By Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor
University of Vermont
Planning to walk down the aisle this summer? The flowers you choose for your wedding may reveal more about you than you know.
Special meanings have been associated with flowers since the Victorian era. Men who were shy about expressing how they felt about a woman would send flowers. Pansies meant "I'm thinking of you," yellow roses signified friendship, Calla lilies spoke of her magnificent beauty, and irises meant "I'm about to ask you an important question."
The question was usually, "Will you marry me?" If the answer was yes, the bride-to-be would start thinking about what flowers she wanted to use on that special day to convey her feelings and sentiments.
Although flower selection is often based on personal preferences and availability, modern day brides also can send messages to their intended through the flowers and herbs they include in their bouquets, wedding favors, and table displays.
Roses are always a popular choice for weddings. White stands for innocence, charm, love, and beauty. Red signals passion and desire. Dark pink represents thankfulness that you've found each other. Ivy is for fidelity and marriage, alestromeria--devotion. Tulips are a good way to declare your love for your spouse.
For a less formal bouquet, use primroses to tell everyone you feel cheery, joyous, and youthful. Add daisies for innocence and romance and larkspur for humor and laughter. Just think twice about using daffodils, which say "no regards" in the language of flowers!
Many brides also like to include symbolic herbs in their bouquets or decorations. Marjoram stands for happiness, sage for domestic virtue, and thyme for courage and strength. Rosemary is for remembrance. Lavender is for love and devotion. If you add a stalk of wheat, this means you are hoping for prosperity.
These flowers and herbs can also be used in table centerpieces and decorations for the church or place where the ceremony is held. How about an ivy wreath? Ivy, as I mentioned, stands for fidelity and marriage. The circle shape represents everlasting life. Tuck in a few sprigs of rosemary or lavender to add remembrance and love.
For tables, make topiaries of ivy in a heart shape. Or take a handful of red tulips, strip away the leaves, and wrap with florist ribbon in your "wedding colors." Pop into a decorative glass container, and pack moss around the sides to hold up the flowers.
You can also use flowers for favors. How about a seed packet of "your" flower or herb? Daisies, larkspur, thyme, and rosemary are all a good choice as they have special meaning and are easy to grow in Vermont. Or put sachets of herbs, rose petals, and lavender at each guest's place. The possibilities are endless!
Visit Dr. Leonard Perry's Perennial Pages