Rosemary and Marriage (and a little more magic)
As we have seen, Rosemary could help you find your true love and once that had been achieved, it then played an important role in the nuptials that followed: brides wore a Rosemary headpiece dipped in scented water while the groom and guests sported more modest sprigs. Anne of Cleves wore a “rich crown of stone and pearls set with rosemary in her hair” at her wedding to Henry VIII, so its track record is mixed at best. But this does explain how Rosemary became known as Coronaria.
The new couple would then plant a Rosemary and if it thrived, so would their marriage and, if they had the money, present a gilded branch of Rosemary to all their guests as a symbol of love and loyalty.
Celebrations over, dried Rosemary would be sprinkled on the marriage bed to ensure faithfulness and if the bride could persuade the groom to hold a sprig of Rosemary throughout that night, he would never stray.
Robert Hacket, in a wedding sermon in 1607 said:
“Let this Rosemarinus, this flower of men, ensigne of your wisdom, love and loyaltie, be carried not only in your hands, but in your heads and hearts.”
The poet Robert Herrick (1591-1674) reminded us though, that Rosemary was equally important at death:
Grow for two ends – it matters not at all
Be’t for my bridall, or my buriall.
Nonetheless, the association of Rosemary and marriage continues to this day across Europe, with many a bride still wearing a sprig.