Preserving the Memories

A wedding day lavish with herbs lives on in treasured creations by drying herbs.

| February/March 2001

For thousands of years, couples have mined the rich meaning of herbs to create truly magical weddings. Herbal bouquets, garlands, and wreaths exude romance, perfuming the air and lending their rich symbolism. In modern weddings, herbs can do more than link the bridal couple to ancient nuptial traditions. Each leaf and flower represents a blessing for the newlyweds; the herbs reinforce and symbolize the couple’s pledge. Herbs provide a joyful and thoughtful beginning to one of life’s grandest adventures.

If love were what the rose is, And I were like the leaf, Our lives would grow together in sad or singing weather.
—Algernon Charles Swinburne

In an herbal wedding, all or most of the flowers and greens carried by the wedding party and worn by family members are herbal—loosely interpreted as containing any plants useful now or at one time for flavor, fragrance, or medicine. The church or temple may be decorated with herbal flowers and greens. Herbs and flowers mingle happily in centerpieces and buffet arrangements. A wedding meal may be carefully seasoned with herbs. Even the wines used for toasting may be infused with herbs.

At the end of an herbal wedding, guests shower the newlyweds with a mixture of fresh or dried herbs chosen for their symbolic meanings and herbal blessings. Or they may take home packets of herb seeds or herbal sachets printed with the couple’s name and the date. Herbal weddings are fragrant, fulfilling, and tasty—and guests seldom forget them.

But wedding memories are most fondly recalled by the bridal couple. Herbal wedding decorations lend themselves to preserving in a variety of ways. Properly done, they will last years, even decades, serving as a reminder of promises made and honored and of joy yet to come. As part of my business, The Proper Season, I specialize in creating herbal arrangements for weddings and other special occasions.

For this article, two Colorado-based herb experts created wedding arrangements, then shipped them overnight to me for preserving. I created a dried wreath, an herbal bouquet, a shadow-box treatment for a wedding photograph, and herbal potpourri from the arrangements. In addition to being beautiful mementos for the bride and groom, such items make wonderful gifts for parents, in-laws, or perhaps the person who brought a couple together.

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