The Meaning Behind Wedding Flowers

Floriography And The Meaning Behind Wedding Flowers

Knowing the meaning behind wedding flowers allows you to add subtle personal touches to any wedding. Here’s how to make sure your wedding flowers truly represent your clients. 

Rose: The Meaning Behind Wedding Flowers

Did you know that every flower has a specific meaning and significance? You probably already associate red roses with love thanks to Valentine’s day, but when it comes to your wedding, there are many options. You can use Floriography to infuse a special secret significance to your client’s special day. And whether it’s a private message of love between the couple or something shared with guests, being conscious of the flower’s meaning adds a layer of depth and meaning to a magical event.

What Is Floriography?

Floriography is the language of flowers. It’s actually a form of cryptological communication and allows for secret messages to be shared between those in the know. Floriography has been present in many cultures around the world for thousands of years, including Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Even the bible ascribes symbolism to various plants and flowers. The ancient Greeks have the story of Echo and Narcissus while Shakespeare references the War of The Roses in Henry VI.

And a fun side note, Professor Snape in Harry Potter hints at his feelings for Lily Potter through his references to flowers.

La Langage des Fleurs

When it comes to what your wedding flowers mean, in most cases, we’re talking about the Floriography that became popular in the 19th century, particularly in England, France, and the USA. While Floriography has its roots in Ottoman Turkey and the court of Constantinople, it was first brought to Europe in 1717 by Mary Wortley Montagu. However, in 1819, Le Langage des Fleurs by Madame Charlotte de la Tour was published, and Floriography went mainstream.

And in case you’re looking for a modern reference, I love Floriography: An Illustrated Guide to the Victorian Language of Flowers by Jessica Roux. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

How Floriography Can Add Meaning To Weddings

At ThymeBase, we’ve often discussed how important the little details are, especially when it comes to wowing your clients. Imagine how impressed your couples will be when, having learned their love story, you’re able to recommend a floral element that reflects something unique to them. 

Perhaps including the oakleaf geranium in a bridal bouquet to symbolize the couple’s friendship before they fell in love. Or Hollyhock to symbolize their desire to start a family.

Each couple’s love story is unique. Wedding professionals, especially florists, photographers, and wedding planners, can listen to the story and find ways to imbue that into the event. The meaning can be a quiet little message between the couple, a secret they share between themselves. Or it can be shared with their guests to add a measure of thoughtfulness to centerpieces and backdrops.

How To Share The Flowers’ Meaning At The Wedding

If you’d like to make the florals’ meaning a part of the couple’s love story, there are a handful of ways. Of course, the simplest option is to simply say why certain flowers were chosen. I mean, that’s what speeches are for, right? But there are some elegant ideas too.

My favorite idea is to use gorgeous stationery. Consider adding place cards with the wedding flowers’ meanings. You could add different flowers on each place card and make a game of it to find the various cards to fully understand the centerpiece’s hidden meaning. 

That’s just one idea, and I’m sure you and your couples will have plenty of others. 

Adding Symbolism Into Photographs

Another fun idea to incorporate the meaning behind wedding flowers is through photography. Different bouquets can add symbolism in photographs like cinquefoils and wood sorrel in pictures with the moms to symbolize maternal love. Or blue periwinkle in bouquets with the bridal party to symbolize friendship.

Incorporating different flowers into the photographs is a sub rosa way to show gratitude and love for the people closest to the couple and add a touch of Victorian elegance and magic to treasured moments. 

What Wedding Flower’s Actually Mean

The best thing to do is find a flower dictionary as a reference, but here’s a quick overview of the meaning behind wedding flowers that you’re most likely to include (according to Brides).


Rose: The Meaning Behind Wedding Flowers

Roses pretty much always signify love. Bridal rose means happy love, while the Austrian rose means thou art all that is lovely. Just avoid yellow roses, which mean jealousy and diminishing love. 


Peonies represent romance, a happy marriage, and compassion—the perfect addition to any wedding bouquet. 


Anemone: The Meaning Behind Wedding Flowers

Anemones symbolize fragility, but they can also represent the fleeting moments of joy, encouraging us to appreciate the special moments, like a wedding day.



Dahlias represent a lasting bond and lifelong commitment and can symbolize elegance, inner strength, and dignity. Just perhaps avoid the darker shades, which often have negative connotations.


Purple lilacs represent the first emotions of love, but it meant old, bygone love to some Victorians. Nowadays, lilac generally means first love, romance, and purity.


According to Interflora, a bouquet of ranunculus says, “I am dazzled by your charms.” Overall, it’s a symbol of attractiveness, romance, and joy.

Sweet Peas

Back in Victorian times, Sweet Peas represented a sweet parting and were given as thanks for a good time. It also means blissful pleasure, which bodes well for an upcoming honeymoon.


While Hydrangeas are popular wedding flowers, they don’t have the best connotations. Pink and blue hydrangeas symbolize apology, and white is boastfulness. Only purple, suggesting a desire to understand, feels like the appropriate one for weddings. 



Tulips signify a love that is deep and true. In fact, tulips were one of the first flowers to be ascribed meanings back in Ottoman times. Perfect for weddings, and all colors seem to have generally positive connotations.


Orchids symbolize love, fertility, and sexuality, oh my. These flowers are often associated with Aphrodite and indicate passionate love and luxury.

The Meaning Behind Wedding Flowers Is Open To Interpretation

The thing is, there are sometimes hundreds of meanings for any given flower. You and your clients will need to decide which symbolism you’re willing to ascribe to, and that’s totally okay. Sometimes, it’s cultural, but in most cases, the meaning behind the flowers at weddings is a personal thing. If the couple has decided what a flower means to them, then that’s all that’s needed to make those petals’ inclusion special.