Since the start of time flowers and herbs were used to express love and happiness, prehistoric civilization may have even used them as well but in a more spur of the moment event as early people were not very civilized. Although, then flowers and wreaths were used to represent status in some early tribes. The first actual documented use of flowers used in a union ceremony or wedding, goes back as far as the early Greek civilization. The Greeks would use herbs and flowers to weave beautiful crowns that the bride would wear, they were meant to represent a gift from nature. During this time it was traditional for the bridesmaids to make floral decorations, such as garlands, a bridal bouquet, often times posies for guests to wear to show a sign of thanks, were made by the bridesmaids too.
Many countries and religions have certain wedding traditions they follow that include the use of flowers, even in this modern day and age, in a lot of cultures the old traditional uses of wedding flowers live on. In the old age age though flowers were not such a popular choice herbs really had their precedence in weddings. In cultures where the bride would wear a wreath on her head like a crown during the ceremony it was originally made from herbs and some cultures still stick to this tradition. The herbal headpieces were meant as a sign of love combined with lifelong happiness, these were sometimes wore by both bride and groom. When it came specifically to the brides headpiece, it was also intertwined with bulbs of garlic, which were believed to keep evil spirits from disturbing the couples future together. Along with the garlic, dill was laced in the garland as well and carried alongside the garlic, it would make the bride feel emotion only for her husband. The herb related to wisdom (Sage) was said to give the bride wisdom and goodness in her soul, when tied in with the garlic as well.
During the time when herbs were still widely used for weddings, a tradition spawned that required a kissing knot to be made. Kissing knots were made by by binding roses with rosemary and then suspended in the air above the bride and groom’s sitting area during the reception. The kissing knot was believed to bring the couple good luck with a life full of happiness and love, even those who sat with the pair got the effects of the kissing knot too. Other guests received flowers too, which came in the form of small bouquets set next to their plates in order to ensure they lied long happy lives.
The role of flowers in weddings has remained the same in some countries throughout time. In Germany, they carry on the tradition of holding candles and flowers tied with silk ribbons as a ceremony tradition. In the country of India, the brother of the groom plays an important role at the close of the ceremony by sprinkling flower petals over the newly married couple to ward off evil spirits. Swedish brides carry small bouquets with aromatic spices and the Swedish groom fills his pockets with thyme as they walk down the aisle, this is to scare away any trolls that may want to disturb their union. English brides traditionally walk with their bridesmaids to the cathedral having a little girl to lead them with flower blossoms, to show that their lives will be filled with joy and flowers.
At different periods of time and in different cultures a variety of flowers are used in ceremonies, even before and after, different countries may have different meanings for the flowers they use, but it remains that flowers have long been used in matrimonial unions and are a vital aspect to any wedding.