Wedding To Remember

A walk through the history of roses as a wedding flower

Photo Courtesy of
Roses are often a surprisingly affordable option to use as wedding flowers.

In recent years, the most famous wedding has been Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal celebration last May.

Florist Philippa Craddock and her team arranged their flowers, using flowers and plants that naturally bloom in the wedding season. The special arrangements featured traditional white garden roses, foxgloves and peonies. They also comprised some flowers Prince Harry picked from the couple’s private garden at Kensington Palace, including Princess Diana’s favorite, forget-me-nots, as a tribute to his late mother.

It was an ancient Greek and Roman tradition for the bride and groom to wear garlands around their necks to represent new life, hope and fertility. Brides also carried bouquets made of herbs and spices to ward off evil spirits and increase sexual desire.

In the Victorian era, flowers became a notable part of wedding ceremonies, replacing most of the herbs and spices in the bridal bouquets. For Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s wedding in 1840, the queen’s bouquet was composed entirely of snowdrop flowers.

Today, there are no rules for wedding flowers. Choose flowers of any color, shape and fragrance to suit your personality, taste and style. Actors Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas used 20,000 cream-color roses at their wedding. If you watched the recent Disney movie “Cinderella,” you were certainly impressed by Cinderella and Prince Kit’s wedding, which was filled with romantic white and pink roses.

Since 500 B.C., roses have played a key element in popular culture. Paintings of roses have been discovered in Egyptian pyramid tombs from the 14th century B.C. Roses are a universal symbol of love and beauty. Writers and poets have used roses as a metaphor for beauty, passion and true love.

The most popular wedding flowers are roses, tulips, peonies, hydrangeas, lilacs, dahlias, lilies of the valley, orchids, calla lilies, gardenias, stephanotis and ranunculi. Many roses are available year-round. They are easy to grow and likely to produce repeating blooms. As a result, they can be surprisingly affordable. Contrary to popular belief, roses can be a relatively inexpensive wedding flower relative to other beautiful blooms. For example, peonies and tulips naturally bloom only in the spring, and are more expensive, even in their short season.

Roses come in different colors and hues. In our culture, the different colors of roses are thought to symbolize deeper meanings, for example:

• Red = love and passion

• Pink = admiration and sweetness

• White = purity and charm

• Yellow = joy and friendship

• Orange = enthusiasm, desire and excitement

• Cream = charm and thoughtfulness

• Peach = appreciation and gratitude

Roses contribute to a stylish and lovely combination of texture and color when surrounded by other flowers and plants. Their versatility and true beauty bring a wedding romance and make it an unforgettable moment.

Michelle Isaac is a gardener in Los Altos. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Schools »

Read More

Sports »

Read More

People »

Read More

Special Sections »

Special Sections
Read More

Photos of Los Altos

Browse and buy photos