Why do brides carry a bouquet of flowers down the aisle?
If you went to a wedding today and the bride and bridal party were not carrying bouquets of flowers you would immediately notice. But brides have actually not always carried something pretty down the aisle to meet their grooms.
While the bouquet may seem like one of the most traditional aspects of weddings, the traditional bouquet, even before the Roman era, was composed purely of strong dill and garlic. Brides carried collections of dill and garlic down the aisle in order to keep away evil spirits – and to cover the smell of guests who may be past due for a bath. The Romans added a garland of herbs for luck and fertility, the Celtics included ivy, thistle and heather, and the flowers began to be added in Turkey, where flowers and scents were used to exchange messages. During the Victorian era these flowers and meanings were adapted into the wedding ceremony, but herbs remained a part of the bouquet.
After brides began to slowly add better-smelling plants and beautiful flowers, dill and garlic were left behind. The practice has advanced to such a norm that each bloom and color combination has taken on its own meaning and implications.
Sources include MentalFloss.com and AntebellumOaksVenue.com.