You spent what felt like forever choosing a wedding florist and picking the flowers for your wedding day, so it seems a shame to only enjoy them for one day. Given the amount of money wedding flowers cost and how beautiful they look, it seems a shame to throw them out immediately after the ceremony and reception (which isn’t great for the planet either!).
Hence a question many brides have is how to prolong the life of wedding flowers. Luckily, there are many great ways to keep and preserve your wedding bouquet, so you can treasure it as a keepsake for years to come.
Obviously everyone is familiar with the wedding tradition of tossing the bouquet – but those fragile blooms can end up looking a bit bedraggled once they’ve been fought over like a rugby ball! What many brides are opting to do instead is a ladies-only dance – inviting all the single, coupled and married women onto the dance floor for a girls-only celebration. You get to celebrate the women in your life without those precious flowers being sacrificed. (It also doesn’t put pressure on guests who might not want their single status in the spotlight – especially if they’ve decided marriage isn’t for them, or if they’re the only single person there!)
If you can’t bear to part from your beloved bouquet once the “I do’s” are done and the final glass of champagne has been drunk, here are eight ways to keep it as a sweet souvenir.
Image | Lavender Green Flowers
1. Pressing your bridal bouquet
One of the most traditional ways to preserve your wedding bouquet is to press it, and it’s a relatively simple process too.
Spread your flowers onto parchment paper, and lay them inside a heavy book (that encyclopaedia from school will finally come in handy again!), then add another layer of parchment paper on top to stop the ink from transferring. Close the book, then weigh it down with other heavy items on top, and leave it for seven to 10 days.
2. Frame your pressed wedding flowers
Many people choose to frame their wedding flowers and display it in their home, as a lovely reminder of their wedding day, as Sue Barnes of Lavender Green Flowers explains.
“We created the flowers for Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones’ wedding and we ended up framing flowers from the bouquet together with a buttonhole, both mounted onto the actual wedding dress silk. It was perfect and looked beautiful.”
If you fancy something a little less formal, Sue has another suggestion, too: “Weave them through the pages of your wedding guest book or photo album. It is always lovely to forget about and then discover such precious petals when you periodically leaf through the pages of your wedding day.”
3. Dry out your wedding flowers
If you’re keen to keep your wedding flowers in their original shape, drying them out could be your best option.
“Most flowers dry well if they are dried slowly and in the dark, preserving as much of their colour and perfume as possible,” says Sue.
Make sure your bouquet is tied tightly together, then hang them upside down somewhere dry (i.e. in the airing cupboard, or over the radiator) for a few weeks so that they dry thoroughly.
4. Create keepsakes from your wedding bouquet
“Making or buying a small silk drawstring bag (if you have any fabric leftover from the wedding dress, this could be perfect) and filling it with dried petals and flower heads from the bouquet is a lovely way of keeping your bouquet forever – but do ensure that the flowers are perfectly dry before you pop them into the bag,” advises Sue.
“The scent can be topped up with essential oils over a number of years and used to perfume laundry cupboards, clothes drawers/wardrobes or simply hung from a bedroom door or handle. This is a lower key, more personal way of keeping your bouquet but it is actually the option I prefer.”
READ MORE: A beginner’s guide to wedding bouquets
5. Create a flower preservation globe
Having your flowers made into a globe or paper weight is becoming very popular with brides, and we can see why. Your flowers are immortalised perfectly forever, and can be easily displayed. The Flower Preservation Workshop do this beautifully – we’re not sure this is one you can do at home!
You need to send your flowers off as soon as possible after your wedding, so they can be preserved in the freshest conditions, but it can be done up to 10 days after the event.
6. Use silica gel to dry flowers
Silica gel preserves flowers true to their original form, and is another simple way to keep them perfectly intact.
Silica gel can be purchased from craft shops or online, and works by drawing moisture from the flowers. You’ve probably seen it in little sachets in handbags when you buy them; it’s a sandy crystal substance.
Form a base of silica gel in an airtight container and embed your bouquet in it. Then pour the silica gel around the petals, making sure the shape of the flower isn’t compromised.
7. Preserve flowers with wax
This is a trickier method of flower preservation, so maybe practice a few times with less sentimental flowers before going full steam ahead.
The process involves melting paraffin wax in a saucepan, before dipping your flowers in, and pulling out immediately, before hanging upside down to dry.
8. Non-floral bouquet alternatives
If you want a bouquet that will last, there are plenty of non-floral alternatives to fresh flowers, from paper, to origami fabric – even cupcakes! Have a click through our gallery for inspiration.
With your bridal bouquet preservation sorted, check out the other post-wedding tasks you need to know about.