If you’re planning a wedding, you’ve probably noticed that things begin to add up very quickly. One of the things that most brides won’t compromise on is wedding flowers. If you are in the process of designing your dream bouquet, you may want to take a moment to consider how long that beautiful arrangement will last.
Preserving wedding flowers is a gorgeous tradition that will allow you to look back on your big day with a fondness for years to come. Different flowers take differently to drying, however. A bouquet that stuns on your wedding day might look like a sad, dead pile of leaves years later.
Preserving your bouquet begins with flower selection and extends to the process that you use to dry your prized posies. Read on to learn about how to choose flowers ideal for drying, and a few tried and true methods for preserving them for years to come.
The Best Wedding Bouquet to Preserve
Your wedding flowers will only be fresh for one glorious day, but if you plan on preserving your bouquet, you can keep them forever. Not every type of flora takes as well to the drying and preserving process, however. With a little bit of forethought, you can plan out a wedding bouquet intended to stay beautiful through the generations.
Luckily, drying flowers has been a popular hobby for centuries, so we know a lot about what makes one flower more ideal than another. Both scientists and hobbyists have spent time studying how to maintain a flower’s color and scent long after the blooms have faded.
Today, a flower specialist can help you to find flowers that match your wedding’s theme or color scheme without sacrificing their suitability for drying. With so many hybrid and engineered flowers available, the best florist can provide nearly any bloom in nearly any color. You won’t need to compromise to put together bouquets or centerpieces that speak to you.
Do note that the more exotic the combination, the more expensive your bouquet will be. It’s important to keep flower budgeting at the back of your mind when you begin so you’re not saddled with sticker shock. Then again, the high price tag is all the more reason to think about preserving your bouquet even before you begin!
Features to Look For
At the base of the flower bud, you will see a cluster of small green leaves known as sepals. Their job is to protect the flower before it has fully bloomed. Horticulturists call this the flower’s calyx.
Ideal flowers for drying will have a smaller calyx. Typically, these flowers are capable of keeping their petals tight and secure on their own. This reduces the possibility of petals falling out and making a mess, before and after drying.
Another feature of plants that dry well is their oblong leaves. When looking specifically at the flowers, look for plants that resemble daisies. Most greenery without flowering components will dry nicely.
Some flowers have a dry texture even when they’re fresh. That’s a good indication that they will not change much after drying. You may wish to include a few of these blooms in your arrangement.
If you’re shopping for flowers in a catalog, you will want to look for flowers designated as “everlasting” or “immortelle.” These are the common names for any flowering plant in the genus Helichrysum. The features of these plants mean that they are more likely to retain their color and even scent after drying, so they look better than others after several years.
There are about six hundred species that fall under the blanket of everlasting flowers, so you could conceivably design an entire wedding bouquet with flowers chosen to look great when dried. Do note that everlasting flowers do not typically come in any shade of blue, so if this is part of your dream color scheme, you may want to bring in that color from another source.
Specific Flowers to Consider
You are not limited to the genus Helichrysum if you want to design a bouquet ideal for drying! Many different plants and flowers look great when properly dried. You might wish to design your bouquet around one or more of these superstar blooms.
- Globe thistle
- Sea holly
- Dragon’s breath
- Young roses
- Ball-shaped dahlia
While these are not the only flowers ideal for drying, they are some of the best candidates for long-term preservation. People have been successfully preserving the integrity of these blossoms for decades. Any of these flowers might be a starting point when building your bouquet.
Five Methods for Preserving Wedding Flowers
Once you’ve chosen your flowers for their drying power, you’re ready to think about how to go about preserving them. There are several methods that you can use to achieve the look that you desire. Some of these methods have been in use for hundreds of years, while others are only possible now due to new technology and experimentation.
If you’re nervous about ruining your bouquet when you attempt the process, it’s not a bad idea to attempt a test run. You can send flowers to yourself and see what happens when you try one of the below techniques. These are not the only methods out there, but there are five of our favorites.
1. The Microwave Method
You heard right – you can use your microwave to make some popcorn and then use the same microwave to preserve your wedding bouquet. Just like the microwave makes cooking quicker, it can make the process of drying your flowers take a few minutes rather than weeks or months. If you’re heading out on a honeymoon right after your wedding, this is a quick and efficient method that you can do before you set off.
Gather your flowers, a few coffee filters, and a few ceramic dishes. You will set a coffee filter down on a ceramic dish, lay down your flowers, place another coffee filter on top, and then add another dish. Essentially, you are sandwiching your flowers between two plates, with the coffee filters there to absorb moisture.
Microwave the whole “sandwich” for one minute, and then replace the top coffee filter. Continue repeating this process, microwaving for a minute at a time, until you like the look of your flower.
2. The Silica Gel Method
You may have found a packet of silica gel inside of the shoebox when buying a new pair of sneakers. This substance is naturally moisture-wicking and manufacturers use it to keep things fresh. You can buy silica gel in higher quantities and use it as a tool to preserve your sturdier flowers.
After acquiring your silica gel, place your flowers in a box or plastic-lidded container. Cover the flowers completely with the sandy substance so that they are completely ensconced. You can remove your flowers after a week and they will be good to go.
This is another method that’s great if you’re traveling after your wedding. Buy the silica gel in advance and you can set it and forget it until you return! Your preserved bouquet will be waiting for you!
3. The Pressed Flower Method
Pressing flowers is one of the most traditional methods used to preserve your blooms. Back in the old days, people had a lot more time to dedicate to the process of preserving flowers. This method is time-consuming compared to others, but the results are often gorgeous and will give you something to look forward to when the high from your wedding day has begun to wane.
Take the heaviest book you own, such as an old encyclopedia, and line the pages with parchment. Arrange your flowers face down, and make sure there is no overlap. Close the book, don’t touch it, and check back after a month.
Your flowers will be ready when any liquid is fully absorbed.
4. The Air Dried Method
The most traditional technique of all is the air-drying method, which involves hanging your bouquet upside down to dry. Rubber band your stems together and hang them away from sunlight. The best part of this old-fashioned technique is that you can watch the bouquet transform over the course of a few weeks!
5. The ‘Wait and See’ Method
If you have spent a lot of time and money on flowers, this might not be the ideal method for you. Essentially, set your bouquet in a vase with a little bit of water at the bottom and see what happens. After the stems have absorbed all of the water, they will dry out, leaving you with a dry bouquet that may or may not be well preserved.
Your Forever Flowers
Preserving wedding flowers is a fun way to save a natural memento from your big day for generations. Dried wedding flowers are beautiful and make for a lovely, tangible memory of a day you’ll never forget. If you are proactive, you can create the conditions to preserve a bouquet that is just as glorious years down the line as it was the day you got married!
Looking for more tips as you prepare to tie the knot? Check out the rest of the blog for more posts on family and relationships that can help you make the transition!