All throughout history, people have adored flowers for many different reasons. Not only are flowers beautiful, but each species carries a strong symbolism that shapes the way we view them. That being said, countless traditions, holidays, movements, and historical events are represented with flowers to this day. So, what do wedding flowers symbolize?
To answer this question and help you choose the perfect flowers for your wedding, we’ll dive into the history of the modern wedding and decipher the meaning behind some classic wedding flowers.
A Quick Guide to What do Wedding Flowers Symbolize
Before we get into the history, here are a few flowers and the meanings behind them.
Roses, unsurprisingly, are strongly associated with love and passion. Their deep red hues have inspired artists and the impassioned for centuries.
Daisies symbolize innocence and purity. Their bright whites and pinks were used to represent the Celtic goddess Freya, the deity of motherhood, beauty, and fertility.
Sunflowers represent warmth, happiness, and abundance. They thrive during the summertime and provided a source of food for people throughout the ages.
Irises have a characteristic deep purple hue that’s long been associated with nobility, luxury, and courage.
Daffodils are firmly associated with honesty and truth. This is because they bloom like clockwork at the same time each year with little regard to the temperature.
What do Wedding Flowers Symbolize? A Brief History of Weddings
Weddings are among the oldest and most impactful human institutions. In the western world, weddings have their origins in ancient Greece and Rome. We have records of the first western weddings occurring as early as 8,000 BCE!
These ancient celebrations were hardly similar to our modern ones, but they still held feasts, exchanged gifts, and enjoyed after-wedding parties just like we do.
Medieval weddings resembled our modern celebrations much more than classical ones did. We have evidence of more decoration, fine clothes, exchanges of rings, and elaborate feasts.
In the Elizabethian period, western traditions became very established. The inclusion of bridesmaids and groomsmen, super elaborate feasts and decorations, and the procession of the bride became commonplace.
From that point on these core traditions evolved and became weddings as we know them today. Bridesmaids, groomsmen, veils, receptions following the ceremony, modern decorations, and flowers were common; and their inclusion and usage is well-documented.
Now that we have a historical framework that we can build on, let’s get into the flowers!
What do Wedding Flowers Symbolize? A Centuries-Old Tradition
Although the weddings in each historical period were completely distinct, research shows that there was one thing they all had in common—flowers! From the ancient traditions of Rome, Egypt, and Greece to our modern weddings today, flowers have always been a theme.
The only differences between each of these cultures and historical periods are the flowers they used and the symbolism behind them.
In ancient times, revelers used herbs, blossoms, grains, and other plants to honor their gods and goddesses. Therefore, these flowers were thought of symbols of fertility, prosperity, protection from evil, and good fortune.
In the Middle Ages, we see that flowers are used in a decorative, symbolic, and practical sense. Since bathing was more of a privilege than a part of the daily routine, fragrant flowers were the arrangements of choice.
From the Elizabethan, Victorian, and modern periods on, we’ve seen a huge spike in the usage of flowers and more creativity in the way they were used. Floral crowns, tiaras, bouquets, and other accessories have become the norm.
As you can see, these traditions created the symbolism behind the most iconic wedding flowers, and these associations have survived to this day.
Which Flowers Should I Choose for My Wedding?
Now that we’ve answered the question, “What do wedding flowers symbolize?” you may have some ideas for which flowers you want to include in your ceremony.
The best thing about flowers is the variety—no matter what kind of wedding you want, there’s something out there for everybody. That’s why Leaf + Petal, your New Orleans wedding florist, is committed to helping you make your dream a reality by handling the floral arrangements at your wedding.
If you’d like to learn more about our services, offerings, and expertise, contact us today to get the creative ball rolling!