Rose arrangements have long been a symbol of great affection. Gifting red roses has always communicated an undying affection for someone. In several countries, roses are typically used as Wedding Flowers. But when did this start? For how long have these gorgeous rose arrangements been used as wedding ceremony flowers? What is the mystery behind the history of red roses?
Romans and Roses - Rose Arrangements in the Ancient World
To understand the impact of roses in the ceremonial world, we have to look way back in time. To our understanding, roses were one of the first flowers to ever be cultivated by mankind. It seems two separate rose families emerged from this time.
These roses are a lush and widely varied family. They include such rose cousins as the Gallican, Demasks, Alba, Centifolia and Mosses. By and large, these constitute the origin of the famous roses we know today, and are usually hybrid flowers, designed specifically by the various peoples across Europe.
Gallican roses, also known as the French Rose, was one of the first roses to be cultivated in Europe. It's simple petal layout is a far cry from the lavish flowers we know, but come in a variety of gorgeous colours.
The Damask Rose, more commonly known as a Bulgarian, Turkish or Castile Rose, is a luxurious creation of the islamic world. A mixture of Gallican roses, it was often used as a perfume, flavouring for food, or even tea!
The Alba Roseis the white Rose of York, the inspiration for the Yorkist emblem during the English War of the Roses. One of the oldest rose hybrids, we still are unsure of it's origins.
Centifolia Roses are known as the Provence, or Cabbage rose! Developed by the dutch in the 17th century, these roses are a move towards the modern petal designs of today! Alongside the Mosses rose, a rose hybrid native to South America, we reach a modern stamping point of rose cultivation!
The origin of the rose in the world seems to come from the east. Cultivation of these roses, used for tea, began some 5000 years ago. Even Confucius, the legendary Chinese philosopher, wrote of roses being grown in the Imperial Palace around 500 BC. Chinese obsession with roses became widespread. So much so that it threatened famine in China due to the vast amounts of land claimed for the rose civilisation.
Cleopatra allegedly scattered rose petals around the room. Especially whenever her paramour, Marc Antony, arrived. This was so that whenever he smelt a nose on his conquest, he would be reminded of her.
As in China, Roman Emperors would clear farmland in favour of rose bushes. All to satiate an incredible desire for the plant. Roses would soon be associated with Pagan Rome, and so early Christians refused to cultivate them until the Crusades. Crusaders are said to have brought the Damascus rose back with them from the Holy Land. And so the remerging of roses as a symbol of Christianity began.
Wedding Ceremony Flowers - How Roses have become a symbol of Love
Even in ancient times, roses had an irresistible connection to romance. Cleopatra is but one famous example of the courtship ceremonies these flowers were associated with. Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of love, was said to have injured herself on a thorn from a rose bush. Her blood stained the white rose red, like the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland. Did red roses earn their association with the Love Goddess Aphrodite?
Flower crowns, were also used in ancient wedding ceremonies. They would weave roses and other wild and beautiful flowers together into wreathes. Often would the brides wear them, to symbolise their importance. These wedding flowers would fall out of fashion in medieval Europe, because they were associated with pagan gods, lust and blasphemy. Yet, the trend continued in much of the eastern European and Asian world. Flower Crowns were brought back into fashion along with a white wedding gown by Queen Victoria.
Today, red roses have an irresistible association with weddings, marriages, love and courtship. This is largely thanks to the widespread commercialisation of Valentine's day. The western world is awash with never-ending images of love with a thorned rose.
Rose Arrangements Today - How to make these Roses Into Wedding Flowers!
Let’s imagine a dream wedding for a moment – It doesn’t have to be showy, or it can be if you like. A location or close to home wedding, money is no object. Now imagine it bristling with flowers and stunning petals of all colours.
The colours of your rose bridal bouquets and arrangements are essential. Depending on the time of year, you’ll want different coloured roses. Thanks to the cultivation science of the 19th century, roses come in all shapes and sizes.
Having a Summer wedding? Perhaps you’d prefer a more burnt colouring. Try having arrangements of orange, yellow or bright red roses. For an earlier Summer/Spring wedding, white roses are a must. Combined with some aqua, teal and pink petals, you’re on the right track!
Or maybe you’re more at home with the warm hearth of a fire as the snow trickles down from the heavens? Then consider some darker colours for a Winter wedding - blue, black and purple are always perfect. Autumn, too, has its gorgeous colour schemes. Burnt orange, burgundy and violet. All colours to match the crinkly leaves scattered around the trees.
Whatever you choose for your wedding, you can’t go wrong. Roses are wedding ceremony flowers through and through, and no matter your choices, they’ll make a magic day even more special.
Environmental concerns – How to have a world-conscious wedding with roses
Fresh roses need a lot of looking after. They must be stored at room temperature, in dark rooms, away from moisture or direct sunlight. Not to mention, many fresh roses are grown in unfair conditions and shipped across the world in carbon-heavy methods.
Far better be it to pick sustainable choices in rose arrangements. For instance, Amaranté roses are guaranteed to last you more than a year with no major intervention. These roses are carbon-neutral, vivacious from day one to day 365, and make the perfect memory for a perfect day.
We all want our special ceremonies to be impactful and important. But we also want a world for our children where more beautiful flowers can grow. To make that world a reality, we all need to think about our decisions. It’s a difficult task, but one we all agree is essential; for if we want tomorrow to bloom brighter than today, we need to move forward with compassion and care. Just like you would water and feed a rose bush.