The blossoms you select for your wedding day are rooted in rich cultural and historical traditions. From ancient Rome and ancient Greece to the Middle East, we've gathered the best flower-related customs we could find.
In Thailand, the mothers of the bride and groom walk to the altar to drape puang malai -- flower garlands -- around the couple's shoulders to wish them good fortune in their life together.
Swedish and Danish grooms sew small pockets of strong-smelling herbs like garlic, chives, and rosemary into their clothes for good luck.
The Indian groom's brother sprinkles flower petals over the couple at the end of the ceremony to protect them from evil.
Ancient Greek brides often carried ivy at their weddings as a symbol of their never-ending love for their sweeties.
Ancient Roman brides carried bunches of herbs to symbolize fidelity and fertility -- and to scare off evil spirits.
The Victorians, who were fascinated by the meanings of different blooms, popularized the wedding rose, which represents true love.
Also in Victorian ages, the bride originally tossed her bouquet to a friend as she left the festivities to keep that friend safe (by warding off evil spirits, of course) and to offer her luck; this came to mean that the single woman who caught the bouquet would marry next.
In a Greek Orthodox wedding, crowns of orange blossoms were traditionally made for the bride and groom -- they even matched the delicate embroidery on the bride's dress. The blossoms symbolize virginity and purity because they are white and fragile, and they emit a sweet, delicate scent.
In Tudor England, brides carried marigolds dipped in rosewater and ate them afterward, since they were thought to be aphrodisiacs!
According to Italian tradition, the front grill of the Italian getaway car is decorated with flowers, paving the road to a happy marriage.
In the Middle East, the bitter herb artemisia is incorporated into bridal bouquets to ensure that marriages will survive bitterness as well as sweetness.
According to Indian tradition, both the bride and the groom sport a floral headpiece.
The colors you choose for your wedding day set the style and tone for your entire event. You can use color in your bridesmaids' dresses, decorations, cake, favors, flowers, accessories, table linens and even the invitations! Choose colors you love, but also consider the following:
Where is the wedding and reception? Choose colors that complement the setting. Consider the carpeting, drapery and decor, etc.
What mood do you want to create? Vibrant colors add drama, while soft colors evoke a more romantic atmosphere.
Although much has been written on how colors effect our moods and emotions, colors mean different things in different cultures, so avoid focusing too much on them. The following two tools can help you choose a coordinated color scheme.
Color Wheel - A color wheel helps you choose coordinating colors. It is made out of three primary colors: red, blue and yellow, plus a blend of in-between colors. Below are three color-choosing strategies that will ensure you pick a well coordinated color scheme. Read more about color theory to learn more.
"Complementary" colors means choosing colors that are opposite each other on the wheel, such as red and green.
"Analogous" means the colors lie next to each other on the wheel, such as red, red-orange, and orange.
"Monochromatic" means variations of the same tone, such as bright red, dark red, etc.
Color Palette Generator Tool- This handy (and fun!) tool allows you to upload your favorite photo and generate an instant color palette. You can then print and select your favorite colors from the chart. Here are some color charts we created using this tool.
Tips: Try to limit your main colors to two or three so as not to look too jumbled and stay consistent with your colors throughout the wedding site. Use a few subdued colors for an elegant look.
What the Experts Say
Michelle Mospens has been helping brides with their color decisions since 2001 and according to her research, "The 2011 year in color will not only be BRIGHT and amazing, it will also be vintage, earthy and sunwashed."
2011 Wedding Color Trends:
Spring into Summer
Wedding Color Trends Palette Part 1: Apple green, mauve, lilac, hot pink, slate grey, celadon, aged gold, coral, red, violet purple, mocha / chocolate / brown, navy, emerald / pine green / dark cyan, clementine orange, and yellow.
Fall through Winter
Wedding Color Trends Palette Part 2: Dark chocolate, dark charcoal gray, sangria/brick red, myrtle (dark) green, dark tangerine, dark chestnut, asparagus, tyrian purple, dark midnight green, deep blue, persian green, mocha taupe, agate blue, amazon green, scallop shell, moccasin, olivine green, khaki, carrot orange, oyster gray, gray taupe, and antique white.