Where the Tradition of Throwing the Bouquet Originated
In one of the final scenes of “Clueless” starring Alicia Silverstone as Cher, she and her friends go up to catch the bouquet at her teacher’s wedding. The bride throws the bouquet with her back turned and the ladies scramble to be the one to catch it, ending up on the ground, with Cher coming out the victor. Compared to some fights over the bouquet I’ve witnessed, that scene can be considered quite tame. Besides the supersticous belief that the lady who catches the bouquet will be the next to wed, have you ever wondered why catching the bouquet is such a big deal, or why the bride even bothers to throw it in the first place?
Apparently, in medieval Europe, a bride’s dress was considered good luck for other women and a type of fertility charm. The wedding dress was considered such good luck that single women chased the bride and actually ripped off pieces of her dress to bring them good luck (aka a husband). To prevent guests from ripping the wedding dress, brides began throwing other objects as a distraction, with the bouquet becoming the most traditionally thrown object. The wedding bouquet is particularly suited to this use, as flowers symbolize fertility, and as perishable items, they are not something the bride would mind pried from her fingers (at least they didn’t grab the ring and run!) The bouquet was also a safer item to toss than the garter, as unruly and impatient wedding guests were sometimes known to try to take the garter from the bride while she was still wearing it. (We promise we’re not making this up).
Thankfully the tradition of throwing the bouquet has become more of a fun wedding activity rather than an expected event, although there are a few overzealous women who may knock the bride down to get the bouquet. Some brides don’t even throw a bouquet anymore, deciding instead to give her flowers to her mother to keep, or divide the bouquet amongst her bridal party. However if you’re bent on honoring wedding traditions, make sure you throw your bouquet from a safe or guarded position (we suggest behind a makeshift wall of groomsmen!)