Classic wedding flowers and the meanings behind them

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Few things are as fabulous as flowers, and a wedding is a wonderful reason to buy bunches and bunches of them. Flower arrangements, bouttoneires and a bridal bouquet add fragrant ambiance to any wedding venue, whether you get hitched in an ornate church or barefoot on the beach.

Flowers and herbs have been a part of weddings for thousands of years, and so have the traditions behind them. Do you know that in ancient Greece, brides carried bunches of ivy at their weddings? It was believed that ivy symbolized fidelity. Here are a few more fascinating facts about wedding flowers:

Calla lily

Callas are said to represent beauty and magnificence. Native to North America, northern Asia and parts of northern Europe, the waxy white spathe of the calla lily sits atop a slender stem above heart-shaped leaves. The long stems of the calla make it an ideal wedding flower.


Carnations offer a sweet-spicy fragrance and plenty of tradition, too. White carnations are said to represent pure love and innocence, while red carnations are touted as symbols of admiration, pride and deeply romantic love.


In Victorian times, sentimental sweethearts sent flowers of a certain color to convey their feelings without uttering a word. Pink roses profess admiration and gratitude, especially between best friends. White roses are said to signify purity and new beginnings. Yellow roses tout optimism and joy, but they can also mean jealousy. Orange roses present enthusiasm and passion. Of course, no one can mistake the meaning of perfect romantic love offered by a bouquet of long-stemmed red roses.


This fragrant herb of remembrance used to be a very important part of the wedding ceremony. Brides in “merry olde England” carried bunches of roses entwined with rosemary to bring luck and ward off evil spirits. A “kissing ball” made with rosemary and roses was sometimes suspended above the bride and groom’s table at a reception for the same reason.


The exuberant spikes of the glorious gladiolus represents faithfulness, strength, integrity and honor. Glads say “I give my heart to you without hesitation.”


Feathery, purple heather flowers convey protection and admiration, while white heather flowers are said to mean that all a bride’s wishes will come true.

The stories and superstitions associated with bridal flowers are many and varied. When it comes to selecting flowers for your own wedding, you can pay attention to the old traditions or not. It’s your wedding, and you are allowed to choose any floral arrangements you desire. For further information about how to select flowers that hold to tradition or coordinate with mother of the bride dresses, consult your favorite local florist.

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