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Why Do Brides Carry Bouquets At Weddings?

Many brides find their bouquet just as important as their wedding dress when it comes to creating a bridal look to remember. Depending on your personality, you may opt for a showstopping, free-flowing floral arrangement or a more chic, understated design, but whatever you select, the versatility of your wedding flowers cannot be overstated. This is why we work closely with every bride to create wedding flowers that perfectly complement their own individual aesthetic.

However, as well as beauty, there’s also a lot of history and symbolism behind the bridal bouquet. Here, we uncover the many reasons why flowers are carried down the aisle, and how the tradition began.

What does a wedding bouquet symbolise?

Flowers have been a key part of the bridal look since the ancient Romans started to carry and wear floral garlands to their nuptials as a symbol of fertility, fidelity, and new beginnings. However, brides in the Middle Ages took a less optimistic twist on the custom, instead accessorising their wedding attire with a combination of pungent herbs and spices to fight off unlucky evil spirits. Dill was especially common, as it was not only thought to drive away negative energy, but it was also known as the herb of lust — its inclusion was expected to stimulate sexual desire as the newlyweds prepared to consummate their marriage.

The bridal bouquet as we know it was born in the 19th century, when Queen Victoria held a small clutch of flowers at her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840. This also led to the onset of wedding flower symbolism, as brides began to choose blooms based on the meanings behind the flowers. For example, roses signify love, and peonies represent happiness and ambition. As a result, bouquets became closely associated with sentimental romance, making them the perfect wedding accessory.

The bouquet has gone on to take a central role in modern bridal aesthetics, becoming one of the most important decisions that brides-to-be need to make. Selecting the best colours, fragrances and shapes are just as important as finding flowers that convey their feelings towards their partner, and their hopes for the future. The careful combination of all these factors is what has led to bridal bouquets becoming seen as so beautiful and heartfelt.

What is the wedding bouquet toss for?

The bouquet toss is a historic tradition which continues to be embraced by many brides to this day, although many don’t know how it came to be. It originated in medieval Europe, when it was normal for women to rip fabric from the bride’s wedding dress for good luck. To prevent the guests from tearing her gown to shreds, brides began to toss their bouquet as a distraction to guests, allowing her to make an escape with her dress intact. Grabbing the flowers was considered an act of good fortune, as the accessory symbolised fertility coming from a married woman.

Nowadays, the tradition is that if a single woman catches the bridal bouquet, she will be the next one to get married. The bouquet toss now takes place during the second half of the reception, after the cake is cut and the speeches are made, when the party is in full swing and all the ladies will be on the dance floor, ready to catch the flowers.

What happens to a bridal bouquet after a wedding?

Some brides may decide to skip the bouquet toss, so they can keep their arrangement for themselves. Amongst those newlyweds, it has become common to preserve wedding flowers after the ceremony, using techniques like drying, freezing or pressing. Brides can then choose to frame their bouquets, or transform them into paperweights, creating an additional keepsake of their special day that they can treasure forever.

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