The meaning behind wedding flowers

From romantic symbols to emblems of hope, the historical meanings behind some of the most popular big-day blooms may surprise you.

If you’re planning a wedding with lots of personal touches — you’re getting married the same month you and the groom met three years ago! Wearing Mum’s veil! Serving the cocktail you had the night he proposed! — think about personalising your wedding day flowers too. But instead of basing your choices on colour and style alone, let the blooms’ historical meanings inform your decision too.

The “language” of flowers is a thing and has been for centuries. During Victorian times, for example, flowers were used to express emotions when words and gestures failed. Today, many couples follow this romantic practice and create bouquets and centrepieces with flowers whose meanings have some significance to them. While flowers with a love connection, like roses and carnations, are popular, there are many other meaningful traits like new beginnings (daffodil), faith (iris), and perseverance (hydrangea) to consider.

While most wedding flowers have good vibes and positive sentiments, you’ll want to steer clear of those whose meanings have a negative association. (Begonia symbolizes “beware”; tansy, “hostile thoughts.”) Colour plays a substantial role in a flower’s meaning too. Everyone’s favourite wedding flower, the rose, has different meanings depending on the hue. While a red rose symbolizes passion, a white rose means purity and a pink one signifies joy and admiration. The same goes for hyacinths: The white variety means loveliness, the blue kind represents constancy.

Whatever sentiment you want to convey on your wedding day, there’s sure to be a flower to your need. Just like every picture tells a story, every flower has a story to tell too.

Gipsophila

Like an extra in a movie that stays in the background, this popular bouquet and centrepiece filler — which signifies festivity — is there to support the star flowers. With tiny white clouds for petals, it deserves top billing of its own!

Calla Lily

When people think “wedding flower,” this bloom often comes to mind. With its trumpet shape and elegant air, the calla lily more than stands up to its meaning: regal.

Carnation

Beyond being just lapel decoration, carnations can be massed together for a lush look that’s affordable. The pink variety means gratitude, and white is pure love but stay away from striped, which represents refusal…

Chrysanthemum

Looking like a cross between a pompom and a daisy, mums are a full-bodied favourite of weddings for their variety of colour, shapes and sizes and their symbolism of joy.

Clematis

A climbing plant of the buttercup family with large showy petals, clematis could be considered a brainy flower — after all, it symbolizes ingenuity and mental beauty.

Daffodil

What do marriage and this shapely spring flower have in common? Both represent new beginnings, which is tailor-made for a bride and groom’s big day.

Lily

The symbol of modesty and virginity, the white variety of this timeless flower is a wedding staple. The other shades have significant meaning too: The orange lily symbolizes passion, while yellow represents gaiety.

Rose

If you want your bridal bouquet to tell the world how you feel about your groom, nothing says it better than red roses, which symbolize passionate love. Pink (admiration) and white (purity) say a lot too.

Sunflower

Big and lush, sunflowers — symbolic of dedicated love — are beloved for their striking appearance and look-at-me allure and are often used at rustic, country-themed nuptials.

Tulip

If it’s spring, it’s tulip time! This beloved beauty comes in many colours, each with a different meaning. Among them: Red means declaration of love, yellow is sunshine and the variegated kind symbolizes beautiful eyes.

Floral Wedding Inspiration

Flowers play a starring role in most weddings, but if you’re big on blooms, floral details can run throughout your celebrations: it’s not just about bouquets…

Floral wedding décor may sound traditional but — creatively speaking — the sky is the limit when it comes to dressing your reception with wedding flowers. Play with props to present your blooms and use flowers to enhance the features of your venue.

Choosing a traditional paper wedding invite that features a beautiful bloom, and one you’re planning to incorporate on your wedding day, is a simple and stylish way to bring a floral theme into your wedding stationery.

If there is one element of your wedding that is crying out for floral décor, it’s the ceremony. From the heady scent of fresh flowers to the dazzling colours a floral display can add to the setting, nothing is more romantic than a floral backdrop as you say your vows

A fabulously flowery wedding cake: surely it’s the ultimate floral–inspired feature. From a traditional tiered confection adorned with edible roses to a funky chocolate creation decorated with fresh blooms, floral cakes look as delicious as they taste. There are so many styles and combinations to choose from and a bouquet presented on the top tier looks breathtaking.

Wedding tables need flowers: how you choose them depends on your theme, your style and just how high you want to turn up the floral details on the day. Bountiful arrangements can look spectacular, and if you want a contemporary edge, try using several sized vases, each filled with a bunch of your favourite flowers.

 

Artificial Flower Guide

Even the least green-fingered of brides can discover a penchant for florals as they work with their florist to create their bouquets and centrepieces.

While it’s pretty tough to beat the fragrance of fresh flowers, choosing faux flowers does bring many benefits. From budget to dates to décor, here’s seven reasons why you should to choose artificial flowers for your wedding…

If you’ve been dreaming of a blush bouquet of barely open peonies but set the date for September, your first thought will be disappointment. Do you really have to give up one dream in favour of another?

Choose from high quality suppliers for realistic replicas for all of your favourites – whether that’s ranunculus, delphiniums or prized peonies – and you can carry bouquets, wear buttonholes or choose table centres with any blooms at any time of year, allowing you to have your day as you dreamed it while also taking advantage of off-peak dates if you wish.

When you’ve got a venue to set up and decorate as well as getting ready on your wedding morning, we’d forgive you for feeling just a little over busy. Give yourself the relaxing morning you deserve by planning and setting up in advance.

That’s the beauty of working with artificial flowers – you needn’t worry. Not about them wilting in the warmth of your marquee or the flowers fading and crumpling or even how you’ll find the time to arrange them.

They can all be arranged into vases weeks in advance, making the final few days before the big one much more blissful.

If you choose a fresh flower wedding bouquet and want to keep it after the wedding, you’ll encounter the challenge of preserving the petals and flower heads perfectly. This challenge is only compounded by the fact that you’ll probably be jetting off on honeymoon soon, so there’s very little time to get these kinds of tasks done.

With an artificial wedding flowers bouquet, though, you can simply wrap them in protective paper and stow them in a box, forming a lasting memento of your perfect day without half of the fuss.

You might have heard of couples gifting their floral centrepieces to family, friends or perhaps members of the bridal party as thank you gifts. It’s a lovely touch, but with faux flowers to gift the present will last so much longer.

In general, purchasing artificial flowers usually works out cheaper than buying them fresh from a florist. This means that for some couples, going faux can facilitate far more in the way of flower walls, garlands and canopies, and standout table centres, making all the difference to their overall reception décor.

 

Wedding Flowers

Flowers are an integral part of any ceremony or occasion. They are considered one of the best ways to express feelings and emotions. The same holds true for wedding ceremonies as well.

Have you ever wondered as to when this tradition of using flowers in weddings, started? The history of using flowers and herbs in weddings dates back to time immemorial. The origin of wedding flowers is cited to ancient Greek. Here, flowers and plants were used to make a crown for the bride to wear and were considered a gift of nature.

Originally, bridesmaids used to prepare floral decorations for the wedding such as garlands, bridal bouquet and boutonniere. Moreover, the bridesmaids even made poesies for the guests to wear. It was considered as a symbol of thanks. Though the time has passed, the significance of flower has stayed the same. Weddings are still considered incomplete without the usage of flowers. However, herbs have surely lost their place as they are now used intertwined with flowers by fewer cultures and religions. Primarily, the bridal bouquet was inspired from garland and wreaths worn around the heads of both the groom and bride. The garland was deemed to be a symbol of love and happiness.

In effect, bridal bouquets and wreaths were originally made of herbs and bulbs of garlic. As per popular belief, herbs and garlic had magical powers to ward off any evil spirits that may plague the couple’s future. Moreover, different herbs carried different meanings. For instance, dill is the herb of lust. It was believed that when a bride carried it with garlic, down the aisle, she would lust only for her husband. Sage is known as the herb for wisdom. When carried with the garlic, it was believed that the bride would gather great wisdom and learn goodness. Another tradition, which was followed when herbs were used in weddings, was preparation of a kissing knot with rosemary and roses tied together. This kissing knot was hung over the heads of the bride and groom, sitting at the reception table along with other guests at the bridal party. This was considered to bring good luck and lots of love to the wedding couple as well as to everyone sitting at the table. Small nosegays flower were placed beside every plate of the guests, who attended the reception. These flowers were left for the guests to ensure them happiness and long lives.

 

Preserving your Wedding Bouquet

The wedding bouquet is an essential part of the traditional wedding. Many brides, and even bridesmaids, have a special attachment to their wedding bouquet, for often they’ve had them specially made. Of course they want to preserve them as a keepsake! These days, many brides choose to have a bouquet made of artificial flowers so that they can keep it without as much hassle, but for those brides using fresh flowers, here’s how to dry your wedding bouquet;

A dried bouquet makes for a beautiful memento of your wedding day. It can become a beautiful work of art for your home—hung or mounted on display, placed in a vase, etc.—and if you buy your bouquet with the intention of keeping it, make sure you ask your florist for advice on which flowers are best for drying and preserving.

Your bouquet can be dried professionally, or you can do it yourself. Generally, small flowers dry better than larger flowers, but most foliage doesn’t dry very well; you may need to peel away some of the leaves. Also, flowers shrink as they dry, so your finished bouquet will be smaller than the original. It’s recommended that you use a sealant designed for dry flowers to get the best results. Before drying you have to ensure that your flowers are completely free of moisture, like dew.

Hang To Dry

Step 1: Wedding Bouquets look best when they’re dried upside down, for this allows them to preserve their shape. To do this, you need a warm and dry space where your bouquet can hang undisturbed for anywhere from a few days up to two weeks.

Step 2: Remove any fresh foliage/leaves before you hang your bouquet. If you want to dry a few leaves, set them aside.

Step 3: Remove all of the ribbon and wire from the bottom of your bouquet, and then put it back together again with a large, strong elastic. Wrap the elastic first around a third of the stems, then twist and wrap around half of the remaining stems, and then again around the rest of the stems. This will keep your bouquet together as the stems shrink.

Step 4: Hang your bouquet in the warm, dry space, and check its progress in a few days. Keep it away from direct sunlight to preserve its colour.

Step 5: To dry the leaves, you need to place them flat on an airy surface (like a screen, or even a tennis racket!) and cover them with a newspaper. This will weigh them down and prevent them from curling up as they dry.

Step 6: Your bouquet is dry when the flowers feel stiff, and the stems snap easily.

Once your bouquet and the leaves are dry, tidy it up in case it’s lost its shape, and reattach the leaves. It’s safe at this point to use wire again to hold it together, and some florists even recommend using a hot glue gun to permanently attach the leaves and the stems to each other.

Your newly dried bouquet is fragile, so the final step is to spray it with protective coating to preserve it further. Just make sure you always read the guidelines on the product you choose. Most commonly prescribed sprays are;

Dried flower spray – this is a spray that’s specially formulated for dry flowers. Some of these sprays are meant to be used periodically, and some just once. You may purchase this spray online or at florists and gardening centres.

Craft Spray – there’s a variety of clear sprays available for craft projects, and some of them are suitable for dried flowers. Most of the sprays will leave a glossy coating on the flowers, and may also alter the natural scent of the flowers, just as hairspray would.

Hairspray – add a light, even coating to your flowers when they’re completely dry. Please note that this may take away the soft natural scent of your dry flowers.

 

Wedding design on a budget

Perfect as favours or place names, why not showcase your talents as we show you how to make these fun felt decorations…

What you need

  • Coloured felt

  • Stuffing (cotton wool balls)

  • Contrasting thread or wool

  • Needle

  • Scissors

  • Pins

  • Card template

Instructions

Pin your heart template to your felt (you can print a paper one from the computer) then cut around the template. Be sure to keep the template tight to the felt for a professional-looking finish.

Put the two felt hearts together and pin in the centre. It’s now time to start stitching, using a blanket stitch. If you are unsure of this stitch, you are sure to find it on You Tube.

For the stuffing we used unravelled cotton wall balls. Stuff as much or little as you like, the more shape the better the finish.

Continue to sew the heart, once at the end, tie a knot with the needle and thread. Snip the ends and you have a beautiful felt heart.

Top Tip

If you wish to use the heart for hanging, pull a piece of thread through one of the stitches, or put wire or a small stick in the bottom of the heart and use as a cake topper or in your wedding flowers,

alternatively scatter loosely on your wedding table for a pretty look.

Play it cool

So what is a casual or informal wedding and how can you achieve that laid-back feeling on your big day? It’s the new carefree craze among couples, waving goodbye to the formality and pageantry of the traditional wedding, and hello to a more informal and fun-filled celebration.

1. Invitations

There are practical things that you can do to set the right casual tone, and it can stem from the initial invitations that you send out to guests.

A really popular thing to see at the moment is more of is handmade invitations, as opposed to the regular way of printing them. Creating your wedding accessories this way can add that personal touch and it also gives your guests a massive signal straight away as to what kind of wedding they will be attending.

2. Venue & Location

Start to think outside the box when it comes to finding the right wedding venue. Many hotels and manor houses that have been converted to operate almost exclusively as wedding venues will often have set rules and regulations – and other guests to consider. For some this can make things easier, but it can be a bit of a party-pooper if you’re looking for a bit of freedom.

We’re at a time now where couples want to put their own identity and stamp on their wedding. Hotels and such will tend to offer set packages, which again can make things easier, but can also undervalue your personality. Consider more quirky and free spaces such as farms and country houses. If you’re able to hire these kind of spaces exclusively, you won’t have to share it with any guests and your party can finish as late as you want it to!

Lots of space is important for your guests to roam, especially outdoor space in Summer. Be smart about it though! You can utilise this space in all kinds of wonderful ways. One great way to lighten the mood and keep things interesting is to consider different ‘lawn games’ or fun ideas like sack races or a fun game of rounders with your guests! These small touches don’t cost much to set up and are invaluable in encouraging that idyllic childhood atmosphere that is so important to informal weddings.

 

3. Food & Drink

 

Keep things as simple as possible here for that informal feel.

The wedding food you choose and how you present it can be a really important measure of how casual you wish your wedding to be. BBQ’s and buffets are a fantastic choice for those balmy Summer evenings. It’s real, down to earth food that everyone can enjoy without having to be directed towards a proper sit down meal.

Another thing to consider is your seating plan for your meal. Or, lack of seating plan! It can be a scary thing to imagine but try to embrace that sense of community and family by letting people stand and sit where they like. Your guests will appreciate this loose approach to the meal and will feel unshackled and able to enjoy themselves.

4. Music

There are so many ways you can use music and wedding entertainment to augment your casual feel. There are a plethora of musical acts that can provide great entertainment, without intruding on that relaxed feel that you’ve spent the whole day getting right.

Many ‘walkabout’ acts or ‘roaming’ acts are able to perform completely unplugged without the need for a PA or even a stage. This means that they will be able to mix and mingle between your guests, performing personally for groups of family and friends with a real intimate feel.

5. Children’s Entertainment

Keeping the kids entertainment is really important with this style of wedding. If you get it right, it can also add a fun and childlike flavour to your day.

Face painters are great fun to have on days like this, they take up hardly any space and are easily able to add a splash of colour and something a bit different to the wedding. With anything like this, it might be intended for the kids but adults will always end up getting involved too!

6. Photography

Typical staged wedding photographs can often feel too choreographed and have to adhere to certain schedules and timings. What happens if your guests are mid conversation and are getting along like a house on fire, only to be taken out of that moment for photographs.

Alternative ways of capturing everyone’s emotions and key parts of the day are worth bearing in mind here. Photobooths are an incredibly funny way to get guests enjoying in photographs. You will find that with an optional place to pose, props to utilise and fun to be had, guests will be more willing to get involved.

So that’s the lowdown on informal and casual weddings, remember to stay laid back and approach things in a lenient manner. At the end of the day, this vibe that you are creating begins with you – the couple!

 

Make it unique

Brides across the country are striving to make their wedding unique. Research shows that this is the main cause of anxiety for 53% of couples in Britain planning a wedding. Almost two thirds of couples said that, although their wedding was the best day of their lives, their day lacked distinctiveness. The areas where bride and groom felt they could have added a more personalised touch was through their wedding decorations and what they served to guests.

Welcome reception

A welcome dinner or drinks reception is a great way to break the ice between your out of town guests before the big day. The local pub is a perfect location for this.

Guest welcome packs

Create guides for your guests who are visiting from out of town. Include tips on local pubs and leave it in their hotel rooms. You can also include a local beer as refreshments for the rooms.

Wedding Venue

Use dried barley or fresh hops to decorate the venue instead of flowers. You can also use them in your bouquet! For a really rustic feel, you could have your wedding reception in a brewery or a barley field. Another idea is to use vintage beer crates for seating or to sign your vows on an oak barrel.

Seating

Instead of traditional escort cards, use personalised beer caps or coasters to tell people where they are sitting. An even better idea would be to use actual bottles so that guests can enjoy a drink whilst they find their seats.

Food

Use beer as a main ingredient in meals, such as beer battered fish or steak and ale pies. You can also pair your dishes and canapés with your favourite beers. This way, your guests are introduced to a new beer match with everything they eat! You can also put a twist on a traditional wedding cake by using beer as a key ingredient. For the best of both worlds serve a chocolate wedding cake made with a stout beer. This decadent treat will definitely be something to be remembered!

Drinks

A beer inspired drinks menu is a really nice touch. Serve beer based cocktails using a brew you created or choose beers that represent special times in your relationship. For instance, a beer from the country where you got engaged or the beer you were drinking the night you met.

Toasts

If your fiancée is not a fan of champagne, serve beer during the wedding speeches. Ditch the bottles and serve beer to your guests in tasteful chalices. There are many elegant beers with signature glassware, such as Leffe which has a cork and foil top.

 

The perfect Wedding cake

One of the highlights of every wedding; the cake!  Guests might forget your first dance song or the colour of your table runners, but your friends and family will always remember what your wedding cake tasted like — and looked like.

Whether you prefer sugar or fresh flowers, pretty blooms are the perfect accessory for your wedding cake!

Wedding cakes with flowers are one of the most popular big day desserts, and for good reason! Pretty blooms add vibrancy to an otherwise simple cake at a relatively low expense. It allows the bride and groom to skip pricier decorative techniques — like fondant or hand-cut details — in favour of floral adornments.

And though sugar flowers cost more than fresh, the fake buds are still a cost-effective way to upgrade your wedding cake without bursting your budget. The best part about going the faux-flower route is that the colour and design options are endless.

If you prefer to use real flowers (which look absolutely gorgeous on a big cake!), choose a bloom that’s currently in season and complements your wedding theme.

One of the most popular ways to include flowers on a big-day dessert; the topper! Many couples are forgoing traditional wedding cake toppers in favour of fresh blooms. But if you can’t image skipping the classic bride and groom, consider other options, like sugar petal details or scattered buds at the cake’s base or between layers.

With countless options, including hand-painted, cascading, single-bloom, and overloaded-floral styles, it’s impossible not to find a delicious confection you absolutely love.

 

Be money savvy

Between the wedding food, the event space, the wedding photographers and the band — you may have spent a large part of your savings on your wedding. If you were lucky enough to receive wedding gift money from friends and family, you can really make this money work for you. Instead of using your cash for a trip to the Caribbean or on a new car, consider the following suggestions:

Start an emergency fund. We know it doesn’t sound as glamorous as a spa package, but starting an emergency fund and help to combat stress when something unexpected comes up. Whether it’s a sudden boiler breakdown or car repair, this saved cash will help if times get tough. It’ll also make you feel better to know there’s a bit of a cushion. We recommend opening an account that offers quick access and storing away £1,000 — you can always add to it.

Pay some bills. You’ve just planned a huge event and you’ve paid your fair share for it, so don’t feel guilty about using some of your gift money for your monthly bills, or even prepaying your mortgage if you have one. If you’ve been carrying around some unwanted debt — credit card, or car loan — consider paying off some of it. Having trouble deciding which to pay off first? Start by paying off the loan with the highest interest rate.

Watch it grow. It’s a smart idea to save and invest a big chunk of your gift money — this way it can gain interest and over time make money for you. It could be your deposit on a home or a nest egg for retirement. A financial adviser can help make sure you’re putting your cash in the best account for you, whether that be a tax advantaged plan, like a traditional ISA.

Invest in your home. If you’ve been looking for a place to call your own, your wedding money may make a nice deposit payment. As you probably know, the larger your deposit, the less interest you’ll typically end up paying on the loan.

Already have a nest? You could make updates and improvements to your current place, which can potentially increase its property value.

Look into life insurance. Now’s the perfect time to take out life for you and your new spouse. Pushing a plan to the side any further will make it more difficult to attain. Thankfully, this isn’t a huge investment, just a smart one.