Whether big or small, indoor or outside, evening or day…no wedding is complete without a bridal bouquet. This special flower arrangement accents the bride’s gorgeous wedding gown in an inexplicable way. The use of various colors, sizes, blooms, and ribbons create a piece that defines the spectacular event.
The Bridal Bouquet: A History
In ancient Greece and Rome, the bride and groom wore a garland around their necks during the ceremony to symbolize new life, hope, and fertility. The bouquet came to symbolize a “bride in bloom.”
Traditional Celtic bouquets contained ivy, thistle, and heather. The people believed flowers to be representative of different human characteristics. For example, if a bride carried sage, she would become wise (sage is the flower of wisdom). Since sheaves of wheat symbolize growth and fertility, flower girls would carry these sheaves down the aisle before the bride.
In the 1840s, fresh flowers began to join the edible flowers as part of the bridal bouquet. Because it was known as the herb of lust, dill was commonly found in bridal bouquets. During the reception, the bride, groom, and guests, would eat the bridal bouquet dill to increase sexual desire.
The Flower Language
Said to originate in Turkey, the “flower language” has come to hold great significance for flower lovers around the world. Flowers, colors, and scents each have their own meanings and were often used to exchange messages between lovers in the Victorian era. For this reason, bridal bouquets often consisted of the flowers that were significant in the couple’s relationship.
The Modern Bridal Bouquet
Today’s brides mostly select the flowers for their wedding based on aesthetics. Color and shape play larger roles in bouquet design than scent or meaning. But that doesn’t mean that flowers have lost their importance and significance within a wedding ceremony and reception.
The bouquets carried by both the bride and bridesmaids are instrumental in defining the mood, style, and spirit of a wedding day. The flowers are often selected to compliment the bridal and bridesmaid gowns.
Modern weddings are very theme oriented, with an emphasis on color schemes. Flowers play a large role in defining the theme through use of color in the wedding ceremony. The theme is then carried over into the reception through centerpieces and other decorations. Although their purpose has changed, flowers are as relevant today as they were in ancient times.
Popular Flowers Used in Bridal Bouquets
- Roses are known as the “quintessential wedding flower” and their meaning varies based upon the color selected:
- Red: love and romance
- Pink: love, gratitude, and appreciation
- White: marriage, spirituality, and new starts
- Orange: enthusiasm and passion
- Yellow: friendship, joy, and good health
- Tulips signify perfect love, are relatively affordable, and their meaning also varies based on color:
- Red: true love
- Purple: royalty
- Yellow: cheerful thoughts and sunshine
Other tulip colors include white, cream, pastels (pink and peach), and vibrant hues.
- Calla Lilies signify magnificent beauty and are available in a range of colors:
- Red: intensity, admiration, beauty, courage, heat, desire, strength, and passionate love
- Pink: love, romance, gentleness, happiness, youth, innocence, and joy
- Purple: royalty, accomplishment, admiration, dignity, tradition, and success
- Lavender: femininity, refinement, grace, and elegance
- White: purity and innocence
- Yellow: joy, lightheartedness, friendship
- Lily of the Valley is known as “the ladder to heaven” and, while popular, can be rather expensive when purchased out of season.
- Hydrangeas are popular because of their vibrant colors and their structure makes for a very full bouquet. They are available in pink, blue, burgundy, purple, green, and blue.
Other popular flowers used in bridal bouquets include peony, ranunculus, stephanotis, sweet peas, and gardenia
Wrap It Up!
Modern weddings have become an iconic statement. Each event is a unique expression of the couple’s personality and style. Flowers have the potential to play an important role in conveying the spirit of the event.
When designing your bouquet and selecting flowers, it is wise to do some research. Start with your color scheme and think about your favorite flowers. Are your blooms of choice available in the colors you have selected? Use resources such as Pinterest to begin searching for images that convey the style that you are hoping to achieve.
Once you have a vision, consult with your florist to discuss ways of making your dream bouquet a reality. A professional florist will help you select the flowers that will best express the theme and colors of your wedding, while keeping within your budget.
Planning your wedding should be a joyful experience. Let your imagination run wild as you visualize your perfect bouquet. Consider the meanings of different flowers, their styles, and available colors. Your florist will use this as a springboard to make your dream come true!