By the way, a wedding is a civil event. Ministers or priests only became a part of a service several hundred years ago. Gov. William Bradford performed a simple civil wedding ceremony for John Alden and Priscilla Mullins before April 1623. Bradford stated that marriage is a civil event and it is not necessary for a preacher to be present, much less preside. However, a minister or priest presiding has become a tradition.
Besides the garland wreath mentioned above another grouping of flowers is called a posy. Posy refers to a handful or a small bouquet of flowers. A posy is not the name of a flower but is a grouping of a variety of flowers.
In the old nursery rhyme "ring-a-ring o' rosies" we find:
"A ring o' rosies'"referring to a round rosy rash that was a symptom of the plague of 1665 or, perhaps the earlier Black Death.
The "pocket full of posies" was a posy of herbs that was carried to protect and ward off the smell of the disease.
The "a-ti'shoo," or "ashes" as in other versions, refer to the uncontrollable sneezing or coughing that was a final symptom.
"We all fall down" was the final, terrible result of the plague resulting in falling down dead.
Today children chant the rhyme and go through the motions simply as a fun and active game, totally oblivious of the terrible origin of the game.
Since we mentioned the word garland we find that Menippus, the cynic philosopher and humorist of Gadara*, who lived about 300 years B.C., gathered "garlands," as he called them, of various poems. Here is one of his love poems translated into English that goes overboard with a flower garland theme dedicated to his dear friend in the smelly town of Tyre**:
"I'll twine white violets, and the myrtle green;
Narcissus will I twine, and lilies sheen;
I'll twine sweet crocus, and the hyacinth blue;
And last I'll twine the rose, love's token true:
That all may form a wreath of beauty, meet
To deck my Heliodora's tresses sweet."
This would, indeed, be a sweet-smelling corona, or garland for Heliodora's head. Her name, in Greek, means gift (dora, which can be short for Isodora) and from the sun (helio).
Expensive bouquets of flowers: Emperor Nero once spent 4,000,000 sesterces (silver coins) for flowers for a grand banquet. He said: "Only misers count what they spend." At $10, a modern equivalent of one silver sesterce, we find that Nero spent an estimated $40 million dollars for flowers alone for one banquet. This did not include the food, entertainment, etc. But then, he was the emperor, or government, and could tax his people for more money when needed.
* Gadara was the primary city of the land of the Gadarenes where Jesus healed a demon-possessed man on the east shore of the Sea of Galilee. Remember the pigs running into the sea event?
** See comment concerning the stench of the city of Tyre on this page of flower trivia relative to Echinacea purpura, and the grossly unpleasant odor endured even by those who wore purple, such as the Emperor in Rome, and guests who encountered him. They did this to show off that they were wealthy.