Flowers add to life. So certainly, they’re going to add to your wedding. They’re delightful visually, adding color and texture. They can give us a sense of time: Forsythia? Everyone knows it’s spring. Maroon chrysanthemums announce the fall boldly. Occasionally, if we’re lucky, they bring a fragrance that changes our moods. Did you know that fragrance helps things sit fast in our brains better than any other sense? So don’t overlook scent as a way to add a layer to your wedding. Flowers and herbs also have a language — there are ancient meanings for many flowers that you may want to invoke to strengthen your vows and enrich first your wedding ceremony and then your marriage.
Here’s some practical advice about how to use these beauties.
- Carry them in a bouquet, nosegay or a flower ball. The kind and quantity of flowers you’re using along with the style of your wedding will determine what shape the bride’s flowers will take.
- Wear them in a boutonniere or corsage. While people often have corsages and boutonnieres made in the wedding colors, other than the bridal party, there’s no real reason for that to be true. Since you don’t typically have a lot of flowers outside the wedding party, it’s a fairly easy task to find out what people are wearing.
- Decorate the altar with them. Put flowers on the altar, or on a table that are in the wedding colors or that signify certain characteristics with which to bless your marriage.
- Bundle them, dried, into a decorated sachet or pomander. Sachets and pomanders were carried to keep city odors at bay, but they have been and can be so much more than that. Sachets in particular were filled with scents and “meanings” (in the language of flowers) and either carried or slipped in a pocket or a bodice.
- Have chosen guests or attendants fill a vase with flowers that represent blessings you would like to receive. Courage, fidelity, strength, laughter, all of these characteristics are identified with a flower. (and if they’re not, they should be… hmmm, what do you think, should gerberas represent laughter?)
- Have chosen guests or attendants mix potpourri. Mixing potpourri is the dried version of putting flowers in a vase. Herbs and petals can be mixed to make something beautiful and fragrant.
- Give flowers or sachets to guests as favors. Small standing test tubes will hold individual flowers. Sachets are wonderful for pockets, you can do different sachets for men and women, different scents, because there are differences between men and women!
- Put them on your dinner tables. Put pots of live herbs and flowers on your table that represent the characteristics that will enhance your marriage. Call your tables rosemary or red rose and name the strength associated with the flower.
- Give your guests seed packets to take home and sow… either in their back yard, or stealthily in a public place, or in the wild (only if they are native to the area in the wild, please, the last thing we need is another invasive species, and it’s not such a great metaphor. Oh, right Chris and Heather, weren’t they the people who let gorse into the wild at their 1986 wedding and now it’s all over the country? Nah, don’t let that happen!)
- Plant a portable garden that will return to your home. Use large pots for decoration that are planted with the wedding flowers and take them back to your porch or patio or deck or sun room as reminders of the qualities you want in your marriage.
The more you tie the flowers and the meanings together during the wedding ceremony and wedding vows, the stronger the reinforcement will be as you encounter those flowers during your marriage. And that’s what you want. Tiny little blessings that remind you, time and again, how lucky you are to be married to your beloved.