Floriography or the philosophy of flowers

For an atheist I’m really quite superstitious. Symbolism and meaning is really important to me, so when it comes to wedding flowers, I’m interested in the Victorian tradition of floriography. Say it with flowers, literally.

The ultimate romantic wedding flowers are*:

  • Alyssum = worth beyond beauty
  • Ambrosia & Jerusalem oak & Jonquil = your love is reciprocated
  • Arbutus = thee only do I love
  • Arum & Balsam & Dragon Root = ardour
  • Aster = symbol of love
  • Balloon flower = endless love
  • Camillia (red) = unpretended excellence, you’re a flame in my heart
  • Camillia (white) = you’re adorable, perfected loveliness
  • Carnation (white) = pure love, adoration
  • Cedar = I live but for thee
  • Chrysanthemum (red) = I love you
  • Forgt me not = true love
  • Globe (Amaranth) = unfading love
  • Gloxinia = love at first sight
  • Honeysuckle (coral) = I love you
  • Iris (yellow) =passion
  • Ivy = wedded love
  • Indian jasmine & Ipomaca & Scarlet Ipomoea = attachment
  • Lemon leaves = everlasting love
  • Linden tree = matrimony
  • Lungwort = thou art my life
  • Orange blossom = marriage, eternal love
  • Orchid = love
  • Peony = happy marriage
  • Phlox = our souls are united
  • Primrose = I cant live without you
  • Prince’s feather = unfading love
  • Rose (red) = I love you, desire
  • Rose (white and red) = unity
  • Rose-of-sharon = consumed by love
  • Roses (assorted colours) = you’re everything to me
  • Thornapple = I dreamed of thee
  • Tulip = love and passion
  • Tulip (red) = declaration of love
  • Windflower = sincerity, symbol of love
  • Zephr flower = symbol of love

The ultimate friendship wedding flowers are*:

  • Acacia (rose or white) = elegance, friendship
  • Chrysanthemum = you’re a wonderful friend
  • Freesia = innocence, trust, friendship
  • Geranium (oak leaved) = true friendship
  • Iris = faith, valour, wisdom, friendship
  • Ivy = fidelity, wedded love, friendship, affection
  • Rose (yellow) = friendship, joy, gladness

The ultimate practical wedding flowers are*:

  • Allium = unity, humility, patience
  • Alstroemeria = devotion, wealth, prosperity, fortune
  • Apple blossom = better things to come, good fortune
  • Aster (china) & Veronica = fidelity
  • Bird of paradise = faithfulness
  • Black byront, lady’s seal = be my support
  • Bluebell & Zinnia (scarlet) = humility, constancy
  • Broom = humility, neatness
  • Cactus & Eremurus = endurance
  • Cattail = peace, prosperity
  • Dogwood = durability
  • Flax = domestic symbol
  • Flowering almond & Hawthorn & Mum & Snowdrop = hope
  • Heliotrope = devotion, faithfulness
  • Holly = domestic happiness, foresight
  • Hyacinth (blue) = constancy
  • Lavender = loyalty, love, devotion
  • Lemon blossom = fidelity in love
  • Mezereon = desire to please
  • Myrtle = love, home, duty
  • Poppy (yellow) = wealth, success
  • Tiger lily = prosperity
  • Violet = faithfulness, modesty
  • Violet (blue) =I’ll always be true
  • Wallflower = fidelity in adversity

You might also like to consider flowers meaning beauty and flowers meaning joy; differt cultural meanings for flowers; and using flower meanings in the wording of your vows.

My favourite meanings:

  • Venus fly trap = caught at last
  • Violet (white) = let’s take a chance
  • Viscaria = will you dance with me?

*according to http://www.allflorists.co.uk/advice_flowerMeanings.asp Other dictionaries may provide slightly different meanings so if you find a flower you like, just google ([flower name] meaning)

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Top Ten Wedding Fails

Lots of things can go wrong at weddings. It’s a big day, the pressure is on, there are lots of eyes and ears scrutinising detail and quality. Most of the time, the little mistakes or mishaps make the wedding. They are memorable moments you look back on with fondness or a good sense of humour. But let’s face it, some weddings contain moments of sheer embarrassment, mortification, or worse. Those things you really wish hadn’t happened, and really want to forget, well that’s what this list is for. For brides and grooms to be if you are worried about everything running perfectly smoothly on your big day, this might help put things into perspective. Don’t let this list get you down, chances are none of this will happen. But if you want to be safe and not sorry consider my tips for avoiding disaster. And keep in mind that the wedding is for all its bells and whistles, ultimately a means to an end. Marrying the one you love and living happily ever after.

  1. Bad Musicians – This is a problem with all live music, but especially risky with church organs. Top tips: listen to the musician you are hiring beforehand. Try to go to a live performance instead of trusting their demo cd or website audio clip. Don’t use a church organ or bagpipes unless the musician is highly skilled and can pull it off. If money is tight, and you are using amateur musicians, choose simple songs or songs they can already perform well.
  2. Moody Blues – You won’t be able to enjoy your day if you are in a bad mood. There are so many reasons you might be: if disaster does strike, if you have a fight with your betrothed/mother/sister etc., if you’ve had very little sleep, if you feel unwell, if you are hormonal. Top tips: adopt a zen aura and let things that would normally bother you, slide off you. Take a herbal calming remedy. Try to relax the week before the wedding. Treat yourself, have a massage, a lovely bath and early night the night before. Plan and organise so you’re not running around like a headless chicken. Put some time aside for you and your partner to remind yourselves why you’re getting married and how much you love each other.
  3. Punch Ups – They say it’s not a real party until something gets broken, until there’s a fight, or unless someone is sick. Well weddings are all about love and apart from striking totally the wrong negative chord, fights be they verbal or physical detract from the important people, the Bride and Groom. Top tips: if you think someone might cause a fight, don’t invite them. Carefully arrange the seating plan to keep rivals apart. Don’t serve endless free alcohol.
  4. The weather – I’m not just talking about grey skies or a bit of rain. What if your day coincides with a hurricane, a storm, or a blizzard? These are things we simply can’t control, but you can do two things. Top tips: look into wedding insurance in case you have to postpone entirely to another date. Have a contingency plan which includes guest transportation and communication system for relaying the change of plan to everyone.
  5. Bridal Party Injuries – what better way to spend your first night as a married couple than in hospital? Top tips: keep an eye on clumsy relatives, badly secured platforms, uneven floors, avoid flimsy chairs and tables, steps and ledges! Beware long veils and dresses being caught in doors or go for a shorter dress, shorter veil, or no veil.
  6. Damages – This would include ruined wedding cakes and wedding dresses, those icons of the wedding day that above all must be pristine (at least for the photos). Top tips: falling over will often have the knock on effect of ruining cake and/or dress so see top tips for Bridal party injuries. Transport the cake and the dress carefully being mindful of sources of dirt, dust, bleach, oil, ink, blood. Dresses can snag on any sharp point including jewellery, heels, doors and flooring.
  7. Jokes Gone Wrong – Really wrong. The Best Man’s ‘funny’ speech that simply puts the Bride down whilst listing the Groom’s ex girlfriends. The wedding that can’t take place because of the missing Groom following a badly thought out stag do prank. The video reel your parents put together of your worst childhood memories. The honeymoon suite pranks that just kill the passion. Top tips: trust the people you give the privilege of speaking at your wedding to. Surprises are great, but if you suspect your well meaning relative or friend might not be on the same page as you and your bethrothed, double check what they have in mind! The day is about both Bride and Groom. No one wants to be sulky on their wedding day.
  8. Exes – Some exes become friends, some harbour resentment and grow bitter and choose your wedding day to strike! Top tips: think carefully about inviting exes who are friends but who haven’t become friends of your spouse. If you have a potentially devastating ex, mention them to the doormen, have someone look out for them, keep your wedding quiet!
  9. Food Poisoning – Don’t want your guests’ lasting memory of your wedding to be their toilets? Top tips: use a reputable caterer- check their hygiene certificates. Watch out for food kept warm or left out for long periods of time. Beware of rice. Sample the food before signing the caterer, or use a venue or supplier you are familiar with.
  10. Changing Your Mind – Lots of couples get cold feet, but what if you really don’t want to go through with it? Top tips: don’t leave it until the wedding day to make a run for it. Be brave enough to break things off after the engagement if you decide you’re really not marrying the right person. Everyone will understand, and if they don’t you shouldn’t care, it’s your life, you have to put yourself first. Give yourself an engagement period long enough to learn more about each other and to discuss all the big stuff that really can make or break a relationship when things get serious.