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What the bouquet!?!

August 25th, 2010  |  Published in Featured, Style

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A bit ago, Andree & I were driving to a wedding we were shooting together, discussing some of the traditions we tend to see at our weddings. The white gown, the cake, the first dance, where did they originate, why do they continue to exist & stand the test of time?
One of the traditions we spoke about were the flowers, more specifically, the bouquet.

Why the bundles of colorful flowers for the bride & her gals, what’s the reasoning behind it?
Well, I did a little reading to find out the why.

The history of the bouquet began many moons ago, like set your way back machine to way way way back.

In ancient Greece & Rome, the couple would wear a garland about their necks as a symbol of new life, fertility and hope. Celtic tradition (rah rah!) found use of thistle, ivy & heather in their arrangements. The garlands were a combination of strong smelling herbs & spices, meant to ward off evil spirits & thought to contain mystical powers.

Eventually the tradition of using only herbs & spices transitioned into incorporating other flowers, especially those of the edible variety. Dill, known as the herb of lust, was to be eaten by the couple and their wedding guests at the reception, the herb was meant to increase sexual desire. Me-yow.

Around the Victorian time, flowers were being used based on their significant meanings, creating bouquets of secret messages. Back in the day, it wasn’t proper to blurt out how you felt about Candy, the lovely lass that volunteered at your local library. Sure, you might want to say ‘Candy, you look so sweet you’re giving me a toothache!‘, yet in those days, that would be frowned upon.

In come the flowers, let them do the flirting .. I mean, talking!

Roses are quite well known to be a great symbol for love, it was said that Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, presented a rose to Eros, the god of love. Roses aren’t the only flowers infused with that lovin’ feelin’. Sunflowers (one of my favorites) their faces always to the sun, symbolize longevity and pure love. Where as the Daisy is seen by Roman Catholics as a symbol for the Virgin Mary and a love that conquers all. Sprigs of ivy can be translated as a lifetime of wedded love ahead. The four leaf clover, the elusive little flower, represents faith, hope, love and luck. Passing it onto a beloved tells them that good luck abounds and if accepted, means you belong together. (Silly side note about me: I have found handfuls of four leaf clovers since childhood. I have a knack for finding them.)

Current trends now lean more towards flower combinations that fit within a couple’s theme, using flowers to bring that pop of bright color into the wedding. Some couples may have given their own personal meaning to a particular flower, maybe it was the one presented on the first date, maybe it was in the garden where they first kissed. I adore knowing the meanings behind traditions, yet I also love infusing traditions with your own unique personal spin.

Whatever your choice, it’s fun knowing where & how some of these traditions came about. Do you have anything to add? Feel free to comment away!

Flower on

Won’t you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you” ~ Richard Brinsely Sheridan

About Stacey Doyle

Stacey Doyle has written 20 post in this blog.

Stacey is a New England Photojournalist, documenting the story of you.

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