Saying It With Roses: The Significance Of Colour

In Western culture, there is no flower more steeped in romance than the rose. There are a thousand romantic quotes pertaining to this flower. Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, Gertrude Stein-all were moved to put mankind’s relationship with the rose into words. I believe my personal favorite is John Boyle O’Reilly’s “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.”

Because of its romantic associations, the rose is the go-to flower for weddings, especially since the rose comes in an inexhaustible array of colors and hues. However, the various colors of roses have become associated with particular meanings over the years. This means that while a bride may want to select a color scheme based solely on her personal taste, she might also want to consider what she is “saying” with her flowers.


Red roses, of course, are the epitome of passionate true love. As Robert Burns said “Oh, my luve’s [sic] like a red, red rose.” Nor surprisingly, this hue remains overwhelmingly popular with lovers and at weddings. It also doesn’t hurt that red roses are breathtakingly beautiful and don’t require a great deal of additional ornamentation, if any.

The white rose, much like the white gown of the bride, is a symbol of purity and innocence. In days gone by, it was of the utmost importance that a bride be pure, or “untouched.” Today, although many people take a more lenient view on this topic, the white rose can still represent the purity of love and the beauty of new beginnings.

Pink roses can represent a variety of concepts, probably due to the vast array of hues available. Deep pink, for example, often signifies appreciation, while light pink represents sweetness and joy. Coral, which is closely related to pink, denotes desire and excitement, and peach, another close relative, signifies sympathy and modesty. Clearly, when it comes to roses, the shades of pink carry the most varied associations. However, none of them would be considered inappropriate for a wedding, and pink roses of any and all shades are extremely popular for nuptial celebrations.

Yellow roses are a symbol of friendship, happiness and warmth. As a result, they can often be the flower of choice for young men to give to young women during the teen years; yellow roses can be used to signal a romantic interest without the emotional risks of the passionate red rose. Although some brides may not want to use yellow roses at their weddings for this reason, others recognize that friendship is an essential part of any marriage. Additionally, yellow roses make an attractive addition to most other colors.

Purple roses have become popular in recent years. They are still a relatively rare and therefore exotic option. This color expresses the feeling of love at first sight, one of the most traditionally romantic concepts in our society. This color can be used to convey the enchantment the couple feels with each other.

— Victor Epand

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