Nosegay or Tussie Mussie?

tussiemussieVintage wedding themes are resurfacing within the bridal community and bridal flowers are a poignant expression of these nostalgic and delicate themed celebrations.  When choosing one’s wedding flowers there are many things to consider.  A few vintage floral traditions and phrases may require clarification, for instance:  “What is the difference between a Nosegay and a Tussie-Mussie?”  Some may be beginning to wonder what these endearing terms even mean, are they actual floral traditions or simply a fun play on words?




The importance of bridal blooms has changed through the years, especially over the last 700 years.  Before running water, perfumes, and lotions, the most fragrant flowers were called upon to mask the unpleasant, earthly odors of daily life.  Nosegays were the original floral ornament carried by brides, defined as a small flower bouquet or arrangement that is appealing to one’s sense of smell, “pleasant to the nose”.




The Victorian era sparked the popularity of floral accessories or adornments for elegant, fashionable woman of society.  It was prudent to give floral gifts when a suitor called upon a young lady.  Each flower held a specific meaning for the recipient; she would refer to her “Tussie Dictionary” to decipher the message.  The term Tussie-Mussie, like the Nosegay, refers to a small bouquet or arrangement of flowers; however Tussie-Mussies are carried in a decorative cone shape container.  Tussie-Mussies are carefully chosen floral arrangements composed of particular stems to speak the “language of flowers”.


What is the difference between a Nosegay and a Tussie Mussie?  Both are a small bouquet of flowers.  The Nosegay was traditionally carried with the intention of adding sweet fragrance to the bearer, and the blooms are hand tied together.  The Tussie-Mussie was historically given as a gift utilizing floral symbolism for the recipient to uncover.  Tussie-Mussie can also refer to the container that holds the small bouquet.  And yes, they are actual floral traditions; either has a rich and wonderful “vintage” heritage and could be the perfect touch to enhance such a themed wedding ceremony.