Traditional wedding herbs such as rose petals, chamomile, sage, and marjoram are assembled to bless the bride and groom as they depart. Juniper, larkspur, and waxflowers adorn the rim of the basket.
Sending the bride and groom off in a shower of herbs and flowers can have special meaning if the mix has been chosen using the Language of Herbs and Flowers. To honor tradition, herbs (either fresh or dried) can be used in place of rice to shower the bride and groom as they depart after the wedding ceremony.
Traditional wedding herbs include marjoram (representing joy and happiness), chamomile (patience), lavender (for luck and devotion), sage (a wish for a long life), and roses (for love). You can stick with tradition or choose your own message in the language of herbs and flowers.
To see a list of herbs and flowers and their special meanings, click here.
Laying fresh herbs indoors has long been a means to freshen the home, or for a wedding, the house of worship. The tradition of having a little flower girl precede the bride down the aisle with her basket of flower petals comes from this practice.
Many of the historical choices for strewing herbs such as sweet woodruff, meadowsweet, or melilot contain coumarin, the substance that gives new-mown hay its sweet aroma, most noticeable when the herb is dried. Other herbs used for strewing included lavender, lemon balm, santolina, pennyroyal, germander, sweet fennel, chamomile, hyssop, and basil.
For an outdoor wedding, use herbs and flower petals to mark the path to the altar. Florists can often supply bags of rose petals at a reasonable cost but if you have a garden you may prefer to assemble your own special potpourri for the bride and groom. Sprinkle your mixture on the tops of the buffet and cake tables too.