Centuries ago, couples often married for political reasons rather than love. In some cultures, marriages were arranged by parents. In these arranged marriages, the bride and groom did not meet before the wedding. Since procreation was the primary purpose of arranged marriages, fertility was a concern for the newlyweds. To symbolize the blessings of fertility and prosperity for the couple, flower girls carried sheaves of wheat and bouquets of herbs. In the present-day U.S., these historical fertility symbols have been replaced by flowers or flower petals.
In the Roman Empire, flower girls were young virgins who carried a sheaf of wheat during the wedding ceremony; it was believed that this would bring prosperity to the bride and groom. During the Renaissance flower girls carried strands of garlic, based on the belief that garlic repelled evil spirits and bad luck.
In a traditional wedding procession, flower girls are usually members of the bride or groom’s extended families or a friend of either family and are usually three to ten years old. In a wedding procession a flower girl walks down the aisle with her partner, usually the ring bearer or page boy.