After getting a few comments about my 'bridal wreath collection' seen in my birthday photos, I decided I should do a post on them. The History of Victorian Wedding Orange Blossoms is old and romantic.
"Incorporating orange blossoms into the bride's costume originated in ancient China where they were emblems of purity, chastity and innocence. There are few trees so prolific as the orange; it is one of the rare plants that blooms and bears fruit at the same time, thus becoming symbolic of fruitfulness. During the time of the Crusades, the custom was brought from the East first to Spain , then to France , then to England in the early 1800's. By then, many enchanting legends had spread throughout the continent of maidens entwining fresh orange blossoms into a bridal wreath for their hair... Queen Victoria created the vogue for the sweet smelling blossoms when she wore them in a grand wreath for her 1840 wedding... When real orange blossoms were in short supply or in northern climates where citrus fruits did not flourish, wax replicas were used instead."
When I saw my first wreath, I fell in love with the sentiment of someone creating these lovely flowers of wax to be worn by a bride - and only later learned of their history. I was lucky to find a few wreaths in local antique shops a number of years ago, and then searched Ebay for others. Word got around and a lovely woman in Berkeley told me she was selling her collection and suddenly I had more than I knew what to do with! At that point I had a vision of displaying them like a quilt, each on individual boards, as you see above. Once I was able to create a square of 25 wreaths I stopped collecting - where would I put any more??? I did add a 'French Marriage Globe' to my collection (used by wealthy brides to display their wreaths and bouquets) - which I adore. Most of my wreaths are French. My favorite ones are those that look like real Orange blossoms, (this one came with the Wedding Menu card!)
Many are very decorative, with pearls and ribbons added on; shaped like wheat sheaths or spring berries... One is completly made of gold paper, and another came with the grooms bow-tie! I love them all, for their romantic symbology and sweet sentiment!!!