Wedding Tradition – The Flowers

Posted on August 5, 2014 by Judy | Filed under: Celebrant, Suppliers, Tradition, Weddings

Today’s tradition is something no wedding can possibly be without…. can it? The Bridal ‪#‎Bouquet‬!

Various theories abound as to when the bride started carrying flowers, but most sources agree that it developed because, well…. no nice way to put this, but the Elizabethan bride wouldn’t have necessarily had a bath for a while, so guess how she smelled?  And of course it was some years before anti perspirant made its début, so her bouquet would have been to disguise any nasty niffs!

Originally, the bouquet would have comprised herbs, such as rosemary, sage, lavender, mint, marigold – as well as garlic and chives to ward off jealous spirits .

The royal brides have long included a sprig of myrtle in their bouquet, and Catherine was the latest bride to do this when she married William

Royal Wedding Bouquets


Fashions and fads come and go in wedding flowers. Take a look at your parents’ and grandparents’ wedding photos to see what I mean! My grandma (who married in 1920) had a very neat, small posy of anemones. But my Mum, for her wedding in 1952, had a HUGE shower bouquet of red carnations and fern, trailing almost to her knee! The chaps all wore red carnation buttonholes to match.

In the 1970s, bouquets were often circular, with a little lace doily backing. Also fashionable for a while were feather flowers, and silk flowers were just making an appearance.

Gypsophila comes in and out of fashion regularly – florists all report it making a comeback right now.


Little Claire Gyp

And what of ‘throwing the bouquet’? Again, tradition has it that the bride’s wedding dress was a good luck charm, and the single female guests would try to rip a piece of the dress in the hope that they too, would be married. So in a bid to distract the guests from ripping her dress off her back, a bride would throw her bouquet to the maidens. the one who caught it would be next to be married.


little throw bouquet

Many brides now love their bouquets so much, that they order a second, smaller bouquet from their florist as a ‘throwing bouquet’. They can then get their own bouquet preserved as a keepsake, or even framed in a shadow box.

Another lovely tradition is to place your bouquet on the grave of a loved one. Kate Middleton placed hers (just as Queen Victoria did) on the tomb of the unknown soldier in Westminster Abbey. What a lovely gesture.

Nowadays, there are so many alternatives to floral displays – quite a boon for the hayfever sufferer! There are silk flowers (so realistic it’s hard to tell the difference), foam flowers, feathers, button bouquets, brooch bouquets (consisting solely of glittering paste brooches), bouquets consisting of one huge flower, or brooches with twisted wire and pearl decorative strands…

Roses are coming back in a big way, and scented flowers: peonies, lily of the valley and freesias remain popular… Colours are either soft and muted; pink, cream, lavender, with coral and peach back in force … or they are vibrant and bright (especially in gerbera), yellow, hot pink, lime, orange…

Top tips from our favourite 3 florists?

* TELL your florist your budget and be honest! Let her tell you what she can create for you within your budget. (Lucinda)

* DON’T expect flowers out of season on a budget. Peonies cost £15 a spray at this time of year, and the blooms are tiny in comparison to May/June.

* TRUST your florist – if the blooms you want aren’t available, she will substitute something equally beautiful.

Upcoming Trends?

* Adding charms/badges/charity ribbons to bouquets and buttonholes Roses and Gyp are back big time! (Jack Hatton)

* More imagination; silver wirework with a teardrop shape. For fresh flowers – roses! (Lucinda)

* Tiny vintage photo frames can be added to a bouquet in remembrance of a relative. And yes, Roses and Gyp are back! (Claire)

With HUGE thanks to all of my florists for their knowledgeable input – these ladies get up and off to the flower market on brides’ behalf at 4am! And on Wedding Mornings – they start work so early to get bouquets, buttonholes, church pews, reception venues prepared and delivered for us to enjoy.

Hats off to our talented featured Florists:

Lucinda of Lucinda The Balloon Lady

Claire Cooper of Hibiscus Floral Design

the Jack Haddon Florist Team         


You can see pictures of their work on my Cherish Page over on Facebook: