The recent wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton has revived a tradition that goes back to the time of the prince’s five-times-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria: creating a bridal bouquet from flowers that have symbolic meanings to the bride and groom.

According to a press release from Buckingham Palace, the former Catherine Middleton, now HRH the Duchess of Cambridge, choose floral designer Shane Connolly to create her shield-shaped wedding bouquet. The new duchess’ bridal posy included myrtle, lily-of-the-valley, sweet William and hyacinth. The flowersand their symbolic meanings are:

·Sweet William: Gallantry (and a nod to the groom)
·Lily-of-the-valley: Return of happiness
·Ivy: Fidelity; marriage; wedded love; friendship; affection
·Hyacinth: Constancy of love
·Myrtle: the emblem of marriage; love.

Among the flowers were stems from myrtle tree planted by Queen Victoria at her family retreat, Osborne House on the Isle of Wight in 1845. Also in her bouquet was a sprig grown from myrtle used in Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding bouquet of 1947.

Queen Victoria began the tradition of carrying myrtle after she was given a nosegay with the flowering plant when she visited Prince Albert’s grandmother at Gotha in Germany. The queen planted a sprig from the posy at Osborne House, where it still grows today. Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter, HRH Princess Victoria, carried myrtle in her bouquet when she married Prince Frederick William of Prussia in 1857. Myrtle is said to signify the bride’s innocence.

While few bridal couples have such a distinguished floral heritage on which to draw, there is one thing common to all weddings: what flowers are most available during the season of the wedding ceremony. The seasonal nature of cut flowers often makes flower delivery more difficult if the bride chooses blossoms that are out of season in her area.

While many varieties of blossoms are now grown in heated greenhouses to make them available more months out of the year, it is more common that out-of-season blooms are shipped from global regions with different growing seasons. In addition, bulb plants are refrigerated to encourage them to bloom out of season. These options all require more energy for growing and more fuel for transportation, making out-of-season blossoms one of a bride’s most expensive options.

Instead of choosing such unnaturally grown blooms, a wise bride will look to her floral consultant to guide her in selecting seasonal blossoms for her wedding. Not only will this option be less expensive, the selected blossoms will be more robust and durable, ensuring that bridal bouquets and floral displays will look spectacular throughout the nuptial celebrations.

In addition, there are certain types of blooms that have shown themselves to be more able to stand up to the stresses of weddings. Among the 10 most popular wedding flowers are Calla Lilies, Casablanca Lilies, Gardenias, Hydrangeas, Lilacs, Lily of the Valley, Orchids, Roses, Stephanotis, and Tulips. Virtually all of these varieties are extremely fragrant, so a little goes a long way. What’s more, although most of them can be available year-round, their price, condition and durability may fluctuate widely. It’s best always to work closely with your florist for best selection.

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