As a long-time officiant and celebrant, I firmly believe that a powerful, personalized ceremony is the best launch for an amazing wedding celebration. And folding flowers into the ceremony is a great way to give it a unique, creative dimension. I’m happy to offer a handful of my favorite ways to weave flowers into your ceremony.
Source: Gianna Leo Falcon
For an outdoor wedding, whether in a fancy botanic garden or a simple community park, a wedding reading with some mention of flowers can be a nice way to shine a light on the significance of the venue, while focusing on the love of the couple. One nifty resource is Garden Poems, selected and edited by John Hollander (published by Alfred A. Knopf). It contains scores of poems about romantic love, flowers, gardens and seasons, the work of the garden and public gardens among others. Floral-inspired words can run the gamut from the Classics to contemporary prose, poetry or lyrics to words from children’s literature.
The Unique Symbolism of Flowers
Source: Gianna Leo Falcon
With blogs, Pinterest boards, artistic magazines, and books, it is easy for a bride to be captivated by selecting stunning flowers for her wedding and celebration. And while visual appeal is key, one might consider the symbolic meanings of these beautiful gifts of nature and mentioning those interesting facts in the ceremony script. For example, some will choose particular flowers for a bouquet because of a sentimental attachment of the bride or a family member—a simple, but delightful way to honor a loved one such as parent, grandparent, Godparent, or dear friend. One of my brides carried daisies, her late grandmother’s favorite flower.
Certain flowers have special cultural significance. A number of my Scottish couples have traveled to New York, with custom made bouquets and boutonnieres (or buttonholes, as the Europeans call them) with their beloved Scottish Heather, the small purple flowers that grow throughout the rugged hills back home. Tied together with the family’s particular tartan plaid and the emotional significance of the arrangement is even greater.
Should a bride wish to convey some meaning in her bouquet, she should consider the meanings of some popular flowers: Gardenia/Joy; Lilac/First Love; Orchid/Delicate Beauty; Stephanotis/Good Luck; Violet/Faithfulness; Ivy/Fidelity; and White Tulip/Forgiveness, to name a few. A subtle mention of the intentions of the flowers adds insight and interest to the words of the ceremony.
Rituals with Flowers
Source: Jackson Hardy
While many couples spend considerable energy thinking about bridal party floral arrangements and decorations for wedding and reception venues, often little attention is given to how flowers might be used as part of the ceremony. Consider a few ideas:
In a small elopement ceremony, a couple may enter a circle of flowers or flower petals, marking the “sacred space” for an intimate wedding ceremony.
For some weddings, large or small, flowers will often serve as remembrances of loved ones no longer with us. A time-honored tradition is leaving a floral offering (often a rose) on an empty chair for loved one who has passed. Alternatively, one might think about featuring a departed family member’s favorite flowers on a memorial table, filled with vintage photos and other mementos. And a simple mention of the floral tribute and its personal meaning can be a powerful statement in a ceremony script.
Flowers and plants can be used for interesting unity rituals, for the couple or their entire wedding guest list. For an outdoor wedding of one of my nature loving couples, the bride and groom participated in a symbolic tree planting (with a seedling) to represent their coming together and commitment to shared love and a future together. In another case, wanting to draw in the entire community, each guest was given some variety of flower. The guests were invited to prayerfully place their flower in a vase, honoring the couple. As a group of individuals who care about the couple, those in attendance had created a unique work of art.
Consider these suggestions a starting point. As the saying goes, “No two flowers are the same.” With that in mind, there’s no shortage of creative, memorable ways to fold flowers into your ceremony.