The history of the bridal bouquet

Bridal bouquets have been around for a long time. When did this custom first originate?

The origins of the bridal bouquet

The bridal bouquet dates back to Roman times. Roman brides carried bouquets, although they did not feature flowers. At the time, they were made of herbs, grain and spices. You can imagine those bouquets smelled rather strongly, which was for a particular reason. The bouquet’s smell was supposed to banish evil spirits so the couple would be able to live a happy life, untroubled by such evils. Grain was a crucial element as well, because the Romans believed that grain symbolised fertility.

The composition of bridal bouquets

The bridal bouquet was interpreted rather loosely in Roman times. For example, the types of herbs that were used varied greatly. Also, the bouquet was sometimes held in the bride’s hands, but often times the herbs and the grain were braided into the bride’s hair or pinned to her dress. 

The first floral bridal bouquets started appearing in the Victorian era. At that time, they did not yet feature several different types of flowers, only roses. In some cases, a sprig of dill was also included, because dill was said to be an aphrodisiac. 

Nowadays, bridal bouquets feature a wide range of flowers. There are many different options available, both in terms of kinds of flower and shapes. For example, more casual, unbound bouquets of wildflowers are becoming more and more popular alongside the traditional Biedermeier.


Some traditions persist to this day. For example, the bridal bouquet is traditionally selected by the groom, who then hands it to the bride when he picks her up on their wedding day. Another tradition that has survived to this day is the bouquet toss, where the bride tosses the bouquet to her single friends. Whoever catches it will be the next one to get married.