Tossing the Wedding Bouquet

Tossing the Wedding Bouquet

tossing the bouquet

Many brides are questioning the validity of some wedding traditions in the today’s world. One of which is the one about tossing your wedding bouquet over your shoulder.

Tossing the Wedding Bouquet: A tradition to keep or throw away?

Tossing the wedding bouquet

We’ve most of us witnessed the butt-clenching scene where the MC/DJ ushers all the single women into position for the tossing of the bride’s bouquet. That or there’s an unseemly scramble.

But why do brides follow the tradition of tossing the wedding bouquet anyway?

Well, like most of the traditions surrounding weddings, (and there’s another blog post there methinks), tossing the wedding bouquet has its roots both in folklore and social history.

It’s important to remember that, back in the day, marriage for women was a social and economic necessity. Not allowed to work, women needed a husband to ‘keep them’ – to support them economically and to ‘protect them’. And to save them from the social stigma of being a ‘Spinster of the Parish’. Men could be a gay (before the word took on its current meaning) a bachelor – a status with positive, even aspirational, connotations. The same wasn’t true of the spinster. Quite the opposite in fact. To be the spinster was a really negative statue for a woman back in the day.

Every mothers dream was for her daughter to not only marry, but marry well, To have some status in society, preferably in the noble class.
To not marry at all meant you were dependant on the good will of your family and that meant very often the men in your family. So let’s hope there was good relations between the spinster and the rest of her family. Otherwise her situation could be very precarious indeed.

Indeed, as this article from The Guardian points out in regard to the Civil Partnership Act: ‘here will be no more spinsters of this parish or bachelors gay.  This will be particularly welcomed by women who have consulted Webster’s dictionary and found that a spinster can be defined as “a woman of evil life and character”, a meaning deriving from those who were forced to spin in a house of correction.’

I should be so lucky

It doesn’t take a big leap of imagination then to grasp that a woman getting married was LUCKY, LUCKY, LUCKY.

And therein lies the root of the tradition of tossing the bouquet. People thought that, if they touched the bride, her luck would rub off on them. But we’re not talking simply touching the bride’s hand here. Oh no. It was far more invasive than that!

As this article from the Reader’s Digest explains: ‘This often caused discomfort and invasion of privacy to the bride, since guests would typically stand around her in an attempt to literally rip the gown off!’

Hence, brides took to distracting people by tossing their wedding bouquets into the crowd. This prevented their wedding dress being ripped from them. Then she and her husband bolted for the bridal chamber.

And so, over the years, this act of distraction has morphed into a wedding tradition whereby the bride’s fortune is passed onto one single lady. And by fortune we mean a husband.

Times are a changing

But times have changed thank goodness. Most women now marry because they CHOOSE to. Not because they have to out of any social and economic necessity. Many choose not to carry on the tradition of tossing the wedding bouquet.

With that freedom comes the freedom to choose what wedding traditions you want to use, ignore or adapt. And many brides now are choosing to eschew tossing the wedding bouquet. As Jezebel.Com points out: ‘Most of you — 81 percent — feel that skipping the bridal bouquet toss, that ritual in which all the single women in attendance are herded up and made to battle one another to catch a clump of flowers in hopes of being the next to marry, is a no-brainer.’

Create Your Own Traditions

The same article suggests some alternatives worth considering. These two are the Fabulous Functions UK’s favourites:

  1. “Instead of tossing the wedding  bouquet, I handed it to my good friend who was getting married a few months after me, and had everyone toast her and her fiancé. She took the ribbon and little jewel pins from my bouquet and had them incorporated into her bouquet, then did the same thing I did, handed her bouquet off to her friend who was getting married, who also used the pins and ribbon and so on…5 brides have used the pins now (the ribbon got a little ratty) and I don’t even know the last 2 brides outside of some sweet notes and photos they sent me, but it’s a really cool little connection and a “something borrowed” for them.”
  2. “We asked all the married couples to come out on the dance floor and then the DJ whittled it down to the couple who was married the longest (40 years for the couple at our wedding) and we gave it to them. I saw it done at wedding years ago, then it went to a couple married for 60 years, and it was really fun. People were a bit confused when we asked the married couples to come out on the floor, but then once they got what was happening they really liked it. Also it saved our single friends the embarrassment of the whole “traditional” ritual of tossing the wedding bouquet.”
Brooch Bouquet created by Fabulous Functions UK

Our Brooch bouquet would work well of your wanted to do something alongs the lines of example No 1. What a beautiful surprise for everyone involved and for your guests too.

Our silk bouquets would be perfect for the scenario No 2. They would be a lasting reminder of your beautiful gesture.

Have you found an alternative wedding tradition to tossing the bouquet that works for you?

Do tell us about it – we’d love to hear your story. Drop us an email at
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Questions? All our contact info is here.

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Take a hop over to our wedding collections page to see our wedding flowers and venue styling packages. This is where you can browse the various options and choose the one that’s perfect for you.

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For an example of more of our creations  check out our Instagram page and our  Facebook feeds  you will find lots of inspirational images and ideas. 

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