Being at the height of the wedding season, I thought I would dig -- no pun intended -- a little deeper into floral history, taking a look at flowers for a wedding, what they indicate, and their seasonal best.
Wearing, carrying, and decorating with flowers and greenery for the celebratory event of betrothing one’s life to one another is a time-honored tradition that dates back as far as ancient Greece.
The bride would wear a crown of flowers and herbs around her head, which was considered a gift of nature. According to an article published by Ken Bolt on “Wedding Flowers – The Origins of the Tradition,” “the Greek bridesmaids would be responsible for this honor,” while “the garland bouquet would often contain bulbs of garlic. This wasn’t to make the wedding smell like your grandmother’s kitchen, but instead to ward off any evil spirits that might see fit to intervene in the ceremony or curse their future together.”
Like birthstones, flowers are associated with certain months of the year. In "The New Book of Wedding Etiquette," Kim Shaw reveals that “if you must carry lilacs in your bouquet, you must also get married in the spring–the only time of year they’re available.”
So, as you set out to plan your beautiful occasion, perhaps the following list will help you make sweet selections and guide you in choosing “in-season” blooms.
May/Lily of the Valley
Spring: Daffodil, Dianthus, Hyacinth, Hydrangea, Iceland Poppy, Lilac, Lily of the Valley, Peony
Summer: Cosmos, Phlox, Queen Anne’s Lace, Sunflower, Sweet William, Yarrow, Zinnia
Fall: Cockscomb, Dahlia, Viburnum, Berries
Winter: Amaryllis, Heather, Hellebores, Holly Berries, Narcissus, Poinsettia
All Season: Alstroemeria, Baby’s Breath, Calla Lily, Carnation, Chrysanthemum, Daisy, Freesia, Gerbera Daisy, Gladiola, Iris, Ivy, Lily, Lisianthus, Roses, Smilax, Snapdragon, Stephanotis, Stock, Tuberose
Of course, personal choice, color themes and availability are all important factors when making just one of the many important decisions that must be made for one’s wedding day but we hope this will help during the planning stages.
Jonnie Fox Flanagan is the Founder and Director of The Magnolia School of Etiquette and Protocol.