Flowers. They engage all of our senses. They are candy for the eyes, perfume
for our sense of smell, a soft caress for our skin as we brush against their
petals. They can make our mouths water — literally — as many of them are edible.
And, if we listen closely, we can hear them speaking — the language of flowers.
From Time immemorial, lovers have employed the symbolism inherent in flowers
to express the feelings of their hearts. The Turks organized that symbolism
into a formalized language by the 1600's.
Then, in the early 18th century, Lady Mary Wortley Montague, wife of the British
ambassador to Constantinople, imported that romantic "secret language of
flowers" to Europe. It caught on like wildfire and spread rampantly. The
first dictionary of flowers, Le Language des Fleurs, was printed in
Paris in 1818.
From the Heart
Remember when you were little, picking a bunch of wild flowers and holding them
out, clutched in your little hand, for a loved one? Remember the feeling you
had — that you were really communicating something to the person you were holding
them out to? The flowers you walk down the aisle with on your wedding day can
be just as expressive of the feelings in your heart. White roses, stephanotis,
baby's breath and violets are perennial favorites with brides. But do they have
a special meaning for you?
Spell It Out
Instead of the same old tired bunch of flowers that everyone uses in their bouquets,
try "hand picking" the flowers for your bouquet while keeping the
sentiments you would like to express in mind. "Spell out" your joys,
hopes and expectations eloquently and uniquely with flowers chosen for their
Bottle the Memory
Once you've "hand picked" your flowers so that they succinctly say
exactly what you want, why not use this very personal selection of flowers to
create a signature scent? Go to one of the shops that specialize in custom mixing
scents. Have them mix a perfume for you featuring the flowers from your bridal
bouquet. Call it "Wedding Day." Save it for special occasions (like
your wedding anniversary) or use it whenever the mood strikes you.
A Rose by Any Other Name
A rose is a rose is a rose, right? Well, actually that depends. A flower can
have meanings depending upon its size and color. The Damask rose connotes freshness,
the Provence rose says "My heart is in flames" and the Dog rose speaks
of "pleasure and pain."
Fortunately for us, the language of flowers is not a lost language but one that
we can speak fluently and from the heart. Parlez vous Fleurs?
Authors Note: This 1500 word article includes a sidebar of meanings conveyed
by flowers, a sidebar of flowers for each month and a sidebar of official flowers
for countries around the world
— a global flower list.
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