The little girl, pretty as a princess, who totters behind the bride with a basket, or a bouquet of fresh flowers. “Awww!” croon your delighted guests, as she nearly trips over her little gown and flashes her cute dimples at onlookers.
Cute it is, definitely. But where on earth did this tradition come from???
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The Flower Girl’s debut, took place in ancient Rome, when she first skipped her merry way down the aisle, part of the wedding procession, carrying a wreath to symbolise prosperity and fertility, in the hope of bestowing these virtues upon the lucky bride and groom. The wreath was made of wheat and herbs.
Later, the Flower Girl’s role evolved, to ward off evil, and she would carry garlic down the aisle.
However, contemporary flower girls are often dressed in a gown that will mirror the bride’s outfit, but in miniature. In fact, this is reminiscent of a very Elizabethan tradition, when children were dressed in the same style as their parents and carers, mirroring their outfits, as can be seen from the picture (right).
While this is undoubtedly a charming tradition, it has a deeper underlying meaning: the Flower Girl is in fact, dressed as the bride, to symbolize the bride’s transition, from maiden/ little girl, into womanhood, through marriage. Our little flower girl represents childhood innocence.
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To add this symbolic depth to your Flower Girl’s bouquet, and pay homage to her history, consider asking your wedding florist to combine your choice of wedding flowers with herbs, echoing the symbology of prosperity and fertility (if you should so desire), and perhaps, to sculpture a wreath out of your flowers. You can even ask them to include garlic in their design if you like, but we wouldn’t recommend it!
This wreath can be worn by your Flower Girl, around the head, or carried, like it was by her Ancient Roman predecessor.
These days, you can choose to have your flower girl carry a basket of fresh flowers, which she can scatter along the aisle as she goes; or you may decide you’d like her to hold a ‘kissing ball’, especially if this is the style of bouquet you have chosen for yourself.
We have known our brides to choose to have the Flower Girl wear a wreath of flowers in her hair, and blow bubbles before the bride, or indeed, fresh rose petals, instead of confetti.
Flower Girls traditionally walk down the aisle with their equally cute partners, the Page Boy, therefore completing the symbolism of transformation from innocent love, to the intimate adult connection that comes with marriage. They walk ahead of the Bride and Groom, to symbolize this passing of the passage of time.
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Choosing to have a Flower Girl is a fantastic way to include a little one who may be too young to handle the responsibilities of being a bridesmaid. She will look gorgeous in photographs and add the kind of charm to your ceremony that only a little girl can.