With the opening of our 1800s Replica Historic Church available for Weddings and Vow Renewals, we wanted to take a look into many common wedding traditions still performed.
Floriography or The Language of Flowers
Have you ever wondered why the Bride wears a white dress? Or why we eat a tiered wedding cake? Or why the Bride tosses her bouquet? Or why we host a bridal shower?
Where did these traditions come from? Why do we do them?
Join us for a multi-part mini-series as we uncover the history behind many common Wedding Traditions!
There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance …
William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 5
Did you know that for centuries, people worldwide have believed that flowers have certain properties, and by grouping different flowers together they can send a hidden message? This is called floriographyor The Language of Flowers.
Floriography gained popularity during the reign of Queen Victoria in the mid- to late-1800s when flower dictionaries became popular and homes would have books on the secret language of flowers. The first flower dictionary was published in France in 1819, and by 1879 books on flowers and their meanings were widely available in England and the United States.
Eleanor Randolph Wilson, wearing wedding gown and holding bouquet of flowers.
Miss Wilson married Mr. William Gibbs McAdoo on May 7, 1914.
Floriography allowed communication between people who might not otherwise have been able to meet face-to-face. By giving certain flowers to another, secret messages could be passed such as: “I love you,” or “I’m sorry.”
The Significance of Some Popular Flowers
Not all countries ascribe the same properties to each flower, and many flowers and herbs have been given special meanings. For our purposes, we will highlight North American flowers centering on love and weddings.
Flowers of Love
Forget-Me-Not: True love; memories
Gardenia: Secret love
Heliotrope: Eternal love
Red Chrysanthemum: I love you
Red Rose: Love; I Love You
Single Full Bloom Rose: I Love You
Yarrow: Everlasting love
Flowers with Wedding Messages
Dandelion: Faithfulness; happiness
Ivy: Wedded love; fidelity; affection
Peony: Happy life; happy marriage
Spider Flower: Elope with me
White rose: Purity; a new beginning, a fresh start.
Yellow rose: Joy; friendship; the promise of a new beginning
Where to Learn More
In addition to reading the articles in the References section, your florist should be able to help with what secret message you want your flowers to convey. Florists such as Business is Blooming, who donated all the flowers for the Osceola County Historical Society’s Dine with the Departed events in 2017 and 2018, are well versed in floriography and can help make your special day perfect.
An arrangement by Business is Blooming for the 2018 Dine with the Departed event.
Because truly, even though dandelions send a message of faithfulness and happiness, there are better choices for your special day.
Have a question about a Wedding or party tradition that you want answered? Are you interested in renting the many venues managed by the Osceola County Historical Society for weddings, meetings, parties or events?
Making Your Story – History!
“Flower Related Information and Flower Links.” http://thelanguageofflowers.com/.
Greenaway, Kate. Language of Flowers. London; New York: F. Warne, [190-].
The Old Farmer’s Almanac. “Flower Meanings: The Language of Flowers: Learn The Symbolism of Flowers, Herbs, and Other Plants.” https://www.almanac.com/content/flower-meanings-language-flowers.
ProFlowers. “Floriography: The Language of Flowers in the Victorian Era.” https://www.proflowers.com/blog/floriography-language-flowers-victorian-era.
Texas A&M System, Texas AgriLife Extension Service. “The Language of Flowers.” https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/publications/flowers/flowers.html.
Eleanor Randolph Wilson, wearing wedding gown and holding bouquet of flowers. Miss Wilson married Mr. William Gibbs McAdoo on May 7, 1914.
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, photograph by Harris & Ewing, [reproduction number, LC-USZ62-131915]
Business is Blooming Centerpiece, Rachel McIntee