The language of flowers sounds romantic, but the original Victorian glossary of flower meanings is actually much more complex. It was originally created, so the story goes, to make courtship a little easier in a time when letting your feelings show was all but verboten. Now it remains a little quirk of history – an oddity you can draw inspiration from or not when you’re thinking about your bridal bouquet, reception flowers, bouquet jewelry, etc.
Creating a meaningful bridal bouquet isn’t easy, though. It turns out that those Victorians were sometimes a dreary bunch. I guess if you’re using flowers to communicate clandestinely with potential partners, you’re eventually going to be using them to facilitate your secret breakups. Consider an arrangement of bright daffodils and daisies wrapped in delicate fern leaves – you might give this to a crush whose innocence you value. On the other hand, a bouquet containing pretty asphodel speaks only to the giver’s regrets.
Lilacs? Mean love. Lavender? Can mean distrust. Yellow carnations communicate rejection and disdain, whereas striped carnations are a straight up “no”.
Though it’s fun to scroll through lists of flower meanings, I don’t recommend using the Victorian language of flowers to create your bridal bouquet. First, it’s highly unlikely that none of your wedding guests will know what your floral choices mean – or give a fig about them if they do. And second, cobbling together a bouquet of symbolic blooms probably won’t result in the bridal bouquet of your dreams. Better to turn a blind eye to this antiquated code so you and your floral designer can create something beautiful, seasonally appropriate, and just right for your ceremony.
What’s your bridal bouquet’s inadvertent meaning?