Romance has long been inextricably linked to different types of flowers symbolizing different emotions. Find out how this tradition is carried on and celebrate by giving a wedding anniversary gift.
The beauty of flowers and the celebration of love are harmonious – so much so that it's difficult to remember a time when we didn't associate romance with the delight of giving a gift of fragrant fresh anniversary flowers.
While roses are truly the quintessential messengers of love (a surefire way to celebrate a new love or romantic milestone), during the Victorian era, couples also used to send gifts of other varieties of fresh flowers to send messages to each other – each expressing a different heartfelt emotion. Those meanings are carried on today as ways to commemorate each wedding anniversary with a gift of flowers.
From the red carnation that symbolizes admiration to the white that represents pure and innocent love or the pink bloom that says “I'll never forget you,” the carnation – with its long-lasting qualities and clove-like delicate fragrance – embodies joy and commitment promised for years to come.
Signifying happiness and purity of heart, lilies of the valley have long been associated with humility and devotion. Legend has it that a nightingale's affection for this beautiful flower was so strong that it wouldn't return to the woods until the flower bloomed in spring.
3rd Anniversary: Sunflower
It's said that a gift of sunflowers signifies a "devout admirer." Representing strength, warmth and nourishment – all attributes of the sun itself – the way in which a sunflower turns to follow the sun symbolizes deep loyalty and constancy.
While the well-known legend carried over from Victorian times has it that maidens would pluck a daisy's petals one by one to predict their romantic future, daisies are also known to indicate innocence, purity and gentleness on behalf of both the giver and recipient, declaring: "You have as many virtues as this flower has petals."
A symbol of trust and fidelity, freesia is an antidote to the proverbial saying that the seventh year of marriage provokes restlessness. Representing faithfulness through the seasons, it's a traditional reminder of love's honorable character.
With their heart-shaped, deep green leaves and irresistibly fragrant blooms, lilacs have been treasured for generations. Reminiscent of springtime and young love, they symbolize and recall love's first emotions.
9th Anniversary: Bird of Paradise
Resembling one of the most striking, exotic birds in the world, birds of paradise, with large orange and blue blossoms, symbolize magnificence and splendor – celebrating romance's unexpected side.
Symbolizing a declaration of love, legend has it that the tulip's velvety black center represents a lover's heart darkened by the heat of passion. Believed by many to be the most romantic of flowers, tulips also represent elegance and grace.
While misfortune is frequently associated with the number thirteen, there's nothing unlucky about a chrysanthemum fresh floral arrangement that represents this wedding anniversary. Long associated with abundance and loveliness, the chrysanthemum is also a symbol for fidelity.
A pink orchid conveys pure affection. The popular cattelya orchid represents mature charm. With a universal message of love, beauty, wisdom and thoughtfulness, the graceful orchid symbolizes affection and understanding.
One of the earliest flowers known to man, roses symbolize love, magic, hope and passion. It's said Cleopatra scattered rose petals before Mark Antony's feet representing ultimate beauty and perfection. Exquisite and radiant, they are the quintessential messengers of love.
The majestic status of 30 years of marriage isn't lost on this anniversary's flower. In addition to symbolizing magnificence, the sweetly fragrant lily, with its star-shaped bloom, represents devotion, pride and beauty – further testaments to such a significant milestone.
Derived from the Latin word gladius, meaning "sword," for the shape of its leaves, the gladiolus signifies remembrance – fitting for an anniversary with so many years to recall. Also expressing vibrancy and infatuation, this showy flower tells the recipient that he or she "pierces the heart."
It's not surprising that the wedding anniversary that celebrates a half century of marriage should have two flowers to represent its significance. Yellow roses have long been known as the traditional gift for this anniversary. With their sun-kissed color, lush blossoms and subtle fragrance, they represent the inner light and beauty of a long, prosperous marriage. With yellow roses, violets share the spotlight in commemorating this important occasion. Legend has it that when Josephine married Napoleon, she wore a string of violets, and on every wedding anniversary thereafter, Napoleon sent her a violet bouquet. Symbolizing virtue, modesty and faithfulness, violets represent the combination of humility and commitment that sustains an enduring union.