traditions show that a Ancient Greek ceremonies used laurel crowns to
adorn the bride's head. Laurel, symbolizing Aprodite, the
Love, was also used by the ancient Romans in the form of wreaths which
were worn around the bride's neck.
are orange blossoms? Well, they're just what
they sound like -
they're flowers produced by orange trees. They are a bright
colour, with five thin petals. As well as being daintily attractive,
orange blossoms have a strong pleasant fragrance. Over time they have
become synonymous with good luck. They are also,
Florida's state flower - Florida, after all, being the largest
producer of oranges in the USA, and only second biggest producer of
oranges in the world behind Brazil.
Back in the Middle Ages,
it was initially only the richer members of the populace were able to
afford the luxury
of orange blossom bouquets. Brides who were not so well-off
wild flowers such as fragrant myrtle in a crown, and would carry
bouquets of herbs
like dill, rosemary, garlic and spices. These herbs would
purposes - in addition to being decorative items for the
carry, they would be diced and scattered over the food at the wedding
The custom of using
herbs in the bridal bouquet
continued in Elizabethan times in England, with rosemary being added to
signify joy. In Scotland, heather was used to indicate good
ivy for married love and thistles for austerity.
As the cost of orange
blossoms began to reduce, over time their general
use increased becoming quite prevalent
by the 19th century in weddings in the USA.
tradition of only-white bouquets in England is said to have been
started by queen
Victoria. Her bouquet was made up of snowdrops,
which was the favorite
flower of her groom, Prince Albert.
Today it is customary for
the bride's bouquet to be
bought by the groom, and for the bride's future father-in-law to bring
the bouquet to her home before the marriage ceremony. The type of
flowers are more varied than the ancient style of only having orange
blossoms, and can include roses,
orchids amongst other flowers.
Wedding Bouquet Toss
Tossing the wedding
bouquet is a widely used custom in
the USA, where the bride throws the bouquet into a gathering of her
unmarried female friends and relatives. It is believed that the person
who catches the bouquet will become the next one to be married in the
Originally it wasn't
actually the bouquet that the bride
would toss, but a shoe. Over time the custom evolved toward throwing
flowers instead, which is quite fortunate if you're unlucky enough to
be accidentally hit on the head by the object being tosssed!
In Spain, the wedding
bouquet is usually given to
someone previously decided upon by the bride and groom.
There is also a similar
custom involving the little
bride and groom figurines which are often found standing atop the
wedding cake. These figures may be given to a couple, amongst the
guests, who are soon to be married.
Many people think that the
tradition of the garter toss
stared in 14th century France. Guests, probably in an over-enthusiastic
state of celebratory drunkenness, would run behind the bride and
attempt to snatch her garter as it was believed that it would bring
good luck. To prevent the bride from ending up with all of the guests
under her skirt, the custom of voluntarily tossing the garter
Whereas the bride tosses
the bridal bouquet to the
single female guests, it is the groom who tosses the garter to the
single males. In older times the groom would remove the garter with his
teeth but this is considerd to be a bit vulgar and uncouth these days.
The garter should simply be removed discretely to avoid any
embarassment to the bride. Often the removal is performed whilst the
bride and groom are seated at the meal table.
In a similar fashion to the
bouquet toss, it is belived
that the man who catches the garter will be the next one to become
married. Some versions of the custom say that the man who catches the
garter will marry the woman who catches the bride's bouquet.