Flowers have been used to represent feelings since the beginning of time. In 1819, Charlotte de Latour published Le Langage des Fleurs, in which he gave meaning to hundreds of plants, giving people of the time an idea of what the flowers around them represented. Couples who courted in the 19th century had very little verbal interaction prior to marriage, as was the custom. Because of this, flowers were used to show affection and express their feelings. Understanding the meaning of different flowers allowed individuals to show their love interest their true feelings. A suitor’s choice became more than just about how beautiful the flowers were, but more importantly what message they were sending.
De Lator’s book was so well known that it could be easy for a suitor to accidentally express the wrong intention. However, the right choice of flower could express the perfect message with no words needed. For example, Red Tulips or Lilacs told a woman that her suitor had true and sincere feelings for her, whereas Ivy would send the signal that there were no romantic intentions. Just as interesting was whether the flowers were handed to the recipient with the stems up or down. Blooms on the top indicated sincerity; blooms down indicated the opposite.
Like everything with time, many of the meanings have changed over the years. Following are today’s meanings to the most popular wedding flowers:
- Baby’s Breath: Love the Lasts Forever
- Calla Lily: Striking Beauty
- Daisy: Purity
- Lily of the Valley: Renewed Happiness
- Orchid: Thoughtfulness
- Peony: Shy
- Roses: True Love
- Stephanotis: Marital Happiness
- Tulip: Avowal of Love
Of course, it’s really up to you to decide what your flowers mean. If it’s love you want to express, then love is their meaning! Just have fun with your selections and pick what you love!
Happy Wedding Planning!