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flowers, traditions, herbs

Wedding Flowers: Customs & Traditions

Looking for ways to get symbolic with your wedding flowers? Put on your thinking cap and check out these flower facts.

Photo: Cluney Photography

The blossoms you select for your wedding day are rooted in rich cultural and historical traditions. From ancient Rome and ancient Greece to the Middle East, we've gathered the best flower-related customs we could find. Read on for a bundle of floral trivia.

  • In Thailand, the mothers of the bride and groom walk to the altar to drape puang malai -- flower garlands -- around the couple's shoulders to wish them good fortune in their life together.

  • Swedish and Danish grooms sew small pockets of strong-smelling herbs like garlic, chives, and rosemary into their clothes for good luck.

  • The Indian groom's brother sprinkles flower petals over the couple at the end of the ceremony to protect them from evil.

  • Ancient Greek brides often carried ivy at their weddings as a symbol of their never-ending love for their sweeties.

  • Ancient Roman brides carried bunches of herbs to symbolize fidelity and fertility -- and to scare off evil spirits.

  • The Victorians, who were fascinated by the meanings of different blooms, popularized the wedding rose, which represents true love.

  • Also in Victorian ages, the bride originally tossed her bouquet to a friend as she left the festivities to keep that friend safe (by warding off evil spirits, of course) and to offer her luck; this came to mean that the single woman who caught the bouquet would marry next.

  • In a Greek Orthodox wedding, crowns of orange blossoms were traditionally made for the bride and groom -- they even matched the delicate embroidery on the bride's dress. The blossoms symbolize virginity and purity because they are white and fragile, and they emit a sweet, delicate scent.

  • In Tudor England, brides carried marigolds dipped in rosewater and ate them afterward, since they were thought to be aphrodisiacs!

  • According to Italian tradition, the front grill of the Italian getaway car is decorated with flowers, paving the road to a happy marriage.

  • In the Middle East, the bitter herb artemisia is incorporated into bridal bouquets to ensure that marriages will survive bitterness as well as sweetness.

  • According to Indian tradition, both the bride and the groom sport a floral headpiece.

-- The Knot

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