Herbs in Weddings: The History & Mythology

Including herbs in your floral wedding arrangements is an age-old tradition that is said to have been passed down from the people of ancient Greece. Including certain herbs in your wedding bouquet, boutineers, and bridal chambers is said to lend a variety of different virtues and strengths.

If you’re going to be tying the knot soon, adding herbs to your floral arrangements is a wonderful way to please the senses; while most herbs offer a divine fragrance, they also provide an opportunity to get creative with your scenery and include an extra touch of personalization and ancient wisdom to your special day. 

The History of Herbs in Weddings

The use of flowers and herbs in weddings dates back to as early as 800 BCE, according to Love to Know. The three dynasties that coined the use of herbs in wedding ceremonies were Greece, Egypt and Rome; in this time, a marriage signified a rite of passage to either continuing the dynasty, solidifying an alliance for trading, or providing more people to work within the family.

When this tradition began to gain traction, different cultures carried herbs and flowers to fulfill different beliefs. For example, an Egyptian bride would carry thyme and garlic on her wedding day to ward off evil spirits, while a Grecian bride would weave mint into her bridal garlands and wreaths for an amorous touch. A Roman bride would carry thyme and basil in her bouquet to encourage luck and fertility. 

If you’re interested in a more detailed trip back in time, read through the history of wedding flowers in ancient civilizations here.

Mythology of Herbs

The Herb Society of America tells us that myths were used by ancient peoples to better understand their deities, their dreams, and to provide meaning for otherwise inexplicable events in their lives. 

In an ancient world, each herb variety represented a different historical event, or was named after a god or goddess who used the herb to fulfill a prophecy, or to perform a grandiose gesture. 

If you would like to indulge in a bit of exciting folklore, and learn how common herbs like basil and parsley earned the names we use today, take a look at this article

Symbolism of Herbs

When participating in traditions that have been passed down to us from other cultures, it is necessary to learn as much about the practice as possible. This is so that you can honor the tradition to the truest nature – depending on what you believe, you could find it to be like a gesture to bestow good luck upon the bride and groom.

Below is a list of herbs and what they symbolize, based on ancient traditions.

  • Basil: lasting love, fertility
  • Dill: good spirits
  • Lavender: devotion, luck, protection
  • Mint: warm feelings, sensuality
  • Oregano: happiness
  • Peppermint: warmth
  • Parsley: festivity
  • Rosemary: fidelity, luck, remembrance
  • Sage: long life, good virtue, wisdom, harmony
  • Thyme: courage, strength, energy, charm

If you’d like to learn more about what these herbs can symbolize as a part of your wedding day, take a look at this incredible article by Mother Earth Living.

Herbs in Your Modern Wedding

Although you may not be including herbs in your bridal bouquet to foster fertility or ward off spirits, you can enjoy the thought of participating in a timeless tradition that so many wedding parties have done before you.

Bonus! By choosing to decorate your space with herbal accents, you’re saving money because you can grow your beautiful herbs right out on your patio or in your back-yard. It may seem like a laborious task to partake in while you prep for your big ceremony, but you will be so thankful for the excuse to take some time to yourself in the garden each day. 

Bride & Blossom highlight 5 innovative ways to incorporate herbs into your wedding day – take a look at the lovely article here


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