Wedding Flowers: How to Preserve Your Bouquet
Picking out your bouquet for your wedding day is an important decision to make. It's often time-consuming and very well thought out to match your wedding dress and showcase your style and aesthetic. With that in mind, letting it go or saying goodbye to your bouquet can be a sad moment after the wedding. However, many brides we've worked with have chosen flowers for their bouquets that are more than just pretty wedding decor. They're sentimental and significant choices to represent different things on their wedding day, so why not have your bouquet preserved to give it that extra life span as a souvenir to hold onto.
There are a few different options you should keep in mind when choosing to preserve your wedding day bouquet, so we thought we'd pick out a few ideas to help you decide:
The easiest, most straight forward and traditionally bridal way to preserve your bouquet is to air dry it by hanging it upside down in a well-ventilated, warm area for a week or so. In the process of drying your bouquet out, you will naturally lose some color, though how much you'll lose is dependant on the type of heat you generally live in and how it affects the flowers in the drying process. To do this, you'll want to gather up the bouquet's stems, use a piece of string or something similar, tie them together, and find the right area to hang them upside down in. After a week or two of being hung upside down, they'll be done and air-dried.
Silica gel is another tool you can use relatively easily at home to preserve your bouquet. You can find silica gel at many different places, but an easy way is to either buy it online or pop into Bunnings and pick some up. If you haven't heard of Silica Gel before, you've seen it: they're the bit sachets of beaded crystals that come in the box when you buy shoes or clothing and other items to keep the moisture out of the objects themselves. What you'll want to do is take an airtight container and layer a base of the silica gel at the bottom and place your flowers on top. After this, fill the container up to the top and seal it tightly with a lid. Then let it dry out for around a week or so.
Taking the bouquet from your wedding day and dipping it in wax is another form of flower preservation. However, I should note that this is not a permanent option: wax-dipped flowers will typically only last 4-6 months most of the time. However, if you just want some extra life with your flowers, it's a great solution. First, you'll want some paraffin wax. You can purchase this online or at places like Spotlight or most candle stores, and you'll also need a saucepan. Place the paraffin wax in the saucepan and melt it in boiling water until the wax/water mixture has turned into a smooth substance. After that, you'll want to turn the heat on your stove down to cool it down a bit while still keeping it warm. At this point, you will want to take the flowers from your bouquet that you want to preserve and dip them into the wax and water substance as carefully as possible, then take them back out and hang them upside down. (You might want to put some newspaper or something similar down to avoid any mess). This process will give your flowers a nice wax coating that will keep them in good condition for a few months. Now you're free to place them in a vase or hang them somewhere prominent in your home for the immediate future to take yourself back to the beautiful memories you made on your wedding day.
Another method, while considered by some to be more of an old-fashioned way of preserving your bouquet, is to press the flowers. This is done by placing the flowers from your bouquet between two sheets of parchment paper, then putting them between the pages of a book (or between two individual books) and placing a heavy object on top to press it down. This is probably one of the more commonly used ways to preserve flowers of any kind, both for their effectiveness and how easy the process itself is. After the flowers have been pressed, there are many ways you can display them. You could also glue them into your wedding guestbook, turn them into sentimental ornaments, place them under a glass tabletop, frame them on the wall or even turn them into candles or bath salts: the list is nearly endless!
Frame the bouquet in epoxy resin:
A personal favorite of mine when it comes to preserved bouquets is epoxy resin. A friend of mine decided that she would DIY her bouquet as an epoxy resin cube after her wedding was over. To do this, you'll want to get your hands on some epoxy resin and a cube-shaped mold (you can buy both online or from places like Barnes, the Art Shed, etc.) and fill the cube/mold up to around halfway. Next, take the flowers from the bouquet you want to preserve and arrange them in whatever way you prefer. After they've been organized, fill the rest of the epoxy resin to the top and let it dry. When you finally take the mold off, you'll end up with a beautifully shaped arrangement of flowers inside a cube (or whichever shape you used) that'll last and look fantastic.
Another option, while something you won't be able to DIY, is to have your wedding day flowers freeze-dried. In a nutshell, freeze-drying is the art of removing all water vapor from the flowers while frozen, which allows the bouquet to keep its shape, size, and natural look. This may be on the more expensive side, and it might take a bit of research to find a florist that can achieve this for you, but it's a great option nonetheless.
Be prepared: If you don't have the time to preserve your flowers after the wedding, many florists will do this for you. However, we would suggest getting in touch with a florist before the wedding so that you can plan out how you want your flowers preserved while also ensuring that you get your flowers to the florist after the wedding day promptly. Doing this will help you safely achieve the result you're after.
You'll also want to have a clear idea of what you want to do with the flowers or where you want to keep them because that could also impact which perseveration method is best suited for the project or idea you have in mind. For example, if you don't have the space to display your flowers inside a resin cube, maybe pressing then framing the flowers and hanging them on the wall will be a better choice.
Be sure to be realistic about the outcomes of preserving your bouquet: flowers will fade to some degree, and you may even lose a few flowers in the process, depending on your method. And don't forget to keep your flowers out of direct sunlight, or it'll rapidly speed up any fading process your bouquet might go through.
While this is not a wedding bouquet preservation method technically, one final tip is still an excellent idea for sentimentality. My sister-in-law had her bouquet painted by an incredible local artist, and it's made a great addition to her wall at home. It not only serves as some gorgeous artwork on her wall but also has the nostalgia added in to remind her of the wedding bouquet she chose without needing to have the flowers lying around the home.
Ultimately, whichever method you choose: they'll all have their pros and cons. So it's just about finding what fits your tastes and which way suits you best. Of course, we'd love to hear which method you're planning on using, so let us know below!