The Wedding Bouquet, Spirit Chaser and Good Luck Charm

Once crafted of garlic, herbs and spices with the intent to scare off evil spirits, wedding bouquets are now a traditional symbol and treasured remembrance of a bride’s day in the spotlight. More and more brides are actually buying two bouquets, one to be carried in the ceremony and a smaller one to use for the traditional toss to the unmarried ladies at the event. The bride’s bouquet is then preserved by various methods, usually drying or freeze drying.
Queen Victoria had a hand in the change from fragrant spirit chaser to the bright floral creations when she married her Prince Albert. Though she made sure the bouquet had plenty of bright, bold marigolds, the Queen still had edible flowers and a few herbs, such as dill, in the arrangement. Dill was considered to be an aphrodisiac and was included for later consumption at the reception.
The actual tossing of the bouquet started as an act of self preservation. In 14th Century England, it was thought that possessing a piece of the bride’s clothing would bring good luck. As she sped by the wedding guests for the first time as a married lady, they would tug at the dress, trying to tear a piece off as a souvenir. By sacrificing her bouquet, she would have more chance of coming through this early and much more boisterous version of a receiving line at least partially intact. The mad scramble continues today, albeit usually more refined, for that colourful floral arrangement that hints “you’re next”.

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