History of Having a Flower Girl

Myra Root

The tradition of having a ring bearer and flower girl in modern weddings is widely known. What is not widely known are the origins of why we carry on and honor these traditions. In our other article, History of Having Ring Bearers we looked back into the traditions of the little guy now we look towards the little girl.

In order to find the tradition of the role of the flower girl in the wedding we have to go back before brides were wearing white to the wedding, before there was ever something borrowed and something blue. No, we have to go back even further to find the origins of a flower girl all the way back, in fact, to the Roman Empire.

Back then flower girls would carry shafts of wheat and bundles of herbs to bless the newly weds with fertility and prosperity. The most notable difference however is in the one who was considered the “flower girl” back then was a woman who carried the herbs and wheat down the aisle. She was supposed to be one who had already had children so as to pass along her good fortune as well as fertility in bearing children to the newlyweds. This tradition was not one that was common in the lower classes; this was primarily done in the wealthier families due to their desire to pass along their titles and wealth to the next generation.

During the Elizabethian Era this tradition altered for the new viewpoints on weddings and what the bride should be in order to be wed. During this time it was imperative that the bride be chased before being wedded. Her purity was of the utmost importance, so the flower girl was to reflect that purity. The flower girl was supposed to represent the bride before she was wed, pure and innocent. Just as the white that women chose to wear centuries later would reflect the same concept. It was during this time that the little girls would instead dispearce flowers to represent fidelity and luck for the happy couple.

Today flower girls are just a sweet incorporation of the younger family members into the weddings of their older relatives. Although the meaning of the flower girls has been lost to the vast majority, it is always important to ask why we choose to carry the traditions that we do and reflect on where we came from.