink dresses, and so on. But if you would like to use color for contrast – make is intense! Take your bridesmaids dress color and pick a color for the bouquet that pops against it. I recently saw yellow bouquets with bright blue dresses and it looked amazing. If you choose multicolor bouquets the options are endless but don’t be overwhelmed, just pick something seasonal that works with your wedding colors.
Dress: How will it look with your bridal dress and the bridesmaids’ dresses? If you have a beautiful skirt don’t cover it with a trailing bouquet. If you want to emphasize your waistline make sure the bouquet is narrow.
Make it personal: Consider carrying the same flowers as your mother or grandmother. Add a keepsake such as a locket, rosary, small photo or other memento to attach to your bouquet.
To toss or not to toss? You can forgo that tradition entirely, or have another bouquet at the ready to toss, if you choose to preserve your bouquet as a keepsake.
Your floral professional will help you but do your homework first. Like all things wedding, the choices can get overwhelming. Don’t let that happen. And if you are on a very tight budget, you can grow your own, gather wild flowers, or having a friend bring you flowers from their garden!
Thank you Lisa Rhinehart for the wonderful photos