There is no wedding and no bridal outfit that seems complete without the finishing touches of a bridal bouquet. But do you know about the origins of this tradition?

Actually, brides began to carry bouquets in ancient times, but the first bouquets weren’t made from flowers.  In reality, they consisted of strong smelling bunches of garlic, spices and herbs to fend off evil spirits and defend themselves from it. This ritual or tradition was most common in places like ancient Rome and Greece where the wedding couple would wear a garland made out of aromatic herbs and spices as a sign of hope, fertility and life. These smells were also meant to bestow mystic powers on the bride and groom. The traditional Celtic bouquets, which were somewhat closer to the modern version of bridal bouquet, consisted of heather, thistle and ivy.

The first incident where we can see that the herbs and spices has been replaced with actual fresh flowers was the marriage of Queen Victoria with Prince Albert. Flowers like marigolds were used in such bridal bouquet. Even edible flowers were sometimes used! At first, the bouquet was carried only at the reception, but soon the tradition of the bride carrying the bouquet as she walked down the aisle came into practice.  The dill, which is also known as the herb of lust, was put into the bride’s bouquet and was later eaten by the groom, the bride as well the guests present at the ceremony. This herb was supposed to increase sexual desire and helped with the consummation of the marriage.

Flowers also became a symbol of love between courting couples or lovers in the Victorian Era. Each flower was supposed to have its own meaning and was used to covey messages. The flower language is believed to have started in Turkey in the seventeenth century. This developed into an actual science, where the study is called floriography. In Turkey, the method of sending a coded bouquet to your loved one to show your feelings of love and attraction was known as ‘Persian Selam’. This was an effective way for people to be able to express their feelings, especially for those who were shy in nature, or whose societal norms did not permit them to put their feelings into actual words or display their emotions.

In 1818, Mme. Charlotte de la Tou wrote the first “Flower Dictionary” and wall given the title of Le Language des Fleurs. This book inspired another Victorian woman named Miss Corruthers to write another on the same topic in 1879. Soon many books on the topics of flowers, their meaning, and their importance in weddings or pre wedding courting began to be published.

The meanings that these flowers held depended on their shade of color, or on their shape and patterns. This is why brides also began to choose those types of flowers which they considered most suitable for their wedding. The bridal bouquets became a reflection of their own personalities.

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