What can be a more appropriate symbol of true love than a rose? Whether its petals take on a dusky pink hue reminiscent of the romantic whimsicality of Marie Antoinette, or a deep velvety red exuding sensuality and desire, roses are indisputably linked with romance. The heritage of the rose is too long to trace (fossils show them to be at least 35 millions years old) but we do know that the Ancient Egyptians were possibly the first people to cultivate rose gardens; Cleopatra ordered rose petals to be strewn across her palace floors whilst she was seducing Mark Anthony and even replaced the lotus with a rose as her choice of ceremonial flower. Moving on through time, Dutch sailors took rose liquor with them to sea because the smell reminded them of home, though I can imagine its potency was a convenient comfort during fierce storms. Queen Elizabeth I later had her own rose fragrance which she wore every day - a rare feminine indulgence for a woman who had to adopt the traits of a man to retain the rule of her country. By the 17th century the rose had woven its way into poetry, plays and music as a symbol of love and was in such high demand that you could legally use roses instead of currency.
So there we have it, a brief history of the rose which brings me up to the present day and a wonderful florist specialising in bringing only the most perfect, ethically-grown roses to London from the fertile volcanic soils of the Andes in Ecuador. A visit to Only Roses www.only-roses.com is the most uplifting experience simply because the store itself risks sensory overload. An abundance of coloured roses in a sumptuous array of hues from cream to tiger-striped orange, rich red and vibrant pinks explode from their buckets of fresh water everywhere you look. Then there is the smell, a combination of heady, powdery and fresh notes which together manage to tickle as well as delight the nose. There you will be able to find roses to match any colour scheme you have dreamt of for your wedding, and you'll have peace of mind for knowing that Only Roses is highly principled; they only use roses from four Ecuadorian rose farms chosen for their high social, labour and environmental standards where the indigenous workforce is free from labour discrimination and all staff are provided with healthcare and clothing.
Only Roses also happen to be unbelievably talented, whether you desire a hand-tied bouquet, button holes or for them to be involved with your whole day from the church pews to the table centres and divine arrangements of roses throughout your reception.
It would be fair to say that the future of the rose looks just as impressive as its history and what wedding day could be complete without it?
For more information visit www.only-roses.com, or call 020 7373 9595.