Brides originally carried flowers on their wedding day because of a superstition. Certain herbs were believed to protect against jealous evil spirits, so the groom wore herbs in his clothing and the bride carried them in her hands. A bridal bouquet of herbs was held to ensure that the couple would enjoy good fortune, happiness and many children.
Sometimes a bride chooses to carry a Bible or prayer book adorned with flowers, rather than a bouquet. She is considered to be extra blessed if the book belonged to her mother. Traditionally, the flower worn by the groom was plucked from the bride’s bouquet as the first expression of their commitment to share everything in their future life together.
Throughout history, roses have been the most favored flowers. The walls of Egyptian palaces were decorated with paintings of roses. Statues of Roman gods were adorned with garlands of roses, and rose petals rained down over their celebrations. Pope Leo IX consecrated the rose to the Virgin Mary. Many varieties of garden roses make exquisite bouquets for brides and their attendants. The bridal rose represents “happy love” and the white rosebud stands for “worthiness and purity.”
Another common wedding flower is the lily, often referred to as “the Queen of Flowers.” The lily has been associated with godliness, and to numerous societies it has represented purity, fruitfulness, and youthful innocence. Since the lily has three to seven heads on a single stem and a moderate price, it offers a lot of value for its cost and is usually available year-round. It also comes in a variety of shapes and colors with a strong, heavy smell.
Lily of the Valley boasts tiny bell-shaped florets that dangle from a single stem and offer a delicious fragrance. This flower is sometimes called “the ladder to heaven” and is most plentiful in the springtime. Most lily of the valley used in weddings are white but there also exists a very rare rosy pink variety along with peach, pink and purple. These flowers are a perfect choice to fill-in for bouquets and arrangements.
Will the flowers for your wedding be like those from an old family photo or from a picture in a current bridal magazine? Are you looking for something fresh and new or something very traditional? Is your wedding going to be very formal or extremely casual? Would you like your bouquet to be loose and freeform or more structured and elegant?
Bouquet shapes are another one of the varieties of wedding flowers. You may choose to have a nosegay style (densely packed mound, 16-18” in diameter) or a cascade style (traditional “shower” style), a pageant presentation bouquet (think of beauty queens carrying roses) or a pomander bouquet (4-6” in diameter and hanging from a ribbon around the wrist). All of the shapes are lovely and unique . . . but which works best for you?
Have you thought about making the bouquets or arrangements for your wedding? It is possible with some ideas and knowledge to put your own stamp on the wedding with the flowers that you use for your special day. Many books are available that show you step-by-step instructions for creating the look with the types and colors of flowers of your choice.
In the Wedding Neighborhood of our library we have a nice selection of books to help you choose style, colors and seasonal flowers that will add the perfect touch to your special day. You can check out these books to gather ideas, show pictures to your fiancé, use when you meet with the florist or whoever is helping with the flowers for the wedding. In the case of planning the flowers for your wedding, a picture does speak a thousand words!