The tradition of brides carrying bouquets on their wedding day is a sight as common as the white gown itself. But have you ever wondered why brides carry bouquets? The history behind this tradition is as colorful as the flowers themselves. Let's delve into the development history of Western weddings and see how wedding activities have evolved over time.
The Ancient Roots
The custom of carrying bouquets dates back to ancient times. In ancient Rome, brides carried bouquets of herbs and spices, believed to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck to the newlyweds. These herbs symbolized fertility and loyalty. Over time, as flowers became more accessible and symbolic meanings were attached to different blooms, herbs were gradually replaced by flowers.
The Middle Ages and Renaissance
During the Middle Ages, the bouquet took on another role. Due to infrequent bathing habits of the time, brides carried flowers to mask the smell of body odor. The bouquet was not just for show; it served a practical purpose!
The Renaissance period saw the rise of "love marriages" as opposed to arranged ones. Flowers began to symbolize love and commitment. For instance, roses became synonymous with love, and ivy represented fidelity.
The Victorian Era
The Victorian era was a time of strict social codes and symbolism. Every flower had a specific meaning, and brides carefully chose their bouquet based on these meanings. This practice was known as floriography. A bride might include daisies for innocence, lilies for purity, or violets for faithfulness.
Today, the tradition of carrying a bouquet is more about personal expression than warding off spirits or adhering to social codes. Brides choose flowers that resonate with them personally, match their wedding theme, or pay homage to family traditions.
The bouquet toss, a popular wedding activity, also has historical roots. Originally, it was believed that touching the bride would bring good luck. To escape from the crowd and avoid having her dress torn, the bride would toss her bouquet to distract the crowd and make her getaway! Today, it's a fun activity where the single lady who catches the bouquet is believed to be the next in line to marry.
The Evolution of Wedding Activities
Weddings have always been a reflection of the times. In the past, they were simple ceremonies, often held at home. As society evolved, so did weddings. The 20th century saw the rise of lavish weddings with grand receptions.
Today, weddings can be anything from intimate elopements to grand destination events. Activities like the first dance, cutting the cake, and the garter toss have become staples at many Western weddings. Each of these activities has its own history and significance, adding layers of meaning to the celebration.
The tradition of brides carrying bouquets is a beautiful blend of history, symbolism, and personal expression. As weddings continue to evolve, one thing remains constant: the desire to celebrate love and commitment. Whether it's through flowers, dances, or other cherished activities, the essence of a wedding is the union of two souls and the joy that union brings.