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The Tradition Of Flower Language

Sep 9, 2008
In 1716 Lady Mary Wortley Montagu returned to England after spending time Constantinople in Turkey with her husband and brought with her the tradition of 'flower language'.

The interest then moved to France where the Book 'Le Langage des Fleurs' was printed. It contained over 800 floral signs. During Queen Victoria's reign the book was translated into English but was toned down because they were quite lusty and risque! Due to Le Langage des Fleurs, flowers started to take on an additional significance as lovers would send messages to each other using different flowers, each with its own symbolic meaning.

These associations were soon adopted for the bridal bouquet and are still used today by many brides. Some of the flowers that a bride might choose may include orange blossom, which signifies purity and chastity and snowdrops represent hope. Roses are a common choice for brides - the different colours signify different meanings: Coral roses signify desire and passion, orange roses signify fascination, peach roses signify modesty and purity, pink roses signify grace, red signify love and white roses signify innocence. Peonies are avoided by some as they represent shame. A combination of red and white flowers is avoided by the superstitious because they stand for blood and bandages.

Bridal flowers

The carrying of flowers by brides goes back to ancient times. It was believed that spices and strong smelling herbs would keep away evil spirits, bad luck and ill health, so garlic and chives were popular. During Roman times the bride and groom wore floral garlands signifying new life and hope for fertility. During medieval times, a Knight would wear his Lady's colours as a declaration of his love. This is where the custom came from that the groom should wear a flower that appears in the bridal bouquet in his buttonhole.

The bridal bouquet is considered to bring good luck and happiness to a marriage. Sometimes a bouquet will have ribbons woven throughout the flowers which are then tied in knots to symbolise unity. Bouquets used to be made up of white flowers because they symbolise purity although many brides now choose flowers which complement their dress or the colour of the bridesmaid's dresses.

The tradition of the bride throwing the bouquet over her shoulder was introduced by America. In the 14th century, is was customary for the bride to toss her garter to the male guests and the man that caught it would be the next one to marry.

In the 14th Century it was believed that taking an article of the bride's clothing would bring good luck.
As this often resulted in the destruction of the bride's dress, the tradition arose for the bride to toss articles of clothing to the guests, including the garter. However it was said that the men got too drunk, and would become impatient and try to remove the garter ahead of time. To stop this drunken behaviour the custom changed to tossing the bridal bouquet. It is now said that whoever catches the bouquet will be the next to marry.
About the Author
John MCE writes on Articles on a number of subjects including wedding ceremonies. If you're planning a wedding in Sussex visit Pelham House who ensure that you can celebrate your wedding day, confident that the setting will be perfect, the food and wine inspiring and delicious, and that a truly warm welcome awaits your guests.
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