You just paid a lot of money for your bridal bouquet and it has tremendous sentimental value to you. How can you best preserve it? We get asked this question quite often. Here are five methods for preserving your flowers along with the pros and cons of each method.
1. Air Dry
To air dry your bouquet, hang it upside down in a warm, well ventilated room out of direct sunlight. The flowers will shrink some as they dry and darken slightly in color. After a few weeks, you will have a dried bouquet in vintage hues. This method is easy and you can keep the bouquet assembled, but the flowers will last on average from 6 months – 2 years before fading and becoming brittle and eventually crumbling if bumped. However you may get lucky – we just spoke to one of our central Illlinois brides who dried her bouquet with this method over four years ago and she said it still looks good!!
You can dry your flowers in the microwave, but you will need to take your bouquet apart and dry each flower individually. Place the flower in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with cat littler. Microwave on high for 2 – 3 minutes. When the cat littler is cooled, remove the flower and gently brush and shake off the litter. This method takes more effort than air-drying but it is much quicker. These dried flowers can be placed into a shadow box or sealed container to enjoy. Over time they too will darken and become brittle, although they may last longer than the air dried flowers.
3. Silica gel
Silica gel works best for sturdy flowers like roses. Silica gel is available from craft stores and can also be ordered online from Walmart for $9.99 per 1.5 lbs. You will need to bury the blooms completely in the sand-like gel for a week or more. The larger the flower, the longer it takes to dry. It would take a large amount of gel to completely cover an assembled bouquet, but again you could take the bouquet apart, cut the stem off and cover each individual bloom using a lot less gel. Your flowers will be preserved looking fresh, not dried and will last much longer than air-dried or microwave-dried. Over the years they will eventually fade and crumble. To help them last as long as possible, keep them out of direct sunlight and in a covered container or shadow box.
Another options to preserve the blooms is to press them using either a flower press, or putting the flowers between layers of paper towel and stacking between heavy books. Smaller, more delicate blooms will dry faster and the larger sturdier blooms will take longer. Make sure the bloom is completely dried before removing them from between the books. These pressed blooms are ideal to have mounted into a frame and could even be placed around the wedding invitation and framed. If you don’t have a lot of display room, this is a good way to keep your flowers.
5. Freeze dried
If you are able to pay (prices start at $250) having your bouquet freeze dried will be your best option for looking like fresh and for longevity; in fact they should still look good for your 50th Wedding Anniversary! A google search provided two businesses within reasonable distance for central Illinois brides where your bouquet can be taken to have it preserved. Austin Preservations in Buffalo Grove, IL which is north of Chicago and Beautiful Keepsake in Riverton, Illinois close to Springfield are two options. You would need to contact them well ahead of your wedding date and make a reservation. Beautiful Keepsake FAQ is a great resource for everything you want to know about this method. Austin Preservation also has a FAQ page on their website with information about freeze drying.
If you plan to preserve your bouquet, order a separate toss bouquet to toss and keep your bouquet in a vase of water placing it in a refrigerator until ready to dry. If you have any questions, you may email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on wedding flowers, visit our website www.fancyfloralsbynancy.com. If you liked this article, use the email sign up form at the top right to subscribe to our blog.
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