The wedding bouquet is one of the most important bridal accessories next to the wedding ring and the groom. Not only does the bouquet add a touch of beauty and colour to the bride's gown, but she also tosses it to pass the symbolic marital torch on to one of her lucky friends. The tradition of carrying a wedding bouquet goes as far back as ancient times.
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Carrying a bridal bouquet is a tradition that began during ancient times. In fact, the earliest wedding bouquets were not flowers at all. During ancient times, women carried bunches of garlic to ward off evil spirits. The ancient Greeks and Romans place garland around the neck of the bride and groom to represent new life, fertility and hope. The Celtics created bouquets of strong herbs and spices. These bouquets included thistle, heather and ivy. The pungent aroma of the herbs and spices was thought to have mystical power strong enough to keep the evil spirits away.
Queen Victoria began a new tradition by adding fresh flowers to her bouquet along with the herbs and spices when she married Prince Albert in 1840. The edible herb dill, which is also known as the herb of lust, was eaten by the bride, groom and their wedding guests at the wedding reception. Dill was thought to increase sexual desire.
During Victorian times, flowers became a method of expressing love and became a much more prevalent part of the bridal bouquet. Different flowers began to take on different meanings. Bridal flowers were selected based on the meaning each flower was thought to hold. The "flower language" is thought to have begun during the 17th century in Turkey.
As bridal bouquets increased in popularity, they began to evolve into a variety of styles and include a variety of types of flowers. A bride no longer selects flowers based on meaning or to ward off evil spirits, but rather based on her own personal style and colour choice. Bouquets now come in a wide range of styles including posy, which became popular during Victorian times; nosegay; crescent; and arm sheaf, just to name a few.
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