Your bouquet has done its job. It walked with you down the aisle, gave you something to hold onto before you took your to-be’s hand, and it added a wow factor in your photos.
But even when your big day is over, there’s no need to toss it—there are ways to keep the beauty of these blooms long after the wedding’s over. Whether it’s in a glass case, pressed into a frame, or made into a pendant, preserving your wedding bouquet lets you hold onto it for years to come.
Which Are the Best Blooms to Preserve?
While mums and small daisies don’t seem to make it through the process very well, flowers like amaryllises, Bird of Paradise flowers, calla lilies, and daffodils hold up nicely to the rigors of preservation techniques. You can also try this with freesias, gardenias, irises, lilies, hydrangeas, peonies, snapdragons, sunflowers, succuluents, and ranunculus blooms. But the flowers that are best suited for preserving? Among typical “wedding flowers,” hardy rose varieties tend to last the longest, while orchids are another stand-out favorite. So if you’re thinking about preserving your bouquet, talk with your florist about fitting some of these into your design.
There are two ways to preserve bouquets in their natural, 3-D form: silica-gel drying or freeze-drying. When you use silica gel, you bury the blossoms in a granular substance that slowly zaps them of moisture. With the help of your local craft store, this is a DIY project you can try at home. Freeze-drying is another story—this should be done by a professional. It entails slowly dehydrating the blooms in a cold, vacuum-sealed machine. Most companies then place the bouquet is a sealed glass shadow box or dome. The price range for freeze-drying usually hovers around $500.
If you just want to frame your flowers, the press method is another option. To display them in a picture frame, you can simply flatten a few blooms from the bouquet in the pages of a thick book. If you want a more polished look, a professional frame filled with pressed flowers (add in a few wedding photos, too) typically costs about $150.
Handling Your Bouquet
If you’re using a professional service to preserve your flowers, make the arrangements with them roughly a month in advance of the wedding. Right after your reception, trim off a half-inch from each stem and place the bouquet in a vase with a little water. If you have an oasis-style bouquet, add water to the foam. Place the bouquet in the refrigerator, making sure the petals don’t touch the walls of the fridge. Within a day or two, drop off or ship it your to a preservationist. Soon enough, you’ll have your beautiful bouquet back—to have and to hold from this day forward.
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