What Do Different Wedding Flowers Symbolize

wedding flower meanings

Flowers are an important part of the aesthetic and décor of the overall wedding day, but you probably did not realize that they can also play a very big part in the way you tell your story during the day. A lot of flowers have unique symbolic meanings that belong to them that can signify different emotions.

Wedding flower meanings can be a deciding factor for what flowers to choose to celebrate your big day, so beyond just considering what flowers are right for your wedding or what flowers will be in season, consider selecting flowers based off of their unique meanings.

Importance of flower meanings

Different flowers having specific meanings isn’t new. While you are planning your beautiful wedding and developing a special event that is unique to who you are and your vision, you can take this flower meaning tradition and adapt it to fit your theme. To be able to do this, you need to know how to properly research flower meanings, know a little about the study of flower meanings, and even know what blooms to avoid if you are focusing on symbolism and meaning.

History of wedding flower meanings

The language of flowers, or floriography, is the study of how flower arrangements can communicate different meanings. Across different cultures and through multiple centuries, the symbolism was linked to certain flowers. Famous works and writers even made use of the language of flowers, like Williams Shakespeare. He used flowers as symbolism in many of his works, like when Englishmen selected red or white roses as telling symbols of their allegiance in Henry VI.

In Victorian England during the 19th century, the language of flowers became extremely popularized as many were using flower arrangements to send secret coded messages to their recipients to convey sentiments they couldn’t say out loud at the time. Many of the symbols that we see today that are tied to flowers actually originate from these Victorian times.

So how are you supposed to research flower meanings?

How do you know what wedding flowers symbolize? Many wedding florists select the book The Language of Flowers by Kate Greenaway as an incredible resource on the flower symbolism. While it was printed in 1884, the content of the book still stays relevant today and is very well known in the flower community. Below you will also find an in-depth wedding flower meaning guide to help you get started.

What wedding flowers to avoid

There are so many popular wedding flowers, but with this comes the possibility of selecting a wedding flower that doesn’t have a great or positive meaning tied to it. Wedding flower meanings can help curate a story throughout your big day but choosing flowers unknowingly that have less than favorable meanings can do the opposite.

Some symbolism attached to flowers is not positive. For example, certain flowers symbolize mourning or other sadder emotions that do not quite align with the celebration of a wedding. Flower meanings really depend on the culture that you are pulling the meaning from, though. Peonies, for example, are a classic marriage flower now but were once used as a symbolism of anger. In Japan, however, the flower has always been known for good fortune, bravery, and courage.

Lotus flowers symbolize estranged love, and daffodils, while representing respect, can also symbolize unrequited love. Both of these themes aren’t exactly what most couples are looking to exude during their wedding day. 

Petunias, while embodying a soothing presence, also can represent anger and resentment, something that is the opposite of what you want to portray during your wedding day. The point is that many flowers have many different meanings, so it is important to select flowers that align with your wedding vision, whether those are traditional wedding flowers or not. 

Popular flowers to use

When you are working with your florist for your wedding and planning out your wedding floral arrangements, think about the flowers and their significance to create even more meaning behind your big day. Incorporate some of the popular flowers that have symbolism which fits perfectly for a beautiful wedding day and everything it stands for. Incorporating a meaningful bloom in certain parts of your wedding can truly help convey emotion on your special day.

Some popular lucky wedding flowers include:


This flower symbolizes unfading love, the perfect intention to set on your wedding day.


Carnations are a type of flower where the color of the actual flower is important and relevant. The meaning changes from color to color of a carnation. For example, carnations that are colored white symbolize adoration and pure love, while pink carnations are said to whisper the sentiment “I’ll never forget you.” Yellow carnations, however, are avoided normally at weddings as they represent rejection and disappointment.


This flower represents wealth, devotion, prosperity, and fortune. All of these are what you can hope for in a marriage!


Usually used as a filler in bouquets, eucalyptus is meant to represent protection.


Gardenias are beautiful flowers that symbolize sweet love and purity. It communicates the sentiment of “you are so lovely.”


Ivy is known to communicate all good virtues and is a sign of luck. It symbolizes wedded love, fidelity, friendship, and affection.

Lily of the Valley

A lily of the valley wedding bouquet meaning is the return of happiness. It is a popular option for the springtime as it is cute and dainty, not to mention the sweet sentiment it brings.


The meaning behind ranunculus is “little frogs,” most likely because they grew in the springtime and were found near streams like little frogs. Ranunculus symbolizes charm, attraction, and radiating positive energy.


One of the most well known flowers, roses come in a variety of colors and can have a lot of different meanings depending on the color. White roses represent innocence and charm, while red roses show love. Pink roses represent perfect happiness, and yellow roses mean joy or friendship.


Another popular flower, tulips, traditionally stand as a symbol of passion and love. White tulips represent worthiness in love, red tulips represent the declaration of love, and yellow tulips represent or convey the feeling of sunshine and joy.

The color meaning behind flowers

Wedding flower meanings can really vary depending on the hue of the flower you selected, as mentioned earlier. This is most true for roses with a white and red rose showcasing purity and love, while a yellow rose can symbolize infidelity or jealousy. Since color can change the language of the flower you select, you will want to spend some time thinking about the different flower varieties to utilize to decide which ones fit your color palette and speak to the virtues you wish to showcase during your wedding. 

Wedding flowers and the special meanings behind them

There are so many beautiful and unique flowers to choose from. Flowers differ from season to season, with the color they come in and the meaning they bring. There are whimsical flower meanings and flowers that represent mystery or romance, and there are flowers that showcase mourning and sadness. 

When you are planning out your wedding and the many intricate details that make up your big day, don’t forget to think about what flowers you want to represent your emotions and feelings. There are some flowers that may be best for the ceremony and some that are better for the reception.

Your guests might not be experts on the language of flowers, so consider highlighting your selected choices with display cards or in a speech. It would be a great way to tie in your décor with your feelings on your big day. Flowers can make a wedding truly spectacular, and the meaning behind them makes it that much sweeter.


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