Everything You Need to Know About What Your Wedding Flowers Mean

Colorful wildflower bouquet

Photo by MICHELLE ROLLER

If you're planning a wedding with plenty of personal touches, think about personalizing your flowers, too. But instead of basing your choices on flower color and style alone, let each flower's significance and meaning inform your decision as well. From your bouquet to your arrangements, there are so many ways to infuse your personality and signify something truly special.

The "language" of flowers has been around for centuries. During Victorian times, flowers were used to express emotions when words and gestures failed. Today, many couples follow this romantic practice and create bouquets and centerpieces with flowers whose meanings have some significance to them. While flowers with a love connection, like roses and carnations, are popular, there are many other meaningful traits like new beginnings (daffodil), faith (iris), and perseverance (hydrangea) to consider.

While most flowers have good vibes and positive sentiments, you'll want to steer clear of those whose meanings have a negative association—begonia symbolizes "beware" and tansy, "hostile thoughts."

Color plays a substantial role in a flower's meaning. Everyone's favorite wedding flower, the rose, has different meanings depending on the hue. While a red rose symbolizes passion, a white rose means purity, and a pink one signifies joy and admiration. The same goes for hyacinths: The white variety means loveliness, whereas the blue kind represents constancy.

Ahead, discover the meaning behind 41 popular flowers used in weddings.

01 of 41

Amaryllis

wedding ceremony flowers

Photo by Christina McNeill

Don't call amaryllis a wallflower! Though pictured here in a coral hue, amaryllis comes in a variety of bold colors as well. With its lily-like style, it has rightfully made a name for itself in the botanical world as a "splendid beauty."

02 of 41

Anemone

anemone wedding bouquet

PHOTO BY TRENT BAILEY; FLORAL DESIGN BY SAG HARBOR FLORIST 

You don't need a breeze to be charmed by the allure of this delicate bloom. Anemone comes from the Greek word for "windflower" and symbolizes anticipation.

03 of 41

Anthurium

Anthurium bouquet

Photo by Lillian Haidar

If you're going with a heart theme for your wedding, this tropical beauty is a true fit. Anthurium stands for hospitality and has a Cupid-inspired shape that will fit right in.

04 of 41

Baby's Breath

flower girls

Photo by Lauren Gabrielle Photography

Like an extra in a movie who stays in the background, this popular bouquet and centerpiece filler—which signifies festivity—is all too often just there to support the star flowers. But with tiny white clouds for petals and its ability to stand on its own in flower crowns or other decor, we think it deserves top billing of its own.

05 of 41

Calla Lily

calla lily bouquet

Photo by Briana Mary

When people think "wedding flower," this bloom often comes to mind. With its trumpet shape and elegant air, the calla lily more than stands up to its meaning: regal.

06 of 41

Carnation

carnation wedding bouquet

Photo by Lenny Pellico; Floral Design by White Pepper Studio

Far beyond being just a lapel decoration, carnations can be massed together for a lush look that's affordable. The pink variety means gratitude, and white is pure love, but stay away from striped, which represents refusal.

07 of 41

Cherry Blossom

blush hued wedding florals

Photo by Mademoiselle Fiona

Couples who want to incorporate these delicate pink buds, which symbolize the fragility of life, into their décor better act fast: They're only around for a few short weeks in the spring. But if you're able to get them, they'll add great volume to statement pieces, ultimately cutting down on your floral budget.

08 of 41

Chrysanthemum

mum boutonnieres

Photo by Mallory Dawn Photography

Looking like a cross between a pompom and a daisy, mums are a full-bodied favorite of weddings for their variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. But it's not just the versatility of this bloom that wins over the hearts of soon-to-be-wed couples. This flower also symbolizes joy.

09 of 41

Clematis

clematis bouquet

Photo by Ashley Sawtelle

A climbing plant of the buttercup family with large showy petals, clematis could be considered a clever flower. Blooming in a wide variety of colors from white to purple and pink, clematis symbolizes ingenuity and mental beauty.

10 of 41

Daffodil

Daffodil bouquet

Photo by Lisa Warninger

What do marriage and this shapely spring flower have in common? Both represent new beginnings, which is tailor-made for a couple's big day. Plus, the sunny hue of daffodils is as happy as can be!

11 of 41

Dahlia

dahlia in vase

PHOTO By Ryon Lockhart Photography; Planning by Two Kindred Event Planners; FLORAL DESIGN by Buds of Brooklyn

 

A cousin of the daisy family, the dahlia originated in Scandinavia and means "from the valley," making it perfect for a wedding with a garden theme. These big, bold flowers bloom in summer to make for a gorgeous seasonal statement.

12 of 41

Daisy

Wildflower bouquet with daisies

Photo by Michelle Roller

If ever there was a flower that made the world smile, it's this pretty little thing. With dainty white petals, a yellow center, and a meaning of innocence, the daisy's free spirit vibe can be a beautiful addition to a wildflower bouquet, and it works perfectly with casual weddings.

13 of 41

Forsythia

Forsythia

Getty Images

If you've been planning your big day for months (years even), why not give a nod to your excitement by including this bell-shaped bloom? This sunny-hued plant means anticipation, and it's the perfect way to add a pop of color to an arrangement.

14 of 41

Freesia

freesia bouquet

Photo by Michelle Beller

A sweetly fragrant spring favorite with up to ten tiny, bell-shaped flowers on each stem, this beauty originated in Africa and represents innocence and friendship. Many couples are opting to incorporate freesia in new and unique ways, replacing other traditional white flowers, such as roses, in a bouquet.

15 of 41

Gardenia

bride's bouquet

Photo by Erich McVey

This tropical treasure, known for its fragrance and waxy, pointed petals, symbolizes joy. It's earned a reputation as a popular flower for a bride to wear in her hair, but it's also the perfect base for a beautiful posy.

16 of 41

Gerbera Daisy

White Daisy and Dahlia Wedding Bouquet

Photo by Veronica Grimm

A wildly popular member of the daisy family, the Gerbera differs from the traditional variety with rows of overlapping petals. Available in a wide variety of bright colors and a name that means cheerfulness, it's no surprise that it has the same sunny disposition.

17 of 41

Hyacinth

Hyacinth bouquet

Photo by Adriana Riviera

If you're athletic and looking for a flower that symbolizes your love of games, look to the highly fragrant hyacinth. Named after a Greek boy and representing sport or play, this purple bloom is a unique addition to any bouquet or centerpiece.

18 of 41

Hydrangea

hydrangea bouquet

Photo by henry + mac; Floral Design by Campfire Floral

If you love full-bodied flowers, this round bloom with an abundance of tightly packed petals is the one for you. Bonus: It's marriage-ready symbolizing both perseverance and heartfelt emotion.

19 of 41

Iris

Iris

Eva-Katalin / Getty Images 

The inspiration for the fleur-de-lis, France's national emblem, the iris represents three important entities: faith, valor, and wisdom. It's best known for its deep purple shading.

20 of 41

Japonica

Greenery arches at reception

Photo by Kaylea Moreno

Also known as camellia, this classic Southern charmer, which grows as a flowering shrub, has lush petals similar to the peony and glossy leaves. Newlyweds choose it because it exemplifies graciousness.

21 of 41

Larkspur

Flower and string light lined aisle

Photo by KT Merry; Planning by Leslie Herring Events; Floral Design by Jackson Durham Events

Let's hear it for a flower that has a dual personality: It symbolizes both beautiful spirit and fickleness. Part of the buttercup family, larkspur is a complex flower like the orchid, with an irregular tall shape to make a statement.

22 of 41

Lavender

Pastel-Flowered Flowers

Photo by Corbin Gurkin Photography

Don't just pick this flower for its gorgeous purple hue and scent. Give it a place in your arrangements for what it symbolizes: devotion and virtue. We love the whimsical look of adding a few sprigs of lavender to a display.

23 of 41

Lilac

Winter lilac bouquet

Photo by James & Schulze; Planning by Heather Dwight of Calluna Events; Floral Design by Vintage MagnoliaWildflower Farms

Is your partner the very first person you fell for? Consider walking down the aisle carrying a bouquet of this bloom that exudes the meaning of first love. Opt for purple or white, or both!

24 of 41

Lily

Lily bouquet

PHOTO BY OLIVIA RAE JAMES; FLORAL DESIGN BY BUDS N BLOOMS

The symbol of modesty and virginity, the white variety of this timeless flower is a wedding staple. The other shades have a significant meaning also: The orange lily symbolizes passion while yellow represents gaiety.

25 of 41

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the valley bouquet

Photo by Patricia Lyons

Just one look at the tiny petals of this dainty bloom and its symbolism makes perfect sense: sweetness and purity of heart. The flower is also thought to represent a return to happiness.

26 of 41

Magnolia

Magnolia

Photo by Jose Villa

Generally associated with the South, this large showy flower with a distinctive fragrance is prized worldwide and has been around for 20 million years! Fittingly, it symbolizes nobility and dignity.

27 of 41

Muscari

muscari boutonniere

PHOTO BY ADRIANA RIVERA

Also known as grape hyacinth, this flower develops small, urn-shaped blossoms that are usually purple (symbolizing mystery, calm, and creativity) but also come in dark blue (for power and confidence). It also makes for a darling statement as a boutonniere or could even be incorporated in small bud vases on reception tables.

28 of 41

Orchid

orchid bouquet

Photo by Ashlyn Cathey Photography

Carrying a bouquet of this exotic beauty on your wedding day can certainly be a dramatic touch. But that's not all it shows. Orchids have a meaning of refinement and charm, everything that this stunning bloom symbolizes.

29 of 41

Peony

Bridal Bouquet

Photo by Lauren Gabrielle

Romantic couples may love peonies for their lush fluffy petals, but they'll cherish the meaning even more. This springtime bloom symbolizes a happy marriage, and it's the ideal big, bold flower to make a statement in a beautiful bouquet.

30 of 41

Poppy

bouquet with poppies

Photo by Lauren Fair Photography; Floral Design by Stylos y Flores 

For your wedding, choose the right color of this eternally cheerful bloom: A red poppy is linked to pleasure while yellow stands for wealth and success. But steer clear of white, which signifies consolation.

31 of 41

Protea

White king protea bouquet

Photo by Katie Ruther

Dating back 300 million years, this flower comes in many sizes and colors that symbolize courage and diversity. It was named after the Greek god Poseidon's son, Proteus, who could change his shape at will.

32 of 41

Queen Anne's Lace

bride's bouquet

Photo by Jenny Fu

Symbolizing delicate femininity and complexity, this wedding favorite of frilly white blossoms comes with a naming legend: Queen Anne was challenged to create a lace as delicate as a flower. Plus, it makes for a great option to fill a bouquet or centerpiece without exceeding your floral budget.

33 of 41

Ranunculus

Bride holding a bouquet with pink and orange flowers

Photo by Kristyn Hogan; Floral design by Sage Nines Event Production

Well known for its diversity of brilliant colors, this rounded bloom is similar in appearance to camellias, with multiple layers of crepe-paper-thin petals. It's no wonder the flower symbolizes radiant charm and attractiveness.

34 of 41

Rose

Rose bouquet

Photo by Josh Gruetzmacher

If you want your bridal bouquet to tell the world how you feel about your better half, nothing says it better than red roses, which symbolize passionate love. Pink (admiration) and white (purity) say a lot, too.

35 of 41

Snapdragon

Snapdragon bouquet

Photo by Linnea Paulina Photography

This bloom stands for two vastly different ideas: One, gracious lady, seems more fitting for such a lovely flower than its other meaning, deception. The latter may have come about because if you squeeze it a certain way, the flower looks like a dragon's mouth.

36 of 41

Stephanotis

Stephanotis Bouquet

Photo by Rachel Solomon Photography

Lots of family and friends will wish you and your partner well on your wedding day. Get a head start by filling your celebration with this flower that's a symbol of good luck.

37 of 41

Sunflower

sunflower bouquet

PHOTO BY ALEX TOME PHOTOGRAPHY; FLORAL Design BY VOWS PORTUGAL

Big and lush, sunflowers—symbolizing dedicated love—are beloved for their striking appearance and look-at-me allure. We love the look of these bold, sunny blooms paired with baby's breath and small daisies.

38 of 41

Sweet Pea

white bride bouquet

Photo by Cameron Clark Photography

If you want your wedding to be remembered as one of blissful pleasure, incorporate some of this delicate flower into your centerpieces or make a statement in your bouquet. This gorgeous bloom comes in a variety of hues, making it perfect to match any aesthetic.

39 of 41

Tulip

Bouquet of white tulips

Photo by Kate Holstein

If it's spring, it's tulip time. This darling beauty comes in many colors, each with a different meaning. Among them: Red means declaration of love, yellow is sunshine, and the variegated kind symbolizes beautiful eyes.

40 of 41

Tweedia

Tweedia bouquet

Photo by Brian Marcus of Fred Marcus Studio

Anyone wishing for something blue in their bouquet should check out this pretty bloom known for its blue star-shaped flowers and greenish-gray felted leaves. It makes a statement amongst other subtle florals and symbolizes peace and harmony.

41 of 41

Zinnia

burgundy boutonnieres

Photo by Lance Nicoll

Gardeners are wild about this flower because it attracts butterflies, and couples love it for the gorgeous variety of colors like magenta (symbolizing lasting affection) and scarlet (symbolizing constancy). Go bold with hues such as bright scarlet or orange in a centerpiece, or keep things a bit more subtle with a single statement bloom in a boutonniere.

Related Stories