The symbolism behind wedding flowers and bridal bouquets

Integral to any wedding is flowing, fresh flowers. From bridal bouquets to flower girls to jaw-dropping centrepieces, floral arrangements bring a sense of magic to wedding festivities. Steeped in tradition, many of the flowers we typically use at weddings have long associations with symbols and sentiments regarding love and commitment.

To help you understand the meaning behind some of the most classic wedding flowers—and introduce you to some new and unique choices—we’ve teamed up with our friends over at The Bouqs Co. Weddings to get you inspired. Picking flowers for your bouquet because of the meaning they hold rather than their appearance alone will leave you feeling more connected to your wedding ceremony, like it’s something completely personal to you and your partner.

It’s also worth mentioning that today is Earth Day. It’s a day to appreciate all the beauty that mama earth provides, but also ask ourselves what we can be doing to contribute to the future of our planet’s well-being.

As such, we’re following the example of The Bouqs Co., who partner with sustainable farmers who minimize waste, recycle water, and adhere to sustainable growing practices, by giving you tips on how to design your floral arrangements with environmental sustainability in mind.

White Roses

Is there any more perfect pairing than white roses and wedding bells? Sometimes referred to simply as ‘bridal roses’, these fragrant flowers represent young love and eternal loyalty with their white colouring being a symbol of hope and truthfulness.

Be sure to source your white roses from a local supplier who follows eco-friendly and sustainable growing practices. Given these flowers’ popularity, there should be a range of florists in your neighbourhood who can talk you through your options for low-emission white rose bouquets.

Sunflowers

Sunflowers radiate joy. Fragrant and dripping in sunshine, they symbolise hope and new beginnings as their broad faces are said to carry a uniquely optimistic expression. They aren’t your typical wedding flower, but they’ve seen a surge in popularity recently—maybe because they’re so photogenic.

Featured here in the Golden Bridal Bouquet, sunflowers are an ideal centrepiece flower for summertime weddings as this is when they naturally come into season. They’re also an ideal choice for the eco-conscious wedding planner. Sunflowers are hardy plants easily farmed across the globe, meaning it’s easy to source them from a local and sustainable flower farm.

Thistle

Thistles are already an iconic symbol of Celtic cultures and the raw beauty of highland landscapes, but did you know they also make a gorgeous addition to a bridal bouquet? These flowers require minimal water and can be grown in cold climates outside of greenhouses, making them easy to farm sustainably.

Thistles may look formidable on their own, but what they represent tells a more emotional story. Due to their tenacious nature, they signify the overcoming of adversity and personal challenges. In Celtic cultures across Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, they have historically been a crest of bravery, courage, and strength—perhaps the same traits that made you fall in love with your spouse-to-be, or representative of what makes your love destined to last a lifetime.

Protea

Many will be unfamiliar with the bold and expressive protea flower, but this South African native (also known as a sugarbush) is sure to be a showstopper on your big day. These flowers have colourful needle-like petals that are highly expressive during the flower’s bloom, as can be seen in this Wild Collection bouquet.

Because proteas look so different during bud and bloom, they represent transformation and integrity. They make an excellent wedding flower because they teach us that even as we enter new chapters in life, what matters is who we are deep down. Love grows from our truest selves, and no one understands that like your partner.

Succulents

Succulents have become the signature home accessory of our time, with their soft sage green hues and frankly inspirational ability to live through anything. But have you ever considered using them in your bridal floral arrangements?

The folks over at Bouqs sure have, and the results are stunning. These cascading plants require very little water, so they’re certified eco-friendly, and they can be propagated after your wedding to reduce unnecessary waste and give you a living souvenir of the big day.

Because of their long lifespan, succulents are symbols of everlasting and eternal love. They store water within their thick leaves, acting as a metaphor for the importance of holding what matters most close to your heart.

Flowers from the earth, for the earth

Whether you source locally grown flowers, or opt for a florist with sustainable designations such as the Rainforest Alliance Certification, it’s never been easier to make sure your wedding is all about celebrating the future.

Flowers may only bloom for a short time, but taking the time to learn about the meaning of your flowers will help make memories to last a lifetime.

Thanks to our friends at The Bouqs Co. for all their help and inspiration!

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