Updated: Feb 18
when i first started in floral design, i became mesmerized in the immersive experience that is working in a studio every day. to be completely surrounded by some of the most beautiful specimens mother earth has given us, i felt like i needed to pinch myself to wake from a dream. i have always been big on intention, and as this became more and more of my world, i became enamored with learning all i could about the historic & symbolic meanings behind the natural beauties i've been blessed to work with.
any floral designer can tell you that building an arrangement or bouquet, is much like cooking your favorite dish. we follow recipes, add some finesse, and edit to taste. just like any chef, we are partial to certain ingredients (flowers, greenery, and even herbs!) as i found my design style and started to get into the groove of working with unique, organic plant materials i found that there were certain varietals that i was always reaching for. i am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason, and i lace intention into every inspired action i take. i love to work with couples to create the best intentional design plan to express their love story.
for some couples, intentional flowers can be as simple as the varieties from the bouquet that was given on their first date, or incorporating their favorite flowers throughout the wedding. for others, it can be as complex as lacing the meaning of certain metaphysical properties of plants together to create an arrangement full of intention, to set the tone for the years of marriage to come. the language of flowers is ancient and subtle, so i wanted to share the meanings behind certain staples you can expect to see in your starcrossed design plan.
greens & herbs
i like to start my designs off with a base of greens (the more varieties the better!) i'm a huge fan of texture, this of course varies based on each couples personal style. some of my favorite intentional greens & herbs include:
bay leaf (or bay laurel)
bay leaf is used in the spiritual community as a powerful herb for amplifying intention when manifesting. traditionally bay leaf is in the same family as laurel and symbolizes wisdom, intuition, and victory, which is where we get the imagery of Greek & Roman victors wearing laurel crowns. one of my favorite ways to incorporate bay leaf in my designs is in garlands and as the greenery base for arbors.
there are so many different varieties of eucalyptus (big blue, seeded eucalyptus, silver dollar, etc.) but all forms of eucalyptus carry the same meanings. not only does eucalyptus have a refreshing clean scent, but the plant is symbolic of cleansing & purifying energy, and is also used to keep yourself and others grounded. incorporating eucalyptus in your wedding florals will set the intention of an energetic clean slate as you enter into your marriage.
jasmine is a beautiful flowering varietal, and as a design who hates to see beautiful things go to waste, i love to use all parts of the plant. jasmine vine creates a beautiful trailing effect to add movement and the illusion of organic growth to designs. jasmine is traditionally associated with feminine energy and is said to represent love, sensuality, hospitality, and purity.
olive branches & leaves appear to look similar to rosemary, and are a popular variety of greenery when building a design recipe. throughout mythology & religious text, olive branches have long been known as a symbol of friendship, vitality, and peace. incorporating this distinctive foliage throughout your design plan will lace incorporate the intention of a long-lasting, happy marriage.
rosemary is one of my favorite herbs to cook with, but this fragrant herb can also be used in floral design to add texture and dimension to an arrangement, not to mention it smells amazing! according to the Herbal Handbook rosemary traditionally pays tribute to the virgin mother Mary and was referred to as the "Rose of Mary". this herb also grows nicely by the seaside, so is the perfect accent to a coastal wedding. traditionally this herb represents fidelity & loyalty. much like bay leaf, one of my favorite ways to incorporate this herb into event floral design is in hand-wired garlands.
like eucalyptus, ruscus comes in different varieties such as Italian ruscus, or Israeli ruscus. when i design i love to use Italian ruscus to add length and texture to designs, such as arbors, bouquets, centerpieces, and even as a base for flower crowns. ruscus has been known to symbolize thoughtfulness, humility, and modesty, which makes this foliage perfect for a new blushing bride. ruscus has also been used as an antibacterial cleaning agent used by butchers to clean their cutting boards, which gave it the fitting nickname: butchers broom.
once i have my beautiful base of greens and herbs, i get to play with delicate and fragrant blooms to highlight and accent the color palette of my clients. based on the season and overall vision of my couples, i love to use the below florals to add color and texture to create a unique and comprehensive floral design plan.
poppies are a unique and delicate flower that have been used for centuries in bouquets and plant medicine. poppies are laced throughout pop culture in iconic pieces of media such as "The Wizard of Oz" and "Game of Thrones", as well as in mythology and folklore. red poppies are used today to honor veterans of the military, but based on it's expansive history poppies represent different things to different people. some traditional symbolic meanings of poppies include; rest & relaxation, luxury, and the cyclical nature of death and rebirth.
as a florist, peonies have to be one of my favorite flowers. these beauties bloom for a short period in the spring/summer and have long been used in bridal bouquets to represent a long and happy marriage. the large, lush blooms make these a standout flower in any arrangement, and create a beautiful pop of color and texture. historically in Chinese culture, peonies were known as "the royal flower" and "the flower of riches and honor". today peonies are still said to symbolize love, harmony, prosperity, and good fortune.
roses are the OG flower of love and romance, and as such i love to incorporate them in all of my weddings, unless otherwise discussed with my clients. while flowers have their own language, roses have their own distinct language and symbolisim based on the color of the rose. some classic meanings of roses are as follow:
red roses - declaration of love and romance
yellow roses - joy, happiness, and friendship
white roses - purity and innocence
pink roses - beauty, femininity, and gratitude
lavender roses - fairytale love story, and love-at-first-sight
the soft, sweet scent of lavender is one that promotes rest and relaxation, and is often used to relieve anxiety. fresh lavender bouquets can give off a rustic, provincial vibe so if you are looking for a sweet and calming scent for your floral arrangements, look no further than lavender.
chamomile tea is one of my favorite ways to relax and unwind at the end of the night, but it is also a beautiful and delicate flower to use as a way to add texture throughout floral designs. the "Victorian Language of Flowers" states that chamomile represents patience and success in overcoming adversity, and has been used throughout antiquity as a sacred herb.
derived from the Greek word for dolphin, delphinium are composed of a long stem of delicate blooms and are reminiscent of snapdragons or larkspur. delphinium have a romantic and dreamy symbolic meaning as they can represent heaven, light-heartedness, and having the heart of a dreamer. According to the Victorian Language of Flowers delphinium is said to aid in "transcending the bounds of space and time".
yarrow is one of my favorite stems to include in fall wedding design plans, as well as in my boho bride's bouquets. according to the Language of Flowers yarrow represents ever lasting love and healing. traditionally used to beautify floral arrangements, yarrow also has many healing medicinal properties and has been used to heal burns, scrapes, and to aid in digestive issues. yarrow is also used in gardens as a decorative attractant for butterflies.
when i'm designing, i always reach for ranunculus to add a whimsical, garden-inspired touch to my arrangements and bouquets. also referred to as buttercups, ranunculus were traditionally gifted to someone who was attractive and charming, this inspired action has held throughout the years, giving ranunculus the symbolism of delicate romance and charm. ranunculus were also used medicinally in medieval times, as well as an agent in divination to help manifestations come to life.
chrysanthemums, also known as mums, are a popular fall flower in the United States. i love to incorporate mums in my autumn design plans, as they help add depth and texture to arrangements. historically, mums date back to ancient China, being mentioned in the works of Confucius, symbolizing vitality & good fortune. today, in the US mums symbolize happiness and friendship, and are a popular gift to ring in the autumn season.
the art of intentional floristry is ancient, and ever-changing. different florals and plants mean different things to each individual person, and there are many varieties to choose from. these symbolic breakdowns are just the tip of the iceberg of what is possible for your wedding design plan with starcrossed design co. what other flowers would you love to see highlighted on the blog? let me know in the comments below!
february 17th, 2023
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