Bride’s Want To Know – What Is a Tussy Mussy (Tussie Mussie)?

HISTORY: It seems that the tussy mussy (or nosegay) began in England around the Elizabethan era (1558–1603). During that period of Queen Elizabeth, judges carried tussie-mussies into their courtrooms to offer protection against “gaol fever” commonly known as Typhus. In modern times, judges at England’s highest court, the Old Bailey, celebrate this age-old tradition by carrying a tussie-mussie into court 6 times throughout the year. During the Victorian age tussie-mussies were carried close to the nose to avert the smells of the English streets and the plague. The tussie mussies were made up of scented herbs like rosemary, thyme, and rue. The ancient custom of distributing pungent herbs on the floors of people’s homes was thought to give protection to people from germs and provide herbal fragrances – which was a form of early aromatherapy.

Tussy Mussy with Holder makes a beautiful bouquet holder and table centerpiece

Tussy Mussy with Holder makes a beautiful bouquet holder and table centerpiece

The Victorians also turned the presentation of flowers as gifts into an art form.  At the beginning of a courtship it was a common practice for suitors to give their young lady a tussie-mussie. Floriography, a communication in which various flowers and floral arrangements were used to send a coded message,  would allow an individual to express their feelings which might not be able to be spoken to a person they were courting. This practice brought a new dimension to tussie-mussies. Many floral dictionaries were published giving the meanings of each flower and herb that could be used in these floral arrangements. The symbolic meanings were taken from classical mythology, religious symbolism, ancient lore, and a bit of creativity on the part of the floral arranger. For instance: Red roses still imply passionate, romantic love and pink roses a lesser affection; a white rose would suggest virtue and chastity and yellow roses reflect friendship or devotion. Sunflowers can represent either haughtiness or respect. The iris, which was named for the messenger of the gods in Greek methology, still represents the sending of a message.

This nickel plated tussy mussy has a rose base

This nickel plated tussy mussy has a rose base

Today, the term Tussy Mussy, usually refers to the holder that you can purchase to hold your small bride and bridesmaid’s bouquets. These bouquet holders are usually made of metal or glass and come in a variety of sizes. The sizes range from 3 ½ inches up to 9 inches in length. The diameter of the tussie mussies can range from 1 ½ inches to 3 ½ inches. Some of the metal holders are embossed with a delicate design to give your holder an old-world look and feel….a Victorian type reproduction. In the metal designs you will find silverplate, nickel plate, bronze and brass. Most of the nickel plated mussies look like silver but are tarnish proof and will last for years as a keepsake of your wedding. You can also find tussie mussies that are part of a centerpiece holder called an epergne. These epergnes usually hold 4-5 tussie mussies in different sizes and they make a unique banquet or wedding reception centerpiece for the head table or cake table.

Silver nickel plated tussie mussie has 4 tussie mussies

Silver nickel plated tussie mussie has 4 tussie mussies