By Maureen Panchen
Dorset’s Finest Florists, The History of Wedding Flowers and St Valentine’s Day
Continuing on from January’s blog with its romantic theme we’re taken a look at St. Valentine’s Day, which we’ve discovered is a pagan celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman God of Agriculture. According to legend, Roman women would place their names in a large urn. The city’s bachelors would then each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage. Not quite the proposals we would expect today but interesting nevertheless!?
One of the popular hallmarks of St. Valentine’s Day is flowers; along with herbs and spices, flowers have been used in weddings for centuries. In the 21st century, their main purpose is to complement bridal wear and decorate venues. As an aside; couples tying the knot at Minterne can enjoy a wedding blessing ceremony or photography surrounded by an array of stunning flowers in the gardens, or, alternatively, can decorate Minterne House with whatever blossoms and bouquets they wish to create a unique and unusual experience for their guests.
In ancient times, however, the use of flowers was more spiritually orientated. The bride would carry aromatic bunches of garlic, herbs and spices to keep evil spirits away. In ancient Greece & Rome, both bride and groom wore garlands (symbols of love and happiness) around their necks which were made from strong-scented herbs & spices. The Ancient Greeks also made crowns from flowers and plants for the bride to wear and were considered a gift from nature.
Some cultures and religions still use herbs to celebrate marriages, but they have lost their place in 21st century weddings, and flowers have become increasingly important.
Today, we collaborate with some of the finest florists in Dorset, all of whom know Minterne House and have produced some stunning arrangements, bouquets and decorations for recent weddings. We highly recommend the following florists – their work is illustrated in some of the pictures which accompany this month’s blog, or please see the links to their websites below.
Nicky Llewellyn www.nickyllewellynflowers.co.uk
Miranda Fairhurst www.mirandafairhurst.com
Fiona Penny at Sunflowers www.fionapenny.co.uk
Poundbury Florist www.westdorsetweddingflowers.co.uk
House & Garden www.lizhullflowers.com
Mary Holbrook www.flowersbymaryholbrook.co.uk
Gardens Open Daily
10am – 6pm * 11th February to 11th November * Admission Price £6.00 (Children under 12 Free)
Season Tickets Available Here
Dogs welcome on leads * Parking is FREE for visitors in the car park opposite St Andrews Church * Minterne currently offers a selection of cream teas (weather permitting - please phone ahead to confirm) * Please note: Unfortunately, Minterne Gardens feature many uneven surfaces and are therefore NOT SUITABLE for wheelchairs * Minterne House itself is a private residence and therefore not open to the public without prior consent.