Why Does the Bride Carry a Bouquet at a Wedding?

Bridal bouquets are flower arrangements carried by the bride down the aisle. It was designed to complement the wedding’s aesthetic and her dress.

Why Does the Bride Carry a Bouquet at a Wedding?

A stunning bouquet is the icing on the cake of your bridal ensemble! However, have you ever pondered the significance of the bridal bouquet and why brides traditionally carry one?

The Demand for Bridal Bouquets

The custom calls for the bride to carry a bouquet throughout the ceremony. More specifically, have you ever considered the significance of bridesmaid bouquets? Like many other traditions, Bouquets have an illustrious past that can be traced back to antiquity.

  • During Classical Greece

Spices and fresh herbs were often included in the bouquets that brides carried. Garlic was a standard component of fragrant bouquets of the time, though they also frequently included other aromatic plants. It was believed that the potent aroma given off by these bouquets would drive away any evil spirits that might have been wishing the newlyweds ill will.

  • During Ancient Romans

They played a significant role in shaping contemporary wedding day customs, and they adopted this practice as well. The ancient Romans believed that a vein in this finger went straight to the heart, but this was a common myth. As a public declaration of their love for one another, they both wore wedding bands on those fingers.

  • During Middle Ages

Even in the Middle Ages, it was customary to give flowers to the bride. Bouquets changed in form and function during this period, but spices and herbs continued to be used in place of flowers. Medieval women believed that the bouquets they carried with them not only offered protection from harm but also acted as a sort of aphrodisiac to promote fertility in the marriage.

  • During the Victorian Era

Flowers instead of herbs and spices in bouquets became popular during the Victorian era in England during the 1800s. The first-ever bride to do so was Queen Victoria. She ditched the traditional bouquet of herbs and spices in favor of fresh flowers when she wed Prince Albert in 1840. Some speculated that this was done to mask body odor in the absence of deodorant, which was not widely available at the time.

Reason No. 1: To Hide the Bride’s Aroma

A dirty little secret about 15th-century brides is that they often smelled strongly of stale urine. As a result, they released a foul odor. The man of the house would be the first to enjoy a long soak in hot water, followed by any male members of the household, the lowly men and women who lived there, and finally, the child would be given the stale water that had been sitting around.

Reason No. 2: When Attempting to Exorcise Negative Energies.

Carrying a bridal bouquet as a talisman against evil spirits is ancient and widespread. In this case, the bouquets’ potent aroma was not due to the presence of flowers with a strong scent but rather to the inclusion of highly aromatic herbs like spices, dill, and possibly even a great deal of garlic and chives.

In other words, the bouquets didn’t have a foul odor because they weren’t made with flowers with a soft scent. Others have probably noticed the cooked potato making its way down the aisle.

It’s possible to approach this theory from two distinct perspectives. According to some schools of thought in traditional folklore, the potency of these odors serves as a sort of protection against evil spirits and misfortune. The people of the time tried to prolong their lives by placing cloves of garlic and dill over their noses and mouths because of the herbs’ natural medicinal properties. 

Reason No. 3: To Arouse Passion in the Happy Couple

Roman wedding bouquets looked nothing like modern ones. As a symbol of renewal and fertility, flowers were used instead. Edible aphrodisiacs such as dill served a dual purpose, and marigolds were introduced to bouquets as the tradition of tossing the bouquet to the guests gained popularity again.

Reason No. 4: To Pass Along a Happy Message

This Victorian justification for carrying flowers at a wedding is probably similar to the modern reason people use today, that they signify something significant. 

According to the principles of floriography, each flower variety carries a unique interpretation. These blossoms took extra weight during the Victorian era. A groom who wished to send a secret message of love to his bride would select a bouquet with flowers that conveyed his feelings. Flowers would be arranged in this fashion. The flowers used in a wedding ceremony are another way brides express their emotions to their future husbands.

Reason No. 5: To Express Love

This justification is more in line with how bridal bouquets are typically viewed nowadays. Flower messages were commonly exchanged between lovers in the Victorian era. Various meanings are ascribed to multiple flowers in the art of floriography. 

Reason No. 6: To Secure the Bride

Guests at weddings a few centuries ago often tried to rip off a piece of the bride’s dress to bring some of the bride’s good fortune home with them. So, brides began tossing their bouquets into the crowd so that their eager guests would chase after the bouquets instead of the bride. 

The bride and groom would quickly retreat to their bedroom to avoid being trampled whenever the bouquet was thrown around. Now that this novel practice has caught on, brides no longer need to worry about their guests ripping their dresses to shreds.