Flower Girl 101

Flower Girl 101

They’re tiny.  They’re cute.  And these little ladies have even been known to steal the show!  Today we’re talking all things flower girls!   We’ve already explored the history of flower girls.  So now let’s dig a little deeper and get practical, answering those frequently asked questions about these adorable petal tossers.

 

Flower Girl Questions


Do I need a flower girl in my ceremony?

No, you don’t.  Flower girls add a great cute factor, but they aren’t necessary.  So feel free to do away with tradition if you’re not interested or don’t have a young person to fill the role.

Who should be the flower girl?

Flower girls can be daughters, nieces, cousins or even a friend’s daughter.  There’s no rule here.

How old they be?

Typically, they range in age from 3 to 8 years old.  Regardless of the age, just be sure that they will actually walk down the aisle and not clam up at the sight of all strange faces looking at them.  I’ve had to walk several flower girls down the aisle in my time.

How many flower girls can I have?

There’s no limit.  If you have a bunch of nieces or cousins, you can include them all to avoid anyone feeling left out.  Just consider having at least one older one to help the younger girls.  You can even have them hold hands to make them feel safe & comfortable walking down the aisle together, or even consider putting the smallest ones in a wagon pulled by eldest.

What should they wear?

There are no hard and fast rules here.  They can wear a dress similar to the bride’s or you can have them coordinated with the bridesmaids in color or style.  You can even put them in something completely unique.   The choice is yours!

Who pays for the dress?

Typically, the parents of the flower girl will pay for her attire.  If you want her to wear something that’s rather pricey, you may want to consider covering all, or at least a good portion, of the cost.

Do they have to throw flowers?

No, not at all.  They can carry balloons, blow bubbles, carry a small sign saying “the bride is coming,” or anything else you envision.   Again, there are no rules here.

How do they process into the ceremony?

The flower girl typically enters after the maid/matron of honor and before the bride.  They can either remain at the altar with the other bridesmaids during the ceremony or have them sit with their parent(s) to keep them from being a fidgety distraction for your guests.

Do I have to have them at the reception?

Nope, not if you don’t want to.  If you’re hosting an adult-only reception, it’s perfectly acceptable to not have your flower girls there.  However, it is imperative that you communicate this to her parents ahead of time so that they can make the necessary arrangements, especially if you’re inviting the parents to stay.

Should I send them a thank you gift?

It’s certainly a nice gesture, but let’s be honest, you’d be doing it for yourself & for her parents since it’s highly unlikely that a 5 year old will understand the concept of a thank you gift.  If you choose to get her a gift, just know that it doesn’t have to be expensive.  I cute doll or toy, or even a personalized jewelry box or other memento that she can have for years to come, is sufficient.

 

Are there alternatives to a flower girl?

Absolutely!  In the past few years, couples have swung the pendulum on flower girls.  They have shifted from using the cute little ladies to recruiting their grandmothers or even a close friend with a great personality to carry this honor.  Other couples have given the role to a well-trained pet that can respond well to cues of when & where to walk.

If you still like the idea of using young girls on your day, but don’t want them to walk down the aisle, you could use them as greeters to wave and welcome guests as they enter the ceremony; this is sure to set a fun & cute mood for your day.  If they are a little older, you can use them as ushers to hand out programs and escort guests to their seats.

The point here is that there are no rules.  This is your day.  So look outside the box and make your day personal, unique & memorable!

We hope this answers most, if not all, of your flower girl questions .  Leave us a comment if there’s anything else we can share or answer for you.

Happy Planning!


Check out our blog on the history of flower girls to learn where this adorable tradition came from.
We explore more wedding tradition history with the bridal bouquet, wedding cake and bridesmaids posts.
For even more, check out our blog home page for more tips, tricks & insight from your #WeddingPlanningCoach.
Like & follow SouthWind Events on Facebook and IG. Check out our website too to learn more about us.

History of Flower Girls

History of Flower Girls

Typically the youngest member of a wedding party, flower girls often bring that all too sweet “cute factor” to a wedding.   Whether they give a slow, nervous walk down the aisle, cry at the sight of the crowd, or sashay their way to the altar with all the flair and personality their little body can hold, these precious little ladies are sure to bring a smile to the faces of your guests.  But why do we have them as part of our wedding party?  What’s their significance? Let’s explore the history of the flower girl and answer some of your frequently asked questions.


History

Centuries ago, couples often married for political reasons rather than love. In some cultures, marriages were arranged by parents. In these arranged marriages, the bride and groom did not meet before the actual wedding. Since childbearing was the primary purpose of many of those arranged marriages, fertility was of particular concern for newlyweds. To symbolize the blessings of fertility and prosperity for the couple, flower girls carried sheaves of wheat and bouquets of herbs. Over time this evolved, and the wheat and herbs were replaced by flowers or flower petals.

Roman Empire and the Renaissance

In Ancient Rome, flower girls were young virgins who carried a sheaf of wheat during the wedding ceremony.  It was believed that this would bring prosperity to the bride and groom. During the Renaissance flower girls carried strands of garlic, based on the belief that garlic repelled evil spirits and bad luck.

Elizabethan era

In the Elizabethan era, wedding guests would scatter flower petals from the bride’s home to the church.  Flower girls followed musicians in the wedding procession, carrying a gilded rosemary branch and a silver bride’s cup adorned with ribbons. The cup was usually filled with flower petals or rosemary leaves.

Victorian era

The Victorian flower girl most resembles the modern day one. Victorian era flower girls were traditionally dressed in white, perhaps with a sash of colored satin or silk. Her dress, usually made of muslin, was intentionally simple to allow future use. The Victorian flower girl carried an ornate basket of fresh blooms or sometimes a floral hoop; its shape reflecting that of the wedding ring, symbolizing that love has no end.

Modern flower girls

Today couples still use flower girls in their weddings.  Sometimes the flower girl wears a small version of the bride’s gown.  Most often though, she wears a dress similar to that of the bridesmaids, whether it be in color, style or both. She symbolizes innocence, beauty and even good luck.

Let it be known that it is not a necessity for a wedding to have a flower girl.  So if you want an adult only celebration, or simply don’t know any little ladies who you’d want to participate, it’s perfectly ok to forego this tradition.

SouthWind Event Chicago Wedding Planner flower girl photo by J Lauryn Photography                          Photo by J Lauryn Photography

Do you have questions about flower girls for your wedding?   Wondering if you need one?  Who pays for the dress?   How old should they be?  Check out Flower Girl 101 to get all your flower girl questions answered!

Leave us a comment if there’s anything else we can share or answer to help you.

Happy Planning!


Check out our blog on the history of the wedding cake for more on the origins of wedding traditions, or check out our blog home page for more tips, tricks & insight from your #WeddingPlanningCoach.
Like & follow SouthWind Events on Facebook and IG. Check out our website too to learn more about us.

History of Bridesmaids

History of Bridesmaids

We all know that bridesmaids serve an important role – planning parties, wearing a (hopefully) beautiful dress, standing by the bride’s side, and supporting her emotionally through the entire planning process.  However, it might surprise you to find out that the history of the bridesmaids isn’t so glamorous.  In fact, the role of the bridesmaid and the bridal party has truly evolved over time.   So while the duties of modern bridesmaids might seem pretty daunting, they actually have it much easier than ‘maids of the past.

Whether you’re a new ‘maid or you’re like Katherine Heigl’s character in 27 dresses, it’s important to know the history of the bridesmaid to fully appreciate the role.

 

Bridesmaids have always “served” the bride

One of the most common references to the history of bridesmaids points to the Bible.  The book of Genesis tells the story of Jacob who married two women, sisters, Rachel and Leah.  At their weddings, both women were escorted by female servants – the bride’s maids.  During this time, bridesmaids weren’t necessarily family members or friends.  Rather, they were domestic workers who catered to the bride’s needs during the wedding day.  Obviously, bridesmaids today are selected based on their relationship to the bride, not because they work for her.

Bridesmaids were there to protect the bride

In ancient Rome, bridesmaids didn’t just attend to the needs of the bride, they also protected the bride from evil spirits.  In many cultures, a dowry of money, jewelry, furniture, or other valuables were presented on the wedding day; making the bride a target for robbers or thieves.  In other cultures, brides had to travel long distances (in a large group) in order to meet to her betrothed.   In either case, the ‘maids would all dress like the bride in order to serve as decoys and confuse rival suitors, evil spirits or anyone/anything else that had ill-intentions toward the bride.

Maid of honor was more than a title

Traditionally, the maid of honor is role held in high esteem.  They were supposed to be women who had a respectable standing in the community, someone who represented “fidelity and obedience” and upheld the qualities considered important in a wife, as a reminder to the bride of how she should carry herself.  More than just a close friend or beloved family member, this woman was a role model.  At one point in time (maybe still for some), the maid of honor was considered the bride’s favorite.  She was expected to be at the bride’s beck and call in the months and weeks leading up to the wedding.  Maids of honor were responsible for carrying the monetary portion of the bride’s dowry – also putting her at risk to thieves.

Today’s maids of honor are responsible for planning an amazing bachelorette or bridal shower and serving as the lead ‘maid for the rest of the squad; a far cry from where the role started.  Oh….and what’s the difference between a maid of honor and a matron of honor?  Not much, except the matron of honor is married, and the maid is not.   All other duties remain the same.

Bridesmaid bouquets weren’t always so pretty.

In the Middle Ages, bouquets of garlic and strong smelling herbs were carried by the bride and her ‘maids to ward off evil spirits and bad luck.  It’s also thought this was done to mask their own body odor since bathing was not a daily occurrence.  Later on, Queen Victoria carried a small bouquet of her favorite flowers on her big day.  This set the tradition we know today for brides and bridesmaids.  Oh…and while the bouquet toss might be a tradition that single ‘maids dread, you might be surprised to learn that a bride used to throw one of her shoes to the waiting crowd of bridesmaids­!!

A bridal party no longer has to be all female. 

Until recently, wedding parties were divided by gender. Women were appointed bridesmaids and men groomsmen. These days, couples are choosing wedding party members based solely on their relationships.  Wedding parties now consist of bridesmaids, bridesmen, maids of honor, men of honor, even groomsladies and best women. This progression of the wedding party makes it much personal to the couple.  So buck tradition, mix it up & do your wedding your way!

 

Fun Facts

  • The world record for most bridesmaids is held by Tina Ackles who had 168 bridesmaids in her April 2015 wedding at Safety Harbor Resort and Spa in Florida.
  • The oldest bridesmaid on record was Edith Gulliford who, at the age of 105 years and 171 days, served as a bridesmaid for the March 2007 wedding of Kyra Harwood and James Lucas of the UK

 

Happy Planning!

Check out our blog on the history of the wedding cake for more on the origins of modern wedding traditions, or check out our blog home page for more tips, tricks & insight from your #WeddingPlanningCoach.
Like & follow SouthWind Events on Facebook and IG. Check out our website too to learn more about us.

History of the Bridal Bouquet

History of the Bridal Bouquet

 

The History

Women love flowers.  They love to receive them as a gift, to decorate their home or even to wear them, but there’s nothing more special for many than to carry a bouquet of flowers on her wedding day.   A bride’s bouquet is an integral part of her wedding day “look.”  Whether the wedding itself is a lavish, opulent affair or a simple garden celebration at a family home, flowers add to the aesthetic and visual beauty of the day, but there is a deeper history behind the bridal bouquet.

A bride carrying flowers has its roots in ancient times. In ancient Rome, brides carried or wore flower garlands because they were believed to signify new beginnings, fidelity and hope of fertility.  In the Middle Ages, garlic and strong-smelling herbs and spices were thought to drive away evil spirits, bad luck, and bad health. Dill was especially popular because it was seen as the herb of lust.  So, brides and grooms would consume it during the reception with hopes that it would increase sexual desire.

During the Victorian era, flowers actually became part of the wedding bouquet as we know it today.  In these times, lovers would send different flowers as a way of expressing their love. Each flower had a different meaning, and their exchange soon became popular and was linked to romantic love. Flowers became a part of wedding ceremonies because of this association with romance and courtship. Brides would carefully choose flowers for the sentiments they represented.  Ultimately, the blooms she carried became “her flowers” for the rest of her life.

These old traditions have long since been forgotten, with brides now selecting flowers for their beauty, coordination with the wedding colors, their fragrance or even their shape. Regardless of why they’re chosen though, a bride should love what she’s carrying, even if she pulls in a little inspiration from the history of the bridal bouquet…salmon with dill anyone?  *wink*

 

Fun Fact

The largest bouquet wedding bouquet measured 197 ft 1 in long and was made of 1,500 flowers including roses and carnations. It was held by a Canadian bride at a Catholic church in September 2003.  The bouquet weighed 202.8 lb and was made up of 500 roses, 400 carnations, 60 lilies, 200 daisies and 340 baby breaths. In addition to these 1500 flowers, bear grass, Ontario Cedar and Italian Ruches were also used.  The couple also used 79 bridesmaids and 47 groomsmen.

Happy planning.

Bouquet photo taken by J Lauryn Photography.  Florist Yanni Design Studio.
Fun fact photo photographer unknown.

For more tips, tricks & insight from your #WeddingPlanningCoach, check out our blog home page.
Like & follow SouthWind Events on Facebook and IG. Check out our website too to learn more about us.

History of the Wedding Cake

History of the Wedding Cake

 

The History

In 1840, Queen Victoria (the great-great-great grandmother of Prince William and Harry) married Prince Albert.  Their wedding featured the first modern, and extravagant, wedding cake. It was a large tiered cake with white icing, measured nine feet in circumference and weighed nearly 300 pounds!!  But the history of the wedding cake goes beyond the royal family.

The origin of the wedding cake dates back to ancient Rome.  During this time, weddings ended with the groom breaking a loaf of barley bread over the bride’s head, symbolizing fertility. Guests would scramble to pick up the crumbs in order to take home some good luck.

In medieval England, small spiced buns were organized into a huge pile, with the bride and groom expected to share a kiss over the towering pile of bread. If they could kiss without knocking the tower over, the belief was that they’d enjoy a lifetime of prosperity together.

Croquembouche tower of cream puffs

Ironically though, it was pies, not cakes, that were typically associated with weddings. The earliest recorded recipe created specifically for a wedding was described as a large, elaborately decorated pie filled with a mix of savory meats, offal (look it up if you don’t know what that is) and spices. Sometimes, a ring would be hidden in these wedding pies.  Superstition stated that the woman who found it would be the next to marry.

 

Other wedding confection superstitions include: the belief that sharing the cake with wedding guests would lead to increased prosperity and fruitfulness; fear that bad luck would befall a bride who baked her own wedding cake; a bride who tasted the wedding cake ahead of the wedding would lose her husband’s love; and every guest must eat a bit of the cake to ensure the couple would be blessed with children.  Can you see how some of these have carried over to today?

Eventually, wedding cakes out grew wedding pies in popularity. By the middle of the 16th century, sugar had become widely available, and white sugar was seen as the most prestigious because it underwent more refinement. Pure white icing on a wedding cake was considered a status symbol and a nod to purity. Queen Victoria’s wedding continued this tradition, which led to white icing being called royal icing, a term that’s still used today.

 

Today’s Cakes & Treats

Many modern couples still love an elaborate, tiered wedding cake.  Some, however, have found unique alternatives to the tradition – a naked cake, cupcakes, donut walls, even mini cakes.  Some opt for no cake at all.  So whether you’re inspired by the history of the wedding cake or choose to go a totally different route, just make sure it’s what you want & represents you and your spouse-to-be… because every detail of your day should be about you!

 

Fun Facts

  • The most expensive wedding cake was valued at $52 million, adorned with 4,000 diamonds. It was designed for a wedding show, the National Gay Wedding Show.
  • The world’s largest wedding cake stood 17 feet tall and weighed 15,032 pounds. It was created for the Mohegan Sun Hotel and Casino for a 2004 bridal showcase.
  • The most expensive slice of wedding cake was cut from the 1937 wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, which sold at auction in 1998 for $29,900.

 

Happy planning.

Featured cake photo for “The Hayes” taken by Jermaine Horton Photography.  Cake artist Panache Ganache.

Curious about the history of other wedding traditions?  Check out these posts about the history of the bridal bouquet, bridesmaids, even flower girls.
For more tips, tricks & insight from your #WeddingPlanningCoach, check out our blog home page.
Like & follow SouthWind Events on Facebook and IG. Check out our website too to learn more about us.