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Flowers. For any bride they can be one of the most important elements of their special day. In recent years, there have been a ton of new wedding trends, especially when it comes to flowers: big bouquets, minimalist bouquets, flower ceilings, and flower crowns. Whether you’re the boho bride who has an epic alter piece or a bougie bride who has opulent centerpieces growing toward the ceiling, you’ll likely be wondering the same thing: can I keep them? The wedding industry has figured out how to create timeless keepsakes with videos, wedding photography, and dress preservation—and it’s hardly unexpected. It’s not necessarily the norm to preserve your wedding bouquet but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Make your wedding bouquet last forever on your own, with a friend, or hire a professional!
Hang your flowers up to dry.
Let’s start simple. There is no easier way to preserve flowers than drying them out. It’s as simple as tying the stems tightly together with a rubber band (if not already bound together) and hanging them upside down. You want to keep them in a dry, well-ventilated area, out of the sun. A hall closet would work perfectly! Air-drying the flowers for a couple of weeks will create a crisp, vintage look. Before you get to drying though, there are a couple of things you should know! While air-drying is easy peasey for most flowers, it doesn’t work well on every flower. Delicate flowers won’t be able to hold up through the process and the petals on older flowers will be too weak to hang on. You’re best bet? Start the drying process while the flowers are still fresh. Brides—you can hang your bouquets as soon as you’re free from wedding festivities! Keep the bouquet in tact in a vase or take individual flowers out and arrange them in a mason jar! The possibilities are endless with dry flowers.
Silica Gel Preservation
We’re all about the DIY wedding, so why not a DIY bouquet preservation? If you’re a crafty bride, you should have no problem finding your way around a craft store and grabbing some silica gel—which costs as little as $10. Having a DIY wedding but not feeling this ambitious? Don’t worry; this isn’t as complicated as it sounds. Fun fact: silica gel isn’t actually a gel. You know those little packets that come in purses and book bags sometimes? That’s it! And yes, you still can’t eat it. It’s more like sand that will absorb all of the liquid from the flowers. This method will keep your flowers original shape and color, unlike air-drying. Fill a plastic container with a layer of silica gel, and place flower heads, removed from stems, in the container. Cover the flowers gently and completely with silica gel. Before you put a lid on it, make sure none of the flowers are touching or overlapping. 2-6 days later and ta-da! Beautifully preserved flowers for you to remember your special day forever. Arrange the flowers in a shadow box or an ornament to look at all year long.
Press flowers from your bouquet.
Have an iron, books, or plywood lying around? Make your wedding bouquet last forever with a press! This method consists of drying flowers out by pressing the moisture out over time. Using a large, heavy book has a bit of romance to it, so if you’re looking to up the sentimental value—this method is for you. First and foremost, choose a book you don’t mind damaging as the moisture can cause pages to wrinkle. Next you’ll want to trim the stem and remove the lower leaves. Because this method basically involves squishing flowers flat—you’ll want to choose flowers that have fairly flat faces, otherwise you’ll need to halve thicker bulbs. Once you’ve prepped your flowers, place flower in between two sheets of paper and then place within pages of the book. You can fit your whole bouquet it one book! Just be sure to skip pages in between to leave a little space for excess moisture. Stack multiple heavy books to weigh the book down once you’ve filled it up. Try and change the sheets of paper every few days so fresh paper can continue soaking up moisture. About 2-3 weeks later, you can gently remove the dried flowers! Display them in a frame or create some dried canvas wall art!
You know these crunchy little strawberries in some cereals or granola? Then you’ve probably had freeze-dried fruit! The same process works for your bridal bouquet. The freeze-drying process includes freezing the flowers and then a high-pressure vacuum sucks all the water vapor out which is then frozen and removed. Then the temperature is raised to finish off the remaining moisture. The good? Freeze-drying your flowers will keep your flowers shape, unlike the press. The bad? Unless you have equipment or experience freeze-drying, this is something I would not try at home—especially with your bridal bouquet. If it goes wrong and you ruin the flowers from your big day, it’d be devastating. Instead, hire a professional!
Thinking of fresh flower alternatives? Silk flowers or handmade tissue flowers are becoming more and more popular due to cost and trend. If you decide to go this route, you’ll be able to keep your bouquet forever.
Wax it up.
OKAY. So I know this article is titled "How to Make Your Wedding Bouquet Last Forever," but sometimes forever isn't gonna work. Dipping your flowers in wax will not create forever flowers, but it will definitely extend the life of your bouquet. Using melted paraffin wax, dip your flowers and hang them upside down to dry. You'll end up with a shining bouquet to put on display for months.
If you've never heard of epoxy resin, Google it before you read any further. 3...2...1, got it? Great, now we're on the same page. You can use epoxy resin to create a clear shape around your flowers. Start with a mold and pour the epoxy half way up. Arrange the flowers from your bouquet and pour the epoxy in the rest of the mold. Once the filling has dried, you'll have a lovely decoration to show off!
Repurpose your petals.
So maybe your bouquet has already started deteriorating and these preservation methods aren't going to work for you. Don't fret! You can use them for potpourri around the house. Or feature your dried flowers in a DIY candle.
Not much of a DIY bride? Get a portrait done of your flowers so you will always remember their beauty. You can ask a creative friend or hire a professional to paint your buds. Hang it up in your bedroom or living room so everyone can admire them!
How to Display Your Forever Flowers
Apart from building a wedding day shrine (no judgment here), there are tons of subtle ways to display your wedding bouquet around your home. Some options include: dried flower ornaments, mason jars, garland, shadow box, hanging flower rack, framing, windows, flower wall, homemade bath bombs, flower chandelier, phone case, pressed flower pendant, or just a plain old vase—shall I continue? You get the picture. There are so many ways to show off your freshly preserved wedding bouquet and keep the gorgeous flower arrangements from your big day in your heart—and your home!