The wedding tradition of a flower girl is symbolic in nature. The young girl, usually in a white dress, represents purity. She walks down the aisle in front of the bride, dropping flower petals, which symbolize fertility. The petals are usually red roses. Red is a vibrant color which represents deep passion and love. Symbolically, the flower girl represents the loss of purity to passion, love and fertility.
In the ceremony, the flower girl always walks in front of the bride. She represents the young and pure girl, who adds sweetness and joy to the ceremony. She throws out the petals, which symbolize the transition of the bride into a loving and passionate wife. Originally, the petals may have also been used to ward off evil spirits, so the flower girl walking in front of the bride would protect her on her wedding day.
The history of the flower girls goes all the way back to Greek and Roman times. During those times, girls did not scatter flowers, but grain and herbs to represent fertility. Even in the middle ages, young girls would walk in front of the bride, carrying bundles of grain. The tradition of flower baskets came about during the Victorian Era. Little girls dressed in white, carrying baskets of flower petals and flower-covered hoops, which represented eternal love.
No matter the culture, the role of the flower girl is about the same. However, there are some variations. In Central America, the flower girl may dress like the other attendants, carry flowers and dance down the aisle with them. In Germany, no other attendants exist except the flower girl and her flowers.
Brides sometimes select colors other than red for the petals. Pink is the next popular color, and it symbolizes sweetness. Orange might also be another appropriate color, and it means warmth and vitality. Violet means serious feelings and is often reserved for meeting the mother of the bride. Blue means hope and confidence, and green represents youth and happiness Colors that are not really appropriate for a wedding are white (for purity), yellow (which often represents jealousy) and black (for death).
As the world changes, so do wedding customs and traditions. Some brides choose to put their flower girls in colored frocks. Some may even be dressed identically to the bride; this is popular with mothers whose daughters are their flower girls, making the occasion special for the little girl as well as her mother. Instead of dropping flower petals, many flower girls blow bubbles going down the aisle. Others throw confetti or carry teddy bears.