Six of the best tips for turning your wedding bouquet into a treasured memento that lasts forever

While you’re busy planning your big day (from deciding on floor plans, to choosing bridesmaids, to making a million wedding decor decisions), it can be easy to forget small but important post-ceremony details. For instance, what should you do with your wedding bouquet after the celebration is over? You’ve put so much thought and care into selecting the perfect blooms that it would be a shame to let them wilt away. So from air drying, to pressing, to wax dipping and more, here’s our smart guide on how to preserve wedding flowers.

1. Embrace vintage elegance by air drying your wedding bouquet

When it comes to preserving wedding flowers, air drying is a charming old-time method for keeping your entire bouquet intact. This means that the shape and color of your blooms remain for years to come. To start, gently unwrap your bouquet and remove any excess foliage or ribbon. Next, carefully tie the stems together with twine or rubber bands to create a compact bundle.

Next, find a cool, dry location in your home away from direct sunlight, such as a spare room or closet. Hang your bouquet upside down, allowing gravity to gently pull moisture out of the flowers while preserving their natural form. You can use a coat hanger or string to suspend the bouquet from a hook or curtain rod, ensuring that it’s fully supported and won’t lose its shape while it’s drying.

Leave your bouquet to air dry for around two to three weeks and be patient during this time, as rushing the process can result in wilted or discolored blooms. You’ll know your bouquet is ready when the petals feel dry and papery to the touch. Once your flowers are completely dried you could display them in a special vase, or even take a more creative approach. For instance, by turning them into a pretty garland or wall hanging. Alternatively, you could showcase your preserved blooms in a shadowbox frame, creating a stunning piece of wall art that captures the beauty of your big day. When creating a shadowbox, make sure to add personal touches such as photos, invitations, wedding ribbons, and other special mementos.

2. Capture floral memories the retro way with pressing

Or what about embracing your inner English rose with this “Jane Austen-chic” method? Pressing flowers is a terrific way to preserve the delicate beauty of your wedding bouquet, plus you’ll feel super cottage core while doing it. Basically, this simple yet effective technique involves flattening flowers between layers of absorbent paper to remove moisture and preserve their natural form.

Start by carefully selecting a variety of flowers from your bouquet, choosing ones that are in full bloom and free from blemishes or damage. Lay the flowers flat between sheets of absorbent paper such as blotting paper, parchment, or a newspaper, making sure that they are arranged in a single layer with lots of space between them.

Once you’ve arranged your flowers, place them inside the pages of a heavy book (if your mom and dad have a dusty old encyclopedia, dictionary, or atlas kicking around, then that would be perfect). 

To be extra romantic, you could even use your wedding album or wedding planner, or a swoony volume or love poetry (just make sure that you choose a heavy and sturdy book). Or you could take things up a notch and get yourself a flower press, which will apply even pressure to ensure uniform drying.

Next, stack additional books or weights on top of the pressed flowers to keep the pressure consistent, then leave them alone for seven to ten days. During this time, the flowers will gradually dry and flatten, creating beautifully preserved souvenirs. 

After the pressing process is complete, carefully remove the flowers from the paper, taking care to handle them gently to avoid damage. Hopefully, your flowers will have kept their vibrant colors and delicate shapes (fingers crossed).

The best thing about pressed flowers is that they can be used in lots of creative ways. Consider framing individual blooms, or incorporating them into DIY projects like wedding thank you cards, bookmarks, or jewelry. Or what about turning your pressed flowers into a pretty jar of pot pourri, or incorporating them into homemade candles?

3. Preserve with precision by using silica gel

When time is of the essence and you want to preserve your wedding bouquet super quickly and efficiently, silica gel is king (or queen). Silica gel has an amazing ability to absorb moisture from flowers, speeding up the drying process while preserving their natural beauty.

To begin, get some silica gel beads or crystals from your local craft store or online. These tiny granules act as moisture absorbers, creating the perfect environment for drying flowers. Next, you want to carefully take apart your bouquet, removing any excess foliage or ribbon, before trimming the stems to your ideal length. 

After this, fill a shallow container with a layer of silica gel, making sure that it covers the base evenly. Then gently submerge each bloom into the gel, making sure that they are fully surrounded by the granules. Take care to arrange the flowers in a single layer, avoiding overcrowding to ensure proper drying.

Once all of your blooms have been dipped in silica gel, cover them with extra granules until they are completely submerged. Make sure to seal the container with an airtight lid to stop moisture from getting in, which creates a controlled environment for drying.

Leave the flowers to dry in the silica gel for one to seven days, depending on their size and level of moisture. Check on them regularly to monitor their progress, making sure that they are drying evenly, and also that the flowers still have their natural form and color.

After a maximum of one week, carefully remove the flowers from the silica gel, brushing off any excess granules with a soft brush or a gentle shake. Your wedding bouquet blooms should now be beautifully preserved, with their colors and shapes intact. Finally, store your dried flowers in an airtight container until you’ve decided how you want to display them. 

4. Embrace Southern charm with wax dipping

Wax dipping is a traditional method that adds a subtle sheen to your flowers while preserving their color and shape. By gently dipping your blooms into melted paraffin wax, you can extend their lifespan for up to six months. Display your wax-dipped flowers in a vase or shadowbox to add a touch of Southern belle panache to your home.

Even although wax dipping doesn’t preserve flowers forever, it gives you lots of extra time to decide how to turn them into a more permanent keepsake.

5. Capture blooms in time with freeze drying

Freeze drying is a pretty involved process for preserving bouquets. It’s worth considering though, as it keeps the original shape and color of your flowers by extracting moisture from them. 

Bear in mind that this isn’t a DIY project—you’ll need a professional service to freeze dry your wedding flowers. But the result is well worth it as you’ll get a stunning bouquet frozen in time, ready to be shown off in your home forever. 

6. Transform your floral bouquet into art with resin

Resin preservation is a modern and artsy approach to showcasing your wedding flowers. Basically, the resin encases your flowers in a clear and hard cocoon, making it easier to use pieces of your bouquet in craft or jewelry making projects.

You’ll have to start by drying your blooms via either air drying, pressing, or silica gel. Next, get a hold of a craft resin kit to turn your flowers into little decorative ‘gems’. You can take various approaches to this, for instance, preserving blooms individually or as an assortment. You can also get resin molds in various shapes, including love hearts, keyrings, and pendants for turning your blooms into a sweet necklace to wear every day. 

There’s a ton of inspiration out there for resin craft with flowers, so let your imagination run wild and transform your wedding bouquet into a selection of stunning pieces.

Turn your wedding bouquet into a cherished keepsake

With these six flower preservation techniques, you can ensure that your wedding blooms last forever—just like your love. Whether you choose air drying, pressing, freeze drying, or using silica gel, wax, or resin, you can make sure that your romantic blooms remain as vibrant and beautiful as the day you said “I do”.

Ready for your big day?

Now that you’ve found inspiration from our guide to preserving bouquets, it’s time to pick the perfect New Jersey wedding venue. Il Tulipano in Cedar Grove is ideal for a stylish ceremony and reception surrounded by Italian gardens. Our venue has just had a makeover and been praised by New Jersey Bride, The Knot, and Wedding Wire. The Il Tulipano team will treat you like family, so get in touch with us today and let’s plan your dream wedding.

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