THE FLOWER GIRL DRESS TRADITION!
Here in the United Kingdom people often think of flower girls as an American tradition or Eliza Doolittle springs to mind, sitting on the steps at Covent Garden and selling her flowers from a basket. Oh how wrong we can be! Of course, there were plenty of Eliza’s in Victorian England but flower girls have been walking up aisles and throwing, well, throwing a range of things, not just petals, behind the bride for centuries and even as far back as the Roman Empire!
The Roman flower girls carried sheaves of wheat to bring prosperity to the bride and groom and, possibly more importantly, to keep the evil spirits at bay!
The evil spirits were still featuring quite strongly during the Renaissance era where flower girls carried strands of garlic, based on the belief that garlic repelled evil spirits and bad luck.
During the Elizabethan period, it was the wedding guests who had the task of scattering the flower petals and not the flower girls. Flower girls, in the Elizabethan period, followed the musicians in the wedding procession and carried a gilded rosemary branch together with a silver bride's cup adorned with ribbons.
It is the Victorian flower girl who most resembles our modern flower girl. During the Victorian era flower girls were traditionally dressed in white, sometimes with a sash of coloured satin or silk. Her dress, was typically made of cotton or muslin and the design was intentionally simple to allow her some future use.
The Victorian flower girl replaced her garlic with rose petals, herbs and a mixture of grains which would be thrown down the aisle as a symbol of fertility. In addition, the Victorian flower girl carried an ornate basket to carry the mixture and sometimes a floral hoop, symbolizing that love has no end!