Flowers, herbs and spices have been used in weddings for centuries. Today, the main purpose they have is to decorate our venues or complement formal clothing. However, in ancient times their use was more spiritually oriented. The bride carried aromatic bunches of garlic, herbs and spices to keep evil spirits away.
Strong smells were related to protection from evil forces and mysticism. In ancient Greece and Rome, both the bride and groom wore a garland made out of strong-smelling herbs and spices around their necks. The garland was a symbol of love and happiness.
Ancient Greeks also used flowers and plants to make a crown for the bride to wear and were considered a gift from nature. Although some cultures and religions still use herbs to celebrate marriages, they have lost their place in modern weddings and flowers are becoming increasingly important.
In some countries, the history and role of wedding flowers have remained until our days and many practices continue to be performed. Here are some of the traditions that are still important elements of some weddings, not only in the countries where they originally appeared. Some of them are also the base of traditions we currently follow worldwide.
- Germany: both the bride and groom hold candles with flowers and ribbons tied to them during the ceremony.
- Sweden: the bridesmaids carry little bouquets of aromatic herbs.
- Austria: the brides crown their veils with the flowers of life.
- England: the bride and her bridesmaids walk to the church together. A little girl would lead them to the church while sprinkling flowers along the path. This tradition prevails in modern weddings with the “flower girls.”
- India: the groom’s brother sprinkles flower rose petals over the bride and groom at the end of the wedding ceremony to help ward off any evil spirits.
Starting in the form of herbs and spices, flowers have always been an important element of weddings. Not only for their undeniable beauty but also for the historical significance they have and their symbolic meanings. No matter how “non-traditionalistic” we consider ourselves we would love to have a wedding full of roses, orchids, tulips, peonies, hydrangeas, ranunculus, freesias, dahlias or any other type of flower we like.