Flowers or herbs have been used in weddings since the beginning of time as a way of showing love and well wishes to everyone. The actual first recorded use of wedding flowers dates back to the ancient Greeks. Flowers and plants were used to make a crown for the bride to wear and were considered a gift of nature. Bridesmaids would make the floral decorations including garlands, bridal bouquet and boutonniere. Often, the bridesmaids would make poesies for each guest to wear as a symbol of thanks.
As time passed the flowers and their meaning have 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.
Before the Flowers
The bridal bouquet was formed from garland and wreaths worn around the heads of both the groom and bride. The garland was considered a symbol of love and happiness. A bridal bouquet and the wreaths were originally made of herbs and bulbs of garlic. It was said that the herbs and garlic had a magical power to ward off any evil spirits that may plague their future. Different herbs had different meanings. Dill is the herb of lust. When carried with the garlic down the aisle the bride would lust only for her husband. Sage is the herb for wisdom. When carried with the garlic it is said that the bride would gather great wisdom and learn goodness.
Different Uses for Wedding Flowers
Back when herbs where still used in weddings, a kissing knot was made with rosemary and roses tied together. The kissing knot was suspended over the heads of that bride and groom over the head table at the reception where the bridal party was sitting. This was said to bring good luck and lots of love to the couple and everyone sitting at the table. Small flower nosegays were placed beside every plate of the guests in attendance at the reception. The flowers left for the guests were chosen for the guests to ensure them happiness and long lives.
Countries and Flowers
In some countries, the history of flowers and their roles in weddings have stayed with them and many practices are still used today. In Germany, the bride and groom would hold candles with flowers and ribbons tied to them during the ceremony. In India, the grooms brother would sprinkle flower petals over the bride and groom at the end of the wedding ceremony to help ward of any evil spirits. In Sweden, the bridesmaids would carry little bouquets of aromatic herbs and the groom would carry thyme in his pockets as they walked down the aisle to scare off any trolls. In Austria, the brides would crown their veils with the flowers of life. In England, the bride and her bridesmaids would walk to the church together. A small girl would lead them to the church while sprinkling flower blossoms along the path so the bride will have a life filled with flowers and happiness. This tradition is continued in modern weddings that have "flower girls".
Flowers have always been an important element to weddings. Different times and different countries used flowers in their wedding ceremonies for different reasons, but the use of flowers remains an important aspect to weddings.