Brides at Iowa Bridal Preservation often ask us about the selection of flowers and colors. Since we also rent linens, chair covers, and napery as a part of our hospitality and event planning services we thought it would be helpful for us to put together some ideas on color and flowers for weddings. Many of our brides bring samples of color ideas on cell phone images, in swatches or, magazine pictures and hope to find matching or close to matching colors to complement their wedding event. Many of our brides develop a fondness of color from early childhood and bring that fondness to their wedding planning. Some brides in reality haven’t given it much thought until very late in their planning.
A careful selection of color and colors both in wearing apparel, for reception event, table covering, can add great appeal, and make a very strong personal statement both for the bride, groom, and their union. Since most bridal gowns are, at least in the Midwest, white, off white, or ivory, and sometimes with bright trim of red, blue, and even violet, the focus then goes to the reception event.
When coordinating the wedding event with the seasons, and looking at what flowers are in season a bride and her planning party can save considerably by complementing her event with in season wedding flora. Table setting, chair cover sashes, guest favors, sometimes lighting, and flowers, can, if coordinated and carefully planned, make this event one truly to remember.
An extensive gallery of wedding flower pictures can provide couples with botanical inspiration for all their floral wedding needs. From bouquets to decorations, flowers are an integral part of any wedding celebration and there are hundreds of ways flowers can be used to add color, romance, and flair to the event.
Flowers, herbs and spices have been used in weddings for centuries.
Today the selection of flowers is more to adorn our gowns and ceremonies and perhaps to make personal statements. 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 through to today and many traditional practices continue to be performed. Here are some of traditions that are still important elements of every wedding, and 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 to 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.
As time passed, flowers and their meaning have largely stayed the same. Although the herbs have lost their place in modern North American weddings, some cultures and religions still intertwine herbs with flowers in order to celebrate the marriage with a gift from nature.
Modern uses for wedding flowers
Wedding flowers have increased in popularity to the point where you will be hard-pressed to find a wedding that doesn’t involve them in some way. Some of the new traditions include:
• The bouquet – This is perhaps, next to the bride herself, the centerpiece of the entire ceremony. A great deal of science has gone into developing a system of matching the blooms present in the bouquet with the season, with physical attributes of the bride, and with the location of the ceremony itself.
• The corsage – Another popular component of most modern dresses is the corsage. Worn about the wrist, it is usually designed to match the dress and bouquet.
• The boutonniere – This is a male tradition. Originally, flowers would be pushed through the buttonhole of a jacket, but it’s proper for the groom to have the boutonniere pinned to his left lapel. It’s also appropriate for it to match the bride’s corsage and bouquet.
• Table centerpiece – Perfect for the reception ceremony, an extravagant centerpiece on each table leaves guests with nothing but fond memories. It’s now standard practice to include these in every reception.
Wedding flowers – a lesser known reason
Wedding flowers and fragrant herbs played another important role in weddings during Europe’s middle ages. During that time, it was traditional to bathe only twice a year. This was due to the labor involved in preparing enough hot water for the process, as well as the rarity and expense of soap.
These bath times usually fell before Christmas, an important time of year for everyone, and during the summertime. The problem was that weddings usually took place in the spring. The result of this was that the wedding party wasn’t usually its freshest.
A solution was devised using floral and herbal arrangements. Herbs would be sewn or placed into the dress, and the bride would carry a large bouquet of flowers (often wearing them in her hair as well). This masked any bodily odors and made the wedding more enjoyable for both bride and groom.
Historical Meaning of flowers
Wedding flowers are steeped in history and will likely remain in tradition for many years to come. If you’re looking for an appropriate gift for a couple, a gift of wedding flowers will always be appreciated. Delivery right to ceremony or the home of the newlyweds is one way to ensure they are able to enjoy your thoughtful contribution. One of our brides recently received a wonderful at ceremony flora delivery with a small card, truly a keepsake, describing the historical meaning and symbolism of the 5 different flowers in the gifted arrangement. Each having personal meaning to both the bride and groom.
Agapanthus: Secret Love
Magnolia: Love of Nature
Dahlia: Dignity and Elegance
Pink Rose: Perfect Happiness
White Rose: Charm and Innocence
Red Rose: Love and Desire
white and red Rose: Unity
Orange Rose: Passion
Yellow Rose: Joy and Gladness
Rosebud: Beauty and youth
Tulip: Love and Passion
Orange Lily: Wealth
White Lily: Sweetness
Yellow Lily: Gaiety, walking on air
Lily of the Valley: Humility, Sweetness, Return of Happiness
We at Iowa Bridal Preservation can be of some help in matching ceremony colors with our extensive linen collection. We hope that this little treatise on flora is of value in helping our brides make flower selection most befitting.