All You Need to Know About the Wedding Bouquet and Toss
All You Need to Know About the Wedding Bouquet and Toss Before Your Wedding Day Raleigh Wedding Bouquet Toss Questions Answered The lowdown on a perennial wedding favorite- the bouquet! A Brief History of the Wedding Bouquet
The first recorded use of flowers in weddings goes back to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. In ancient Egypt, garlic and thyme were carried to ward off evil spirits, while Greek and Roman brides and grooms made crowns and garlands of flowers and greenery. And some brides across the Mediterranean and Fertile Crescent carried sheaves of wheat to symbolize fertility. In Greece, certain herbs were added to honor Hera, a goddess who was thought to be a protector of marriage and childbirth.
During the Middle Age (5th to 15th centuries) in Europe, floral garlands continued to be worn by both brides and grooms. And small bundles of herbs, grains, and flowers were carried by brides. It was also common for Medieval brides to pin bundles of herbs or flowers to their dresses. These traditions were tied to fertility as they had been in ancient times. There was a practical reason to add fragrant elements to wedding attire, as well. Frequent bathing was uncommon in Medieval Europe. So the flowers and herbs helped mask less pleasant smells.
During the mid-16th to the early-17th century in Europe (the Elizabethan and Tudor periods), wedding flowers began to look like what we think of today. Nosegays (small bouquets) were carried by brides on their wedding day. And flowers started to be used as wedding decorations. Still, they included many herbs and other greenery, like dill, garlic, ivy, and thistles, which wouldn’t make the top ten list for most 21st century brides.
One notable floral decoration in the Elizabethan era was the kissing knot. These were bundles of buds or flowers arranged in a sphere and hung up above the newlyweds’ table at their wedding reception. Like the Christmas tradition of kissing under the mistletoe, which has its roots in this period too, the husband and wife would kiss when they found themselves under the kissing knot.
During the Victorian era (mid-19th century through the early 20th century), it was common for particular flowers to be associated with specific attributes or meanings. The bridal couple often chose their flowers based on this coded language of flowers.
In the 1910s, floral arrangements at weddings became more complex leading to lavish cascading bouquets and stunning composite bouquets that were all the rage in the 1920s. Though they debuted many years earlier, boutonnieres for grooms and groomsmen also became more popular in this era.
The Great Depression and World War II led to more modest bouquets, but by the 1980s, grand floral arrangements came back into style.
Over the past twenty years or so, there’s been a move away from tradition for tradition’s sake. Today, wedding couples generally pick floral arrangements and bouquets that highlight their personalities, tastes, and heritage. We think this is a great way to honor the past, while also bringing your whole self to your big day!
Throwing the Bouquet
Like the bouquet itself, tossing the bouquet has a very long history. It all started back in the Middle Ages in Europe when it was considered lucky for wedding guests to touch the bride on her big day.
Over time, touching a bride’s dress evolved into wedding guests attempting to rip off a piece of the wedding dress. The bouquet toss was born to distract the crowd and give the bride a way out!
The bride would throw her bouquet in one direction and then head as fast as she could in the other, hoping that the wedding guests were content with the bouquet. Eventually, this tradition became much more subdued, though no less exciting for many brides and those wanting to catch a bouquet.
Today, the bouquet toss is an opportunity for a bride to support her single friends instead of a chance for the single friends to get a piece of the bride. Since the 1800s, it has been the tradition for single female wedding guests to gather around the bride as she tosses her bouquet backward over her head. According to this more modern version of the bouquet tossing tradition, the woman who catches the bouquet will be the next one to get married.
Many brides today like to hold on to their bouquets as a keepsake from their wedding. But keeping your bouquet doesn’t mean you have to abandon the bouquet toss! Brides often choose to order a second slightly small bouquet made especially for the moment.
There is no hard and fast rule about when the bouquet toss should happen during your wedding reception. But it typically happens toward the end of the wedding reception after toasts, speeches, dinner, the cake cutting, and some dancing.
Planning out all of these details might feel a bit overwhelming, but you don’t need to fear!
Stylus Weddings DJs are masters at making sure each piece of a wedding reception is timed out flawlessly! They’ll work with you and your fiance to set the schedule that works for you. And they’ll also help keep everything running right on time during your wedding reception.
When planning your reception, it’s important to remember that the entire bouquet toss ritual is relatively short (about the length of a song from start to finish). Still, many find it to be one of the most memorable moments of the wedding reception. Especially if there’s more than one woman committed to catching the bouquet!
Choosing the right song for your wedding bouquet toss sets the mood you want for your big day. You want a song that shows your style. A song that gets everyone in the room up on their feet or at the edge of their seat!
The options for bouquet toss songs are endless. Beyonce’s All the Single Ladies, Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, or Martina McBride’s This One’s for the Girls are perennial favorites. But you could also choose a song that references an inside joke only your true besties will get. Either way, your Stylus Weddings DJ will work with you to find the ideal song for your big bouquet toss moment.
Modern Twists on Tradition
Some brides today feel that the tradition of the wedding bouquet toss unfairly or unappealing singles out their unmarried female friends who may not be interested in finding a husband ASAP. Similarly, some LGBTQ+ couples may feel that the bouquet toss just doesn’t speak to them in the same way it does for many other wedding couples.
There’s no shame in including or not including this tradition!
It’s your wedding. You should love every bit of it!
Tradition is a wonderful thing, but only if it means something to you!
If you don’t want to include this tradition in your reception, several traditions could take the place of the bouquet toss.
Consider having a women’s only dance to honor the strong, confident women who have supported you and your new spouse and all the younger women and girls who are looking up to you. Don’t be afraid to say a few words before the song to let them all know how important they are and how you wish the best for every one of them.
If an engaged couple is attending your wedding, you could also pass the torch to them by presenting them with the bouquet and offering a toast of good wishes for their upcoming wedding.
Another frequent substitution is the anniversary dance. In this modern tradition, all married couples are asked to step out on the dance floor. Once the music begins, your wedding DJ calls out a number of years (1 year, 5 years, 10 years, and so on). Couples who have not yet met that mark are asked to leave the dance floor. By the time the song ends, the couple with the longest marriage finishes the dance.
It’s an absolute gift to see the love still very much alive between long-married couples! You may have a couple who have been married 50 or even 60 years at your reception. The anniversary dance is a lovely way to honor them and to spotlight your new life with your spouse, as well.
No matter what you choose, your Stylus Weddings DJ will be with you and your beloved every step of the way to take care of the details and get everyone at your wedding reception to the right place at the right time.
How to Modify the Bouquet Toss for a Pandemic Wedding
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many wedding couples to rethink what their dream wedding looks like. At Stylus Weddings, we’re doing everything we can to help keep you, your spouse-to-be, your wedding party, and all of your wedding guests safe and healthy. Part of that means talking with wedding couples to find out what traditions are most important to them and coming up with creative ways to include everything they envision for their big day even in a pandemic.
The bouquet toss is no exception!
Pandemic etiquette has us all keeping our distance as much as possible, but there are still ways to incorporate the bouquet toss into your wedding reception if you choose to.
One option is for the bride to present single flowers or small bouquets individually to single women at the wedding reception. This would allow you to pass on your hopes for your guests in a personal and special way while also avoiding an unwanted crowd. You could hand out the flowers individually by going from table to table. Or you could take control of the mic and let all your guests know who is getting flowers and why. This approach can be an excellent opportunity to share memories that get every one of your wedding guests laughing or crying. Or both!
Another option is to toss a breakaway bouquet- a large bouquet that breaks apart into many smaller ones. As long as you have a pretty good throwing arm, a breakaway bouquet allows for some space between those waiting to catch the bouquet. Everyone can stand a few feet away from each other and still be within catching distance of a piece of the bouquet.
A bouquet box is another alternative to consider. Place your wedding bouquet in a locked box. Then give a key to everyone who would typically be participating in the bouquet toss. Only one lucky woman will be randomly given the key that opens the box. When the time is right, your wedding DJ will announce that the box is open for everyone with a key to try her hand at opening it. This twist on the tradition is sure to bring excitement, suspense, and laughter to the moment!
If you go with the bouquet box, have hand sanitizer available before and after each try or add to the drama and intrigue by asking everyone to donn a new pair of clean cotton gloves before touching the key or box.
At Stylus Weddings, we thrive on your happiness and know that the little things can make all the difference in the world. Whether you choose the traditional bouquet toss, an alternative to the toss, or a modern twist on this classic wedding tradition, your wedding DJ will make sure you have everything you need to make the moment memorable and moving.
Do you have a terrific bouquet toss story? Please tell us! We can’t wait to hear it and to hear all about what wedding traditions mean the most to you!