Bring a little good fortune to your wedding day in the form of meaningful blooms.
Photography: Lauren Peele Photography
Eleni N. Gage, a former Martha Stewart Weddings editor and a freelance writer in New York, just released her latest book, Lucky in Love: Traditions, Customs, & Rituals to Personalize Your Wedding. It features a cross-cultural collection of marriage traditions and folklore from around the world. Inspired by a chapter from the book, Gage shares the luckiest wedding flowers for brides and grooms to incorporate throughout their celebrations.
Wedding flowers aren't just lovely—they can be lucky, too. According to folklore handed down through the centuries, flowers were first used for good luck by the ancient Greeks and Romans, who carried garlands of fragrant herbs at weddings because the strong scent was believed to scare off evil spirits. But flower power is not just about avoiding bad energy; most cultures believe certain blooms are auspicious and can attract good luck as well. (Folklore aside, we think being surrounded by fragrant, beautiful flowers is enough to make anyone feel fortunate.)
Despite the fact that you already feel pretty lucky to be marrying your significant other, we think every bride and groom could benefit from a little big-day good fortune. And if you're thinking about doing so in the form of flowers, this gallery showcases varieties that are beloved for their lucky connotations by newlyweds-to-be all over the world; choose the ones that speak to your culture, your sense of style, or your personal history. That's right: Even if your shared favorite bloom isn't on this list, it could be considered lucky specifically to the two of you. Let's say your soon-to-be husband brought you a bouquet of tulips on your second date, then those are certainly a sign of good fortune in your relationship; after all, look how you turned out!
For even more unique ways to bring good fortune—and personalized style—to your wedding, check out Eleni's book. For now, see if your own big-day blooms will bring you good luck, or start choosing bouquets, boutonnières, centerpieces, and more, specifically with these fortune-bringing flowers in mind.
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Long before Pinterest, these lush blooms were already a top wedding flower in China, where they are thought to bring wealth, and are often embroidered on the bride's clothing and incorporated into the wedding flowers. In Korea, they represent marital happiness and passion and are used for the bride and groom's centerpieces.
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Symbols of love and fertility, roses play a significant role in weddings in Greece, where rose petals and rice are thrown at the couple as they circle the altar for the third and final time during the Dance of Isaiah—the moment when they are considered officially married. In many other countries, rose petals often tossed at couples leaving their ceremony, again to invite love and abundance.
Photography: Paula O'Hara4 of 12
Czech bridesmaids once wore this symbol of fertility and remembrance as wreathes in their hair. Like many herbs, rosemary also makes a handsome boutonnière.
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This heavenly scented flower is a common sight at weddings in Hawaii, where brides wear leis made of the pikake, a local white jasmine. In India, female wedding guests are given small garlands of jasmine to wrap around their wrists or work into their hair.
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Irish brides traditionally carried this aromatic herb as a symbol of devotion. Plus, the scent is thought to soothe anxiety and promote serenity according to aromatherapy.
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At Polynesian weddings, the officiant binds the couple's wrists together with garlands of the evergreen cordyline fructose lily, a sacred flower thought to drive off evil spirits and attract positive ones.
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It's not a contest, but if there were one for the luckiest flower, this might just be the winner. It's a symbol of purity and fertility in Chinese, Indian, Persian and many European cultures because the orange tree produces both a fruit and a flower. Plus, its stock as a wedding must-have went up when Queen Victoria wore a crown of orange blossoms at her wedding in 1840.
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Kate Middleton carried this traditional wedding flower, which symbolizes purity and a return to happiness, and is the bloom identified with Ostara, the German goddess of spring and fertility. It's also a staple at Catholic weddings, as the flower is said to have grown from the tears Mary cried during the Crucifixion.
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In England during the Tudor days, brides carried marigolds, which were thought to be aphrodisiacs (they are edible and look great floating in cocktails if you're hoping to fix up single friends at your wedding and want to get them in the mood). Marigolds also frequently appear at Indian weddings as one of the auspicious flowers in the varmala and jaimala, the garlands the couple exchange during the ceremony.
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Silvery-green olive branches, exchanged at the end of a war in ancient Rome, and used to crown the winners of the Olympic games in ancient Greece, are a sign of peace. The branches of any fruiting tree represent fertility.
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Tiare flowers, a type of local gardenia, make up the bride's lei in Tahiti, but any variety of the white, fragrant flower is a symbol of love and purity.