I’m currently preparing the ceremony programs for my wedding. During our ceremony, we will be having a presentation of flowers to the Blessed Virgin Mary. I would like to include an explanation in our ceremony program explaining the tradition for our non-Catholic guests. What is the meaning of this tradition?
Catholics honor the Blessed Virgin as the Mother of God. Giving flowers to her during a wedding ceremony is a sign of that devotion. Usually the couple takes time during that presentation to pray silently to the Blessed Virgin for her intercession for their marriage.
As a side note, and offered purely as a suggestion: You are free to put whatever you like in your wedding programs, and it is kind of you to want to help non-Catholics to understand what is going on. In my personal opinion though, a wedding is not a play for which programs need to give “behind-the-scenes” details about the players, the set, and the action. A wedding is a solemn liturgy that is attended by family and friends – not as a “show” that they must understand in order that they may “enjoy” it, but as a public ceremony that they witness whether they understand and “enjoy” it or not. (Understanding then, though helpful, is strictly secondary to why family and friends are there, and accommodating understanding should not be allowed to inadvertently undermine the dignity of the ceremony.)
When programs are used for religious services, I think that the information included really should be limited to the order of the service and to important information needed to help guests know what they should and should not do during the ceremony (e.g., Communion protocol). Other information, such as “FAQs,” wedding party “credits,” thank-yous to “the crew,” and “sponsor” acknowledgments may seem helpful but can border on Too Much Information (i.e., overwhelming guests with more information than they need or want) and could possibly make your wedding seem like an amateur theatrical production.