Flower Girl Facts

March 7, 2011 by elissamichelezacher  
Published in Weddings

Brides’ child attendants are an historical allegory.

Image by seanmcgrath via Flickr

The flower girl has been one of the traditional attendants of a bride for thousands of years. It is thought that the flower girl, who leads the bride into the church, is symbolically leading the bride from girlhood to womanhood. Some anthropologists say she represents a female “blooming” from the innocence and simplicity of childhood into the knowledge of adulthood – the knowledge of being a wife and mother – especially in the days when brides were as young as 12 or 14.


In Classical Greece and Rome the flower girl spread herbs and grains before the bride to ask the gods that the bride be fertile. A wife’s main role, especially amongst the higher classes of Classical society, was to bear heirs. She also carried garlic to drive evil spirits from the bride.


The fertility aspect never completely left. Even in Medieval times in Europe, the flower girls carried sheathes of wheat in the wedding procession.  At this time the only attendants of the bride were girls. In the Elizabethan era, the flower girls were followed by musicians. Elizabethan flower girls carried a silver cup filled with the herb rosemary. The path for the bride was covered with petals and rushes for fertility.  In European royal and society weddings today, the bride’s attendants are mainly girls and the same is true on modern France. In modern society and royal marriages, the bride’s primary duty is to bear heirs.


The common image of the flower girl has Victorian influences. A young girl wears a white or pastel dress with a sash and carries a basket of flower petals and, sometimes, a floral hoop. The hoop echoes the wedding rings with their metaphor of eternity and eternal love.


Cover of The Flower Girl

See also: http://beyondjane.com/weddings/princess-brides/

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