I was recently given the leftover flowers from a friend’s wedding. As I stood by my sink rearranging the festive sprays into more modest arrangements, I was suddenly struck with a need to know the whos and whys of bouquet history: where did they come from, and why?
Half an hour and some Googling later, I had my answers: bridal bouquets began in ancient Rome as a garland of evil spirit-repelling scented herbs worn in the bride's hair. It wasn’t until the 1840 nuptials of Queen Victoria (whose wedding became the template for all modern-day festivities) that the bouquet as we know it came into fashion, partly because of the popularity of what was known as “the language of flowers.”
Through a mysterious process, each flower had acquired a known meaning. A bouquet could be read like a book, a little assembly of flowers full of meaning and fragrance. To this day, some of our favorite bridal flowers hearken to these origins.
Here’s a quick summary of some of the usual suspects:
-White roses: purity
-Red roses: secret love
-Lily of the valley: trustworthy
-Lilac: youthful innocence