Today, flower girls are a pretty standard (but precious) part of most wedding parties. Some brides choose to have one flower girl, while others may have several. They are an adorable wedding tradition, but have you ever wondered about the history of flower girls? Like many wedding traditions the origins are not 100 percent certain. Some sources say the origin of flower girls goes back centuries to Ancient Rome while others suggest the tradition got its start in Britain.
The tie to ancient Rome goes back to young attendants who carried sheaves of wheat and herbs to ensure blessings of prosperity and fertility to the married couple. By the Medieval times, it was bouquets of garlic which were believed to ward off evil spirits.
It was during the Elizabethan Era that the tradition of scattering flower petals came into practice. At that time, brides followed a path of petals from their house to the church. To create this path, flower girls followed musicians in a wedding procession and carried a gold-plated rosemary branch and a silver cup adorned with ribbons and filled with flower petals and rosemary sprigs. This cup was known as the bride's cup, and the petals were considered a symbol of fertility and thought to give the couple good luck.
In the Victorian era flower girl looked more like the flower girls of today. They were young and innocent and dressed in a simple white dress which was sometimes adorned with a colored sash made of satin or silk. She carried a gorgeously decorated basket filled fresh blooms or wore a floral hoop on her head. The circular shape of the hoop was symbolic of true love which has no end -- the same meaning bestowed on wedding rings.
In Western Europe, the tradition of including children as attendants in weddings also included a ring bearer and often included other attendants in the wedding party, too. Many royal and society weddings still follow this tradition today with two or more flower girls.