Wedding Flowers – the Origins of the Tradition

Wedding flowers have been around for a long time. It’s hard to say exactly how long, but there are signs that it’s been a tradition since the earliest days of civilization.

Wedding flowers – the origin

The first recorded use of wedding flowers can be attributed to the Greeks. Flowers and plants would be bundled together to form a garland wreath worn upon the head, much like the better-known Caesar’s laurels. It was considered a gift of nature, and thus extremely appropriate for a wedding. Traditionally, the Greek bridesmaids would be responsible for this honor.

The garland bouquet would often contain bulbs of garlic. This wasn’t to make the wedding smell like your grandmother’s kitchen, but instead to ward off any evil spirits that might see fit to intervene in the ceremony or curse their future together.

The tradition of wedding flowers remains to this day. We might not fashion wreaths to wear, but the meaning and appropriate nature of flowers remains the same. That’s why it’s such a great idea to provide floral gifts to a wedding couple

Wedding flowers around the world – international traditions

Wedding flowers aren’t just a Greek tradition. They’ve been adopted all around the world due to their natural beauty and wide appeal.

· Wedding flowers in Sweden – In Sweden, it was tradition for young girls to carry small bouquets of fragrant herbs down the aisle. The groom would also put thyme in his pockets. The reasons? Warding off any trolls that might decide a wedding was a perfect place to find a tasty snack.

· Wedding flowers in Germany – In Germany, the bride and groom both would hold candles that had flowers and ribbons tied to them.

· Wedding flowers in England – In England, it was tradition for the bride and her bridesmaids to proceed to the church together, led by a small girl who would sprinkle blossoms in their path to assure long life and happiness for the bride. The tradition of “flower girls” remains to this day.

Wedding flowers – a lesser known reason

Wedding flowers and fragrant herbs played another important role in weddings during Europe’s middle ages. During that time period, it was traditional to bathe only twice a year. This was due to the labor involved in preparing enough hot water for the process, as well as the rarity and expense of soap.

These bath times usually fell before Christmas, an important time of year for everyone, and during the summertime. The problem was that weddings usually took place in the spring. The result of this was that the wedding party wasn’t usually at their most fresh.

A solution was devised using floral and herbal arrangements. Herbs would be sewn or placed into the dress, and the bride would carry a large bouquet of flowers (often wearing them in her hair as well). This masked any bodily odors and made the wedding more enjoyable for both bride and groom.

Naturally, this is no longer a problem today, but these popular traditions still remain. The appeal of wedding flowers is now purely aesthetic, however, and since this has been widely accepted a great deal of effort has gone into designing new and elaborate decorations for the ceremony.

Modern uses for wedding flowers

Wedding flowers have taken off in popularity to the point where you will be hard-pressed to find a wedding that doesn’t involve them in some way. Some of the new traditions include:

· The bouquet – This is perhaps, next to the bride herself, the centerpiece of the entire ceremony. A great deal of science has gone into developing a system of matching the blooms present in the bouquet with the season, with physical attributes of the bride, and with the location of the ceremony itself.

· The corsage – Another popular component of most modern dresses is the corsage. Worn about the wrist, it is usually designed to match the dress and bouquet.

· The boutonniere – This is a male tradition. Originally, flowers would be pushed through the buttonhole of a jacket, but nowadays it’s proper for the groom to have the boutonniere pinned to his left lapel. It’s also appropriate for it to match the bride’s corsage and bouquet.

· Table centerpiece – Perfect for the reception ceremony, an extravagant centerpiece on each table leaves guests with nothing but fond memories. It’s now standard practice to include these in every reception.


Wedding flowers are steeped in history and will likely remain tradition for many years to come. If you’re looking for an appropriate gift for a couple, and feel that a toaster or wine glass set is too impersonal, a gift of wedding flowers will always be appreciated. Delivery right to ceremony or the home of the newlyweds is one way to ensure they are able to enjoy your thoughtful contribution.

Copyright (c) 2008 Brant Florist

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One Response to Wedding Flowers – the Origins of the Tradition

  • Well written. I was trying to compose an article on “Flowers in Wedding- Looking back to the History”, and during my research, your article popped up on the Google SERP. Thanks a lot for the quality article. I’d like to add an interesting section here, Few Flowers and their meaning at a large:

    Acacia: Friendship
    Agapanthus: Secret Love
    Magnolia: Love of Nature
    Dahlia: Dignity and Elegance
    Jasmine: Amiability
    Pink Rose: Perfect Happiness
    White Rose: Charm and Innocence
    Red Rose: Love and Desire
    white and red Rose: Unity
    Orange Rose: Passion
    Yellow Rose: Joy and Gladness
    Rosebud: Beauty and youth
    Tulip: Love and Passion
    Orange Lily: Wealth
    White Lily: Sweetness
    Yellow Lily: Gaiety, walking on air
    Lily of the Valley: Humility, Sweetness, Return of Happiness

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