"Come live in my heart and pay no rent."
--Old Irish Proposal
Ancient brides used herbs, not flowers, in their bouquets. They believed that herbs had the power to ward off evil spirits. If a bride carried sage, she became wise, if she carried dill, she became lusty. Rosemary ensured the powers of remembrance.
Brides used to carry marigolds that were dipped in rose water. They later ate them because they were believed to be aphrodisiacs. Wheat was also used in the floral bouquet to symbolize fertility, not only in family matters but also with crops.
Flowers eventually replaced herbs and carried many different meanings of their own. They were later dried and hung in the bride's new home to preserve their meanings.
Brides wore their hair loose, which symbolized virginity. A wreath of flowers, matching those in her bouquet, adorned their heads, or they would have just a few single flowers and precious stones scattered in their hair.
Read more Celtic wedding traditions and toasts in the liner notes of my "Haste to the Wedding" CD, ©2005 Anne Roos.