Release The Doves

By Sharon Naylor

February 1, 2016 4 min read

A wedding is the start of the couple's new life together, and many elements of weddings contain meaningful symbolism. The bride's white wedding gown finds its roots in symbolizing of innocence and purity. And the wedding cake springs from an idea of adding sweetness and prosperity to the marriage. .

"The Language of Flowers," a London-originated collection of flowers' symbolic meanings based on type and color, is a wonderful source to create added meaning for your wedding day. The language of flowers grew to popularity as a secret language between courting lovers back in the 1800s, becoming something of a parlor game of secret meanings and invitations. It remains a source of symbolism, particularly in weddings. Among the many publications exploring flowers' meanings and history is Diana Wells' "100 Flowers and How they Got Their Names," in which Wells explains the symbolism of several popular types of flowers. For instance, pink carnations stand for marital bliss, daisies stand for modesty, lilies stand for purity and wheat stands for fertility, according to Wells.

The colors of the flowers also hold meaning, with red roses symbolizing love and desire and white roses symbolizing purity and innocence. Some wedding couples are so superstitious that they avoid certain flower colors for their negative meanings, like jealousy, the threat of a secret admirer, or fear of parting and loss.

Look to "The Old Farmer's Almanac" for the symbolism of different kinds of herbs as well, such as cumin for fidelity, mint for virtue and marjoram for joy and happiness. If packets of spices or potted herbs are given as wedding favors, share the symbolism on the favor tags.

It's not just flowers and herbs that send a message. According to the experts at Animal Symbols, a website dedicated to animal symbolic meanings, animals and insects also bring symbolic meaning:

--Bird: wisdom, joy, intelligence, hope and beauty.

--Butterfly: transformation.

--Dolphin: transformation and love.

--Horse: vitality and beauty.

Bees are seen as symbols of a positive, cooperative community or family, and doves are, of course, signs of peace, kindness and love. Since dragonflies are a popular wedding motif, their meaning of good fortune and luck is especially pleasing to wedding couples. And peacocks -- also a very popular motif for wedding details -- connote wholeness, beauty, self-assurance and dignity.

If the couple has an affinity for butterflies, the butterfly's symbolic meaning of transformation is perfect, given their transition from single to married life. Incorporating butterflies, whether it's a live butterfly release after the ceremony, silk butterflies used as wedding cake decor or pretty butterfly motifs on the invitations, is extra meaningful.

Here are some ways to include your favorite flowers, birds and other favorites with meaning into your big day: As motifs on save-the-date cards, personal wedding websites, wedding invitations, bridal shower themes, wedding programs, wedding decor, thank-you notes and more.

Weddings hold so much meaning. The words that are spoken, the first dance song, the flowers that are carried, and any number of other chances exist to add sentiment, meaning, and joy that carry meaning for each couple.

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