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Victorian Posies- The Method and the Meaning

The Victorian posy is a traditional hand-tied or wired bunch where the flowers are placed in ascending rings around a central bloom, usually a rose. This design was very popular for weddings back in the mid 19th century, but lost favour to the cascading shower bouquet in the late 20th century.

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Image: Top Left, Top Right, Bottom Left, Bottom Right

Like all things in fashion, trends come and go, and the Victorian posy can sometimes be requested from time to time, especially for those who like to run their own race, uninterested by what is popular or on trend at the time.

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Image: Patsy Smiles

The Victorians did not have the variety of material available to them as we do today, so their posies tended to use an assortment of pale pink, lilac and blue toned flowers, in what we would consider to be quite traditional flowers such as roses, hyacinths, and cornflowers. The stunning central rose, I am told is pretty much integral to the design, but these days you could choose to make a Victorian posy out of just about any flowers or foliage you can get your hands on.

The Victorians used to back their posies with starched lace, which then became coloured netting or raffia, or twisted wire frames with foliage or even doilies, but theses days many of these elements have been replaced, or modernised.

This style of posy contained secret messages to and from lovers; each flower had its own unique meaning, and the bride chose her flowers based on their significance. As a result of this, unfortunately many beautiful flowers were assigned rather undeserved, sometimes negative meanings, for example, lavender=distrust, or anemones= sickness.

These days, brides tend to choose their flowers based on their preferences or flowers with special significance to them personally rather than these somewhat outdated meanings.

Gorgeous bridal bouquet design for the fall bride.:
Image: The Knot, Flowers by Festive Couture Floral
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Image: Cut Out and Keep

The Victorian style of posy fell out of favour during the early 20th century, but the posy has slowly gained popularity again, whether it be hand-tied and natural stemmed, or wired. A natural stemmed posy, as the name suggests, uses flowers on their stem, simply cleaned off so that the handle of the bouquet does not become contaminated from breaking down debris, or too bulky. This style of bouquet can be formal or informal, structured or unstructured depending on what flowers are chosen and its composition. Generally though, this look is more natural and relaxed.

Alternatively a wired bouquet can be created; which is where the flower is cut from it’s natural stem and then attached to an artificial stem made from wire. The result is usually more lightweight and as it is more structured, tends to look more formal.

The formality of the Victorian rings has been dropped, in favour of either evenly dispersed placements, where the flowers are evenly placed throughout the arrangement to achieve balance, or alternatively the floral elements can be grouped together for a ‘chunkier’, clustered and modern look.

At the end of the day, if you are considering a Victorian posy, or posy of any kind for your wedding, talk to you designer about the colours, textures and the overall look and feel you wish to achieve. Wedding professionals have a wealth of knowledge and will be able to make appropriate suggestions to help you achieve what you are after.

I cannot stress enough the importance of aligning yourself with suppliers who have a body of work that emulates the look and feel you are after. ┬áTrusting your supplier is the single most important thing you can do to lower your individual stress as well as allowing them the freedom to ‘create’ and do exactly what you employed them to do…

Fwf x

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