Wedding Flower Traditions

Have you ever wondered about the meanings and traditions behind using flowers at a wedding? We hold flowers, wear them, display them, throw them, and scatter them at different points in the ceremony. While there is no doubt that they are beautiful, most uses at weddings have their roots in very old flower traditions from around the world.

Origins of Wedding Flower Traditions

Various cultures have used flowers to symbolize important concepts and serve specific purposes at wedding ceremonies throughout history. Here are just a few of the interesting origins behind these flower traditions that have been all but forgotten.

Flowers at Weddings

The first recorded use of flowers at weddings can be found in ancient Greek texts. They describe Greek bridesmaids adorning the bride with wreaths of local flowers and plants before the ceremony. These flowers were considered a wedding gift from Nature herself, and symbolized the naturalness of love and the couple’s commitment to one another.

In many cultures, it was the scents of flowers that were most important. As bathing was at best a semi-annual event for many people until modern times, the aromas of fresh-cut flowers often served to mask unpleasant odors. Thankfully we observe different standards on personal hygiene today, but the scents of flowers still enhance our enjoyment of the ceremony.

Bridal Bouquets

In addition to complimenting the bride’s loveliness, bridal bouquets served other purposes in the past. In some cultures, the wedding celebration marking the transition from daughter to wife was considered a dangerous time that left the young lady exposed to supernatural dangers. Bouquets often included pungent herbs and plants like garlic that gave off powerful aromas. The scents they gave off were intended to ward off evil spirits and protect the bride from curses from jealous attendees.

Tossing the Bouquet

This fun flower tradition often ends in laughter and joy today, and many believe that the person who catches the bouquet is going to be the next one to get married. However, the act started as a diversion tactic.

In days gone by in England, guests at a wedding would rush up to the bride at the end of the ceremony. They would grab and rip off pieces of the bride’s dress in an attempt to capture some of her good luck for themselves. To escape this assault, the bride would toss her bouquet to the crowd, hoping to distract them while the newlyweds made a hasty exit.

Spreading Flower Petals

Another practice that can be traced back to England, spreading flower petals on the ground is seen as a romantic gesture today. In the Victorian age, this tradition was seen as a way to improve the chances of a successful wedding and ensure that the bride would live a healthy, happy life with her husband.

Throwing Rice

A similar wedding tradition is throwing rice as the newly married couple exits the ceremony. This ancient custom arose from the practice of throwing grains at weddings to ensure a fertile and prosperous marriage. The seeds symbolized wishes for the couple’s continued growth and hopes for a bountiful relationship. Today, many venues have banned the practice of throwing rice, but couples can substitute flower petals for a softer, more colorful effect.

While all of these flower traditions have been important in the past, today flowers serve an equally important role: to add to the beauty and joy of a wedding ceremony! Whatever hopes and dreams you bring with you on your special day, call Snake River Flowers to put together the perfect designs for your bouquets and arrangements.