The History of the Flower Crown

Tina Parkes of the British Academy of Floral Art looks back at the origins of this fashionable festival headgear

The flower crown is a hugely popular design, not only trending for weddings and festivals they have been featured this year on fashion catwalks and in fashion retailers, including White Stuff. So what is the inspiration for these gorgeous floral crowns?

The head dress or circlet or floral garland has been used at key life events and celebrations for thousands of years. Interestingly the circular shape represents an everlasting circle and since pagan times this has signified the circle of seasons and life. A circlet for a wedding ceremony represents the everlasting love the couple will share, traditionally the bride and groom would be blessed and then both crowned with garlands of flowers.

The Romans and Greeks used laurel leaves to make head dresses to honour and respect the victors of war and wreaths of olive for winners of competitions. The materials used also had importance and meaning, for example early headdresses were woven stems of wheat and wild flowers. The wheat signified fertility and the flowers were specially chosen as an omen of good luck and long life or to deter and ward off evil spirits. Fertility was also the reason why traditionally a Chinese bride wore orange blossom circlets. This was thought to bring children to the marriage.

Queen Victoria was famous for wearing orange blossom in her hair and stitched onto her dress on her wedding day (1840), popularizing this practice in Europe. She also famously wore white, previously to this it was common to wear your best clothes.

Lady Diana wore a full circlet at her wedding in 1981, which lead to a revival in the larger, fuller circlets. During the 1990’s the circlets reduced in size to a simpler single line of flowers and then became less popular during the early 2000’s in part due to the cost, a fully wired circlet can take over an hour to make by a skilled florist.

Today, they are very much back in vogue reincarnated as gorgeous floral crowns, often fuller, and with much larger blooms and either symmetrical or asymmetrical. The construction can be wired, glued or woven with fresh or artificial flowers making them versatile, beautiful and fun to adorn any special event.

Pic: Julie Collins and Tina Parkes of British Academy of Floral Art

The British Academy of Floral Art will be demonstrating how to make a floral crown at the Festival and showing visitors how to make one for free on the Candide stand by the lake in front of the castle.

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