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wed-flwrs-FAQ - 3/18/96

Medieval & Renaissance Theme Wedding FAQ: Questions about Flowers, Bouquets and

NOTE: See also the files: weddings-msg, p-weddings-bib, wed-FAQ, p-marriage-msg,
Ger-marriage-msg, Scot-marriage-msg, beadwork-msg, silk-msg.


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Thank you,
Mark S. Harris
AKA: Stefan li Rous

Medieval & Renaissance Theme Wedding FAQ: Questions about
Flowers, Bouquets and Headpieces

(c) The Medieval and Renaissance Theme Wedding FAQ was compiled
by and is maintained and copyrighted by Barbara J. Kuehl. All
suggestions and additions should be emailed to her at
bj@csd.uwm.edu. This document may be freely redistributed
without modification provided that the copyright notice is not
removed. It may not be sold for profit or incorporated in
commercial documents without the written permission of the

4.1: What flowers can I use in my bouquet to go along with the
medieval theme of my clothing?

From: Guinevere1@aol.com:
In a book entitled "Period Flowers", the chapters called
"Medieval Flowers" and "Renaissance" talk about the flowers
most popular during those times.
From: margritt@mindspring.com (Margritte)
There is a book called "Theme Gardens" that you might want to
check out. It has plans for several gardens--including a
medieval paradise garden, a Shakepeare garden, and others. It's
a wonderful place to look for lists of appropriate flowers.
From: cd055@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (Jennifer Gebhardt)
Our wedding has a Celtic theme...and my bouquet will have white
roses, wine roses, thistle, and heather.
From bj@alpha1.csd.uwm.edu
I carried a bouquet of green ivy, white sweetpeas, white roses,
and white carnations which I tied together with trailing white
and green ribbons.
From: lise@balkis.cc.bellcore.com (339R0-romanov)
Each could carry a single long-stemmed red rose trimmed with
From: platypus@glue.umd.edu (Amy E. Rottier)
I had a cascading hand bouquet with lots of ivy trailing and
many colorful flowers (I wanted garden-y type flowers, simple
and homey). The girls had large hand-tied bouquets of the same
flowers. My flower crown was BIG - but I'm a big girl, and they
balanced me out. The florist made a spray for the arch, too,
and it was incredible. Looked fantastic and drew the ceremony
place together (a single big focus point just behind us, instead
of distractions everywhere).
From: Betsy Miller <elizabeth.miller@fmr.com>
Here's an alternative I'm toying with (shamelessly pilfered from
Martha Stewart): Each attendant carries a bouquet made from a
single flower but using the same greenery & general shape of
bouquet. The picture I saw had one bouquet made with irises,
one with white roses, one with orange lilies, and one with a red
flower (not roses, but I can't think of what it was). It looked
really pretty, especially since all the bridesmaids had
identical gowns.
From: bozwin@aol.com (Bozwin)
My attendants are each carrying a cluster of tulips tied with
ribbon. Very reasonable price at that time of year (spring).
Haven't decided yet if each will carry a different color, but
maybe. With 4, you could do the colors like winter, spring,
summer, fall.
From: hlburges@ellis.uchicago.edu (Hillary Butterfly Burgess)
Three ideas I've seen and loved: 1) A small round bouquet with
cascading ivy and ribbon (ivy is cheap filler, but beautiful,
ribbon you can get inexpensively at a craft/fabric store).
2) Long stem flowers. Tie them together with green craft wire,
wrap about 4 inches of satin ribbon around the stems (toward the
bottom) and attach a bow to the ribbon. (I like satin bows)
Add ribbons and pearls to the hanging ribbons from the bow to
make it more fancy/formal. 3) Baskets: We *might* have the
flower girls carrying small baskets filled with petals and then
have the BM carrying bigger baskets filled with flowers and
hanging ivy. My mom has bought the baskets at yardsales and
craft stores for between 25c and a buck. She will decorate them
with satin material and ribbon, then we will give them to our
florist who can make a flower arrangement for the BMs. The
florist suggested we use the BM's arrangements as table
From: khealey@world.std.com (Katie Healey)
My fiance's name is ERIC, so my flowers were Edelweiss (a pain
to find in October!!!), Roses, Ivy, and Carnations. I know, it
sounds too cute for words, but I really liked it. For my
bridesmaids, I had bouquets that were virtually the same, except
for one type of flower. I found one kind of flower that means
"friendship forever" (my best friend's bouquet); another kind of
flower means "memories treasured" (for the bridesmaid who had
been a friend since before we could walk); "new friendship" for
my future SIL; etc. There are several good books on flowers
that tell about the meanings of different flowers. It's kind of
neat, once you get going. When I gave each bridesmaid her
bouquet, I included a little card that explained the meaning of
their special flower. We all cried baskets before we even left
my house!
From: Debbie McCoy <bridea2z@gate.net>
Ancients used herbs, not flowers, in bouquets because they felt
herbs--especially garlic--had the power to cast off evil spirits
(can you imagine walking up the aisle holding a clump of
garlic!?). If a bride carried sage (the herb of wisdom) she
became wise; if she carried dill (the herb of lust) she became
lusty. Later flowers replaced herbs and took on meanings all
their own. Orange blossoms, for example, mean happiness and
fertility. Ivy means fidelity; lillies mean purity.
From: Jason_L@pop.com (Jason L)
Our flower girl carried sheaves of wheat, a symbol of growth,
fertility, and renewal.

4.2: Does anyone know (or can anyone point me to a resource
for) the meanings of different flowers in a bouquet?

From: fishcat@hooked.net (Trystan L. Bass)
The language of the flowers is ancient and many of the symbols
have not changed. These examples come from Shakespeare:
Red rose and myrtle = I love you
Ivy with white and red flowers = marry me?
Forget-me-nots = my true love is yours
Pansies = you occupy my thoughts
Violets = I am faithful and loyal
Mint = great virtue
Sage = great respect
White and red roses = unity of purpose
Pink roses = ours must be a secret love
Marigolds = I am a jealous lover
Lavender = I distrust you
Basil = I hate you
From bj@alpha1.csd.uwm.edu (Barbara Jean Kuehl)
If you are interested in creating a bouquet with a special
meaning, the following website contains a list of flowers and
their meanings: http://acm.vt.edu/~lfowler/wed/flowers.html.

4.3: I've found a wonderful company to make our "costumes", but
I'm not sure what to wear for a "veil". I know veils are
traditional nowadays, but our medieval wedding is anything
but. Could I wear flowers in my hair instead of a veil?

From: Debbie McCoy <bridea2z@gate.net>
It's not necessary to wear a veil. A veil is merely traditional
and ceremonial (although in Judaism Conservative and Orthodox
ceremonies, it's a requirement). Since your wedding sounds very
much your own, the only thing that's important is that your
headpiece (if you choose to wear one) look beautiful.
From: ac298@seorf.ohiou.edu (Lisa Steinberg)
The veils of today have only been used for the last hundred or
so years so, by not wearing one, you aren't contradicting some
ancient tradition. I like the look of flowers scattered
throughout a hairdo--nice and whimsical.
From: Michaele Kashgarian <kashgarian@llnl.gov>
I'm planning to wear fresh flowers instead of a veil. Once I
decide on a dress, I'll try to figure out which flowers will
go with it.
From bj@alpha1.csd.uwm.edu (Barbara Jean Kuehl)
Instead of a veil, I wore a wreath of fresh ivy. Anne of Cleves
(early 1500's) supposedly wore a wreath of rosemary at her
From: Deirdre Shaw <shaw_d@a1.tch.harvard.edu>
All the Renaissance Faires that I have been to sell wreaths made
out of dried flowers. I've usually seen a *wide* variety of
colors and flowers used, so you should be able to find something
that matches or complements what you're wearing. I've liked the
look of the flower wreaths so much that my headpiece is going to
be a wreath similar to the ones sold at the Faires.
From: fishcat@hooked.net (Trystan L. Bass)
A wreath of flowers is a very ancient bridal headpiece. You
could also wear your hair loose, which symbolizes virginity
(married women wore their hair up and mostly covered). You
could have the bridesmaids wear their hair braided or up, to
emphasize the bride.
From Guinevere1@aol.com
The headpiece I will be wearing is a wreath made of
ivory-colored flowers, with a veil attached to the back. I am
also having headpieces made by a friend of mine for my
bridesmaids. They will have different colored flowers, baby's
breath, and ribbons (which coordinate with the emerald-colored
dresses) instead of the veil.
From: Jason_L@pop.com (Jason L)
We adapted a Finnish tradition of the mothers crowning the bride
to give their blessing to the daughter. Andrea entered wearing
a wreath, which she gave to one of her attendants, then both
mothers came forward and put a snood and tiara on her head.
From: sac56615@saclink1.csus.edu (Judith A. Murray)
I had my hair braided by a woman who does braiding at
renaissance faires. Flowers, pearls, but no headpiece and no
veil. It was the talk of the wedding! (I also paid to have my
sister's hair braided - her braid cost $38, and mine $50, plus I
gave her a $12 tip, making it an even $100 - this was one of my
From: woods@oakhill.sps.mot.com (Lynn Woods)
I don't like veils either. I have really long hair and so I made
a headpiece that is three white silk rose buds, two mini-lilies,
& ivy. Draping down from the flowers is three loops of white
satin ribbon with long pearl sprays over the ribbon. It's a
little hard to describe, but the effect is similar to a veil
without having to actually endure netting or tulle or whatever
it is. It goes on the back of my head.
From: prauda@plootu.Helsinki.FI (Kristiina Prauda)
My friend Paivi's headpiece consisted of her magnificently long
and thick tawny hair styled around her head (not in braids, but
sort of tubes or rolls) and decorated with fresh ivy leaves and
individual white gladiolus flowers. It was really beautiful.
Paivi's cousin is getting married in a few weeks. I heard that
her veil is short, layered and rather fluffy and that she's
renting a headpiece from "Kalevala Koru". They make jewellery
based on actual historical jewellery findings., The headpiece is
a bronze or silver garland, and can be worn either closed,
crownlike on top of the head, or open at the end, tiara-like.
From: Kari Astley <astleyk@u.washington.edu>
I decided to get a head band with a tear drop pearl in front
because I've always loved the look (sort of like a mythic
princess). I would highly recommend trying some on and then
finding someone to make the one you want. I had no idea what I
was looking for till I tried some on. It's amazingly easy to
have someone make one, and that way you get exactly what you
want. Also, the price for mine was incredible, it was cheaper
than it would have been had I bought one in a store.
From: prauda@plootu.Helsinki.FI (Kristiina Prauda)
We had a formal evening reception with a medieval-ish theme. I
made a veil for myself. I borrowed a small gold-and-rhinestone
tiara from a theatre and added a two-layered, gathered tulle
veil with narrow gold thread edging starting straight from the
tiara. The upper layer went to my waist and served as a blusher;
the other layer went down to the hem of my gown (no train). I
had always known I wanted a long, big veil, but I hate the look
of those white pearl-and-sequin headpieces. Nor was I too keen
on fresh flowers, because I think they look best with no veil at
all (with very well styled hair). The tiara was perfect with my
gold-accented silk gown.

4.4 I would like to use a garland of ivy as a headpiece, as it
is symbolic of good luck and all. I have an ivy plant, and
I wonder if just cutting off a long extension of the plant
and forming it into a circle would work. Any advice?

From: bj@alpha1.csd.uwm.edu (Barbara Jean Kuehl)
That's what I did. I cut off a long vine of ivy from a plant I
had been growing for some time. I wound it around about three
times, tucking it every so often so that I didn't need to use
wire or ties to keep it together. It worked great, and it held
up fantastically! I was able to wear it a week later to the
renaissance fair! After that, however, the leaves began to brown
and fall off.
From: q2usa@aol.com (Q2 USA)
Use a piece of flexible wire and wrap it from end to end with
white or green floral tape. Form it into a circle the size of
which sits on your head where you'd like it. Secure the two
ends together with floral tape. The morning of your wedding,
gently secure the ivy strand to the circle in several places
with floral tape. Leave it in the refrigerator, maybe on top
of a wet cloth in a tupperware container. You could add colored
ribbons, pearls, cords, tulle or silk flowers to the headband as
to your taste.

4.5: Help! I am allergic to flowers and I cannot figure out
how to replace them in my wedding. I am having a medieval
theme. Are there any suggestions?

Diana Ewing <dewing@mail.fgi.net> wrote:
If your wedding is in the evening, why not a candle instead of
flowers. I can't think of anything more romantic.
From: jcowie@bgnet.bgsu.edu (Jenette Lynn Cowie)
Are you allergic to dried flowers? Some dried flowers are very
beautiful, and go well with many themes. If this doesn't work,
maybe you could consider using several candles.
From: prauda@kruuna.Helsinki.FI (Kristiina Prauda)
If you cannot use any real flowers even in decorations, there is
always silk ivy. Ivy (and other greenery) has often been
suggested in these groups for medieval-style decorations, and
silk ivy doesn't look as fake as silk flowers sometimes do. It
actually looks very good in long garlands and thick branches
around the room (and high on the walls, if possible). There are
so many possibilities for medieval decorations that flowers are
not at all necessary: candles, candelabras, banners, shields,
tapestries... And if flowers are not completely forbidden, as
long as they're not close to you, maybe you could have an
arrangement on the altar (if it is a church wedding). As for you
and your possible bridesmaids, you could carry candles. Or
maybe your bridesmaids could also be readers for the ceremony
and carry fancy scrolls with ribbons, with their texts written
in the scrolls?

<the end>

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