The red rose whispers of passion,
And the white rose breathes of love;
O, the red rose is a falcon,
And the white rose is a dove.
— John Boyle O’Reilly
There’s no getting around it — the rose says romance like no other flower. Yet the meaning behind the rose isn’t simple. Below the blooms lie the thorns. A secret meeting of minds is held sub rosa, under the rose. The rose not only symbolizes youthful, innocent love, but also stands for contentious civil wars. In short, the rose is as complex and boundless as romance itself.
What to Wear
Slip on a lovely rose wedding garter. For the flower girl, choose a dress dripping in roses and a matching rose headpiece. Pick out rose combs or hair clips for the bridal party’s hair. Dress your bridesmaids in pink or deep scarlet, and select red silk neckties for the groomsmen. Dress them up with elegant rose boutonnieres.
Ceremonial Rose Ideas
Pick out a gorgeous rose pillow for the ring bearer to carry up the aisle, a rose guest book and pen, and a set of rose cake servers. In the rose ceremony — a contemporary offshoot of the Unity Candle — the bride and groom each exchange one perfect rose, which they’re asked to remember after the wedding — especially during arguments!
Everything’s Coming Up Roses — How to Decorate
Start with rose petals! Affordable and dramatic, these will be your greatest ally in creating a gorgeous, romantic, heaven-scented setting. Start with stark white table linens, and sprinkle them generously with deeply-colored petals. Scatter petals over your reception tables, cake table, gift table … anywhere you want to add a heavy dose of romance.
Now float them in fountain basins and bowls full of water. Sprinkle them over ice buckets of champagne. Gently place a rose petal in each signature cocktail or glass of champagne. Tuck a few in every invitation envelope. Scatter them over aisle runners and stairwells. Toss them into swags wherever you use tulle: head tables, pew markers. If your wedding’s outdoors, create an ultra-romantic trail to the ceremony or aisle to the altar by creating a carpet of petals that beckons between the trees or down the lawn.
Rose Napkins. Unlike many napkin sculptures, the Rose Napkin looks exactly like its namesake. We like Martha Stewart’s photos and instructions on how
to make them.
Rose Candles. Rose candles (especially scented ones) are useful and beautiful building blocks for your centerpieces and favors. Large, carved rose candles stand alone, while the smaller floating variety look classical in glass bowls surrounded by ivy.
Rose Stuffed Balloons. One of our favorite ideas, this centerpiece may be within reach if you’re near a talented balloon artist. Call around for references. More feasible for the DIY bride — yet still lovely and surprising — are clear balloons you’ve stuffed with rose petals. We like to do this by wrapping the neck around a section of small PVC pipe and dropping the inserts through.
Ribbon Roses. If you’ve got some patience, you can learn to make ribbon roses (ranging from simple to complex) and then use them to adorn veils, garters, flower girl baskets, ribbon bearer’s pillows, champagne glasses, pew bows, and more.
Red Tulle-Wrapped Centerpieces. For a look surprisingly reminiscent of roses, scrunch red or dark pink tulle around your centerpiece base (such as a wine bottle or vase).
Rose-Filled Pumps. Yes, you read that right. For a young and energetic centerpiece, fill these clear mod shoes with bright red buds.
Rose String Lights. Nestle these delicate blooms in clouds of tulle.
Long-Stemmed Chocolate Roses. Is it a bird, a floor wax, a favor or a centerpiece? Let your guests hammer out the semantics — everyone loves a chocolate long-stemmed rose.
Rose Potpourri. This long-time wedding favorite presents the rose to all the senses.
Faux Rose Trees. For an ultra-romantic setting, twine silk roses into potted trees at your reception. Or bring in live Rose of Sharons at the right time of year (June or later in most climes).