Floriography was at its most popular during the Victorian Era, when flowers were used to communicate and express feelings. With each flower holding a special meaning, the receiver could decode secret messages.
These days, the Victorian Language of Flowers might be largely forgotten, but there’s something romantic and nostalgic about the notion that certain flowers carry specific meanings. With a little know-how, you can use floriography to create a symbolic wedding arrangement for your special day that goes much deeper than pure aesthetics.
By incorporating the language of flowers into your wedding posy, you can add floral elements that say the things you and your partner wish for as a couple for your future together.
Roses are a popular choice for wedding bouquets for good reason. Try David Austin pink roses such as Carey or Rosalind for their charismatic blooms and delicate perfumes. Include some baby’s breath for everlasting love, and some freesia stems as a symbol of lasting friendship. For some added good luck on your wedding day, you might include some Bells of Ireland which add a touch of striking green to a bouquet. Pair that with starry white stephanotis blooms for a happy marriage, something every couple wishes for.
Bells of Ireland
Happiness in marriage
Joy in love and life
In The Memories of Us, I decided to focus not so much on the Victorian Language of Flowers but the emotional language of flowers. The way that flowers and our botanical world can make people feel good. In the book, Gracie demonstrates a strong connection with fresh blooms of all varieties. The endearing flower seller in the novel, Tilly, refers to it as a ‘gift’ whereby Gracie intuitively knows what flowers and floral combinations have the power to make a difference to one’s emotional state. When Tilly asks Gracie to close her eyes and connect with a bunch of snowdrops she’s clutching, Gracie is struck by a feeling of hope and strength evoked by the flowers. She then passes them on to a distressed woman on the street, telling her she thinks she might need them more than she does. They turn out to be her late mother’s favourite flowers.
Throughout the novel, sweet peas and their seeds also make a recurring appearance, and Tilly tells Gracie to think of them as a ‘prescription’ which speaks to the fact that connecting with nature and our botanical world, has the power to not only affect our emotions positively, but also heal us. Gracie grows the flowers her mother loved—peonies, dahlias, roses and sweet peas, adding more varieties as she reclaims the farm as her own.
*Flower meanings from The Language of Flowers: A Miscellany by Mandy Kirby
By Vanessa Carnevale