The history of flower girls being part of the wedding party dates as far back as the Greek and Roman times. In those days brides were quite young just having walked through childhood and stepped into young adulthood (or what was considered adulthood at the time as these brides were as young as 12 years old). In these times it was customary that some of the bride’s younger childhood friends and relatives be part of the ceremony as symbols of purity, youth and life. Some cultures thought that including young girls sprinkling flowers/grains was a way to ward off evil spirits that might try to ruin the wedding or bring bad luck to the young couple.
The tradition of sprinkling flower petals in the path of the bride was first not even about flowers. The original child attendants would throw grain and herbs (sometimes rice) as a gesture of bestowing fertility on the wedding couple. Later in history this tradition evolved in to less harvest focused items being strewn (although many weddings throwing rice is still popular) and more flowers and rose petals in particular. At this point the meaning was to symbolize the ending of purity and the start of a life of passionate love and fertility.
In the Queen Victoria era the flower girl as we know today was born. The classic white dress, often not just one little girl but many and the flowers became mostly rose petals. The meaning of the rose colours also plays a significant role in whether that colour of rose is allowed. Often the preferred colour is red indicating love and passion but many times pink (meaning sweetness) or orange, peach or the peace rose. Colours that are not usually used by flower girls include white (as it is a symbol of purity) yellow as though it is known as the friendship rose (has also been associated with jealousy) and of course black (learned about this when I researched this article…it was news to me that black rose petals were even available).
In recent years children in the wedding party not only strew flowers and/or petals, sometimes they just walk holding flowers with a more recent custom being one where the little ones blow bubbles around and near the bride. Actually many weddings have replaced rice and confetti thrown by the guests with bubbles and balloons.
Many modern weddings no longer include young children and the presence of flower girls is not as common a practice as it once was. The British royal wedding from a few years ago (Prince William and Princess Kate) was most traditional as this wedding included several young children as bridal attendants with wreaths of flowers in their hair and carrying floral bouquets.
There is a growing trend to have one’s wedding as an adult only event. In these situations flower girls are difficult to incorporate into the wedding party when children in general are barred.
Flower Girl Practice
Flower Girl Walk
Funny Blooper Flower Girl