Or carry anything for that matter. There is a new trend for brides to carry silk flowers rather than fresh ones and some are carrying bouquets made of floral alternatives like broaches or feathers, or even balloons!
Here’s the thing. Whatever you’re carrying, once you’ve made it up the aisle to your partner you are going to give it to a bridesmaid or put it down until it’s time to walk out again.
It was a bit different back in the day, when you were up the front of a church facing the priest and not each other, then you only gave it to the ‘maid to have the ring put on. Now you need your hands free to hold each other’s hands with excitement and joy and nerves; to hold the script and microphone for your vows, to do the wedding rings, to kiss, to sign the register….. et cetera.
Who’s idea was it for brides to carry flowers?
Well the ancient Greeks started it by carrying garlic and other herbs to ward off evil spirits. The Romans then added the idea that the herbs promoted fertility.
This continued through into medieval times for pretty much the same reasons, and also to mask the smell when the fashion was not to bathe too often and no one wore deodorant. In fact, the tradition of June weddings came about because the masses took their annual bath in May. Yes really.
Tossing the bouquet (of herbs and garlic) was done to distract the guests while the bride made her escape. Another really old tradition that we have, thankfully, abandoned is where brides were considered to be so lucky that everyone wanted to tear a piece of her gown to keep as a good luck charm.
Flowers were introduced by none other than Queen Victoria in 1840. It was in Victorian times that the whole “language of flowers” thing started. She is responsible for a lot of modern wedding traditions.
As far as history is concerned that makes the tradition of a bride carrying a bunch of fresh flowers quite a new one. Personally, I think a bride needs pockets in her dress way more than she needs a bunch of flowers to worry about.
Bouquets are beautiful and evocative and very traditional, but they are also very expensive. If you are on a really restricted wedding budget consider not having a bouquet, or maybe just the bride and not her attendants. Whoever is your maid of honour ends up holding two most of the time, and if they are signing as a witness then someone else has to step in and hold them both.
There is a whole lot of tradition, expectation and superstition around weddings and, for the most part, your mum’s had at least one and so have all your aunties and nannas and they all “know best”.
If there’s a tradition you think is unique to your family or would like to learn about a specific wedding custom please drop me a line or check out my socials to see if I’ve done a post on it. Either way, I’d love to hear from you.