Wedding Bouquets: From a Simple Flower in the Hair to a Shower Bouquet
Originally, some time in the early Anglo Saxon history of marriage, guests not only tossed flower petals in the air and on the bridal path, close friends and relatives would gather fresh flowers from their gardens or country fields and hand them to the bride. These bundles would not only reflect the giver’s affection for the bride and appreciation for her beauty, they had great symbolic meanings.
The Meaning of Flowers
These well meaning gift givers would select seasonal blossoms from their apple trees to suggest good fortune and hope, daisies for beauty and innocence, blue periwinkle for friendship, or the lily to acknowledge a majestic presence.
Perhaps these floral arrangements, well intentioned as they were, at some point became too numerous and bulky to actually be carried, so the bride with the help of her maid or matron of honor, chose blossoms from each of the bunches to make up a more portable bouquet.
Fashions change like the seasons. The wedding bouquet of today evolved from a Victorian era cluster of flowers, ribbons and often feathers known as a posy. In their Victorian heyday, the flowers and colors conveyed secret messages of love and romance to inflame passions and feed the ever present rumor spreaders and gossipers; for instance, the button size tansy blossom, a perennial aromatic herb, actually signals a declaration of personal war against someone.
The New Age of Bridal Bouquets
Today’s bride is much more prone to simply choose colors and flowers according to the style of her dress (and those of the bridesmaids) and the theme of the wedding decorations in general. The posy has evolved into what is known as a wrapped stem style which utilizes the natural stems of the flowers wrapped with a colorful trailing ribbon. Arm Sheaf’s were inspired by the type of presentation bouquet given to famous actresses of the day. They were once known as ‘Bernhardt’ bouquets after the legendary turn of the century actress.
A fan or crescent wedding bouquet may be more appropriate for today’s fashion. Both are constructed on a frame onto which are fastened baby’s breath, leaves, ribbons and flowers, often roses. Shower bouquets are definitely an over the top choice for the extravagant wedding day. Usually tear drop or waterfall shaped and trailing blossom laden vines with fluttering ribbons, they reached their peak of popularity, and were subsequently renamed the princess, with the royal wedding of princess Diana.
Wedding bouquets, like many other traditions, evolve over time, so ultimately the decision as to the look and degree of symbolism are happily up to the bride for her special day.