Monday, April 22, 2013

Wedding Traditions: Bouquet Toss

The Bouquet Toss

The crowd quiets as a giggly, if not slightly embarrassed, group of non-married girls makes their way to the floor. The music halts, the bride comes out and after turning her back slyly she flings that gorgeous wedding bouquet over her head into the waiting arms of her court. At some weddings elbows are thrown, shoes fly off, and taffeta hits the floor in waves. Sometimes the bouquet doesn't even make it that far, after ricocheting off the light fixture, it lands dully on the dance floor, three feet in front of a stunned crowd. Do over?


It's an odd tradition, but one that we are all very familiar with: the bouquet toss. And thankfully, I've been part of many a successful one. As a younger gal I always liked this part of the wedding because I got to participate. I loved the symbolism of the bouquet and always hoped to get my hands on it. As I've gotten older, the ritual of parading out in front of a crowded room is less endearing. Unless you have your eye on that guy in the corner and now he for certain knows you're single and maybe he'll make a move...

I've only ever caught a bouquet once. It was my cousin's wedding and after a tumultuous break-up a few weeks prior, I was overjoyed at having "won" the toss. I looked at that little bouquet of roses and thought, "Ok, maybe it's a sign, maybe my heart won't be broken forever."

That's me in the long turquoise dress

 Of course it wasn't broken forever, and after a good long grieving process I got back to my life and started dating again. That dried flower bouquet is still in my house though...a reminder of that little beacon of hope.

Not certain what I'm doing in this photo....but glad to have the bouquet!

A 14th Century Wedding ring

So how did the bouquet throwing start in the first place? There are quite a few stories but the majority of them point to this:

Back in the day, starting around the 14th century, members of the wedding would grab and tear at the bride's wedding dress, hoping to rip off a piece and keep it for luck. To distract the group and get away, the bride would throw her bouquet (or garter) and escape while the throngs tore the bouquet to bits.

A little violent, no? Weddings back in the day seemed a bit dodgy....most of our sweet, innocent, traditions these days come from some very rough ceremonies.

14th Century Wedding (before they destroy her dress, apparently)

The bouquets back then were also a little different, usually made up of aromatic varieties like fruit blossoms, herbs and grains. The nosegay or tussie mussie dates back to the 14th century, and these small bouquets were used to cover up unpleasant odors.

1 comment:

  1. Hi E, Charlotte, Love this post and the great info how it all got started.
    You share some wonderful pics too. When I got married and it came time to throw the bouguet, there was a large crowd of girls waiting with arms stretched. I looked around and thought wow I better give this a good toss. Well, the flowers landed in the rafters of the reception hall! It was so funny everyone was looking up waiting for the bouquet to fall. We had to lift my new brother in law on another guys shoulders to reach up and get the thing down. LOL~~ then I had to toss it over again. LOL We laugh about that to this day.
    Thanks for the great post and the walk down memory lane.
    Wishing you a nice week.
    Hugs, CM