May 1, 2011
Since we are now into Spring I thought that it would be a good idea to post some lovely fine art photographs of brides and their wedding bouquets. Flowers pay such a special role in any wedding. They really add beauty and some great smells, but they contain a great deal of historical meaning and semiotics. The tradition of the bridal bouquet goes back to Queen Victoria and her marriage to Prince Albert in 1840. She was one of the largest influences on modern day bridal traditions. Victoria is the main reason why brides still traditionally wear white dresses and why wedding cake is served at the reception. You can read more about these in my posts 'Let Them Eat Cake' and 'It's All About the Dress.' Queen Victoria ushered in a very modern age for the time. During her rein the industrial revolution was in full swing in Europe. She was very much a celebrity of her time and just like with celebrities of today, people followed what she did and wanted to be as much like her as possible. The traditions set forth at her wedding to Albert have remained strong even to this day. It is amazing how many influences from the Victorian era still exist today.
Prior to Queen Victoria's marriage it was still common to have herbs and spices at the wedding. Remember that these items would have been a great deal rarer than today and they held a higher value in society. They were a sign of prosperity, fertility, and happiness. Victoria replaced these traditional items with fresh flowers, especially marigolds. At the time most of the components of the bouquet were edible. The bride carried her bouquet with her as she walked down the aisle. One component of the bouquet was dill. It was regarded as the herb of lust, and the bride would eat some of it was she walked down the aisle. Later, during the reception, the groom and the wedding guests would eat this dill also. This was to insure fertility in the marriage.
During the Victorian times flowers came to symbolize secret messages of love and each flower had a different meaning. This was based on a scientific language known as 'Florigraphy.' Many flowers were given means, both good and bad, that still remain to this day. This is where the concept of roses symbolizing love began and the idea of different color roses being used for different occasions. Today flowers at a wedding are chosen more for their colors and shapes than for their meanings.
I am still fascinated by all of the tradition and ceremony that surrounds marriage. I will continue to make posts that unlock some of the hidden meanings of the wedding ceremony. Stay tuned.
Houston Fine Art Wedding Photographer
Eye Candy and Brain Veggies
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