In the 1960s, flower power was more than a design aesthetic. Flowers were symbols of peace and love in a counterculture movement that stood up against violence and war. In fact, it’s not uncommon for flower symbolism to center around peace.
Today’s symbols of peace often include healing crystals, singing bowls and zen plants. However, if you’re looking for groovier vibes, it’s easy to power your flower inspiration with 1960s colors and styles. Read on for a history lesson on the origins of the movement and flowers that commonly made an appearance. You can also jump below to a groovy mood board for flower power fantasy wedding inspiration.
What Was Flower Power in the 1960s?
1960s flower power was a movement of peace, love and acceptance. Though often remembered for its fashion and music, the movement was actually a direct response to the long-lasting Vietnam War. Americans against the war voiced their opposition in large protests during the late 1960s. This was an especially turbulent time for American politics, as the recently passed Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, religion or nationality.
American beat poet and influential thought leader Allen Ginsberg was the first person to discuss the flower power movement in a 1965 essay. He asked protestors to focus on peace, echoing comments just a few years prior from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on nonviolent resistance.
The flower power movement instructed protestors to bring candy, flowers and toys to hand out to police, press and onlookers as a way to capture large amounts of media attention. The tactic worked, inspiring similar protests all around the country and distracting from violent protests during the decade that also focused on free speech and anti-war sentiments.
’60s Flowers to Express Peace and Love
The global shipping industry as we know it today didn’t exist in the 1960s. Instead, flower arrangements used varieties that grew in abundance locally. Don’t think that this meant bouquets were boring, though. For a ’60s-inspired floral fantasy, look no further than these common flowers that bring texture, color and a whopping wow factor.
Carnations, the January birth flower, have a dainty appearance thanks to their multiple ruffled petals. These flowers are easy to grow, making them an easy choice for florists in the ’60s who were looking for local blooms to add to vibrant bouquets. Carnations of every color (except yellow) are a traditional symbol of love.
Chrysanthemums vary widely in size and shape. The November birth flower commonly represents love and joy, especially in shades of red. This flower is a relative of the daisy and is particularly easy to grow, though mums may only bloom in the fall months, depending on the variety.
Though technically a flowering weed, a daisy’s beauty can’t be overshadowed by that characterization. Daisies grow quickly and easily in most U.S. climates, making them a perfect addition to nearly any bouquet. Plus, the April birth flower symbolizes love, happiness and friendship—perfect for a flower power display.
Lilies of many varieties symbolize peace, love and devotion. The Peruvian lily, for example, notes feelings of deep and everlasting friendship. These flowers make beautiful additions to any flower power bouquet as symbols of the eternal peace and love of the ’60s.
6 Tips to Style Your ’60s Mid Mod Fantasy Wedding
1960s hippie fashions and counterculture style leaned into self-expression more than decades past. ’60s style was all about liberation, but the enduring theme of the times as we remember them now is color—and lots of it. That doesn’t mean you need to tie-dye your wedding dress before the big day, though—you can still invoke the decade with more subtle design influences.
Whether we’re talking about floral arrangements, wardrobe, decor or overall theme, a far-out ’60s fantasy is about self-love and letting your imagination run wild and free. Try out these styling tips when planning your next groovy gathering, and download the wedding mood board below for inspiration on the go.
Freestyle Your Flower Bouquets
In keeping with the free and loose themes of the ’60s, hippie floral arrangements were spontaneous creations with whatever was available in the garden. While you might have a professional florist style your wedding flowers, ask them to make things look natural. Use twigs and branches to make arrangements look like they came fresh from the field that same day.
Go Compact With Geometric Masses
Perfect for centerpieces, geometric mass designs are tight, compact arrangements that were popular in the ’60s. These designs usually filled a low bowl or vase with a wide lip, allowing the flowers to steal the show. Use colorful, textured varieties like carnations, roses and lilies to bring these small arrangements to life.
Greenify With Ferns and Foliage
Green is a central color in ’60s mid-century modern designs, both in bright, neon hues like lime or chartreuse, as well as more subdued, muted tones like moss or avocado. While these colors make great complements as accent pieces, you can also incorporate more green by using foliage or houseplants as decor. Line walkways with ferns, place fig trees in corners and hang moss from light fixtures to bring more texture and nature to the setting.
Use Earth Tones For Focal Points
Mid mod design relies on earth tones. To create a fantasy flower power vibe for a wedding, you might be hung up on neon colors—and don’t worry, we’ll get there. However, think about adding rich, earthy tones like burnt sienna, mud and gold to tablecloths, drapes, seat cushions or napkins to round out the atmosphere.
Make a Room Pop With Vibrant Accents
It can’t be flower power without a little bit (or a lot) of neon. Bright, vibrant hues complement earth tones well, so don’t be afraid to drench your wedding in color. Use hot pinks, neon oranges, electric blues or blazing yellows to make accents pop. Flower basins, napkin rings, place cards, or salt and pepper shakers make excellent neon accent pieces.
Embrace Loud Patterns
If your first thought when you imagine the ’60s is loud patterns, you’re not alone. Staples of 1960s fashion are back in style in the form of patterns like thick stripes, polka dots, plaid, gingham and checkerboard. Fun prints like outlines of daisies or abstract lines shine as examples of outlandish ’60s style. Use patterns in photoshoot backdrops or go a little further out of the box and opt for printed bridesmaid dresses.
If patterns for your wedding aren’t your thing, you can still easily create a flower power fantasy with the color palettes and floral tips outlined above. Also, be sure to download the fun phone wallpaper designs below for a little piece of the psychedelic ’60s to keep with you at all times.
1960s flower power represents freedom and individuality. At the same time, the peace and love motifs of the decade celebrate togetherness and community. Salute the freedom and love of the ’60s by doing something kind for someone you love, like writing a love poem or sharing a peace offering like sending flowers. No matter what you do, make sure to use lots of colors.