The bouquet toss – Throwing luck around

The bride’s traditional bouquet toss after a wedding ceremony is one of the events most looked forward to following a wedding. As the custom goes, single women attending the event may catch some of the bride’s luck in finding love if she is lucky enough to catch the bouquet. But where did this tradition come from? What does the bouquet toss signify and why did it start? In a modern wedding, is it necessary?

Dating back to medieval times in Europe, brides have carried bouquets – quite often of things like herbs or garlic to symbolize fertility and to ward off evil spirits. These superstitions may not survive but the traditions have. The bouquet tradition flourished, with brides taking flower bouquets more and more frequently as time went on. Coupled with this tradition, though, was the tendency of single women wedding guests chasing after the bride to catch a bit of her luck – and in frenzied fashion, these guests would tear at the bride’s dress to get a piece of this luck in tangible form. While this may not ever have been popular with brides, they only expected to wear their wedding attire once – so a dress ripped to shreds might not have been the end of the world. Likewise, times have changed and brides have begun wearing far more elaborate and expensive gowns, forming new traditions, such as preserving the dress to pass down in a family from mother to daughter.

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The bouquet toss was born of this new desire to preserve the wedding dress and still give the single women something to clamor for. Throwing the wedding bouquet became a way to deflect guests’ attention from the bride herself and focus on something entirely different – catching the flowers bouquet. The bridal bouquet seemed ideally suited for this kind of activity with its portability, impermanence and symbolic nature. Over time, the symbolic nature of the dress, portending good fortune and fertility, was transferred to the bouquet, creating an entirely new tradition, which thankfully left the bride’s wardrobe fully intact.

With passing time, even this less destructive tradition has its deterrents. Many couples prefer a more personalized approach to the bouquet toss – forgoing the often competitive nature of single women fighting to catch it and ensuring that guests who don’t want to participate are not left feeling uncomfortable. This mild “backlash” to the tradition has led to a great deal of individuality in handling the bouquet. Some brides like to keep their bouquet to preserve as a memento and thus have a duplicate bouquet to throw. Some like to give bouquets to their entire wedding party. Some may choose to parcel the bouquet out one flower at a time to each and every one of the single women in the group. It is really a personal choice, and like most modern weddings, can have about as many variations and interpretations as there are types of weddings!

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Patrizia Saraga

Patrizia Saraga

What a long list of things could summarize my passions: style, details, colours, trends... but also artworks, interior design... If not clear, I'm the stylish and creative part of the…

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