October 19, 2021

Wedding Flower Traditions: Why the Bride Throws the Bouquet and More

Flowers make every wedding more beautiful and memorable, but some don’t realize that flowers also uphold traditions and folklore established through generations. When planning your wedding events, it helps to understand why the bride throws the bouquet, what the flowers symbolize, and how they can help you express your message of love and unity.

Why the Bride Throws the Bouquet

a bride throws her bouquet to the wedding party on the beach

You may be surprised to learn why the bride throws the bouquet. During Europe’s Middle Ages, the medicinal properties of flowers and herbs were highly regarded. Brides collected the best blooms for their crowns and belts to improve their health and cover up body odor. 

They considered any girl getting married very lucky, so guests tried to capture her luck by picking things from her clothing and hair. To escape, the bride would throw a bouquet and run off with her new husband. 

Wedding Flower Traditions 

When England’s Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840, she revolutionized the wedding ceremony in ways that still influence us today. The ceremony sparked new trends across the globe. Not only did Queen Victoria start the tradition of wearing a white gown, but she also spearheaded the symbolic use of myrtle. 

As the most sacred flower of the goddess Aphrodite, fragrant myrtle blossoms have long represented true love and marital fidelity. The Queen’s influence carried on long after the wedding as the Victorians expressed their love by sending and gifting blooms to one another, each with their subtle meaning. 


three red roses laying on a table

Although the plush rose isn’t as popular among brides as a few decades ago, many still include at least one or two in the bridal bouquet. The Victorians assigned their meaning through colors:

  • Red: A bright red rose symbolizes love and romance (hence the use of red roses on “The Bachelor”), whereas a deep burgundy rose means feelings are still undetermined. 
  • Pink: Roses with bright pink petals celebrate joy, admiration, and gratitude. A pale pink rose has a more open interpretation and can be used on nearly any occasion.
  • White: The white rose is a classic wedding flower representing the purity and innocence of young love. However, white roses also represent remembrance, so they are often used at funerals and wakes. 
  • Yellow: Roses of any shade of yellow are reserved for exchanges between friends and are not associated with romance. If a few yellow roses sneak into your wedding, however, don’t worry. The longest-lasting couples are also best friends!
  • Lavender: Purple or indigo roses are more popular than ever before and have multiple meanings. A pale purple or lavender rose signifies the power of love at first sight. Darker purple shades allude to enchantment or obsession, and bright purple roses represent royalty.


a bundle of light pink carnations

The humble carnation is a favorite choice for boutonnieres because it’s hardy and long-lasting. Historically, carnations carry many symbolic meanings, including love and commitment. In Christian lore, the Virgin Mary cried tears of carnations when watching Jesus carry the cross. 

Baby’s Breath 

a cluster of baby's breath flowers laying on a marble surface

Primarily an accent flower, the tiny yet abundant blooms of baby’s breath are used in weddings around the world. In Japan, baby’s breath is a well-known symbol of innocence and new love. Another bit of folklore is that the presence of baby’s breath at marriage will lead to easy fertility and many children.

Choosing Your Wedding Flowers 

a wedding florist creating a bouquet

Folklore, your wedding theme, color palette, and season of the year can determine your flower choices. A consultation with a floral professional is always a good idea. And, above all, make sure you work enough time into your schedule to allow for floral arranging and display. 

At Marinaj Banquets and Events, we can help you with meaningful floral presentations for your special day.