Jan 30, 2015 03:30AM ● Published by Jason Huddle
Flowers have been part of wedding ceremonies since the 8th to 6th centuries, BC, in ancient Greece. They represented love, happiness and congratulations for the couple.
“Flowers and plants were used to make a crown for the bride to wear and were considered a gift of nature. Bridesmaids would make the floral decorations, including garlands, bridal bouquet and boutonniere. Often, the bridesmaids would make posies for each guest to wear as a symbol of thanks,” according to weddings.lovetoknow.com.
The bride herself was quite aromatic, as the garland wreath she wore around her head held garlic bulbs – meant to keep evil spirits away from the marriage – and herbs. “Different herbs had different meanings,” weddings.lovetoknow.com says. “Dill is the herb of lust. When carried with the garlic down the aisle, the bride would lust only for her husband. Sage is the herb for wisdom. When carried with the garlic, it is said that the bride would gather great wisdom and learn goodness.
“Back when herbs where still used in weddings, a kissing knot was made with rosemary and roses tied together,” the site continues. “The kissing knot was suspended over the heads of the bride and groom at the head table at the reception where the bridal party was sitting. This was said to bring good luck and lots of love to the couple and everyone sitting at the table. Small flower nosegays were placed beside every plate of the guests in attendance at the reception. The flowers left for the guests were chosen for the guests to ensure them happiness and long lives.”
During Europe’s Middle Ages, the use of herbs in a wedding ceremony was as more of a disinfectant. Since most people bathed only twice yearly – once around Christmas and once during the summer because of the cost of soap and the effort it took to heat the water – herbs adorned the wedding dress. Flowers were either carried or worn in the hair and also served to shield odor.
The traditions surrounding flowers at a wedding are as popular today as ever, but gone are the silk arrangements stuck into foam-filled plastic holders. Sure, artificial flowers can be stored away for posterity, but they usually get squished in the hope chest anyway.
Chelish Moore is owner of Chelish Moore Flowers in Concord. “Most of our brides prefer a hand-tied bouquet,” she says. “Like many fashion trends, wedding flowers and styles change and resurface too. We have had several brides choose the cascade style but update it with a loose garden style.”
“Florists select blooms that look like they were plucked from the same wild garden, or that fall within a color palette. Fresh pickings echoing the farm-to-table trend in dining, brides are building their arrangements around seasonal blooms that are grown locally or at least regionally,” bridalguide.com shares.
Florists are adorning arrangements with items that reflect the season or wedding style: berries, acorns, pearls, crystals, feathers, paper cutouts…whatever the bride chooses. “Antique brooches from family members, sleeves or lace from a mother’s wedding gown or small memory photos have also been added as a memory piece to the bride’s bouquet,” Moore says.
“Brides will continue to see the classic flowers accented with anemones, ranunculus, dahlias, garden roses, dusty miller, succulents and different textures of greenery. We have also seen football mums, carnations and daisies make a comeback for (this) year,” she adds.
Bridalguide.com agrees, saying, “They’re dramatic, they’re romantic and they’re versatile, so they look perfect whether you’re planning a traditional affair or something more relaxed,” adding, “Herbs like rosemary and mint, lemon leaf, magnolia leaf, ivy, smilax and maidenhair fern are being strung together and used in surprising ways – as table runners or chair swags, to frame cocktail menus, to redefine tent ceilings or to give chandeliers a soft edge.”
“The color palette for 2015 will consist of strawberry ice (a shade of pink), aquamarine, dark reds, blush, peach, grey and gold,” Moore says. The hand tied bouquet will evolve, but it will remain the classic bouquet style. We like to personalize our brides’ wedding by creating their own dream look or style.”
From the bride’s bouquet, the florist typically creates the bridemaids’ flowers, boutonnieres, table centerpieces and reception florals to complement. Tradition no longer dictates, but is a reflection of the bridal couples’ lifestyle, hobbies and sense of humor.
Moore recommends that brides-to-be visit her website – www.chelishmoore.com – Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook pages, saying, “These tools are a great way for brides to see what we have done in the past and to start collecting ideas of things that they would like for their special day.”