Typically the youngest member of a wedding party, flower girls often bring that all too sweet “cute factor” to a wedding. Whether they give a slow, nervous walk down the aisle, cry at the sight of the crowd, or sashay their way to the altar with all the flair and personality their little body can hold, these precious little ladies are sure to bring a smile to the faces of your guests. But why do we have them as part of our wedding party? What’s their significance? Let’s explore the history of the flower girl and answer some of your frequently asked questions.
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 actual wedding. Since childbearing was the primary purpose of many of those arranged marriages, fertility was of particular concern for newlyweds. To symbolize the blessings of fertility and prosperity for the couple, flower girls carried sheaves of wheat and bouquets of herbs. Over time this evolved, and the wheat and herbs were replaced by flowers or flower petals.
Roman Empire and the Renaissance
In Ancient Rome, flower girls were young virgins who carried a sheaf of wheat during the wedding ceremony. It was believed that this would bring prosperity to the bride and groom. During the Renaissance flower girls carried strands of garlic, based on the belief that garlic repelled evil spirits and bad luck.
In 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.
The Victorian flower girl most resembles the modern day one. Victorian era flower girls were traditionally dressed in white, perhaps with a sash of colored satin or silk. Her dress, usually made of muslin, was intentionally simple to allow future use. The Victorian flower girl carried an ornate basket of fresh blooms or sometimes a floral hoop; its shape reflecting that of the wedding ring, symbolizing that love has no end.
Modern flower girls
Today couples still use flower girls in their weddings. Sometimes the flower girl wears a small version of the bride’s gown. Most often though, she wears a dress similar to that of the bridesmaids, whether it be in color, style or both. She symbolizes innocence, beauty and even good luck.
Let it be known that it is not a necessity for a wedding to have a flower girl. So if you want an adult only celebration, or simply don’t know any little ladies who you’d want to participate, it’s perfectly ok to forego this tradition.
Photo by J Lauryn Photography
Do you have questions about flower girls for your wedding? Wondering if you need one? Who pays for the dress? How old should they be? Check out Flower Girl 101 to get all your flower girl questions answered!
Leave us a comment if there’s anything else we can share or answer to help you.
Check out our blog on the history of the wedding cake for more on the origins of wedding traditions, or check out our blog home page for more tips, tricks & insight from your #WeddingPlanningCoach.
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