The Meaning of Flowers

You may think you are holding a bouquet of beautifully co-ordinated colours, but to your ancestors you are clutching a collection of carefully coded messages.

Flowers have had secret meanings ever since Greek mythology. The Ancient Greeks first developed ‘The Language of Flowers’. It caught the attention of the Victorians in 1820, when the Language of Flowers was published and learnt, allowing lovers to communicate by exchanging flowers. Each flower also possessed a different meaning when placed at different parts of the body such as in the hair, cleavage or over the heart.

It is also traditional to tie love knots in the ribbons of the bride’s bouquet, which not only represent the new union and best wishes, but are also thought to bring good fortune. A bridesmaid upon catching the bride’s bouquet can increase her chances of being the next bride by making a wish as she unties one of the ribbons in the bouquet.

Apple Blossom – Better things to come
Camelia – Graditude
Carnation – Fascination and love
Chrysanthemum – Red – I love you
Chrysanthemum – White – Truth
Cyclamen – Modesty and shyness
Daffodil – Regard
Dahlia – forever thine
Daisy – Innocence
Fern – Fascination and sincerity
Flowering Almond – Hope
Forget-me-not – True love and remembrance
Heliotrope – Devotion and faithfulness
Holly – domestic happiness
Honeysuckle – Generosity
Hyacinth – Loveliness
Hydrangea – Boastfulness
Iris – Warmth of affection
Ivy – Eternal fidelity
Japonica – Loveliness
Jasmine – Amiability
Lavender – love and devotion
Lemon Blossom – Fidelity in love
Lilac (white) – Youthful innocence
Lily – Majesty
Lily-of-the-valley – Return of happiness
Magnolia – Perseverance
Maidenhair – Discretion
Mimosa – Sensitivity
Orange Blossom – Purity and virginity
Pansy – you occupy my thoughts
Peach Blossom – Captive
Rose (red) – Love
Rose (yellow) – Friendship
Rose (coral) – Desire
Rose (peach) – Modesty
Rose (dark pink) – Thankfulness
Rose (pale pink) – Grace
Rose (orange) – Fascination
Rose (white) – Innocence
Rosemary – Remembrance
Snowdrop – Hope
Sweet Pea – Delicate pleasures
Tulip – Love
Veronica – Fidelity
Violet – Faithfulness

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Wedding Bouquet Styles

While you may have an idea of the flowers you like, spare a thought for the style of bouquet…

As you make your first steps down the aisle, your guests will get their first glimpse of your beautiful bouquet. Think of your flowers as another accessory and an important part of your overall outfit. Describe your dress to your florist or take along a photograph, if possible, and choose something that you love and feel comfortable carrying.

The round bouquet

This tends to be the most popular style and will either be hand-tied or wired. Wired bouquets are easier to hold, as the stems are slimmer, but are also generally more expensive as they take longer to create. Hand-tied bouquets can often sit in water if the stems are free, which makes them ideal for decorating a vase at the reception. The round bouquet suits most style of dress, although petite brides and those wearing slim-fitting dresses should avoid a large bouquet.

The teardrop

Exactly as it sounds – the teardrop bouquet has a posy top and gradually trails to a point at the base. The teardrop works well with most styles of dress as it isn’t too heavy and the gradual tapering makes it a flattering shape.

The shower

Similar to a teardrop, the shower bouquet is generally larger and instead of trailing to a point, trails down to a single flower. It can be a dramatic look so is best avoided unless you’re wearing a dress that can carry it off.

The posy

A posy is a smaller version of a round bouquet, often used for bridesmaids or flower girls. It’s also ideal for bride’s wearing a simple, straight dress who don’t want anything too heavy or overpowering.

The single flower

Not strictly a bouquet… but carrying a single flower is an option. It suits a simple, country look, or even a contemporary wedding if you plan on carrying something dramatic like an arum lily. And, of course, it’s very gentle on the budget.