Throughout history, roses have enhanced and improved our lives. They grace all our important ceremonies and celebrations, and are by far and away the most popular and appealing choice for weddings.
The reasons for this are legion. Firstly, the rose, above all flowers, is a symbol of love and romance. The ancient Greeks and Romans were the first to choose roses to adorn their celebrations, and they thought nothing of strewing roses a foot deep on the ground as if it had been raining roses! Standing on the scented petals would have made the room intoxicating with scent. The ancient Greeks and Romans identified the rose with the goddesses of love, Aphrodite and Venus. My favorite story concerns Emperor Nero, who held the most lavish parties, with roses and the scent of rose oil everywhere. At one party it was recorded that guests suffocated under a deluge of rose petals that had been released into the air. Nero’s extravagance with roses was said to be one of the reasons that the Roman Empire collapsed. Rose lovers you have been warned!
The main reason that roses are so popular is simply because they are such good-looking, reliable flowers, available fifty-two weeks of the year. There are over 100 species and tens of thousands of varieties. Relatively long lasting, they are a good shape for working into many different designs. Their gorgeous petally shape can work well in both loose and more formal arrangements, and so you can find these gorgeous flowers used in many varied wedding schemes. They can look modern and chic for a contemporary interior or traditional for a historic venue.
Another reason roses are so popular is for their fragrance. Not all commercially grown roses have a scent, but some do, and this can be another significant reason for them being the first choice for brides. The rose oil that is distilled from the petals makes a lovely scent used in candles to add to the cloakrooms and corridors of your wedding venue to delight the senses. It is said that Cleopatra wooed Mark Anthony with rose oil and rose petals. Certainly today’s lovers know all about the seductive power of a bunch of roses.
Excerpt © Paula Pryke: Wedding Flowers by Paula Pryke (Rizzoli New York, 2014); Photography © Tim Winter, Paula Pryke: Wedding Flowers by Paula Pryke (Rizzoli New York, 2014)