The Symbolism of 11 Popular Wedding Flowers

Sunflower wedding bouquet

Blue and orange wedding bouquet

Planning your wedding requires attention to so many little details. And while this may seem monotonous at times, there are definitely some details that are more meaningful than others. One item worth thinking through differently than you may have thought is your flower choices. Whether this be in your bouquet, table decorations, ceremony arch, or in your groom’s boutonnière, you can choose flowers with a special meaning to you personally. Since most flowers symbolize something, it’s easy to create a bouquet that holds special meaning to you after some curation. Read below to learn what these popular flowers symbolize to create your perfect wedding arrangements.

Roses: Love and Passion

An arch at a wedding ceremony made of pink and orange flowers against tropical scenery.

Roses are perhaps one of the most popular wedding flowers—and with good reason! Their beauty is hard to beat. However, most brides who choose to adorn their big day with this bloom aren’t aware of the symbolism a rose offers. The name rose is derived from the French language and translates to “pink.” Appropriately for a wedding, roses symbolize love and passion.

Hydrangeas: Gratitude, Honesty, Understanding

These flowers come in big, bountiful bunches and are a beautiful selection for weddings, particularly for a summer affair. The name of these flowers comes from the Greek word for “water” as well as the Greek word for “jar” or vessel.” It’s named this way because of the shape of its seed pods. Hydrangeas symbolize gratitude, honesty, and deep understanding—all of which are important in marriage.

Orchids: Fertility and Elegance

Bride holding white flowers

Surprisingly, orchids may be the perfect choice to incorporate into the wedding of a couple hoping to soon start a family. The name of these flowers comes from a Greek word meaning “testicle” due to the shape of this flower’s roots. It stands for fertility as well as elegance and luxury.

Carnations: Love, Admiration, Good Fortune

Serving as a popular flower for arrangements in general, carnations are an excellent addition to any wedding bouquet or arrangement. The exact formation of this flower’s name isn’t known for sure, but it’s believed by many to have come from “coronation,” as carnations were frequently used to make Greek ceremonial crowns. Carnations symbolize love, admiration, and good fortune.

Sunflowers: Adoration, Loyalty, Longevity

Sunflower wedding bouquet

Known for their burst of bright color, many summer and fall brides opt for these lovely flowers. Sunflowers are named after their tendency to turn and face the sun as they bloom. They stand for adoration, loyalty, and longevity, which is the perfect meaning to incorporate into your wedding day.

Tulips: Love, Hope, Royalty

Available in an array of hues and especially popular with spring brides, tulips make for a wonderful wedding flower not just because of their aesthetic, but also due to their meaning. These are named from the French word tulipe, which traces back to the Persian word dulbald, meaning “turban.” Tulips were named this due to their particular shape. They symbolize true love, hope, and royalty.

Peonies: Prosperity and Honor

Pink peonies at a wedding

These flowers aren’t in season for long in many parts of the country, making them a highly coveted flower for many brides. They are named after a Greek god Paeon, who was the god of medicine and healing. These beautiful blooms stand for prosperity, good fortune, wealth, and honor, making them perfectly suited for a bride to carry down the aisle.

Forget-Me-Nots: Love, Fidelity, Compassion

A truly romantic flower even in their name, these colorful blooms look great in any wedding arrangement. The scientific name of this flower, “myosotis” translates to “mouse’s ear” in Greek, which, admittedly, isn’t all that romantic. What is romantic, though, is that renaissance romantics believed wearing these flowers would ensure their lovers would never forget them. Also romantic, these flowers symbolize true love, fidelity, and deep compassion.

Lavender: Purity, Serenity, Grace

Glasses of champagne at a wedding decorated with lavender sprigs.

Adding not only color but a wonderful scent to any wedding bouquet, lavender has meanings that fit well with weddings. Named in French and Latin with the word meaning “to wash,” the scientific name lavandula refers to the fact that lavender is commonly used in laundry. Lavender stands for purity, silence, serenity, and grace—many attributes that a bride possesses.

Jasmine: Eternal Love, Good Fortune, Positivity

For a beautiful white flower to compliment the bride’s gown, jasmine is commonly used in wedding arrangements. The name of this flower comes from the Persian word yasamin, which means “gift from God,” making this a perfect choice for a religious couple. The meaning of jasmine is unconditional and eternal love, good fortune, and positive energy.

Baby’s Breath: Unconditional Love and Purity

A bouquet of baby's breath tied to a wood chair at a wedding ceremony.

Very commonly used to compliment larger flowers in bouquets and wedding arrangements, this delicate flower has a meaning that pairs well with weddings. The scientific name of these flowers, gypsophila, means “gypsum-loving.” The meaning behind baby’s breath is everlasting and unconditional love, purity, and rekindling romantic or platonic love.

Choosing your wedding flowers doesn’t have to be based off of their looks alone! Use this guide to choose a flower that means something special to you and your future spouse and you’ll always remember this special detail of your big day.

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