Royal Wedding Bouquets

Royal Wedding Bouquets

April 13, 2011

And here's our update post for the Royal Wedding with all the flower details of the wedding, including the bouquet and the trees inside Westminster Abbey!

For those of us who are royal watchers, the countdown to royal wedding has begun in earnest. Of course, everyone will be looking at Kate Middleton’s dress, but for flower lovers, we’re also waiting to see Kate Middleton’s bouquet when she walks down the aisle with Prince William on April 29.

We can only guess at what she might carry, but we can take a look at  what other British royal brides have carried on their wedding day.

Queen Victoria: Simple Snowdrop Posy

Queen Victoria, who pretty much invented all modern wedding traditions, wore a wreath of orange blossoms in her hair on her wedding and started a trend for bridal floral hair wreaths that lasted for a century.

Her bouquet was equally restrained as her headgear—she chose a small posy made up of only snowdrops.

How to make your own posy

It was a fitting choice as snowdrops were the favorite flower of her groom, Prince Albert. Plus, Queen Victoria was married in February 1840, the perfect season for snowdrop blooms.

Why people love snowdrops

She also carried sprigs of myrtle in her bouquet, and royal legend has it that the myrtle was planted in the Queen’s palace at the Isle of Wight, Osborne House. (Or perhaps it was the other way around and the myrtle sprigs were clipped from her plants already growing at Osborne House.) Myrtle was a symbol of fidelity and a sign of good luck for brides.

The Victorian language of flowers

Queen Elizabeth II: The Lost Bouquet of Orchids

The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, carried a bouquet of three types of British-grown orchids, cattleya, odontoglossum, and cypripedium (and of course, a sprig of Queen Victoria's myrtle), which was lost somewhere after the ceremony but before the family photos. Princess Elizabeth and her groom, Prince Philip, posed for photos without the bouquet, though the pair had portraits taken after the wedding with a replica of the bouquet.

How to keep your orchids blooming

Diana, The Princess of Wales: A Cascade of Blooms

Lady Diana chose a very dramatic cascading bouquet that was 42” long and 15” wide, with a mix of yellow ‘Mountbatten’ roses (named for Prince Philip’s uncle), white orchids, gardenias, freesia, lily of the valley, ivy, veronica, stephanotis, and yes, Queen Victoria's myrtle sprigs.

Kate Middleton

The bouquet and the florist for Kate Middleton are still a secret, just like the wedding dress and its maker. (Longman’s, the florist for Queen Elizabeth's and the Princess of Wales’s wedding bouquet, has since closed shop.)

A popular bouquet style for brides today include a hand-tied bouquet, but Middleton may want to have a larger, more dramatic cascading bouquet style to match the grand venue and occasion.

How to make a hand-tied bouquet

Fleet Street’s tabloids say that Kate Middleton is also considering wearing a wreath of flowers instead of a tiara (and that Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is said to be horrified), though Middleton would certainly be following in the footsteps of Queen Victoria if she chose blossoms instead of jewels.

Almost everyone agrees that her bouquet will be primarily white, even though grower David Austin’s newest rose  (the ‘Kate,’ natch) is a bright pink. Jane Packer, who designed Sarah Ferguson’s bouquet when she married the Duke of York, suggests arums (we think she means calla lillies, specifically) and gardenias as the focal point of the bouquet.

A giant stinky arum

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, did have colors in her bouquet, but that was a second marriage for both her and Prince Charles, mixing in lavender, gray, and yellow primroses with lily-of-the-valley, with the flowers supposedly grown at Prince Charles’s estate Highgrove.  Primroses are very unusual for a wedding bouquet flower, but they complemented Camilla’s outfit nicely, which was closer to a suit than to a wedding gown.

How to make your own purple bouquet and arrangements

If Middleton chooses to go the symbolic floral route, her bouquet could include roses, the national flower of England; thistle, the national flower of Scotland (and where she and Prince William met); daffodils, the national flower of Wales; and shamrocks, a symbol of Ireland. The Queen Mother, a Scottish lass, carried a mixture of roses and heather, another floral icon of Scotland, when she married the Duke of York, later King George VI, symbolizing the union of England and Scotland at her wedding. 

What flowers were in your wedding bouquet and what would you like to see in Kate's bouquet?