The History of Proposal Bouquets

The History of Proposal Bouquets

Proposing marriage is an important and sacred ritual in human society, and flowers are an indispensable element in this ritual. From ancient times to the present, the use of flowers in proposals has a long history, symbolizing love, commitment, and a bright future. This article will take you through the history of proposal bouquets, from ancient literature to modern Hong Kong's proposal customs, exploring how flowers play an irreplaceable role in this significant moment.

Ancient Romantic Flowers

How Ancient Romans Expressed Love with Flowers

The use of flowers in proposals can be traced back to ancient Roman times. Roman poet Ovid detailed in his work "Ars Amatoria" how ancient Romans used flowers to express love. Ovid mentioned that young Romans often chose fresh flowers as gifts to win the favor of their beloved. The most commonly used flowers at that time included roses and lilies, which were endowed with symbols of love and purity.

Knight Proposal

In medieval Europe, the rise of chivalric culture saw flowers once again become an essential element of courtship and proposals. Knights often presented roses to their beloved ladies before setting out on expeditions, symbolizing love and loyalty. Stories in "The Canterbury Tales" frequently mention knights using flowers to express love, and these romantic tales and poems gradually established the rose as a symbol of love.

Flowers and Proposals in the Renaissance

During the Renaissance, Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" tightly intertwined flowers with love. In this famous tragedy, flowers symbolize love and death, with roses being mentioned multiple times. For instance, Juliet's famous line "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" expresses the purity and fearlessness of love.

Romeo and Juliet

The imagery of flowers also frequently appears in Renaissance paintings and poetry, further reinforcing the symbolic meaning of flowers in courtship and proposals. Whether in Caravaggio's paintings or Petrarch's poems, flowers became the best interpretation of love.

Modern Proposal Bouquets

Entering the 19th century, the Romantic movement swept across Europe and America, solidifying the position of flowers in proposals. In British poet Lord Byron's "Don Juan," the protagonist frequently used flowers to attract and please women. The literary works of this period were filled with romantic floral imagery.

In Russian literature, Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" describes how Russian aristocrats used flowers to express love in social settings. For example, in the novel, flowers became a bridge of emotion and a symbol of love between the main characters.

In American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby," flowers symbolize romance and luxury and are a means of expressing affection and emotions between characters. Gatsby often used a large number of flowers to decorate his mansion to win Daisy's heart, symbolizing his pursuit of love and a better life.

The Great Gatsby

Contemporary Proposal Bouquets

Entering the 20th century, the use of flowers in proposals became more common and diverse. In French writer Marguerite Duras's "The Lover," flowers are used to express deep feelings and romance between lovers. Duras's work further solidified the position of flowers in romantic relationships.

In 20th-century Hong Kong, proposal bouquets gradually became a standard part of marriage proposals. Many Hong Kong movies and TV shows feature classic scenes of male protagonists proposing with bouquets to their beloved. For example, the 1980s Hong Kong film "The Story of Rose" depicts a touching scene of the male protagonist proposing to his beloved girl with roses.

Modern Hong Kong Proposal Bouquets

In recent years, Hong Kong's proposal bouquet culture has evolved, incorporating more creativity and personalized elements. According to a report by the "South China Morning Post," a young man in Hong Kong proposed to his girlfriend in 2019 using a giant floral sculpture composed of hundreds of roses, set against the backdrop of Victoria Harbour. This creative proposal not only attracted the attention and blessings of passersby but also sparked widespread attention and discussion on social media.

Hong Kong Proposal

Additionally, Hong Kong florists have launched customized proposal bouquet services to meet the needs of different customers. For example, uflowershop offers proposal bouquet designs that not only focus on the selection and combination of flowers but also include personalized elements such as letter ornaments and photo cards according to customer requirements, making each bouquet convey unique love and sincerity.

Symbolic Meaning of Flowers in Proposals

Proposal Bouquet

The reason flowers hold an important place in proposals is not only because of their beautiful appearance but also because of the deep symbolic meanings they carry. Here are some common symbolic meanings of proposal flowers:

1. **Roses**: Roses symbolize love, with red roses representing passionate love, white roses symbolizing purity, and yellow roses representing friendship and loyalty.

2. **Lilies**: Lilies symbolize purity and innocence, often used in weddings and proposals, representing a new beginning and a bright future.

3. **Tulips**: Tulips symbolize beauty and eternal love, with red tulips being seen as a symbol of true love.

4. **Carnations**: Carnations symbolize love and care, with red carnations representing love and admiration, and pink carnations symbolizing gratitude and appreciation.

5. **Violets**: Violets represent loyalty and the vows of love, making them a common choice for proposal bouquets.


The history of flowers in proposals is long and meaningful, from the love arts of ancient Rome to the romance of medieval knights, and to the creative proposal bouquets of modern Hong Kong. Flowers have always been the best symbols of love and commitment. Each flower carries deep emotions and beautiful blessings, witnessing countless touching moments of proposals. Whether in historical romantic poems or modern real-life cases, the importance of flowers in proposals is irreplaceable, becoming the most beautiful chapter in love stories.

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