Being a San Antonio wedding photographer I have the honor to photograph many weddings, bridal portraits, and engagement portrait sessions. One of the key photographs for any wedding or bridal portrait is the bridal bouquet. Brides take much time, effort, and energy in picking out the perfect bouquet that will complement their wedding. Colors and flower types are key but they can also depend on the time of the year and the availability of those particular flowers.
The history of the bridal bouquet is an interesting one. Brides have been carrying a bouquet since ancient times, but it did not start out as flowers. Many time brides and grooms carried aromatic herbs, spices, or garlic to help to ward off evil spirits. As far back as ancient Greece and Rome the brides would wear a garland that was meant to symbolize new life, hope, and fertility for the couple. At this time the garlands were not yet made of flowers but instead they were comprised of herbs and spices or local vegetation. The stronger the smell the better it was believed that the garland would ward off of evil spirits. As is true with many other wedding traditions, the modern tradition of having flowers at a wedding and carrying a flower bouquet came from Queen Victoria’s marriage to Prince Albert on February 10, 1840. The bouquet of flowers was carried by the bride and this bouquet included edible flowers like marigolds and dill weed which was eaten by the bride, the groom, and the wedding attendees during the reception. The consuming of dill was thought to increase sexual desire. I could see why you would want the bride and groom to consume this but I am not sure that I would want the wedding guests consuming this too.
It was also during Victorian times that flowers took on meanings and were seen as secret messages between lovers. This is know as florigraphy, or the language of flowers. At the time many beautiful flowers were given underserved meanings. Today, brides choose their flowers based more on color and a fondness for the look and smell of the flowers, rather than their assigned meanings.
This is just one of the many fascinating wedding traditions. I am really interested in these rituals and their origins, so look for future posts on that subject. You can read about other wedding traditions in my post “Wedding Ceremony Photography” and “Wedding Cake Photography.”
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