Choosing wedding flowers is often a big decision and in many events, the flowers are an important part of the decor. Do you have a flower that is special to you and your significant other? You might want to incorporate them into your bouquet or corsage. Perhaps you have found some stunning arrangements on Pinterest that could be replicated. When choosing wedding flowers many people tend to consider color, cost, and personal preference but what if flowers did much more than just decorate your event? What if they conveyed a secret message?
Floriography: Speaking The Language Of Flowers
Flowers have been used to communicate and convey feelings for centuries, yet due to such strict etiquette rules during the Victorian Era in England flowers were often given to convey feelings that were not considered appropriate to express verbally. The gesture of sending flowers is usually viewed as a kind or loving gift in the 21st century, yet if you were a wealthy individual living in the 19th century the gesture would probably have a much deeper meaning. Upon receiving the bouquet, which was most likely created from someone’s own garden, the recipient would probably rush off to determine the secret message the flower arrangement was meant to convey. Each flower had a specific meaning, creating a type of secret code in which people could communicate. Several flower dictionaries were even published during this time to use as a guide to the meanings of different flowers.
This type of communication, while exciting and fun could also prove to quite tricky. In order to decode a floral arrangement, one must be able to recognize a large number of flowers on sight. Access to a great variety of flowers, many which were more obscure, would be necessary for anyone looking to send and communicate via a bouquet. This type of communication could even prove dangerous, as certain flowers which were used were actually poisonous! With the popularity of floral messages during this time many people in England took up gardening and botany, or the study of plants, as a hobby. This Era was also the beginning of recognizing floral design as an art form. Unfortunately, this type of hobby and communication could prove to be quite expensive.
The Various Meanings And Uses
During the Victorian Era, flowers were often combined in order to convey a message. The meanings have changed over time with some original meanings being completely lost or forgotten. Meanings also vary culturally or geographically. Flowers still hold special meanings to us in present day but are generally displayed in different ways. Today we could use the example of state flowers representing each individual state in the U.S. The Pennsylvania state flower, for example, is the Mountain Laurel. Another more current example would be birth month flowers, similar to birthstones. While not as well known as the gemstones, the birth month flowers also represent traits or qualities. November, for instance, is represented by the mum and white mums indicate purity and innocence.
The Evolution Of Bouquets
In the Victorian Era, bouquets, also called “tussie-mussies” were sometimes carried to block some of the less than pleasant smells present during that time. They were usually made of fragrant herbs and a single flower in the center tied together into a small “nose bouquet”. Today, bridal bouquets are usually much larger and don’t generally include any herbs. Yet, there are still various meanings associated with a lot of popular wedding flowers, which you may be interested in incorporating into your own floral arrangements and bouquets. Perhaps you would prefer to have a message of your own included in your bridal bouquet. Below are some popular flowers’ meanings.
- Carnation – Boldness (Pink), Talent (White)
- Calla Lily – Regal
- Gerbera Daisy – Cheerfulness
- Hydrangea – Understanding
- Lily – Truth, Honor, Majesty
- Orchid – Love, Beauty
- Sunflower – Adoration (short-stemmed), Haughtiness (long-stemmed)
- Tulip – Passion, Love
Some flowers that you may want to reconsider adding to your wedding flower displays due to their negative messages are:
- Rhododendron – Danger
- Marigold – Grief
- Yellow Lily – Falsehood
- Red Poppy – Consolation