Wedding Traditions: Part 3 – Popular Wedding Floral
The Meaning Behind Popular Wedding Floral
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, at least according to William Shakespeare. Wedding flowers play an integral part in any wedding as they the focal point for decorations and tradition. Your choices in color, style and floral type actually sets the tone and mood for your day. Have you ever wondered how floral came to be part of the wedding tradition?
Why does the bride carry a bouquet of flowers?
The tradition of carrying a bridal bouquet can be traced back for centuries. In Ancient Rome, brides carried or wore flower garlands, as they believed that flowers signified new beginnings, fidelity and hope for fertility. Ancient Greece weddings featured ivy to represent enduring love.
Why does the bride toss the bouquet?
Tossing the bouquet is a tradition that stems from England. Women used to try to rip pieces of the bride’s dress and flowers in order to obtain some of her good luck. To escape from the crowd the bride would toss her bouquet and run away. In later times, brides tossed the bouquet to their bridesmaids and, it was said that the maid who caught the bouquet was the next to be married.
What is the meaning of certain types of wedding flowers?
Tradition isn’t the only element that dictates a bride’s choice of wedding flowers. Fashion trends also come into play. Convention has taken a backseat to individuality. Bridesmaids’ bouquets do not necessarily match the bridal bouquet, the boutonnieres and centerpieces. While most florists and planners stress the continuity of at least one main flower throughout all floral elements, many brides are breaking free from tradition.
If you have wondered about the traditional meaning of flowers that are common in weddings or if you want to instill certain ‘meanings’ in your bouquets, read below:
Long considered a symbol of beauty and love, the rose figures into many myths and fairy tales. Romantic writers and poets have used the flower as a metaphor for emotion, beauty, passion, and true love throughout the ages. The rose is an all-star player in the world of weddings, available in solid and bicolor varieties, including striped and tipped varieties as well. Not every variety, however, is scented. Three main types are likely candidates for your wedding flowers: hybrid tea roses (the classic, uniformly-shaped commercial roses generally seen at your local florist), spray roses (a rose with five to ten small heads on each stem and a “natural, garden-grown” look), and garden roses (expensive, old-fashioned varieties with bushy, open heads and delectable scents).
Representing “consuming love” and “happy years,” the tulip can be a meaningful wedding choice. Tulips are available in a wide range of colors, including white and cream; pastels like pink, yellow, and peach; and vibrant hues like magenta, red, and purple. Available during much of the year, the most common tulips are very affordable, though rare varieties can be expensive. This versatile flower can enhance both elegant wedding settings and more casual venues, and work well in almost any permutation — from bouquets to boutonnieres to table arrangements. Three main varieties are commonly used: Dutch tulips (typically seen at neighborhood florist shops and in gardens), French tulips (expensive and elegant, with extra-long stems and large tapered blooms), and parrot tulips (noted for their ruffled, striped petals in intense colors).
This elegant, trumpet-shaped blossom originated in Africa and symbolizes “magnificent beauty” in the language of flowers. The calla lily’s distinctive form is best seen in Art Nouveau and Art Deco works and twentieth-century photography. Two types are commonly available: a large-headed variety with a long, smooth stem suitable for tall arrangements or presentation-style bouquets, and a miniature version ideal for nosegays and boutonnieres. Creamy ivory is the most popular color, but calla lilies also come in yellow, orange, mauve-pink, and dark purple.
With its big bushy head and intense shades of pink, blue, burgundy, and purple, it’s no wonder that the hydrangea represented “vanity” in the Victorian language of flowers. One of the most popular varieties changes in color as it grows from bubble-gum pink to sky blue, depending on the acid level of the soil. A stem or two of this moderately priced, scentless shrub flower helps fill out arrangements and bouquets, and a few sprigs make a charming boutonniere. You’ll find the hydrangea in white and shades of green, pink, burgundy, and blue.
The peony has a large, full head, strong perfume, and bright color. Despite this outward showiness, the flower acquired the Victorian meaning “bashfulness.” The peony is available in two main types, the herbaceous and the tree peony; however, the latter’s flowers do not last as long when cut. A bouquet made solely of peonies can be gorgeous and the flower is also beautiful in centerpieces and arrangements. Grown in single- and double-flower styles, this expensive bloom is seasonally available in AZ from late November through June.
Looking for a cost-effective alternative to roses or peonies? Try the lush, multi-petaled ranunculus, with its mild-scented with several blossoms on a stem and fernlike foliage. Carrying ranunculus is telling your partner, in the Victorian language of flowers, “I am dazzled by your charms.” A natural in a bridal bouquet or bridesmaid nosegays, this light flower also makes a fantastic boutonniere and is available in many colors.
The Victorian meaning for this flower is “marital happiness,” making the dainty white Stephanotis an obvious choice for weddings. The star-shape, waxy florets grow on a flowering vine; each is individually wired or placed onto a special holder before it can be arranged. A bouquet of stephanotis blossoms is one of the most traditional a bride can carry. Mildly scented and moderately priced (labor may be a bit pricey), this floral option is available year-round.
Surrounded by dark green, waxy leaves, the exquisite gardenia exudes a sultry, heavy scent. A single gardenia makes a wonderful scented corsage or hair accessory. Be gentle as the delicate, creamy ivory petals of this expensive flower can bruise easily and the scent of many can be overpowering to some people.