A bride holds a bohemian bouquet including pink roses and peonies.

The language of flowers

Hi lovely ones. Today we’re welcoming the truly fabulous and seriously talented Emma of Ladybird Florist to the blog. She’ll show you how to make your wedding florals super meaningful – by speaking the language of flowers.
We love the idea of choosing blooms with a special meaning for your wedding blooms, and will be hitting the books the next time we send a bouquet to make sure we truly are ‘saying it with flowers’!
Over to you, Emma…

 Totally Bespoke

When couples come and see me, they each have a varied range of flower knowledge and what they are looking for.
Our consultation is tailored to the exact requirements of each individual couple.  I love to know all about each wedding, not just the flowers, so I can get a feel of how they see their wonderful day on every level…it really is all in the detail.
Some couples don’t know anything about flowers or what they want and allow me full creative licence, which turns out to be so much fun for me! At the other end of the scale, there are those who know exactly the look they want to fit in with their dream day, for example big blousey flowers or very natural and rustic. I love working to specific briefs too as it’s so rewarding seeing these ideas come to life.
For some couples, their flower choices are super specific. This might be for sentimental reasons or maybe, just maybe because they know the language of flowers…

Blooming Messages

Did you know that a bouquet that says ‘love’, ‘welcomeness’, ‘you are my life’ and ‘you will always be beautiful to me’, translated into flowers would be red roses, wisteria, pulmonaria and stocks? How wonderful is that?!
The Victorians used the language of flowers in a practical way, studying their meanings and hidden messages.  Every young lady needed to be well versed in the language of flowers to decipher their love bouquet (and then, I can only assume , run and tell her friends!)
Depending on the historical era and culture, flowers can sometimes have many meanings.  I think it can be so much fun looking at these beautiful flowers, learning what they meant for each time period and belief system and the impact they could have on the receiver, especially if you, heaven forbid, read the meaning incorrectly!

Tell Me More…

 The anemone – in the above picture, the white flower with the dark velvety centre – is a very delicate beauty.  This flower is a great example of how its message could be read incorrectly to what the sender had intended.  Some see it as protection against evil, disease and ill wishes, while others find the dark centre as an omen of impending illness.
A bride in a birdcage veil holds a small bouquet of succulents out to the camera.

Image source: Verona Lain

Succulents are becoming more and more popular within the bridal flower world.  These wonderful plants have special structures in their bodies to enable them to store water in dry periods.  I think this is a wonderfully symbolic plant, and although it doesn’t reference back to the Victorians’ floral dictionary, having a symbol of survival in dry periods in your wedding bouquet is brilliantly perfect!
A bride wears a choker made of peonies.

Image source: Carey Sheffield

One of my all time favourite flowers is the peony.  It is such a beautiful flower and, like all beautiful creatures, sometimes a little tricky to get her to bloom to perfection.  Chatting to my wholesaler I learnt that peonies used to be the poor man’s rose as roses were far too expensive to buy.  There are so many different meanings associated with this beauty. To the Chinese it’s wealth, luck and elegance; to the Victorians it’s shame and bashfulness; and to the Japanese it’s a happy marriage and virility.
Each colour of the beautifully simple tulip has a hidden meaning.  Choose red if you’re passionately in love. Yellow is  ‘there is sunshine in your smile’, while pink expresses happiness and confidence.
In Buddhism, the pink and white lotus flower is known to be associated with purity, spiritual awakening and faithfulness.  As the flower emerges from the murky waters in the morning perfectly clean and stunningly beautiful it is considered pure.  The lotus flower is therefore seen as a sign of rebirth.
Sweet William is part of the dianthus family. There are many stories as to how dianthus barbatus came to acquire its common name, Sweet William.  To the Victorians, Sweet William signified gallantry.  The Victorian era idolised the Elizabethan era and it’s said that this flower could have been named after William Shakespeare.  Generations later, Sweet William was used in the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding bouquet, in honour of her gallant prince I’m sure!
I say lets go back to Victorian times where flowers were regularly given, especially to woo their loved ones. I for one would love to receive a bouquet full of hidden messages. How romantic and exciting!!


Express yourself

Thanks so much Emma for sharing these floral secrets with us. I’ll definitely be including yellow tulips in my future arrangements.
So, lovely ones, what message would you like to send with your bridal bouquet? Leave us a comment below and let’s look back through history to see which flowers will hit the spot.

One thought on “The language of flowers

  1. Flowerhub says:

    I enjoyed reading your article. The language of flowers is really awesome. Up to now, All I know roses are the only flowers that have meaning. Thank you so much.

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