Wedding Flowers Traditions & Symbolic Meanings

Tossing the Bouquet: The origin of the bouquet toss is a little sweeter than that of the garter toss. There was an ancient belief that certain herbs contained in the bridal bouquet were good luck. In order to pass on this luck, the bride would choose a friend to present the bouquet to at the end of the wedding. Nowadays, the person who catches the bouquet is believed to be the next to marry. If you decide to toss a bouquet, it is a good idea to have your florist make a smaller bouquet to toss so that you can keep the original, which you may want to preserve.

A Carpet of Petals: Flowers girls, busily scattering petals down the aisle, is a wedding tradition almost everyone adores. Tiny children, adorable in their finery, unpredictable in their nature, add an air of innocence to a wedding, as well as actively underscore the importance of family. The tradition of having young children scatter flora and greenery over the bride's path began first as a way to pay homage to the gods of fertility. In ancient times, flower girl predecessors would throw harvest grains and fragrant herbs. In Elizabethan times, these herb and grain bearing children became flower bearing girls, a tradition, some believe that stemmed partly from the Elizabethan custom of using fragrant flowers to mask otherwise unpleasant odors. Today's flowers girl may carry a basket of rose or flower petals that she scatters down the aisle, or a small bouquet. Or if flower petals are prohibited in your church, she may carry baby roses to pass out as she walks down the aisle.

Honoring the Beloved: Gifts of flower bouquets and garlands are often given as a gesture of honor. After walking down the aisle, a bride might present a rose to both her mother and mother-in-law, in a gesture of love and respect. Many Catholic brides lay special bouquets at the feet of the Virgin Mary on their wedding days.

Colours: In China, red is the shade of happiness and luck. For this reason, red blooms are often integrated into wedding ceremonies. In Japan, the color of love is purple. In Latin America, some flowers are associated with unhappy or mournful events; yellow flowers are blooms of death, and purple and white flowers, the flora of funerals. Spanish symbolism is even more specific, with chrysanthemums and dahlias closely tied to death and funerals.

Cuttings: Long ago, brides took cuttings of their bouquets and planted them near the door of their new home. Favorite cuttings were myrtle and rosemary, hearty plants that easily took root, reminding brides and grooms that the roots of marriage are strong. When deciding what blooms to use in your bridal bouquet, ask your florist to show you flowers and small plants that can be planted after the celebration is over. With one or two hearty cuttings from your bouquet, you may find yourself with a lovely symbol of marriage taking root in the heart and soul.

Symbolic Meanings in your Bouquet

Incorporate any of these wonderful symbolic meanings into your bridal bouquet. For instance forget-me-nots symbolize true love. Consider including the definition in your wedding program or ask your officiant to note its meaning during the ceremony. Think about including any of these symbols as a gift to your guests. Have the significant meaning of the flower you choose calligraphed and placed in a beautiful silver frame next to your guest book as your family and friends arrive for your ceremony. Give each guest a special flower as a boutonnière or corsage.

Apple Blossoms: Symbolic of good fortune
Baby's Breath: Symbolic of a fruitful marriage
Blue Violets: Symbolic of faithfulness
Carnations: Symbolic of distinction
Forget-Me-Nots: Symbolic of true love
Four Leaf Clover: Symbolic of luck
Gardenias: Symbolic of joy
Ivy: Symbolic of marital strength
Lilies: Symbolic of purity and innocence
Lily of the Valley: Symbolic of happiness
Myrtle: Symbolic of the constancy of love
Orange Blossoms: Symbolic of purity and fertility
Orchids: Symbolic of beauty
Rosemary: Symbolic of memory and fidelity
Roses: Symbolic of love
Stephanotis: Symbolic of good luck