Herbs for Bridal Bouquets
Herbs are trending as bridal bouquets. That shouldn’t be surprising, because herbs have always had a special meaning: rosemary for remembrance, lavender for love, and sage for wisdom (which newly married couples need plenty of!). In mediaeval times sage was associated with domestic virtue! When making a bouquet for the daughter of the house, what better place to begin than in the family herb garden. Even if wedding bells are still far off, start now by planting flowering and fragrant herbs that can be used for garlands, posies, buttonholes, favours and table arrangements. In fact, there is no need to wait for that special day. Fill a jug with a mix of flowering herbs and foliage and bring the garden, with all its wonderful perfume, into the house.
Herbs for bridal bouquets
Weaving herbs in with other flowers creates a very personal bouquet. In the language of flowers, each herb has a meaning. Herbs may evoke personal memories too, associated maybe with family holidays, a favourite aunt or first love. The timeless nature of herbs is bound up with the time-honoured ritual of the wedding. What could be more romantic? Herbs not only offer fragrance, but texture as well. The lacy silvery leaves of santolina, purple basil, or golden oregano add colour and contrast. The herbal theme can even be carried through to bridesmaid’s posies, buttonholes and corsages, as well as table decorations and garnishes. What could be more elegant than a single sprig of lavender dropped into a glass of champagne?
Did you know?
When the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, married Prince William each flower in her bouquet was symbolic: lilies, for the return of happiness; hyacinths, for steady love; ivy, for fidelity and friendship; and myrtle, the emblem of matrimony.
Herbs that speak the language of love
Think about using the language of flowers for your own bouquet.
- Lavender: Purity, silence, devotion
- Rosemary: Remembrance
- Sage: Wisdom or domestic virtue
- Spearmint: Warmth of feeling
- Thyme: Activity
- Parsley: Festivity
- Laurel (bay leaf): Glory
- Sweet basil: Good wishes
- Myrtle: Love
- Mint: Virtue
- Marjoram: Blushes/shyness
Different types of bridal herb bouquets
Brides wanting natural and earthy simplicity opt for the hand-tied or clutch bouquet. It is a bunch of herbs, cut to around the same length, and tied together, usually with twine or rough string, which adds to the rustic effect. The heat of the hands holding the herbs disperses their fragrance.
Make a bouquet of one type of lavender, like Lavandula dentata, which has large, showy blooms, or mix up the lavenders to include L. stoechas and the smallerflowered English lavenders or Lavandula intermedia ‘Margaret Roberts’.
Combine pink perennial basil, purple basil, lavender, flowering sprigs of oregano (white), rosemary and santolina (cotton lavender). This bouquet combines fragrances that are sweet and spicy. Round bouquets These have a simplicity and charm, and almost any herb is suitable. Because many herbs are more spriglike than have firm stems, it’s a good idea to use a bouquet holder containing oasis, which holds the stems in place and keeps them moist.
Lavender, catmint, yarrow, feverfew, scented geranium, dill or fennel, sage, santolina, perennial pink basil, mint, pineapple sage and lemon verbena.
Posies / Tussie-mussie
These are small, round bouquets, probably more suitable for the bridesmaids. Use any herb of your choice, the best being a mix of flowers and foliage, including violets and even bay leaves.
Making your own:
When picking, make sure to keep a reasonable amount of stem as this makes construction easier.
Place a flower (ideally a rose) in the centre and arrange the herbs around it in a circle. Keep each herb level with the other herbs and the stems facing downwards.
To keep the circular shape, use a circular piece of foil or a doily and make a small hole in the middle for pushing the stems through.
Secure the stems with a rubber band. To build up a bigger tussie-mussie, add another circle of herbs and secure them with another rubber band. Cascading bouquet This starts off as a round bouquet, to which is added longer-stemmed herbs like basil, or trailing stems like spreading mint, pineapple mint and ivy. Add ribbons, tied in love knots or twirled, to emphasise to the cascade effect.
For something different
Flowering herbs for bridal bouquets
Perennial basil (pink or white)
A tall, upright-growing basil (Ocimum basilicum) that’s very aromatic. Bees love its flowers. Protect from frost in winter.
Red pineapple sage (Salvia elegans)
This fast-growing perennial produces spikes of fiery red flowers and bright green leaves with a strong pineapple fragrance. It likes well-drained soil and regular watering. Cut back at the end of winter to encourage new growth in spring.
Rose-scented geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
This plant has pink flowers but the fragrance comes from crushing the deep green leaves. Plants are bushy, drought tolerant and like full sun. Trim to keep them in shape.
Mauve catmint (Nepeta mussinii)
This is a spreading plant with grey-green aromatic leaves and sprays of mauve flowers that are produced throughout summer. Cut back when it looks scraggly and it will grow back quickly and neatly. It likes sun.
White lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla)
This large bushy shrub with lemon-scented leaves produces sprays of small white flowers in summer.