Today the flower girl, or even flower girls if your so inclined, are a precious addition to any wedding party. So adorable in their gowns as they walk down the aisle, the question becomes how did these cuties become such an entrenched wedding tradition?
And, while I would be temped to say that it’s because we all can’t wait to pick out their sweet little dresses and accessories, the flower girls origin can actually be traced back through the centuries!
Centuries ago, couples often married for political reasons rather than love. In some cultures, marriages were arranged by parents. In these arranged marriages, the bride and groom did not meet before the wedding. Since procreation was the primary purpose of arranged marriages, fertility was a concern for the newlyweds. To symbolise the blessings of fertility and prosperity for the couple, flower girls carried sheaves of wheat and bouquets of herbs. In the present-day these historical fertility symbols have been replaced by flowers or flower petals.
Moving on to the Elizabethan era wedding guests would scatter flower petals from the bride’s home to the church. Flower girls followed musicians in the wedding procession, carrying a gilded rosemary branch and a silver bride’s cup adorned with ribbons. The cup was usually filled with flower petals or rosemary leaves, as an alternative to a basket.
The Victorian flower girl most resembles the modern one. Victorian-era flower girls were traditionally dressed in white, perhaps with a sash of coloured satin or silk. The Victorian flower girl carried an ornate basket of fresh blooms or sometimes a floral hoop, its shape echoing that of the wedding ring and symbolising that love has no end.
20th Century Flower Girls
A flower girl typically walks in front of the bride during the wedding procession and her outfit usually resembles a smaller version of the bride’s wedding dress.
Pretty ivory dress, satin ballerina shoes, a tiara and a satin bag are all common themes.
She symbolically leads the bride forward, from childhood to adulthood and from innocence to her roles of wife and mother. The flower girl may carry flower petals, wrapped candies, confetti, a single bloom, a ball of flowers or perhaps bubbles instead of flower petals, more importantly she has lots of fun!
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