Throwing the Bouquet – Crazy or What!?

Bride throwing her bouquet at the Thatch Barn near Yelling


As weird wedding traditions go, throwing the bouquet has to be one of the strangest! Just think about it for a moment, you’re expected to throw possibly the most expensive bunch of flowers you have ever bought over your head at all of your friends who, dressed in their finery, will probably scramble over it in a degenerate rugby scrum. The winner is the one who will marry next as though getting married is the be all and end all of everything and worth fighting over a few flowers for!


It’s worth mentioning at this point that I’ve witnessed stiletto injuries, nail injuries, elbow in eye injuries, torn silk, intertwined handbags and crying – all in the name of a bit of bouquet chucking fun! Also, if you’re inviting any single PE teachers to your wedding my best advice would be to simply not risk doing a bouquet chuck at all. They are far too competitive and there will be tears!


Apart from my misgivings above, flinging your floristry can be great fun and make a great picture so, where on earth did this crazy idea come from?


Wedding guests catching the bouquet


Well, it turns out that it’s from Medieval England (Mmmm, what a surprise!) and the Medieval belief that a woman could only be happy if she was married and had children! Basically in Medieval times, the wedding dress was considered to be a good luck charm or a sort of fertility symbol. Brides didn’t expect to wear the dress again so, at the end of the wedding, all her miserable unmarried and desperate friends would literally chase her around and rip bits off the dress to keep as souvenirs. The dress would be left in tatters and the bride exhausted!


As time passed wedding dresses became more expensive and were often kept or passed on so other things were thrown to the baying throng as a distraction from shredding the dress and to quench their insatiable Medieval thirst for fertility charms! Garters were popular although were often removed from the bride by impatient guests who couldn’t mind their Medieval manners and eventually the bouquet, as it is perishable and relatively easy to throw, took over.


So, that’s the history – what’s the deal today? I guess maybe about 25% of the weddings I photograph have a throwing the bouquet moment. Traditionally, harking back to the dress ripping, the bouquet is thrown right at the end of the reception just before the bride leaves but most brides do it earlier in the evening now. It can be great fun, and much nicer than having your dress ripped off you (if your guests are that way inclined!) but, on the other hand it is a bit archaic and ridiculous! It’s really horses for courses and depends how many singles will be there and also how competitive/likely to hurt each other they are!


Wedding guests and the bouquet throw


A few practicalities:

Some florists will provide a throwing bouquet which will be smaller, lighter and stronger. Have a quick think about where and when you will do it and who you want to be involved. You will need a fair bit of space, some height (if it’s indoors) and if it’s outdoors don’t try to do it in the dark! You might also want to get your band/DJ to announce it and to invite the singles or anyone who cares to join in to take their places.


Finally, be warned that, if your DJ announces the bouquet throw, they will possibly fall into default pre programmed DJ cheese mode and start playing that wretched Beyonce “All the Single Ladies” track. Now I don’t have anything against Beyonce but the inevitability of it being played and it’s overpowering Gorgonzola factor really is too much for me personally. You may well love it and that’s fine by me, I will grin and bear it, be completely non judgemental and concentrate my hardest on getting a great picture for you!!


If you’re planning on slinging an expensive bunch of blooms at your poor inebriated friends to make sure that they don’t chase after you to rip your dress off you then GET IN TOUCH – I’d love to take some pictures of it!



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