The language of flowers

Love warms our hearts and brings a sunny smile. After a long and cold winter, is it any wonder that weddings are just around the corner? Any signs of spring are a welcome sight including more daylight, migratory birds, and warmer weather. After many subfreezing days, even 40 degrees feels balmy, but a sure sign of spring are the plans and invitations for upcoming nuptials. The warm and sunny months soon to come are the most popular ones to tie the knot. Full of tradition, they are a celebration of tender and sweet love.

A beautiful dress and veil, rings, the wedding cake, bridesmaids and groomsmen, something old, new, borrowed and blue, a honeymoon and throwing rice are just some of the customs originating from long ago.

Flowers are also an important tradition. Indeed, a good part of the wedding’s budget is set aside for the bride’s bouquet, groom’s boutonniere, church, and reception. Why do we love them so?

Some flowers are simply chosen for their color, but others might be favorites or perhaps have a sentimental attachment. It is recommended that brides with elaborate dresses have simple or classic bouquets, while those with simple dresses carry a more ornate bouquet.

Some flowers are said to have certain meanings. The specifics of how this all got started is a mystery, but it has nonetheless been passed on in many cultures. For example, baby’s breath, a common part of many floral arrangements, symbolizes a “pure heart” and “happiness.” An alphabetical list, “Flower Dictionary with Flower Meanings” at perfectweddingday.com provides the meanings for many common and uncommon flowers.

Running through flowers alphabetically, an aster can mean “contentment,” and a bluebell is “constancy.” Carnations are “fascination,” and a daisy “loyal love.” Forsythia is “anticipation, a gardenia “joy,” a holly “strength, jasmine “grace,” a tiger lily “wealth or pride,” a magnolia “perseverance,” and an orchid “many children.” “I can’t live without you” comes from the primrose. Roses, also popular, symbolize different characteristics according to their color. A pink rose means “perfect happiness,” while red is “love.” A tea rose means “I’ll remember always,” and a white rose stands for “innocence, purity, and heavenly.” “Devotion” comes from the sunflower. A beautiful spring tulip can mean the “perfect lover,” and a violet is “faithfulness.” Last but not least for the letter “z” is the zinnia meaning “lasting affection.” In days past, brides may also have carried various herbs such as garlic to ward off evil spirits.

Lasting affection is certainly the hope of the newly married whether it is represented in the flowers or not. Flowers fade, but love shouldn’t.

A booklet called “Cornerstones of a Happy Home” offers some practical advice that can be put into practice on day one. Number one is mutual respect. In a nutshell, recognize there are differences in each other and that it is OK. Couples need to stop looking for the faults and look for the virtues.Each person needs to live worthy of the respect of one another. Number two is the soft answer. Talk of interests, problems, challenges, and desires, but do so in a quiet voice which is the language of peace. Number three is financial honesty. There can be some freedom with everyday and small expenditures, but there needs to be consultation with each other over the large ones. Number four is prayer. Kneeling together can diminish the small problems and bring peace, joy, and appreciation for each other.

Oh, new love, so celebrated and exciting like the “twitter-pated” pairs when spring rolls around in the story “Bambi.” Those feelings and times are special. Over time they transcend to something deeper beyond the flowers of the day.

As told in “Cornerstones,” the hollyhocks will wither and bills and other realities set in. It is part of the package. Indeed, “Life is like an old-time rail journey delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts interspersed by occasional beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to enjoy the journey, traveling hand in hand in the sunshine and storm as companions who love one another.”

Make it a good week and look for those first flowers of spring!