04 September 2008

Wedding Flowers: Symbolic Meaning

So roses mean love, tulips mean passion... Magnolia means love of nature and stephanotis signifies marital happines.
During the Victorian era, The Language of Flowers created an ultra-romantic language for lovers' correspondence in which flowers replaced words. If you want to suffuse your wedding flowers with symbolism, here is a guide to the most popular wedding flowers and its symbolic meanings.

Anemone
Meaning: Expectation
Best For: Bouquets and arrangements
Scent: None
In Season: Fall (Japanese) to spring (Wood or De Caen)
Floral Fact: Anemones bloom in either single or double blossoms.

Baby's Breath
Meaning: Innocence
Best For: Filler in bouquets, corsages, and boutonnieres
Scent: None
In Season: Year-round

Calla Lily
Meaning: Magnificent beauty
Best For: Bouquets and arrangements
Scent: Lightly fragrant
In Season: Spring and summer
Floral Fact: This large tropical flower is very popular in weddings.

Carnation
Meaning: Pink represents boldness, red symbolizes love, and white indicates talent. Some other colors have negative connotations (see below).
Best For: Bouquets, boutonnieres, and arrangements
Scent: Very light fragrance or none at all, depending on variety
In Season: Year-round

Chrysanthemum (or mum)
Meaning: Wealth, abundance, truth
Best For: Bouquets and arrangements
Scent: None
In Season: Year-round
Floral Fact: Mums come in several varieties, which determine their size and color. The name literally means "golden flower."

Daffodil
Meaning:
Regard
Best For: Garden settings, in pots
Scent: None
In Season: Spring

Daisy
Meaning: Share your feelings
Best For: Bouquets
Scent: None
In Season: Year-round

Delphinium
Meaning: Swiftness, lightness
Best For: Arrangements
Scent: Lightly fragrant
In Season: Summer

Freesia
Meaning: Innocence
Best For: Bouquets
Scent: Very fragrant
In Season: Spring and summer

Gardenia
Meaning: Purity, joy
Best For: Bouquets and boutonnieres
Scent: Very fragrant
In Season: Year-round

Hydrangea
Meaning: Understanding
Best For: Bouquets and arrangements
Scent: None
In Season: Spring and fall

Iris
Meaning: A message of faith, wisdom
Best For: In arrangements or potted
Scent: Fragrant
In Season: Spring
Floral Fact: Irises come in several sizes; they are usually blue or white, but you may find exotic varieties (including purple ones).

Lilac
Meaning: Love's first emotions
Best For: Filler in arrangements or as part of bouquets, depending on variety
Scent: Very fragrant
In Season: Local lilacs are available in the spring; imported French lilacs are available year-round
Floral Fact: The local lilac is grown like a bush, and is used as filler because of its greenery. The French lilac is more flower-like and can be used as such in bouquets and arrangements.

Lily
Meaning: Majesty, truth, honor
Best For: Bouquets and arrangements
Scent: Fragrant
In Season: Summer, but often imported during other seasons

Lily of the Valley
Meaning: Happiness
Best For: Bouquets, in combination with other flowers
Scent: Fragrant
In Season: Spring and summer
Floral Fact: These small, fragile, bell-shaped flowers are considered traditional marriage flowers.

Magnolia
Meaning: Love of nature
Best For: Arrangements
Scent: Depends on variety
In Season: Spring and summer
Floral Fact: Magnolias are more common in Southern-style weddings, as most magnolia trees grow in the South.

Orchid
Meaning: Love, beauty
Best For: Bouquets, corsages, and boutonnieres
Scent: None
In Season: Year-round -- almost always imported
Floral Fact: This exotic flower comes in a variety of colors and sizes.

Peony
Meaning: Bashfulness, the American spirit of ambition and determination
Best For: Arrangements
Scent: Lightly fragrant
In Season: Late spring

Rose
Meaning: Love, joy, beauty
Best For: Bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres, and arrangements
Scent: Lightly fragrant to very fragrant, depending on variety
In Season: Year-round
Floral Fact: Roses are the most popular wedding flowers.

Stephanotis
Meaning: Marital happiness
Best For: Bouquets and arrangements
Scent: Very fragrant
In Season: Year-round
Floral Fact: These trumpet-shape blossoms are traditional bridal flowers, no doubt due to their meaning.

Stock
Meaning: Lasting beauty
Best For: Filler in arrangements
Scent: Very fragrant
In Season: Year-round
Floral Fact: Stock can be found in many colors to complement and fill out arrangements.

Sunflower
Meaning: Short-stemmed sunflowers mean adoration; long-stemmed sunflowers symbolize haughtiness
Best For: Carrying a single stem down the aisle; potted arrangements
Scent: None
In Season: Fall

Sweet Pea
Meaning: Pleasure
Best For: Garden setting, in vases
Scent: Fragrant
In Season: Late spring and early summer

Tulip
Meaning: Love, passion
Best For: Arrangements and bouquets
Scent: None
In Season: Late spring
Floral Fact: These sweet and stately flowers can be found in a myriad of colors, but they are very fragile.

Unfavorable Flowers
It's sad but true: You might want to avoid certain flowers (if you're superstitious, that is). On the other hand, you can always thumb your nose at history and ascribe your own meaning to these "questionable" blooms. Here are the so-called negative indicators:

Christmas Rose: Scandal
Fig: Idleness
Foxglove: Insincerity
Larkspur: Infidelity
Lavender: Distrust
Marigold: Grief
Mulberry: I shall not survive you
Raspberry: Remorse
Red Carnation: Alas for my poor heart
Red Poppy: Consolation
Rhododendron: Danger
Striped Carnation: Refusal
White Poppy: Sleep
Yellow Carnation: Disdain
Yellow Chrysanthemum: Slighted Love
Yellow Lily: Falsehood
Yellow Rose: Jealousy

1 comment:

Jun said...

I always love reading about the meanings behind wedding flowers. They add a touch of romanticism onto the ceremony with subtlety. I loved reading through this list; I learned that chrysanthemums' name literally translated to golden flower. Thank you for sharing this great read.

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